Tried and True: Use a Boat Shuttle for Rag Weaving

Wind very narrow fabric strips on quills and put them in a boat shuttle. It’s efficient. It’s faster to wind a quill than to load fabric on a ski shuttle. Plus, I like the advantage of sending a boat shuttle across rather than a ski shuttle. This rag rug on the drawloom has fabric strips that are only one centimeter (~3/8”) wide, instead of the usual two-centimeter-wide (~3/4”) strips for an ordinary rag rug. Grab your boat shuttle and pay attention to a few simple tips. Your very narrow fabric strips will be woven up in no time.

Tips for Using a Boat Shuttle to Weave Very Narrow Fabric Strips

  • Use fabric that has minimal fraying at the edges. Trim off any long threads. Loose dangling threads that are long enough to wind themselves on the quill will make you wish you had used a ski shuttle.
  • Wind the fabric with the right side down. Then, when the quill unrolls, the right side will be facing up.
Winding quills with narrow fabric strips. Rag rug on the drawloom.
Swedish bobbin winder is clamped to the side of the loom. A five-yard fabric strip is wound onto a quill. The right side of the fabric is against the quill.
  • Handle the wound quill as little as possible to prevent fraying the fabric edges. Simply wrap the tail end of the fabric strip around the filled quill. Do not wrap the end into a slip knot around the quill because the fabric will fray as you release the knot.
Winding narrow fabric strips on quills for drawloom rag rug.
One long fabric strip per quill. Fabric is cut 1 cm (3/8″) wide.
Fabric-wound quills ready for weaving drawloom rag rug.
One fabric-filled quill covers a little more than one unit of weaving (4 picks). I keep a dozen filled quills in the basket on my loom bench so I can keep weaving as long as possible.
  • Unwind enough weft for the pick before you throw the shuttle. Pull the weft out straight from the quill. When a quill unwinds in the shed, the weft comes off at an angle. And as such, if there are any loose threads at the edges of the fabric strips, the threads will wind themselves on the quill and bind it up. And you will wish you had used a ski shuttle.
Folke Samuelson Damask Shuttle - drawloom rag rug!
Folke Samuelson Damask Shuttle has a low profile, well-suited for the smaller sheds of the drawloom. Fabric is unrolled from the shuttle prior to the next pick.
Design is "Trasmatta Snöfall" ("Snowfall Rag Rug") by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg, from Damast, Horlags AB Vavhasten
Drawloom rag rug is well underway. Single unit drawcords are pulled and held in place on the pegs above the beater. Design is Trasmatta Snöfall (Snowfall Rag Rug) by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg, from Damast, edited by Lillemor Johansson.

May your hands enjoy their work.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Wool Rag Rugs?

I have a generous selection of gorgeous wool yardage that was given to me a few years ago. I had said I would weave rag rugs with it. But I haven’t. …until now. What took me so long? Uncertainty. I haven’t seen wool rag rugs. What warp should I use? What sett? What problems await? I felt timid about walking into the unknown.

Cutting wool fabric for rag rugs.
Wool fabric has been washed and dried before cutting into strips for rag rug weaving.

Wool strips for a spaced rep rag rug.
Four different wool fabrics have been chosen for this spaced rep rag rug.

Last week I came across a recent Väv magazine. Lo and behold, here is a spaced rep rag rug with wool fabric weft! My loom is already dressed for spaced rep rag rugs. Here I go!

Spaced rep rag rug with wool fabric strips.
After a warp thread header, narrow fabric strips are woven for the hem of the rug. The wool selvedges are surprisingly soft.

Wool weft rag rugs.
Weaving in the morning. A pick of brown 12/6 cotton warp thread follows the pick of wool fabric, except when changing blocks. Weaving consecutive fabric strips changes the blocks.

Ten years ago a kind, elderly gentleman sat next to me on an airplane. He gave me sage advice I never want to forget,

Put your future in the hands of the one who holds the future.

We speak of past, present, and future. But for the Lord, the present has already been. The future has already happened. It’s as if the wool rug that I try to imagine and weave has already been positioned in the foyer of the Father’s house to comfort road-weary feet that enter. Amazing!

May your future be better than you imagine.

