What These Warp Chains Tell Me

Rag rugs are up next on the Glimåkra Standard. I’m filled with anticipation. Oh, to have the momentum of this hanging beater at my fingertips again. I’m drawn to the simple power of the hanging beater, which is perfect for rug weaving. I already have a place for these rugs in my home once they are woven. So, let’s get going!

First of three bouts. Brick and Bittersweet are wound together, and Unbleached and Umber (a dark green that is almost black) are wound together.
I secure the end by pulling a loop up under the wound threads, so I can count the ends of the last group in this bout.
Finished winding the third bout. Before cutting off and tying the final pair of ends, I did a visual check of the counted ends at the cross.

The draft is “Den Vackraste” from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, p.87, to which I added some width. I plan to start with a short sample rug to test wefts and check for size. I am winding the 12/6 cotton warp in three bouts. These long, heavy warp chains tell me I’m now on an unstoppable trek that will result in rugs on the floor!

As each bout is wound, I place it in order through the beater, with the tied cross on the other side of the beater.
Anticipation!

Until I wind the warp, the rag rugs I’d like to see are merely good intentions. Warp chains placed in order through the beater, though, are a picture of expectation. I have put enough warps on the loom to know with confidence that the rag rugs I anticipate will, indeed, become reality. Faith has that kind of expectation. Faith activates your prayer. The simple power of faith is in believing that the Lord Jesus hears your prayer and that he is able to do what is right for you.

May your intentions become reality.

No holding back,
Karen

Tried and True: Are Retaining Cords Worth the Trouble?

Some things are easier done than said. I said to myself that it’s too much trouble to tie retaining cords on the shafts. I am weaving almost full width on the Glimåkra Julia. I know that heddles can slip off the ends of shafts. Still, I tell myself I can keep an eye on it. It won’t be a problem, right? Wrong.

Juila’s wide warp. So far, so good. I’ll pay attention and everything will be just fine. Famous last words.
Oops. I took this picture after I had fixed most of the mess created by dangling heddles. When heddles slip off shafts they must be put back on thread by thread to maintain correct warp order. These were tangled enough that it took me a few tries to get it right.


Tie Retaining Cords on Shafts

Purpose: Keep Texsolv heddles secure on their shaft bars, especially when weaving a wide warp.

Supplies

  • Tape measure
  • 12/6 cotton seine twine
  • Scissors
12/6 cotton seine twine (rug warp) to the rescue!

1 Measure shaft bar from hole to hole. (Julia shaft bar is 70 cm)
2 Figure additional length (about 40 cm) for tying two knots. (70 + 40 = 110 cm)
3 Cut seine twine to measured length for each upper and lower shaft bar. (Heddles can slip off lower shaft bars, too.)

Retaining cords are cut.

4 Insert one of the seine twine cords through the hole on one end of a shaft bar. Tie. (I use the half-bow slip knot as described in Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, p.38.)

Tie retaining cord to one end of the shaft bar. Any knot will do, but I like this half-bow slip knot because I can untie it simply by pulling the end of the cord.

5 Insert the other end of the cord through the hole at other end of the shaft bar. Tie.

Thread the cord through the hole at the end of the bar.
Tie a simple knot and tighten it.
Tie another simple knot, leaving a fold in the end of the cord.
Pull the loop to tighten the knot.

6 Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each remaining upper and lower shaft bar.

All tied up and ready to go! When this project is finished I will wind up these retaining cords on an empty tube and re-use them for the next wide warp on the Julia.

Continue weaving with one less thing to think about.

45 minutes: Time it took to reposition heddles that had slipped off a few shafts and were in a mess because I didn’t notice it immediately.
Less than 10 minutes: Time it took to cut string and tie retaining cords on 4 upper shaft bars and 4 lower shaft bars.

‘Nuff said.

May you take the time to do what needs to be done.

Ever Learning,
Karen

Process Review: Priceless Monksbelt and Video

Talk about exciting! When something has been on the loom this long it is indeed exciting when the back tie-on bar comes over the back beam. I finish weaving the final “bonus” towel. And then, I use up all the quills to make a little piece of scrap fabric (because scrap fabric is always better than leftover quills). And then! Then, I start my cutting-off checklist.

After all this time, the moment we’ve been waiting for is here!

After weaving a short scrap fabric with thread left on quills, it is time for cutting off the long monksbelt runner and two bonus towels.

I cut off the warp. And as I unroll the cloth, I am mesmerized by the tactile intricacy that passes through my fingers–Fårö wool for the pattern weft, and 16/2 cotton for slow-as-molasses weft rep ground cloth. Finishing proves to be the easiest and quickest part of this project. I like the crisp pristine state of the monksbelt runner, so I am not going to wet finish this article. I examine for errors (none found!), wet finish the two towels, hem the table runner and towels, and press. The Priceless Monksbelt Runner now graces our dining room table.

