I’ve been working on this spaced rep rag rug for a while. I should know what it looks like. So why does unrolling the cloth beam make me feel like a child on Christmas morning awaiting a surprise? It’s because I see only a small portion of the rug at any one time while I am weaving.
Not until I cut it off and see the whole rug unfurled on the floor do I really grasp the story this rug is telling. The surprise is pleasant. Threads and fabric strips, and a weaver’s hands (mine), have turned written plans into a compelling story to beautify our surroundings.
Our Grand Weaver excels at taking simple threads and odd pieces of cloth to create a lasting story. He weaves his plans into our lives to draw us nearer to himself. We see only short segments at a time. From beginning to end, though, our Lord’s skilled and scarred hands demonstrate his love to us. The finished work is more than we imagine.
UPDATE: I no longer use the cheater bar, as it could put too much force on the loom parts. Instead, I loosen the front ratchet first, and then I am able to loosen the back ratchet.
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.
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.)
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.)
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!
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!
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.
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!
Finishing has its own set of new challenges. My go-to method of tying knots to secure warpends 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.
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.
Every time you cut off a warp there is more to do before the woven material is ready for its end purpose. Do you enjoy tying knots? And, hemming rugs by hand? I don’t mind completing these final steps. It’s part of the whole weaving process. Three of the six rosepath rag rugs are now finished. Truly finished.
Tying the warp ends in overhand knots permanently secures the weft. These knots won’t work loose. I turn the hem, concealing the knots; and stitch the hem down. After I sew on my label, the work is complete.
Jesus famously said, “It is finished,” when he was on the cross. His completed good work replaces our work of trying to be good enough, trying to fix everything, trying to control our lives. Our knots won’t hold. We can trust that his finished work will never be undone. God loves you. Trusting him is loving him back.