Important things are happening below the warp on my eight-shaft countermarch loom. Eight upper lamms, eight lower lamms, and eight treadles beneath the lamms are at work. Shaft cords connect shafts to lamms. Treadle cords connect lamms to treadles. When the loom is all tied up, stepping on a treadle raises some shafts and lowers others, making it possible to send the weft across in a shuttle. And weaving happens.
Everything below the surface matters. When you start weaving, it won’t take long to see if all the connections work. When everything behind the reed and underneath the warp is set up properly, you can expect a pleasant weaving experience.
Joy is evidence of what is happening below the surface. You can see joy on the face of someone who looks to the Lord and trusts in Him. Joy is more than a smile. It’s a radiance that starts on the inside. Trusting in the Lord produces positive connections below the surface. That deep trust is formed through life’s most difficult moments– joy that is cultivated there endures. Like weaving on a countermarch loom, joy depends on true connections.
May you have reasons to smile.
The big loom is getting dressed. Block twill on eight shafts. New yarn for a new project brings excitement. And intimidation. With 12/6 cotton rug warp and string yarn weft, this is going to be a bath mat. Hopefully.
It’s been a couple years since I’ve done an eight-shaft block twill, and this one has some interesting twists. I’m not afraid to try it, though, because I am following a draft from The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell. I may make mistakes in the process, but my fears about trying this project evaporate as I refer to Laila’s instructions.
There are bigger fears than weaving woes. We face them every day in our families and in our communities, and in our private musings. Fear is a tyrant that holds us with threats and demands. Fear is the language of the pessimist within. Prayer opens us up to freedom from fear. We need clear instructions that give us confidence to face whatever comes. When we pray to the Lord regarding the things we are fearful about, he hears and answers. And he frees us from our fears.
May you rise above your fears.
Happy loom dressing,
Does this color enhance or detract? Is there enough contrast between background and pattern? Is five centimeters of plain weave between pattern sections too long, or too short? I ask myself questions as I weave a new design. I consider all the technical aspects, as well. Warp tension, treadling finesse, and shuttle shuffling. Attention to detail matters.
Details begin in the planning stage with design, choice of materials, and colors. While weaving rosepath rag rugs, consistency counts. I aim for a consistently firm beat and good, tight selvedges. All of these elements contribute to quality. And as I grow in my weaving skills, overall quality improves.
A person’s character is defined by their motivations. It’s not what you do, but why you do it. It is not enough to look good. I can buy a cheap rug that looks good. But if I could examine how it was made, I might find the shortcuts that diminished its quality. Our inward motivations are revealed in our outward behaviors. The cheap rug fades and comes apart all too quickly. By examining our own motives we build quality of character. The result is not only lovely, but durable, too.
May your quality control efforts succeed.
Rag rugs are not finished when you cut them from the loom. In fact, they can fall apart if you are not careful. A rag rug is not secure until warp ends are tied into knots. You need to leave space on the warp between rag rugs to make room for the eventual knots.
One way to leave space on the warp is by using warping slats as spacers. Simply weave about two inches of scrap header after the end of a rug. Then, insert warping slats in alternating plain weave sheds. And then, weave another scrap header. Now, you’re ready to start the next rug.
I leave about eight inches (20 cm) of warp between rugs. This gives me enough length for tying the needed square knots. If you are leaving fringe, add enough to include the desired fringe length. When you insert the warping slats, keep them centered so that they can go around the breast beam and cloth beam without catching on the sides of the loom.
It is easy to separate the rugs after they are off the loom. Cut between slats using a rotary cutter, with a cutting mat underneath.
May you make the best use of your time and tools.
All the best,