This Rug in Particular

No improvising this time. Creating a rug to fit a particular space means staying true to the plan. In my measured design, each graph square represents two inches (5 cm) of woven length. So, I am not playing around with shortened or lengthened blocks. And no surprise colors, either. Every element has been determined in advance. I am paying close attention, being sure to measure accurately as I go. I keep thinking of my sister’s entryway, hopeful that this rug will be just right. (Sometimes I do play around with the design as I weave, like I described in Tools Day: Graph Paper)

Cotton yardage ready to cut for weaving rag rugs.

New cotton yardage is ready for cutting into strips for weaving double binding twill rag rugs. I am choosing four out of these six fabrics for this rug design.

Design graph for weaving a patterned rag rug.

Design graph sits on the cart next to my loom. A sliver of each selected fabric is scotch-taped to its color block on the graph for reference.

If I only consider the fun of weaving another rag rug, and fail to keep in mind the intended destination, I may create an interesting rug, but it won’t end up inside my sister’s doorway. The “fun” will be short-lived, and will produce disappointment or regret instead of finished satisfaction. That reminds me of something C.S. Lewis once said:

Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

Double-binding twill rag rug on the loom.

Double-binding twill rag rug on the loom.

Dream of heaven. It’s the place where God Himself removes every cause of tears. No death, no mourning, or crying, or pain. Every thread and every color will be in place, as it should be. Just imagine the Grand Weaver, making preparations for our home coming, as He places the final handwoven rug on the floor. Perfect fit.

May you dream big.

To the Finish,
Karen

10 Comments

  • John O'Shaughnessy says:

    So beautiful as it weaves . Thanks for this post.

  • Joanna says:

    Beautiful! Karen, how wide have you cut your rags and is the width what makes such amazingly flat turns at your color changes? I don’t like to think I’m an envious person, but oh my, your skills are putting me to the test!

    • Karen says:

      Joanna,
      As a matter of fact… Shhh… I do have a little secret for getting flat turns at the color changes. I didn’t like the bulges I had been getting at color changes, so I started experimenting with reducing the width of the fabric strip when beginning or ending a color. I simply trim down the tapered end to about half its width, so there is less bulk where the end of the strip is woven back on itself.

      About the width of these strips… MOST OFTEN, my rag rugs are sett at 8 epi, and the rags are cut at 3/4″. BUT this warp has a sett of 6 epi, so I’m using wider strips than usual. With this current rug, I am cutting the strips at 1″; however, this is a heavier fabric than I usually have–almost light upholstery weight. With the “normal” lightweight cotton of the previous rug, the strips were 1 1/4″.
      TMI?

      Anyway, I think the two things that make the biggest difference at the turns is 1) turning the fabric strip in a consistent manner at the selvedge, and 2) pulling the fabric strip taut at the selvedge.

      I’m not sure if that is skill, or if it’s just knowing the little tricks. But I’m honored by your kind compliment!

      There you have it. 🙂
      Karen

  • Sandy says:

    It is looking beautiful. I really must try this sometime….your posts are very inspirational to me as a new weaver.

    And…I have that same cart next to my loom. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandy,

      In a way, every weaver is a new weaver, because there is so much to learn. Welcome to the club!
      Yay for Ikea! I don’t know how I would do it without that cart.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Cindy Quinn says:

    Karen,
    To me, your posts are such delightful gifts and I always look forward to them. I’m grateful for all techniques, helpful insight and beautiful photography you share as I work to relearn how to weave on my antique Kessinich 4S jack loom that’s been in storage for 20 years. My fondness for rag rugs keeps my interests piqued; how are you piecing your strips together in this rug using this weight of cotton?

    • Karen says:

      Cindy, your kind words really touch me. I appreciate that so much.

      That’s wonderful that you are firing up your antique loom to get back to weaving. That is exciting. Of course, rag rugs… That’s the most fun!

      I don’t do any piecing. I trim the ends of my fabric strips to a long taper, and I overlap the tapered ends in the shed. That’s all there is to it. I don’t do any folding, sewing, or pressing the fabric strips. I take the easy way out and just wrap them on my ski shuttle and go. If you want a smoother look, you’ll need to do more prep work; but this is how I do it. I like simple.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Trish says:

    I learn as much from the sharing in comments and as do in your journey of the week Karen…..grateful!

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