Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug

I have woven umpteen rag rugs. But never one like this! Eight-shaft satin on the single-unit drawloom brings its own challenges, from managing draw cords to getting a decent shed. Add rag weaving to the mix and we have a whole new experience!

Cutting off drawloom rag rug.
Cutting off in 1-inch sections to make it easy to tie back on for the second rug on the warp.

Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warp ends is unwieldy in this instance because the threads are extremely dense. By quietly doing some detail studies on a sample, I find a way to finish this unusual rug: Secure the ends with the serger. Then, sew two rows of straight stitches on the sewing machine for added security. Sew a narrow bound hem using some of the fabric that was used as weft in the rug. Steam press to finish.

Drawloom rag rug finishing details.
Serger cuts off the ends as it overlocks the edge. I pull out the scrap header little by little just ahead of the serger needles and blade.
Finishing drawloom rag rug - steps.
Two rows of straight stitching.
Bound hem on a drawloom rag rug.
Lightweight woven fusible interfacing backs the fabric used for the narrow bound hem.
My Grandma's thimble.
My Grandma’s thimble helps me hand stitch the back side of the bound hems.
Drawloom rag rug finished!
Finished and pressed.
Stony Creek Rag Rug woven on single-unit drawloom! (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)
Dream come true! Stony Creek Rag Rug (Design by Kerstin Åsling-Sundberg)

I have another rag rug to weave on this warp. It will still be a challenge. With what I’ve learned, though, I’m anticipating a satisfying weaving and finishing experience.

We know what to do in normal circumstances. It’s in unusual times that we fall into dismay. Private time with Jesus turns confidential fears to confident faith. He treats our challenges like personal detail studies, showing us the way forward. His grace enables us to conquer the next challenge with confident faith.

May your confidence grow.

With faith,
Karen

31 Comments

  • Nannette says:

    Thank you for the beautiful description of a beautiful rug finish.

    Hem finishes is something I’ve struggled with. My sister works in a medical rehab facility and asked for personal medical masks to be given to staff and residents.. Finished with.my least favorite finish….. binding. And God provided a beautifully done technique for my next rugs..

    Now, onto the orchard in transit. The first nursery let me know fruit and nut trees/bushes are on their way to turn the retirement property into a perma-forest.

    Will I reap the fruits of the all the trees? Only God knows. But God will make sure a hungry soul will find them. Your posting this morning fed my soul. .

    Blessings to all.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, Rugs can be finished in so many ways. I’m glad you have a use for this option of bound hems.

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Blessings to you,
      Karen

  • Geri Rickard says:

    Oh Karen, what a wonderful rug! It looked perfect in your lovely home!

  • Kay says:

    Absolutely lovely. You have inspired me to do a rag rug in the near future.

  • Beth Mullins says:

    It’s beautiful, Karen! I really like the bound finishing. Bravo!

  • Linda Miller says:

    Love reading your posts. Thank you for reminding me to find God in everything.

  • Betsy says:

    It’s just gorgeous, Karen! Wonderful job!!

  • LJ Arndt says:

    Such a beautiful rug. It makes me realize I need to start using the draw attachment on my loom and get to know it better. Your posts are so inspiring.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, Oh I hope you do get familiar with your draw attachment! The possibilities are endless, and it is so much fun.

      Thank you, thank you,
      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Very beautiful rug, you worked hard on this one and it shows. Stunning! Job well done.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Karen!
    What a nice rug!The colors, the neat finish…
    I just admire the way you work.
    Best regards
    Eirini

  • D'Anne says:

    Beautiful rug! You do exquisite work, Karen!

  • Gail Bird says:

    Beautiful rug.
    Enduring thoughts concerning confident faith.
    Thank you.

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a beautiful rug! I’m impressed you could secure the warp threads like that, I really like how it opened up for that beautiful finish.
    Do you think the warp ends could be secured like that when making a wowen hem for a regular rag rug, too? I struggled to secure warp ends without tying knots, I tried but wasn’t able to “catch” the warp threads with the sewing machine needle.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, Thank you!

      I have had the same experience on other rugs with trying to secure warp ends with the sewing machine. The needle doesn’t catch all the ends. What made the difference with this one is that there are so many threads close together. The serger was able to catch most of the ends. I set a short stitch length on the sewing machine, too, to make even more certain that every warp end would be stitched, with two rows of stitching.

      I will still tie knots on a usual rag rug, with the normal 3 epc sett. The sett on this one is 7 doubled ends per centimeter. A big difference.