All the best,
Karen

Twenty-Seven Mug Rugs

Twenty-seven coffee mugs sitting in a row… on these new mug rugs! Wouldn’t that be a lovely sight?! Twenty-four of the mug rugs are identical. The last three, however, are different. I ran out of string yarn near the end of the warp, so I switched to fabric strips for the weft. There is just enough spacing between warp ends that some of the fabric print shows through. I love the results! These last three mug rugs are set apart. Brought about by a shortage of string yarn.

Making rep weave mug rugs.
Fabric strip from a past rag rug project is used for the thick weft in this rep weave mug rug. The cotton fabric strip is 3/4″ wide.

Rep weave mug rugs with fabric strips.
Beautiful batik fabric with crimson and purple deepens the color of the red cottolin warp ends.

Six yards of rep weave mug rugs!
Cutting Off! Six yards of mug rugs.

Rep Weave mug rugs with cute short fringe.
Finished with machine zigzag stitches and a short fringe. 25 mug rugs with black string yarn weft. 1 mug rug with fabric strip weft. (Not shown: 2 mug rugs from the set-apart pile that have already been dispersed as gifts.)

Realizing our personal shortages is the beginning of humility. It’s not easy to acknowledge shortcomings. But humility begins with honesty. And it’s the answer for those who want to find the path to God. It’s our honesty about our shortcomings that catches His attention. God hears a humble prayer. The God of the universe gives one-on-one attention to the person who comes to Him in humility. Amazing! We come to the end of our personal supply, and He supplies the needed weft that sets us apart.

May your humility make you different from the norm.

With you,
Karen

~ATTENTION~ Towel Kits ~

Thank you for your fantastic response regarding the towel kits I am offering! Many of you have expressed an interest in knowing when the kits will be available for purchase.

A small number of towel kits are ready! The River Stripe Towel Set, Pre-Wound Warp and Instructional Kit, for $150 per kit, will be listed in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop tomorrow, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, around 10:00 am CT.

If you are not already on the Towel Kit notification list, and would like to be notified when the next batch of towel kits are ready, please send me a message HERE.

Thank you!
Your weaving friend

Plain Rosepath

This is a stash-busting rug, using leftover cut strips from previous rugs. Like my other rag rugs, I start with a plan. Then, I get out my fabric and make my color selections. It’s plain rosepath, without tabby picks in between, perfect for a stash buster. Snip, snip, snip. Fabric snippets are taped to my idea sheet. These are my blueprints–weaving draft, treadling order, and idea sheet with fabric snippets. I am weaving!

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.
Without tabby picks the rosepath pattern takes on a compressed form.

I can, and do, make adjustments at the loom. But I keep one question in mind. Will my choices along the way fit with the overall design of the rug? My idea sheet serves as a guiding compass. It’s a reminder of the big picture that forms a cohesive design.

Idea sheet for rag rug design.
Idea sheet hangs from the beater clip on the Glimakra Ideal loom. The treadling pattern, penciled on graph paper, and fabric snippets provide a quick reference while weaving.

Guiding principles shape our lives and enable us to make wise decisions. A compass sets the course. Use a true compass. Live in a way that pleases God. This is a valid compass for all choices and decisions. The Grand Weaver has the comprehensive design. Amazingly, He weaves our leftover fabric strips into his design, and uses them to make something useful and beautiful.

May you see your part in the overall design.

Happy weaving,
Karen

How Is Your Stash?

My rag rugs start with leftovers. It is a great place to begin. By leftovers, I mean fabric strips that are left from previous projects. Unlike many traditional rag rugs that are made from recycled fabrics, I use all new cotton yardage for my rag rugs. I only buy more fabric when my supply starts to run low, or when I need a specific color that I don’t have in my supply. That’s the difference between a stash and a supply. A stash is for keeping and admiring. A supply is for using up with a purpose. A stash grows without limits. A supply is replenished in relation to the need.

Planning a rosepath rag rug.
Planning session for a new rosepath rag rug. After gathering a selection of fabrics, I snip fragments to tape to my working chart.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.
After several plain weave stripes, the rosepath pattern is taking shape on the loom.

I have to be careful about treating my things, my time, and my ideas as my stash. For me to keep and admire. It’s better to be a giver. The generous have an endless supply. They never wonder about having “enough.” Generosity is a virtue. Those who are enriched by God can always be generous, since he is faithful to replenish the supply.

May you always have enough.

For you,
Karen