Rug for a Happy Dance

Three days is almost too short for threading looms, sleying reeds, tying on, and tying up. And designing and weaving a real double binding rag rug. But with this fantastic group of weavers, we did it! It is satisfying to hear a roomful of looms at work. Beaters banging, treadles clacking, and exclamations of “Oh, look at this!,” and “Karen, Help!” The highlights for me are seeing the amazing designs created by each individual, and watching the delight in each weaver’s face as she rolls out her own rug on the floor.

Sunlight in the morning at Arkansas cabin.

Morning sunlight at the cabin in the woods where we are staying.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs - weaving supplies and classes.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is hosting the workshop.

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Six looms with weavers setting up for weaving double binding rag rugs.

Double binding rag rug workshop.

Janet’s was one of the first rugs off the loom.

Happy dance on new double binding rug!

Gayle’s reaction to seeing her new rug on the floor was a spontaneous happy dance!

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Double binding rag rugs and four of the rug designers.

May you make something beautiful and do your own happy dance.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Janet says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the full three days of learning, laughing and camaraderie. Thank you Karen

  • fran says:

    Thanks for sharing; good work and fun and satisfaction.

  • Carol Bogue says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Your web site has been a great motivator. I’ve been weaving for 3 1/2 years and seem to keep doing the same things over and over. I’m inspired to try something new because of your sharing your ups and downs on new projects. Keep up the great site. I’m sure I am not the only one who loves reading it.

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    Wow it looks like your class went well! Beautiful rugs and happy weavers!

  • Kris says:

    I’m new to this blog and am SO happy I found it!! The rugs are beautiful and the local is divine! I’m looking forward to many blogs to come!

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Quiet Friday: The Teaching Side of Weaving

This time I get to teach. I enjoy being a student, learning new things, and new ways of doing things. I also love to teach. It is a wonderful opportunity to come alongside a learner, to lead someone to see what they can achieve, to open up a door to fresh possibilities. This week I am in the teacher role. I’m eager to get to know the students and see the double binding rag rugs they will create as a result of our focused time together. And I am looking forward to learning what the students will teach me!

Preparations for rag rug weaving workshop.

Compiling notes and assembling folders takes place in my office, which is in my music studio.

Social media business cards

Gathering supplies to teach rag rug weaving class.

With my checklist in hand, I make little piles of supplies, tools, and examples in my weaving room.

Workshop supplies are stacked in plastic tubs.

Workshop supplies are stacked in plastic bins. The big duffle bags holds example double binding rugs.

Car is packed for roadtrip to teach rag rug weaving workshop.

Car is packed while there is still daylight. Road trip begins very early the next morning.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

May you teach what someone else wants to learn.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Trisha says:

    I would love to partake in your class!
    But I am also happy to be an armchair traveler and learn from
    “Warped for Good”
    Even a photo of your supplies and favourite books inspires me …. a picture is worth a thousand words!
    Look forward to reading about the fun and creativity that comes from this class.
    Trish

  • Martha says:

    Wish I could have made it down to Red Scottie Fibers to partake in your class. Enjoy the class!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    Have fun teaching, I know you will do a great job! Can’t wait to hear all about it!
    Liberty

  • Janet says:

    Thank you Karen for the wonderful workshop! You are such a positive, warm and friendly person and such a knowledgeable instructor. Loved your class and the chance to meet you. Hope to take more workshops from you in the future.

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My Mistake that Made Rug Warp Snap

Draw-in can wreck your weaving. Avoid it at all costs. Did you know that draw-in can cause even 12/6 cotton rug warp to break? First, two ends on the right, and then, an inch later, two more in the middle. I had ten broken warp ends in all. Strong, sturdy, Swedish rug warp! I was weaving miniature rugs. Between the absence of a temple, and my failure to place in enough weft, the drawn-in warp ends could not stand the abrasion they got from the reed. What started out as a bright idea ended up a “learning experience.”

Miniature rag rugs, side by side.

Double binding warp is divided into four sections to weave individual mini rag rugs.

Four mini rag rugs on the loom. Draw in was a problem.

