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

4 Comments

  • I’ve thought of doing a post like this as a visual for my students. Now I don’t have to! I will just refer them to your beautiful rug!

    One thing you didn’t mention was the single black pick. How I do a single pick is to cut the strip half the width of my other strips. I cut the length a bit longer than twice the width, allowing for the angle and the overlap and tapered ends. I insert it with a stick shuttle leaving both ends hanging out and beat. Both ends then wrap around the end warp or the weft being carried up the side and have the tapered ends overlap somewhere in the center.

    Excellent tutorial!

    Jenny Bellairs

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, Basics like this are always good to review. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Your method for weaving a single pick is excellent, and eliminates another tail at the selvedge.
      I don’t usually take that extra step, though, of cutting a strip half width. So my single picks do have a long tail tucked in.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Brilliant! Thank you.

    I’m working on a strip quilt project with an abundance of leftovers. 4″ will be cut down to 1″ widths and woven into the extra rose path warp on the loom.

    A very timely posting.

    Nannette

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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!

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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

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How Is Your Stash?

My rag rugs start with leftovers. It is a great place to begin. By leftovers, I mean fabric strips that are left from previous projects. Unlike many traditional rag rugs that are made from recycled fabrics, I use all new cotton yardage for my rag rugs. I only buy more fabric when my supply starts to run low, or when I need a specific color that I don’t have in my supply. That’s the difference between a stash and a supply. A stash is for keeping and admiring. A supply is for using up with a purpose. A stash grows without limits. A supply is replenished in relation to the need.

Planning a rosepath rag rug.

Planning session for a new rosepath rag rug. After gathering a selection of fabrics, I snip fragments to tape to my working chart.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

After several plain weave stripes, the rosepath pattern is taking shape on the loom.

I have to be careful about treating my things, my time, and my ideas as my stash. For me to keep and admire. It’s better to be a giver. The generous have an endless supply. They never wonder about having “enough.” Generosity is a virtue. Those who are enriched by God can always be generous, since he is faithful to replenish the supply.

May you always have enough.

For you,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Fawn Carlsen says:

    Thank you very much for explaining stash and supply. I have too much stash which never gets used. I am afraid that I will run out. But I have made a big change. I no longer have a stash, only a supply. I will allow myself to use what I have and love doing it. Then if I need more, I will get more. But not until I need to. Your post entirely changed my attitude. I am happier now.

    • Karen says:

      Dear Fawn, It is so sweet for you to take the time to tell me these words made a difference for you! I think we all struggle with stash vs. supply mindset. Making a decision, though, like you did, is a powerful thing in turning the corner! Way to go!

      Love,
      Karen

  • I hope you don’t mind that I shared your wise words today on Facebook, along with a link to this post. We truly are blessed when we share our abundance.
    Jenny B

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Always Something to Weave

One mat finished, and one to go. Time to take a short break to consider my next move. A few ideas are circling around–fabric strips, two short mats instead of one long one, treadling variations. In the meantime, the other loom has warp for more rosepath rag rugs waiting for me. It’s good I’m not in a hurry.

Eight-shaft block twill mat.

Keep weaving,
Karen

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