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

Two Short Rugs Finish the Warp

Two short rugs finish off this warp. One has a treadling sequence that produces a delightfully different pattern; and the other one has fabric strips for weft, making it a rag rug. I am scheduled for back surgery this week, so I have been working hard (a few minutes at a time) to get this project off the loom. I know I am facing some new limitations in the coming weeks.

Stringyarn weft for 8-shaft block twill rug.
New treadling sequence. Stringyarn weft makes a well-defined pattern.

Rag rug in an 8-shaft block twill. Karen Isenhower
Fabric strips, cut 2cm (3/4″) wide, are used for the weft. The intriguing pattern in the weave structure is more subtle with print fabric than with the stringyarn weft.

Time for cutting off! 8-shaft block twill rugs.
Time for cutting off!

Pain and weakness heighten our understanding of what truly matters. Faith, family, friends. The Lord, Himself, is a safe place for those who come to him for shelter. When we are feeble, he directs our hearts to a place of strength. He invites us into the protective shelter of his mighty and loving presence. You’ll find me resting there. And don’t be surprised to see a portable loom in my hands before too long.

May your heart be at rest.

Yours,
Karen

PS I have prepared and scheduled my Quiet Friday post in advance so you won’t have to miss the unrolling of these eight-shaft block twill rugs!

Tools Day: Loom Bench Baskets

Some accessories are so useful they simply become an extension of the loom. That’s how my loom bench baskets are for me. I automatically place an emptied shuttle there without a second thought. It’s where extra shuttles go that are waiting their turn, or extra quills that have been wound, or a few fabric strips that are set aside for one section. For anything I need to drop or pick up–the baskets are always there.

Loom bench basket holds the ski shuttles for a rosepath rag rug.
Deep basket on the bench at the baby loom (Glimakra Ideal) easily holds my ski shuttles for this rosepath rag rug.

Loom bench basket holds the 5 ski shuttles for this rosepath rag rug.
Leather strap on the basket slips over the end post of my loom bench, right by the always-handy measuring tape.

Deep basket, perfect for holding shuttles.
Basket made for this purpose, from Vavstuga.

Loom bench basket with Ikea container inserted to hold quills.
Basket at the big loom (Glimakra Standard) holds a small hanging cup I found at Ikea that is useful for holding small things, like filled and emptied quills.

Loom basket is tied to the bench with an old inkle-woven band.
Old basket I’ve had for years is put to use on the other side of the big loom bench. I tied it on with a wool inkle band I wove many years ago.

May you have what you need at your fingertips.

Happy weaving,
Karen