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.
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.
Home is where we make our true expression. The textiles from our hands speak without saying a word.
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.
Reasons for cutting off rag rug before end of warp
“With so many looms, how do you decide what to weave every day?,” I was asked. The answer lies in my Weaving Rhythm. I have five floor looms. I happily aspire to meet the challenge of keeping all of them active.
Weaving Rhythm ~ A pattern created across time, through a regular succession of weaving-related tasks.
Arrange individual tasks to keep each loom consistently moving forward in the weaving continuum.
Weaving Continuum ~ The cycle for each loom that is continually repeated.
When the first few centimeters are woven on a new project, begin planning the next project. When finishing is completed for the current project, wind a new warp and dress the loom for the next project.
First Things First ~ Prioritize daily tasks to maintain the Weaving Rhythm.
Do some finishing work first. Do some loom-dressing tasks next. The reward, then, is sitting at one of the dressed looms and freely weaving for the pleasure of it.
Give Thanks ~ Live with a thankful heart.
Every day I thank the Lord for granting me the joy of being in this handweaving journey. And I thank him for bringing friends like you along with me.
Rag rugs are not finished when you cut them from the loom. In fact, they can fall apart if you are not careful. A rag rug is not secure until warpends are tied into knots. You need to leave space on the warp between rag rugs to make room for the eventual knots.
One way to leave space on the warp is by using warping slats as spacers. Simply weave about two inches of scrap header after the end of a rug. Then, insert warping slats in alternating plain weavesheds. And then, weave another scrap header. Now, you’re ready to start the next rug.
I leave about eight inches (20 cm) of warp between rugs. This gives me enough length for tying the needed square knots. If you are leaving fringe, add enough to include the desired fringe length. When you insert the warping slats, keep them centered so that they can go around the breast beam and cloth beam without catching on the sides of the loom.
It is easy to separate the rugs after they are off the loom. Cut between slats using a rotary cutter, with a cutting mat underneath.
It is not enough to be pretty; a good rag rug must also be sturdy. Four crucial steps give a rag rug the solid foundation it needs to get off to a great start, and to be ready for the strong beat required to make a rug that lasts.
How to Begin a Rag Rug
leave enough warp to tie and finish ends after the rug is cut from the loom
Assuming there is a sample at the beginning of the warp, leave space after the sample. Leave about 4″ (10 cm) of empty warp. Then, using two warping slats, place one slat in each plain weaveshed. The slats act as a spacer, and as a firm backstop for beating in the waste rags. (Leave about 8″ / 20 cm of space between each rug, from header to header.)
Use warp yarn to weave a 3/8″ (1 cm) weft-faced header. Arrange the weft in small arcs across the width of the shed. Treadle the next shed and beat in the weft.
thinner rag weave, to be turned under and stitched
Cut fabric into narrow strips, 1/4″ (.5 cm) wide. Weave hem to desired length, with enough to fold under itself for finishing.
–Repeat the four steps in reverse order at the end of the rug.–
It takes courage to live by faith. Courage is the backbone against which life circumstances can push. Faith is knowing God has a higher purpose for the circumstances we find ourselves in. A rag rug with this firm starting point will not only look good, but be ready for a purpose. And so will we.