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

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

Process Review: Threading Preparation and Two Pairs of Lease Sticks

Dressing the loom with two sets of lease sticks keeps me on my toes. It means I am thinking carefully as I transfer lease sticks from in front of the reed to behind the reed. And, after beaming the warp(s), it means I am counting carefully as I put ends into threading groups of 48 threads each—32 ends of 20/2 cotton, and 16 ends of 22/2 cottolin.

Two set of lease sticks have been carefully moved from in front of the reed to behind the reed. After straightening all the warp ends, I will beam the warp.

I group ends together before threading. Then, when threading, if there is a discrepancy in the number of ends, it alerts me to find a threading error. Counting out these delicate unbleached cotton threads is challenge enough. Having the layer of cream cottolin threads underneath presents additional complexity. With all these ends, this part of the process is tedious. Still, it’s worth it if it lessens my chance of making threading errors with these 1,472 ends.

Preparation for threading. Ends are gathered into threading groups and tied together with a loose slip knot.
Each set of lease sticks is tied to the back beam separately, so they can hang at different heights. The lower set is tied around the side frame and over the back beam.
If I stand behind the loom, my back is in a leaning-forward position and not comfortable for long. I placed a child’s chair and cushion behind the loom. Kneeling behind the loom at this height gives me good visibility and access to the threads.
View from the back of the loom. Ends are counted at the center of a pair of lease sticks. These counted ends are tied together in a loose slip knot.
View from behind the loom. Loop of unbleached ends just counted lay on top to clear the view. Ends on lower pair of lease sticks are counted and tied separately. I tied the cotton threads and the cottolin threads separately to make it easier to find an error if I miscounted along the way (which, fortunately, didn’t happen).
Counted ends are dropped into hanging position before moving on to the next grouping. (After taking this picture, I re-tied the lease sticks closer together, making counting easier.)
Threads remain in the reed. I pull threads out of the reed when they are counted.
Pretty sight of counted ends. Ready for threading!

One step at a time.

May you enjoy the process you are in.

Happy Loom Dressing,
Karen

Warp Stripes and Surprises

Even through random warp stripes you can see an ordered pattern in the cloth. Linen sitting on the shelf is begging to be used, even though the tubes are partly emptied. So, why not make some linen wash cloths to use every day?

Glimakra Julia Countermarch, 8 shafts.
I wound the warp, not in threading units, but in random sections of color, trying to empty as many partially-used tubes of linen as possible. Eight shafts on the Julia Countermarch loom. 16/2 linen, 10 ends per cm, 32 cm width in the reed.

The weave structure is a classic two-block broken twill, symmetrically threaded across the warp. The asymmetry of the warp stripes is out of sync with the precise threading symmetry in the block weave structure. And, asymmetrical patches of weft are out of step with a strict treadling sequence. The chaos of leftover-linen warp and weft threads has me holding my breath, wondering how this will turn out. Yet, as I weave, the surprise after surprise that appears on the loom fills me with delight. These humble linen wash cloths will yield textile pleasure for years to come.

Humble linen wash cloths on the loom.
Red and white threads alternate in one of the warp stripes.
Glimakra Julia with 8 shafts.
Weft threads include 16/2 linen, 16/1 linen, doubled 16/1 linen, and 6/1 tow linen.
Explosion of color!
This is a fine way to use up quills from previous projects that still have a little linen on them, as well as using up the very tail end of a few tubes of linen.

The Grand Weaver breaks through chaos to reveal his beautiful plan. Despite the hardships we endure in this world, the structure threaded into the Grand Weaver’s fabric holds it all together. He brings our random stripes of emptiness into harmony with his project plan. We find continual delight as we see the surprising glory of his master plan. Jesus, with his deliberate stripes, comes to wash us clean.

May you find beauty wherever you look.

Happily Weaving,
Karen

Sneak Out to the Drawloom

Two of my looms are getting the lion’s share of my attention right now. That doesn’t keep me from sneaking out to the drawloom, though, for an hour here, an hour there. Those hours add up. I have everything threaded and sleyed. The reed is in the beater now, and I’m tying on the warp.

Six ground shafts on the drawloom. Threading.
Pattern heddles have been threaded. Ground heddles are being threaded. 888 16/2 cotton ends on six ground shafts.
Getting ready to tie on the warp on the combo drawloom.
Moving the reed and threaded ground shafts to the front of the loom is tricky. Having a second pair of hands (Steve’s) definitely helps.

148 single unit lift heddles and 45 pattern shafts are waiting in the wings. I’m setting up the combination drawloom again for maximum flexibility in designing. That also means I’ll have abundant possibilities for weaving. Oh, what exuberant escapades await! This anticipation keeps me skipping down the path of preparation, ever so steadily, as I dream of entering that magical world of drawloom weaving once again.

Getting the drawloom ready to weave.
I like to tie all the ends into small sections (about 1 inch at the reed) first. Then I tie them on the front tie-on bar, starting right of center, and then alternate left, right, and so on.

There is a door into an invisible kingdom. You may have seen it as a child. The door to God’s invisible kingdom is open. With childlike trust we give our heart to Jesus and his kingdom comes alive. In the here and now, as our preparation continues, we are ever mindful of the abundant existence of the ever after. What exuberance awaits!

May you see like a child.

Happy Weaving,
Karen