      Also, I’ve learned some things. For the next rug on this drawloom warp I will weave a longer header, instead of the 8-pick header I did on this one. Then, I will be able to secure the ends AND fold it under, which will help to secure them even more.

      Long answer. 🙂 Thanks for asking.
      Karen

      • Elisabeth says:

        Thank you! This explains the difference. I have a problem with a few warp ends on one of my door mats which has a wowen hem. I have been able secure them on the back (not very pretty) and it has endured several rounds in the washer since 🙂

  • Tercia says:

    Beautiful and a great piece…saving that and need to give it a try!

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Having seen a small section of this rug up close and personal when it was on your draw loom, all I can say is WOW when I see the finished piece.
    Fabulous job

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Biggest Challenge of Weaving a Pictorial Tapestry

Lucia grasps Ari’s plump wrist as they bravely inch a step closer to the rabbit hutch. For them, it’s a step of faith. Sugar Pie, the bunny, is wide-eyed at their approach. You’ll see the bunny later in the weaving of this pictorial tapestry.

Detail of a pictorial tapestry in progress.
Lucia’s tiny thumbnail is on top of Ari’s hand. Contrast in skin color is exaggerated to make the two arms distinct from each other.
Color gradation in a new large tapestry.
Five shades of orange/red butterflies are used to make the fabric of Lucia’s orange shirt.

It is a huge challenge to work on one element, like the hands, while not being able to see it in the context of the whole picture. The row-by-row weaving is an act of faith. I peer through the wrong end of the binoculars, and stand on a chair to take pictures. And I’m reassured about the outcome. It’s not blind faith. It’s a series of carefully reasoned and thought-out steps.

Gaining a higher perspective.
Gaining a higher perspective by standing on a chair.

We see only a small slice of life at a time. Where do my day-to-day threads fit in the context of the big picture of a lifetime? Grace is amazing! Grace is unearned good favor. Grace is a final tapestry that makes sense of all the wanderings. Grace is good favor extended by God to all who trust Jesus. So, with God’s grace we walk by faith, with carefully reasoned and thought-out steps. And we extend grace at every opportunity, holding the wrist of our fellow adventurer to walk by faith together.

"Siblings" tapestry.
Siblings tapestry, work in progress.

Grace is amazing.

May your life make a difference.

Grace,
Karen

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Getting Dressed to Weave

I want to wrap up in this cozy throw already. But I need to weave it first. This is an undulating twill throw that I am making for sweet Lindsay, one of my daughters-in-law. Of course, I am including enough warp to make a small throw of my own.

Getting ready to beam the warp. Back to front warping.

Four chained bouts. The 8/2 cotton warp is pre-sleyed, and the back tie-on bar has been placed through the loops at the end of the warp.

Every step of dressing the loom is fascinating. I easily get immersed in the enjoyment of the process. All the while, I’m dreaming of the finished work.

Read to beam the warp, using warping trapeze.

Warping trapeze is in place at the front of the loom. Ready to beam these soothing colors onto the warp beam.

Warp is beamed. Ready for threading.

Warp is beamed. Warp ends are counted into groups of 32 ends each, for efficiency and accuracy in threading. This will be threaded for undulating twill on eight shafts.

Dressing the loom leads to the making of cloth. Dressing our lives leads to the making of good character. Prayer is of utmost importance in dressing our lives. Prayer is not a single step in the process, but a posture of faith throughout the process. Earnest prayer reaches God. The power of prayer is not in our words, in the threads we express, but in the Grand Weaver. He receives our humble threads and weaves them into his will to bring about his beautiful cloth. Fascinating, isn’t it?

May you dream as you dress the loom.

Prayerfully,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    There is something soothing about dressing a loom. I can’t wait to see the weaving begin.

  • I agree- I enjoy the entire process. I think you have to or you wouldn’t continue to weave year after year!! “ you must be warped to weave” .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, Yes, maybe that’s the appeal for those of us who are drawn to handweaving – the enjoyment of process, of being part of making something from beginning to end. Your weaving is so beautiful. It’s good to know you enjoy the whole process, too.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Emonieiesha says:

    Good Morning Karen,
    I just came across your blog and what a joy. I am a beginner with a RHL and a 4 Shaft Table loom! There is nothing like creating while keeping our hearts and minds on the Creator. Happy Weaving with the one who created it all.

