Double-Binding Is My Framework for Floor Art

I can make an ordinary rug. But it’s more exciting to weave something extraordinary. That’s what I like about making rag rugs. I can infuse them with beautiful patterns and colors. Double binding, in particular, gives me a useful framework for my “floor art.”

Double binding is a framework for creating art for the floor.

The thing I like about double binding is the way two consecutive wefts overlap and interchange in the shed. As the blocks change, the weft on top and the weft underneath change places. Most double-binding rugs, including the ones I have made previously, are simple checkerboard designs. The threading pattern you see here has significantly more block changes than usual. What began as a “what if?” has opened up a new dimension of rag-rug weaving for me! This opens the door to extraordinary.

Each row has two interchanging wefts.
Red stripe is the mid point for this double-binding rag rug bath mat.

God made you for purpose. It’s no accident that you are endowed with certain skills. When our skills and desires merge in meaningful ways, we enjoy a sense of purpose. Whether it’s weaving, singing, or growing seeds, do what you were made to do. And let all you do point to the glory of your Maker. When he made you, he had extraordinary in mind!

May you live out the purpose for which you were made.

Happy Weaving,

Monksbelt Surprise Ending

Monksbelt has been on the Glimåkra Standard for months. I expect the table runner to be fabulous when it finally comes off the loom, so I’m not complaining. The time spent weaving only adds to its worth. The runner is finished, so why not cut it off now and count the remaining warp as excess thrums? That shows how eager I am to put this monksbelt runner to use!

Long monksbelt runner is woven. End of warp has room for two plain weave towels with a monksbelt accent.
16/2 cotton warp. Coral 16/1 linen hem. Unbleached 16/2 linen ground weft. Coral 16/1 linen, doubled, outline pattern weft. Camel 6/1 tow linen, doubled, pattern weft.

The truth is, there is enough warp left for one, or maybe two, tea towels. After experimenting with several weft ideas, I am excited about weaving to the very end of the warp! Monksbelt gives us a surprise ending. A plain weave towel with a monksbelt border—this is a happy ending to a good long story.

May you keep going until the very end.

Happy Weaving,

Process Review: First Drawloom Warp

There are two questions I hear most often. 1. How long did it take? 2. What is it going to be? These are hard questions to answer. I admit that I stumble around to find satisfying answers. 1. How long? Hours and hours. 2. Cloth. It is going to be cloth. What will the cloth be used for? I don’t know. But when I need a little something with a pretty design, I’ll know where to find it. There are two finished pieces, though, from this first drawloom warp: the Heart-Shaped Baskets table runner (adapted from a pattern in Damask and Opphämta, by Lillemor Johansson), and a small opphämta table topper that I designed on the loom. The rest are samplers, experiments, tests, and just plain fun making-of-cloth. Oh, and I wondered if I could take the thrums and make a square braid…just for the fun of it.

First warp on my drawloom. Success!
Opphämta piece on the left, with Fårö wool pattern weft. Heart-Shaped Baskets runner on the right, with red 16/2 cotton pattern weft. Ten pattern shafts.

I will let the pictures tell the story of this first drawloom warp.

May you have plenty of things to make just for fun.

Happy Weaving,

Tools Day: Cartoon Trials

Making a cartoon for a lizard tapestry this size is quite a process. First, I enlarge the photograph. Then, I trace the outlines of the details onto a sheet of clear acetate. Next, to make the cartoon, I trace the bold Sharpie lines of the acetate image onto interfacing material meant for pattern making. But next time, it will be different.

Tracing photograph to make a tapestry cartoon.
Tracing outlines from the enlarged photograph onto the sheet of acetate. Photo image on the iPad helps clarify which distinctive lines to draw.

Making a tapestry cartoon.
White poster board under the acetate makes the Sharpie lines visible. The interfacing material lays on top of the acetate so I can trace the lines to make my cartoon.

I don’t plan to use this interfacing material again for a cartoon. It is not stiff enough. As the tapestry progresses it becomes more and more difficult to keep the cartoon from puckering and creasing in places. A better option would have been stiffer buckram, like I used for my transparencies. (See – Quiet Friday: Painting with Yarn and Animated Images.) But I am not able to find buckram in sufficient width.

Unwanted creases in the tapestry cartoon.
Interfacing material is susceptible to puckers and creases. Unevenness in the cartoon can result in a distorted woven image on the tapestry.

After I finished weaving the lizard portion of the tapestry, I decided to experiment. I removed the interfacing cartoon and switched to the acetate sheet instead. There’s no puckering with this one! It is much easier to line up the cartoon with the weaving. It has drawbacks, though. Noisy! When I beat in the weft it makes thunderstorm sound effects. (Not so great for our temporary apartment life.) It’s also harder to see the cartoon lines. And the magnets I use to hold the cartoon slip out of place too easily.

Using a sheet of acetate for a tapestry cartoon.
Slat holds the cartoon up to the warp. To beat the weft, I move the slat out of the way of the beater, just under the fell line. The sheet of plastic would be a good prop for making sounds effects for a film about a thunderstorm.

Next time... White paper, like the gorgeous tapestry cartoon I have seen in Joanne Hall’s studio. That’s what I’ll use. Next time

Joanne Hall and her tapestry cartoon!
Joanne Hall in her Montana studio. This is the cartoon she made for her impressive Bluebonnets tapestry that hangs on display in a Dallas hospital.

May you learn from your experiments.

All the best,

Little Experiments on the Loom

This is my attempt to add a fascinating detail. I alternated white and brass-colored ends in the warp stripe. In a similar fashion, I alternated colors in the weft stripe, too. It’s an experiment. The short columns that emerge in the weft stripe are a result of this thread arrangement. The outcome looks promising. Wet finishing will reveal the final effects of this low-risk exploration.

M's and O's on the loom. Experiment in progress.
M’s and O’s (Sålldräll) with a warp stripe and weft stripe that have alternating light and dark threads.

I like to do experiments on the loom. Little risks open up possibilities and ideas for future projects. Every learning experience is a step that leads to insight for future learning. And I have so much more to learn!

Weaving the border of the long table runner. M's and O's.
Weft stripe signals the beginning of the end border for this long table runner.

M's and O's on the loom.
Short vertical columns take shape in the brass-colored weft stripe.

Step-by-step learning has some common ground with finding a good path for life. Walking the right path is like walking in the early morning. The dim light of dawn gradually increases and the pathway becomes more and more clear as the sun rises to the full light of day. Our Creator gave us a lighted path. The learning experiences from our experiments and explorations in life help us discover the path of the Lord, where the light beckons us. Walk in the light. It’s where we can see the next good step.

Happy weaving,