Quiet Friday: Double-Binding Rag Rugs

Ordinary has never appealed to me. I remember some outfits I wore as a girl that were far from ordinary. For example, I had a corduroy cape with a Peter Pan collar, that had slits for the arms. I wore a corduroy brimmed cap to match, with a striped feather on the brim. Did I know any other ten-year-old girl wearing such a thing? No, not really. But I thought the outfit looked “cool” and stylish.

When I make a rag rug, I am not aiming for ordinary. I like the idea of making a rug that no one has imagined before.

Double-binding rag rug on loom.

Autumn Clouds rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Rag rugs on the loom.

Black and White and Red rag rug on the loom.

Simply red squares rag rug.

Double-binding rag rug on the loom.

Black and White.

Nearing the end of Black and White and Red rag rug.

Black and Red Squares rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower

May your ideas be far from ordinary.

Your friend,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Fran says:

    Very lovely rugs, Karen! I like the white background ones, myself. (from this distance.)

    • Karen says:

      Fran, Thank you for letting me know what you think!
      I’m glad to hear you like the white background ones since that is something new that I am trying. I’m eager to see what it looks like when it’s off the loom.

      Karen

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Tools Day: Colored Pencils

Graph paper and 24 Prismacolor colored pencils. The first scribbles look silly to me, but if I keep going, design ideas keep coming and it turns into play. One idea morphs into another, and I soon have too many designs to use on this rug warp. I am weaving double-binding rag rugs right now. My favorite one is always the one I am working on. And then I start a new design… and that one becomes my favorite. Rag rugs are especially rewarding to weave because of the abundant design options. The saddest part for me is coming to the end of the warp. Maybe I need to put on longer warps…

Designing double-binding rag rug patterns.

Colored pencils and graph paper help get ideas flowing for double-binding rag rug designs.

May you come up with fascinating designs.

Happy Designing,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Sara Jeanne says:

    Hello Karen!
    The double binding rag rug technique is a wonderful way to experiment with color combinations, isn’t it? Have a wonderful colorful day!
    Your ‘Vavstuga’ pal,
    Sara Jeanne

    • Karen says:

      Hello Sara Jeanne, thank you so much for showing me what the possibilities are with double binding! Before that, I was already fascinated with double binding, but I only had a small idea bank.

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Helen Hart says:

    Hi, I enjoy your blog. This type of rug weaving sounds interesting. I have several rug weaving books. Can you tell me which book you got this pattern from? Thanks so much. Helen Hart

    • Karen says:

      Hi Helen,
      I have seen double-binding rag rugs in several books, especially in some of the Swedish weaving books. I’m not near my books right now, but I can send you the names of some of them at the end of the week.
      For my double-binding rugs, I have adapted what I’ve seen in books to suit my preferences, but the drafts are all similar.
      Karen

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This Rug Paints a Picture

Pretend this rug is a painting. Can you guess what the picture is? I have an image in my mind as I weave this rag rug. Sunset over land and sea. I saw a beautiful sunset last night that used these very colors! It was spectacular! And when the sun is setting in one place, it is seen rising somewhere else. (Do you remember when I wove another rag rug similar to this one? You can see it HERE.)

Weaving sunsets into a rag rug on the loom.

Moving the temple out of the way gives full view of the rug in progress. Blocks of color in this double binding weave hint at quilt blocks.

We count on the sun rising and setting every day. So, why do we worry? We tell ourselves there is not enough time, the day is too short. We can’t seem to make ends meet (did a weaver make up that phrase?). The one who positioned the sun knows how time works. And, surely, our Maker knows how to make our ends meet.

Most people worry. But you do not have to worry. Your heavenly Father knows precisely what you need. He is glad to provide for you from his kingdom resources. When I weave an imagined sunset into a handcrafted rug, it is a simple replica. When we see the actual display of sunset colors in the sky, let it be a reminder to put our trust in the One who is weaving our story.

May your ends meet.

Happy weaving,
Karen

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Show Me the Evidence

Few things are as important as even warp tension if you are hoping for quality results in your weaving. Eight warping slats are placed, one by one, across the warp as I begin beaming the warp onto the octagonal warp beam. After three full revolutions, I do it again, with eight more slats; and repeat the process until the warp is fully beamed. This effective technique gives a solid “platform” every few rounds for the warp ends, promoting even tension across the warp.

Beaming new rug warp on Glimakra Ideal.

Warping slats lay in a pile behind the warp beam. Counting out eight slats at a time helps me know when I have covered the eight sides of the octagonal warp beam.

The warping slats are hidden between the layers of warp ends. Having the slats in place means I can confidently tighten this rug warp to the max, giving me the best conditions for a handwoven rug.

Nothing is hidden that will not become evident. In other words, when I tighten my warp I can tell without looking that the slats are in place. And better than that, the rugs that are produced will have the consistency that a tight, even warp provides. The warping slats are like faith. Faith hidden in your heart becomes light that is seen in your life. How you live is evidence of what is in your heart. Faith always bears evidence.

May your light shine.

All the best,
Karen

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Tools Day: Enough Shuttles for Now

If I line up all my weaving shuttles, end to end, how far do you think they will reach? The accumulation started slowly, adding a shuttle here and there, as needed. My husband contributed to my collection by handcrafting some of the shuttles for me. “I could use a stick shuttle in such-and-such a size.” “Okay, dear,” he would say, before going out to the garage to whip up yet another yardstick shuttle for my rigid heddle loom.

Ski shuttles are for rag weaving. Boat shuttles are for almost everything else. Most of my boat shuttles are traditional Swedish shuttles. All these fascinating shuttles, such simple tools, work the wonder of weaving.

Hand-crafted walnut stick shuttles for rigid heddle loom. Mohair/silk/alpaca shawl.

Shawl woven on 32-inch rigid heddle loom, with super kid mohair/silk and baby alpaca. Smooth, handcrafted walnut stick shuttles were used for this project.

Novelty yarn woven on inkle loom.

Tapered edge on pine inkle loom shuttle helps for beating in the weft. I have been known to weave with crazy novelty yarns on my inkle loom.

Hand-carved maple band loom shuttles, and woven bands.

Maple band loom shuttles, hand-carved by my husband, *live* in a small handmade bag that hangs on the back corner of the band loom. This shaped shuttle is perfect for the tricky one-handed manipulation that is needed. If they are too smooth and polished, however, they slip right out of my hand.

Ski shuttles for rag rug weaving. This rug used 3 shuttles at a time.

My favorite ski shuttle is the beautiful cherry wood shuttle made by my husband, Steve. It helps to have several ski shuttles. The “Creative Expression” Rosepath Rag Rug used three shuttles at a time to get the gradient color effect.

Boat shuttles ready to weave.

Boat shuttles eager to weave. Do you hear them? … “Pick me”…”No, pick ME!”

A few of my favorite things. Karen Isenhower

These are a few of my favorite things. Swedish woven goods made on a Swedish loom with Swedish boat shuttles. (I’m the only thing not Swedish here.)

34 1/2 feet of weaving shuttles.

How far will my shuttles reach? 34 1/2 feet (that’s 11 1/2 yards, or 10 1/2 meters long). I ran out of room, so the last one is standing on end.

May you fascinated with things that work.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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