Rag Rug in Spaced Rep Splendor

Spaced rep rag rugs have a graphic vibrancy that grabs my attention. Like regular rep weave, spaced rep is warp dominant. Unlike regular rep weave, the warp in spaced rep doesn’t completely cover the weft. That’s where rag weaving comes in, because the fabric-strip weft shows between the warps. The rag weft provides just enough color variation to satisfy a rag rug weaver like me.

Warp (12/6 cotton) is beamed and threaded. Ready to tie on.
Oh, the exhilaration of a new warp on the loom!

The pattern for this rug comes from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, p. 87. The threading has dark and light ends that alternate, with four distinct blocks (five, if you count the plain weave block). And thick weft (fabric strips) alternates with thin weft (12/6 cotton rug warp), with four different treadling sequences. All of these factors work together to make the geometric pattern in the rug. It sounds complicated. Truly, though, it is merely a collection of simple systems that all work together. And the possibilities are endless.

Spaced rep rag rug. Pattern from Älskade Trasmattor, by Hallgren and Hallén, is modified for the floor space I have in mind.
Geometric pattern is primarily seen in the warp threads. The dark fabric strips for weft highlight the pattern even more.
Cherry wood ski shuttle by Steve for the fabric weft, and an open-bottom boat shuttle for the warp thread weft.

You are intricately and wonderfully made. To people who know you, no doubt, you look complicated. Your maker, however, knows your simple systems that all work together. The Lord knows you by name. His plan for you follows a masterful design. In the grand weaver’s hands, the possibilities are endless!

May the pattern of your life set you apart.

Happy Weaving, and welcome back to my studio,
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

Coverlet Rag Rug

This rag rug could be a coverlet if woven in different materials. The distinctive block design from a Landes Block Drawdowns collection gives me an exciting approach for weaving a double-binding rag rug.

Coverlet Rag Rug on the Glimåkra Ideal loom. Cotton fabric strips are sorted in the Ikea cart by the loom.
Double Binding uses two shuttles. The two wefts exchange places on the face and back of the cloth.

Double binding is a double-layer fabric in a simple two-block structure. In each block, one of two wefts appears on the face, and the other appears on the back. I switch weft blocks by reversing the order of the two wefts. It’s that simple. For example, one pick of dark weft is followed by a pick of light weft. This sequence is repeated for a few rows. To change to the next block, with the opposite arrangement of dark and light, start with one pick of light weft and follow that with a pick of dark weft, repeating for the remainder of that block.

Temple, removed and placed on the beater for pictures, is a necessary tool for weaving rag rugs.
Variation in the light wefts and in the dark wefts adds interest.
Changing blocks and changing colors.
View from further away shows more of the coverlet design. Only when cut from the loom will we see the whole thing!

A small change repositions everything. Simply reversing the weft order puts a different face on the cloth. What direction am I taking my life? Reverse course to make way for a new life pattern. When we are left alone in the dark, God comes and offers a better way. Give up my way, reverse course, and go his way. Everything changes in such an encounter. Darkness to light.

May you see when to reverse course.

Happy Weaving
Karen

Tried and True: Rag Rug Block Party!

I am happy to say that with only four shafts we have exactly what we need for a checkerboard rag rug. Thank you to Megan for asking about it. ”I am searching for a 4-shaft draft for a checkboard pattern. I am limited to only 4 shafts.” Double binding opens up a world of opportunity!

Checkered rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Let’s talk about blocks. A block is a specific sequence of warp ends or weft picks. Double binding on four shafts has two blocks for the warp and two blocks for the weft.

One of several possible threading and tie-up plans for double binding. Add two plain weave treadles if you want to weave plain weave hems.
Plain weave hem starts a new double-binding rag rug.

Have a Block Party!

→ Use graph paper to plan the configuration of your blocks.

For the threading blocks, use two rows of squares. One row is for Block A and one row is for Block B. Each square on the paper represents one threading unit. You can make a checkerboard pattern by uniformly alternating the A blocks and B blocks. Or, you can make a wildly different geometric pattern by varying the size of alternating blocks. Your two-row graph becomes a profile draft to use as your threading key.

For the weft blocks, use the same arrangement of blocks as for the threading, and turn them vertically for the treadling draft. Or, use your creativity to make a unique configuration of weft blocks. The sky is the limit!

Three possible block configurations for the threading. The bottom example is a part of the sequence for the rug currently on my loom.
Weaving with two ski shuttles. Glimåkra Ideal. 4 shafts, 6 treadles.
Printout shows me where the blocks change in the weft.

Check out these resources for more double-binding rag rug ideas: Alla Tiders Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Så Fint med Trasmattor, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Älskade Trasmattor att väva som för, by Monica Hallén and Ann-Kristin Hallgren; Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs, by VävMagasinet; Happy Weaving, from VävMagasinet.

May you discover a world of opportunity.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tried and True: Outsmart the Rag Rug Weft Tails

What do you do with weft tails on a rag rug? Normally, you wrap the weft tail around the outer warp end and tuck it back into the shed. But what about color changes? If you have several color changes in a row, you can end up with extra bulk on one selvedge or another from those tucked-in tails.

3 Ways to Outsmart Rag Rug Weft Tails

  • TWO PICKS For a two-pick stripe, leave a tail of several inches on the first pick. For the second pick, lay the weft tail from the first pick in the shed. Lay in the second pick, and cut the fabric strip to overlap the weft tail in the shed. This eliminates any extra bulk at the selvedges. (All tails are cut at a steep angle.)
  • CARRY IT When feasible, carry the weft up the side. If a weft is out of play for only one or two rows, do not cut it. When another weft enters the shed, make sure it encircles the idle weft.
  • DISTRIBUTE Whenever possible, avoid tucking in weft tails two picks in a row. Wait, and tuck in the tail on a subsequent pick.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:

How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Gray weft ends with weft tail tucked in. White tabby weft tail is not tucked in.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Rosepath pattern weft for a two-pick stripe. Loooooong weft tail.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft goes around the rosepath pattern weft, and is tucked in the shed.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft comes through the shed and lays over the tucked-in tail.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Tabby weft is beaten in.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Pattern weft is laid in the shed, with tails overlapping near the center of the warp.
Tabby weft is beaten in, and weft tail is tucked in. In the middle of the rosepath medallion the orange print weft is carried up the side until it is used again. For the gray strip that follows the last white tabby pick, the weft tail is tucked in on the second gray pick.
How to outsmart rag rug weft tails!
Rosepath medallion with several color changes.

One more thing. Cut the weft tail extra long if you are tucking it in a row with weft floats, as in rosepath (Like the center pick in this medallion). This helps keep that weft tail from popping out of place. You don’t want those tails to start waving at you.

May you pay attention to the details.

Happy Weaving,
Karen