Quality Rug Warp

After a few weeks of having to refrain from weaving, I am thankful that there was warp to weave one more rug. The quality of warp thread matters because it is the core of the rug. Never underestimate the value of good, strong warp thread for weaving rag rugs.

Rosepath rag rug almost complete!

First hem is going around the cloth beam. Weaving is almost complete!

I like to use 12/6 cotton from Bockens. This rug warp is a six-strand thread with high twist. The smooth, nearly-unbreakable thread enables me to ratchet up the tension on the warp. That high tension helps produce sturdy, tightly packed rugs with tidy selvedges. Knowing you are making a rug that will last is a very satisfying and enjoyable weaving experience.

Cutting off never gets old!

Cutting off never gets old.

Rosepath rag rug just finished. Karen Isenhower

Ta da! Hems are folded under for the picture. As soon as the hems are stitched, this rosepath rag rug will have its Etsy photoshoot.

With finishing nearly complete, this rag rug will be enjoyed on the floor of someone’s home. Most people aren’t aware of the structural elements of a rag rug, but they do notice quality in the finished work. People, too, have an inner core–the heart. The heart matters. The strength of our inward framework determines our outward attitudes and actions. Since true quality is found in a life that serves others, most everything comes down to a matter of the heart.

May your quality of life be noticeable.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Barbara says:

    It’s amazing how a bunch of leftovers can be combined into something so beautiful. I’m so glad you are back to weaving again.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Barbara, it’s good to be back in the saddle. I’ve seen you turn leftovers from the refrigerator into a beautiful meal. Now, that’s amazing! 🙂

      Karen

  • Martha says:

    Beautiful rug! Have you tried linen rug warp or poly/cotton rug warp in your work. Both of them are supposed to last far longer than cotton.

    Love your article in Handwoven magazine – lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Martha, That’s a good discussion point. I have used linen rug warp for a wool rug. It’s great for that; and I think it would work well for rag rugs, but it raises the expense considerably. I’m not sure I’d find buyers for that.
      I haven’t tried poly/cotton rug warp. Some of the comparisons may be against the popular 8/4 cotton rug warp, which will certainly have a shorter life.
      It would take a lot to wear out the 12/6 cotton in a rug.

      I’m glad you saw the Handwoven article! Thanks for the compliment.

      Karen

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    Wonderful to hear you are back at the loom! Take care of yourself so you can weave on and on and on………….

  • Sandra says:

    I live in Calgary, Alberta. Our closest weaving supply shop just closed this past summer. Where would you suggest the best place would be to order 12/6 rug warp cotton? Would like to buy Canadian..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandra from Calgary, Welcome!
      It is disappointing to see weaving shops close…

      I’m sorry, I am not familiar with Canadian sources. I usually purchase Bockens 12/6 cotton from GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com, both in the USA.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Plain Rosepath

This is a stash-busting rug, using leftover cut strips from previous rugs. Like my other rag rugs, I start with a plan. Then, I get out my fabric and make my color selections. It’s plain rosepath, without tabby picks in between, perfect for a stash buster. Snip, snip, snip. Fabric snippets are taped to my idea sheet. These are my blueprints–weaving draft, treadling order, and idea sheet with fabric snippets. I am weaving!

Rosepath rag rug on the loom.

Without tabby picks the rosepath pattern takes on a compressed form.

I can, and do, make adjustments at the loom. But I keep one question in mind. Will my choices along the way fit with the overall design of the rug? My idea sheet serves as a guiding compass. It’s a reminder of the big picture that forms a cohesive design.

Idea sheet for rag rug design.

Idea sheet hangs from the beater clip on the Glimakra Ideal loom. The treadling pattern, penciled on graph paper, and fabric snippets provide a quick reference while weaving.

Guiding principles shape our lives and enable us to make wise decisions. A compass sets the course. Use a true compass. Live in a way that pleases God. This is a valid compass for all choices and decisions. The Grand Weaver has the comprehensive design. Amazingly, He weaves our leftover fabric strips into his design, and uses them to make something useful and beautiful.

May you see your part in the overall design.

Happy weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Linda de Roy Landry says:

    Karen,
    I do enjoy and look forward to reading all of you postings. Though we have not met in person, I think of you as a kindred spirit as we seem to think alike in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing and blending your faith and knowledge of weaving. It always adds a ray of light to my day and some inspiration to my weaving.
    Kind and warm regards, Linda

  • JANET PELL says:

    Dear Linda, I want to thank you for your blog, I dont make many comments but I wanted you to know that I am brightened and inspired so much by you.
    Im English and live in Italy, in the 11 years I have lived here I have only met one other weaver, I am a self taught weaver and love it, but its a lonely trek, so wanted you know how your encouragement lifts my days.