Draw-in happened gradually, and didn’t seem to pose a problem until near the end. Then warp ends started snapping.

Finishing miniature rag rugs.

Mini rag rugs off the loom. After making all repairs and finishing the ends, they will be hemmed and ready for use as mug rugs and hot pads.

Words reveal a person’s core. When abrasive thoughts continue time and again, words eventually break loose from the tongue. The warp end breaks, and the stability of the rug is compromised. It may seem like the warp end is the problem, but the problem is the abrasion that led up to the breakage. Fortunately, broken warp ends can be fixed, with time and effort. But learning to eliminate the abrasion in the first place is the tactic I want to employ.

May you strengthen your core.

Your friend,
Karen

1 Comment

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Does Your Weaving Show Your Very Own Style?

Have you developed a style all your own? I can identify some tapestry artists by their work, even before I see their name on the piece. One friend of mine weaves gorgeous silk scarves, and another one makes handtowels with exquisite color. Their woven items consistently showcase their individual style. In our little weaving group we even say, “It looks like you.”

Double binding rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Rag rug on the loom is almost complete. Moving the temple frequently helps produce tight selvedges, which, in turn, help ensure a finished rug that lays completely flat.

For most, personal style happens over time, by repetition of favored designs or techniques, until particular skills become second nature for the artist. One day they wake up and realize they have developed their very own style. In other cases, the unique style is clearly intentional, and artistically so. Either way, it’s admirable. Eventually, someone may see a rug I’ve woven and say, “That looks like Karen!

Everything we see that is glorious is a window into the glory of God. Look through the window. The whole earth is filled with the glory of God. If our small artistic attempts are reflected in what we make, is it inconceivable that the wonders in our universe have the Creator’s signature? Everything glorious puts the Grand Weaver’s personal touch on display.

May you find your personal style.

Happy weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Nancy says:

    Karen, Thanks for your thoughtful words. It was a most welcome reminder. Life is so fragile and we are here for such a short time. Let’s rejoice in the creativity we are given.

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Double Binding Fun

Do people know how much fun it is to weave rag rugs? Next week I’ll be in Arkansas teaching what I love. This ten-yard warp is giving me ample rehearsal time for explaining double binding techniques. Mostly, though, I want to introduce students to the thrill of rag rug weaving!

Two ski shuttles for weaving double binding rag rugs.

Double binding uses two ski shuttles, because the structure has two layers woven together. Each side of the rag rug is the reverse of the other side.

I am puzzled by weavers who are not fond of weaving rag rugs. “It’s too slow,” I’ve been told. “It doesn’t interest me.” And what about weavers who have never attempted to weave a rag rug? “What?!” I want to say, “You have a weaving loom, and you’ve never tried weaving a rag rug?” That tells you more about me than it does about them. People are drawn to what they know and love, and they see that thing differently than someone who is not drawn to it.

The goodness of God is like that for me. I’m drawn to it. God is good. One famous saying of Jesus is that the pure in heart will see God. That motivates me to examine my own heart. I can’t think of anything better than seeing the goodness of God.

May you be drawn to good things.

(There is one opening left in my double binding rag rug workshop next week at Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s not too late to sign up! If you’re interested, let me know.)

Warped for Good,
Karen

5 Comments

  • Bev says:

    How exciting that you are TEACHING weaving, Karen. Your students will be blessed. And Eureka Springs is such a beautiful location. I so agree with your comment on nothing being better than seeing the goodness of God. Amen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Bev! It’s good to hear from you.
      Yes, Eureka Springs is the perfect setting for a weaving class. These students will be my blessing.
      Love,
      Karen

  • Diane says:

    I’m weaving my first rag rug right now – a simple plainweave from Tom Knisely’s book. I did warm up with a few placemats, but this is the first rug.

    I look forward to trying a doublebinding rug one of these days! I enjoy your posts – good luck teaching!

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Diane,
      I’m excited for you! I hope you have a lot of fun making that first rug. I hope it’s the first of many! :)

      Thanks for your well wishes!
      Karen

  • Pam Conard says:

    I will be in your eureka class on Monday. I am so excited. Can’t wait to meet you.

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