Process Review: Pucker Up and Video

As a little girl, I was fascinated with the puckered texture of seersucker. Remember pastel summer seersucker outfits? Thanks to Winnie Poulsen and her Linen-Cotton Crinkly Tablecloth (Väv Magasinet, Nr. 3, 2021), I now have a puckered fabric that reminds me of those seersucker days of summer.

This is a challenging project. Double width, two warps, fine sett, nylon fishing line for selvedge ends at the fold, and “sticky warp” the whole way. After repeated frustrations, I resign myself to the thought of repairing hundreds of skipped threads after this comes off the loom. I have doubts that I will even be able to unfold the cloth all the way.

Fold line before washing and drying.

Whew! Was I wrong! I had far fewer skipped-thread repairs than I expected (only about 15). And the finished tablecloth is a gleeful ending to a what-did-I-get-myself-into adventure.

After being washed, the cloth is rolled up on a 1 1/2″ PVC pipe and hung to dry.
Fold line after washing and drying is barely noticeable.
Summer puckered tablecloth lends cheer to the room.

Puckers are whimsical surprises from ordinary threads.

I hope you enjoy this video review of the process:

My friends, thank you for walking with me on this weaving journey! July is the month for Warped for Good’s annual pause. I’ll meet with you right back here the first Tuesday in August.

May you find a gleeful ending where you least expect it.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Combination Drawloom – Simple and Engaging

I am constantly improving my methods of operating the drawloom. I pull and release draw handles and draw cords, check for errors, and throw the shuttle for each unit of threads (six times per unit with the current setup). Everything is in order. And, while I’m actively absorbed with this mental and physical choreography, I experience freedom from every other care.

Hem of towel is bleached 16/1 linen weft, and then green 16/2 linen weft. The pattern area of the towel is woven with royal blue 16/1 linen weft.
Solid row of pattern across the warp requires that all pattern shaft draw handles are pulled. It always seems thrilling to me to see all the handles down at once!
Lower border of the towel is the easy part. Pattern shafts are used for making a repeated pattern, and no single unit cords are involved.
Pattern shaft draw handles are now relegated to the side borders. The center body of the towel uses single unit draw cords to create non-repeated pattern. The single units give me freedom to design a (planned) random snowfall expression.
Snowflake Towel 01 is wrapping around the cloth beam. Snowflake Towel 02 is going over the knee beam. Snowflake Towel 03 is being woven. Snowflake Towel 04 will be the final towel on this warp. (But, who knows what I’ll be able to weave after that to the very end of the warp?)

These snowflake patterns are delightful to weave. There is enough consistency with the border pattern shafts to make it simple. And there is enough (planned) random snowflakes using single units and pattern shafts to keep it engaging. All I have to do is follow the graphed chart. As I weave, the snowflakes emerge, as if by magic. But it’s not really magic, is it?

Standard procedure is to always have a temple in place. I have rubber bands on the first and last draw handles for the side border pattern, and on the center handle for the border pattern (not pulled in this photo).
Everything works together! …for the good of the fabric being woven.
Sometimes one single unit is enough to make the next row of pattern.
I keep the chart at eye level and constantly refer to it. Closely following the chart is the only way I can hope to weave something worthwhile on the combination drawloom.

If you believe in Jesus you must walk with him. And as you do, you come to know the truth. Truth is found by walking in it. The pattern on the chart is true, and gives direction. The delight comes as we see the real-time results emerge in our own hearts. That’s freedom in its purest form.

May your search for truth bring freedom.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Cheater Bar

I have a tool that makes me stronger than I naturally am. Warp tension is extremely tight on my loom when I am weaving rugs. After advancing the warp, and locking the pawl on the cloth beam, I tighten the ratchet on the warp beam as much as I can. Then, I put all my weight into tightening the cloth beam. And then, with a bit of oomph, I lean into the handles on that cloth beam wheel to turn it one more notch on the ratchet. I pat myself on the back for exhibiting such strength. But wait, I have just created a problem. The next time I need to advance the warp, I’m not nearly strong enough to release those front and back pawls.

Meet my simplest tool: The Cheater Bar.

Cheater Bar is PVC pipe to use as a lever.
PVC pipe, 1 1/4″ x 24″

With this amazing helper, I can safely release even the most extremely tight warp tension. (But NEVER use the Cheater Bar to tighten the warp.)

Slip the end of the pipe over a handle on the ratchet wheel.
Force of the lever makes it easy to release the ratchet. CAUTION! Do not use the lever to tighten the warp beam or cloth beam. You could easily tighten it more than the loom is made to handle.

I never knew I could be this strong. Celebrate the moment! (A play on words. Steve tells me “moment” is a physics term that has to do with a force’s tendency to cause something to rotate about a specific point or axis.)

Good tools make hard things easier.

May you find strength you didn’t know you had.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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,
Karen

Short Rug – Big Splash

This colorful double-binding rag rug is going to make a big splash. At least, it will catch a big splash. It’s a bath mat, after all.

From left to right: Warp is tied on. Leveling string. Blue and white scrap header. Warp thread header. Red plain weave hem. First four rows (eight picks) of double-binding rag rug. Ski shuttle for light-color weft. Ski shuttle for dark-color weft.

I am not fiddling with the weft fabric strips. Instead of making the right side of the fabric always show on top, I am letting the fabric strips fall as they may. The resulting variance in the weft gives the rug a vintage-like appearance. Also, I am using print fabric for some of the the light color of the double binding that purposely obscures the contrast of dark and light in some places. This is to give the rug a softer, more playful appearance.

Some of the red fabric for the rug’s hem has a wrong side that is much lighter than its right side. I am letting some of that lighter fabric show on top. Besides giving the rug a vintage-like appearance, this variance also makes the rug more reversible. The front and back side of the rug will be similar to each other, instead of one dark side and one light side.
Glimåkra Ideal, with the beginning of a burst-of-color short rug to be used as a bath mat.

Home is where we make our true expression. The textiles from our hands speak without saying a word.

May your home represent you well.

Happy Weaving,
Karen