After the Priceless Monksbelt Runner I had enough warp to weave two bonus towels with monksbelt borders. In between the towels I did a small heart-shaped inlay just for play.
Two simple plain weave towels, with monksbelt borders. The tabby weft is 16/2 golden bleached linen. The coral pattern weft and green pattern weft is doubled 16/1 linen. The ecru center pattern weft is doubled 6/1 tow linen. Warp is 16/2 cotton. With only one washing so far, the towels still have a wonderful crisp linen hand.

The exceptional value of handwoven textiles makes your home a welcoming place. Time is one of our most valuable assets. That makes the textiles we create priceless!

Our dining table is just to the right as you walk through the front door of our home. May all who enter know they are welcome here!

Please enjoy this video review of weaving the Priceless Monksbelt Runner.

May the works of your hands bring exceptional value to your home.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Snow in Springtime at the Drawloom

This Myrehed combination drawloom continually fascinates me. It’s all about raising and lowering threads in a purposeful way. Pulling pattern-shaft draw handles for the borders is the easy part. The single units in the body of the towel, however, capture my focused attention. Consistent precision—that’s the secret to completion.

Single units of threads are raised by placing draw cords on the hook bar. The black cords and white cords are arranged in groups of ten. I mentally split each group of ten so I am focusing on five single units at a time.w
Side borders use fifteen pattern shafts. Each pattern-shaft draw handle raises units of threads across the warp. That enables me to pull handles for the pattern that shows up on both the right and left borders.

This second towel in the Snowfake series continues the theme of softly falling snow. Meanwhile, Texas bluebonnets, wine cups, varied bright yellow daisy-type flowers, and mealy blue sage are springing up through hard ground all over our backyard. And Thursday morning I spotted the first gaillardia bloom—previewing the next wave of color.

Texas bluebonnets were the first flowers to burst into bloom.
Myrehed Combination drawloom enables me to combine pattern shafts (8 draw handles are pulled here) and single units (several draw cords are pulled in this picture) in a single project. I truly enjoy all the variables!

I am acutely aware that you may be experiencing a lingering cold season, and may even yet have snow on the ground. I’m not just referring to weather and flowers. Real-life struggles. Let me assure you that spring is coming. Have faith in the one who raised Jesus from the dead. Your faith captures the Lord’s attention. He brings new life out of hard ground. And the white of falling snowflakes remains a pleasant reminder of his grace. For all who call on the name of Jesus, the grace of his forgiveness falls over us to make us clean, as white as softly falling snow.

May you see signs of new life.

Happy spring weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Cutting Off for a Fresh Start

I have good reasons for cutting off this first double-binding rag rug before proceeding with the rest of the warp. This pause and reset ensures happy weaving to the end. Cutting off gives me a fresh start for the next rug.

Rug is wrapping around the cloth beam.

Reasons for cutting off rag rug before end of warp

  1. Uneven warp tension. I can improve the warp by tying back on.
  2. Large rag rag. I can get a tighter warp tension by removing the rug’s bulk from the cloth beam.
  3. New design. It helps me to see the completed rug before starting the next one, since this is a brand-new design.
Rug comes to an end with a red border/hem. A warp-thread header follows, and then a few rows of scrap header to help secure the weft until finishing knots are tied.

Steps for cutting off rag rug before end of warp (countermarch loom)

Secure everything before cutting off. Shaft bars are in shaft holders and shaft pins are put back in place.
Countermarch locking pins on this Glimåkra Ideal are wooden dowels that go through the all the holes in the countermarch jacks.
Tension on the warp is released at the back ratchet and front ratchet.
  • Mark a cutting line across the warp with a black marker. Allow at least 10 centimeters (4 inches) beyond the rug’s warp-thread header for tying knots later that will secure the weft.
Mark a cutting line across the warp. Leave enough warp at the end of the rug to tie overhand knots to secure the weft.
  • With tying back on in mind, cut one group of ends and skip the next group of ends. Continue across the warp, alternating cut and uncut groups of ends. Tie groups of cut ends in slipknots as you go.
By spacing out the cut ends, the weight of the rug is evenly distributed. There is less pulling and distortion while cutting off. At the same time I am preparing groups of ends for tying back on.
  • Make a second pass, cutting the remaining groups of ends, and tying them in slipknots.
Continue cutting off groups of ends.
  • Unroll the rug from the cloth beam. Take a photograph.
First look at the back of the rug.
  • Lay the rug out on the floor. Ooh and aah.
Double-binding rag rug, ready for finishing and hemming! I let the rug rest on the floor for a couple days to let the warp and weft relax. Next step is to tie ends into overhand knots.

May you get a fresh start whenever you need it.

Happy Weaving,
Karen