  • Susan Hommel says:

    Hi Karen, I love reading you warm and knowledgeable advice and have followed your weaving adventure these last few years. You even inspired my first rug attempt when you submitted your lovely rosepath pattern to Handwoven. Now I’m at a crossroad. I’ve been using my Schact standard but the draw to a Swedish loom has bitten me…. I await delivery of my Glimakra Julia countermarch next week. Here’s my question. Is there value in passing up the Glimakra set up direction in favor of Vavstugas Dress your loom the Vävstuga Way ? Thanks for any advice you can offer! Best regards, Sue

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, I’m excited for you! You will really enjoy your new Julia.

      The Glimakra set up and Vavstuga’s guide are completely compatible, as far as I know. I use Joanne Hall’s books and Vavstuga’s and get a great compilation of instructions. You can’t go wrong either way, or both! Don’t forget “The Big Book of Weaving.” It also has great set up (and weaving) instructions. The more, the merrier. 🙂

      Very happy weaving,
      Karen

  • How pretty the colors are.
    My skills are not there yet. Dressing the loom requires a lot of detail that my creative brain wants to ignore.

    Warping All By Yourself was my guide for dressing a loom. Front to back. I am glad you provided visual details. I will reference the next time I dress a loom and see if it speeds things up.

    About a month ago I went to the high school craft fair in Crivitz, Wi. There a woman selling the most beautifully crafted rag rugs I’ve ever seen. Nothing fancy, but even edges and beautifully chosen colors.

    She lives back in the woods in the home she shared with her late husband, south east of Green Bay and weaves. No business cards.

    I mentioned your website. She is the last hold out not on line. Her world is edged by north eastern Wisconsin. Next year I will look for her again at the Crivitz high school autumn craft fair. But earlier. The bake sale was sold out.

    I will miss your twice weekly posting. Enjoy the ride.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I understand what you mean about your creative brain. My brain has trouble holding details, too.
      Having a system with specific steps helps me. I don’t try to remember the steps. I have written down the steps and keep that step-by-step list in front of me every time I warp the loom.

      Those old time rag rugs are wonderful. I have two that a friend of my grandmother made in a small country town in Missouri back in the ‘50’s.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Karen

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No Hurry at the Little Loom

I hope you haven’t forgotten about this sweet little loom at our Texas hill country home. It is refreshing to be able to start right back up and weave another placemat. This is a breeze, even with two double-bobbin shuttles. Color and weave brings plenty of design play. Over the weekend I was able to squeeze in enough weaving time to finish one more placemat.

Color and weave cotton placemats.

New placemat begins. Two red picks will become the cutting line that separates placemats.

Peaceful setting for unhurried weaving.

Peaceful setting for unhurried weaving.

There is no hurry or urgency with this project. Other events, transitions, and necessities have taken precedence the last few months. It’s nice to have a ready loom that doesn’t hold a deadline. Simple two-treadle plain weave during a transitional season is a welcome respite.

Color and weave cotton placemats on the loom.

Two doubled-weft picks of dark coral make a line of contrast in the color-and-weave cotton placemat.

Faith is trust. It’s the simple framework we long for when life gets complicated. Trusting the Lord is like knowing what to expect when you throw the shuttles, yet still being pleasantly surprised as you see the fabric form in front of you. His grace removes the hurry and the worry. We find his grace through faith. And isn’t that exactly the respite we need?

May you have a break from hurry and worry.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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Weave Beyond Your Momentum

Do you remember that I said the background is less interesting to weave? I take that back! Blending these colors and forming the shapes is no less interesting than weaving the lizard. The green anole is the featured subject, filled with detail and many minute color changes. Weaving that lizard was a skill stretcher! But as I continue, I am weaving details of a different kind. The background is a log, not easily recognizable. It’s like looking at wood grain patterns through a magnifying glass. I’m hopeful everything in the final image will fit together when we see it from a distance.

Four-shaft tapestry. Shading and texture.

Color, shading, and texture work together to make the surface appear uneven. Some areas look as if they are raised, and others, especially the dark places, look like they are indented.

Detail of lizard tapestry.

After about three more warp advancements, the lizard and his green toes will be nowhere to be seen.

Four-shaft tapestry. Glimakra Ideal.

Little by little…

View of the tapestry in the direction it will hang.

Standing on a chair, I get a view of the tapestry in the direction it will hang. This is only one slice of the tapestry image, but it helps me imagine what the finished piece will be like.

Continue. I don’t want to lose momentum just because I finally made it through the hardest part. Keep going, being faithful to what you know to do. Faithful to what you know is true. Don’t be fooled by compelling, convincing, and subtle messages that divert from the truth. Continue walking by faith, trusting the outline, the cartoon, that the Grand Weaver prepared for us. It will all fit together when we see it from heaven’s eternity. That’s real hope.

May you keep your momentum.

In faith,
Karen

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