    • Karen says:

      Janet, It blesses me tremendously to know that my words and pictures reach someone like you. Good for you for pressing on, even without the camaraderie of other weavers. I’m so glad you are coming here. Make yourself at home. 🙂

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    Yes, I agree with Janet. Like her, I am pretty much a self-taught weaver who travels a lonely path. Blogs like these remind me of something that I think CS Lewis said: “We read to know we are not alone”. I am English, living in South Africa.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, You make me so happy! I love the thought of connecting weavers to a community. And it’s great to hear someone quote one of my favorite authors!

      Thank you for encouraging me today.

      Karen

  • Jane Smith says:

    I really like the idea of “connecting weavers to a community”, Karen, and this blog certainly helps to do that.

    In fact, you’ve got me thinking!

  • Sandra says:

    Karen, your words and connections to weaving ( and weavers! ) is indeed inspiring. Also a self taught beginner weaver living in Alberta Canada, though I too travelled far as my husband and I moved when the military needed us to. I have found many ways to learn this artform, but I would much rather read your words and follow your journey by reading old and new posts, than join groups on Ravelry.com for inspiration. You are a great teacher and I will try to be a better “listener” … so much thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sandra,
      You have encouraged me more than you know. It’s exactly for you, and others like you, that I write. I truly cherish the connection we have as weavers and long-distance friends.

      Your friend,
      Karen

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Three Rosepath Rag Rugs For Now

There are three completed rosepath rag rugs on the loom, with warp remaining for at least one more rug. Since I don’t know how soon I will be able to weave the remainder, cutting off the completed rugs makes sense. After hemming, I will have three new rugs for Etsy. (Don’t miss the new Quick Tip video at the end of this post!)

Cutting off rosepath rag rugs, with some warp remaining to be woven.

As the warp ends are cut, they are tied into one-inch groupings to simplify tying back on to the tie-on bar.

Unrolling some new rosepath rag rugs!

Warping slats are used as spacers between rugs. Some of my slats are barely wide enough for this warp.

I look forward to full weaving days again, with both looms dressed, and shuttles zooming. That rag rug warp still on the loom will be a reward worth waiting for.

Rosepath rag rug ready to be hemmed. Karen Isenhower

One rug has warp end knots, and is ready for pressing and hemming.

Two rosepath rag rugs just off the loom. Karen Isenhower

Rosepath in two variations.

Rosepath rag rug ready to be hemmed. Karen Isenhower

Broad rosepath pattern lends elegance to this rag rug.

Last week, when I awoke from surgery, the relentless pain I had been experiencing in my left leg and lower back was gone. Completely gone! It made me think of heaven. Ancient writings tell us that the lame will leap like a deer, and that sorrow and sighing will flee away. There’s no place for pain in heaven. All the people there have been healed and restored. That’s a reward worth waiting for. And I won’t be surprised if there are at least a few in heaven who are weaving away to their heart’s content.

May you know what to do while waiting.

Wishing you well,
Karen

10 Comments

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Quiet Friday: Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs and More

The sample piece, a long rug and a short rug with string yarn, and a short rag rug. I look on these results with fondness. A challenge and a joy to weave! The two string yarn rugs will have bound hems when I get a chance to do that. I have world map fabric for the hems. The sample piece and the rag rug piece are destined to become cute bags. I have all the supplies–band loom-woven strap, and yarn to make a band loom-woven strap, lining material, and a handwoven remnant to use as inside pockets. Now, all I need is time. And we all have as much as we need of that.

Dressing the Loom

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Fabric Strips for Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Stringyarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Fabric Strips for Weft

Making a rag rug bag. Strap woven on band loom. Karen Isenhower

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft, make bound hems.

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft, making bound hems.

Making cute bag from sample piece of 8-shaft block twill weave.

In case you needed a smile today!

In case you needed a smile today. Our dear Lucia Annabella.

May you have all the time you need.

All the best to you, my dear friends,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Julia says:

    That is one beautiful Lucia Annabella! And some delightful weaving. My mother use to tell me, “You have all the time there is.”

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia,
      As any grandmother would, I have to agree with you about Lucia Annabella. I love your mother’s words of wisdom. It would be well for all of us to remember that. Thank you for your kind words!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Gabriela says:

    Thank you, Karen. So lovely.

  • Barbara says:

    We all have time for what is important. I can choose what to put first in my life. You have placed God first and it shows in every other aspect of your life.

  • Denise says:

    Karen,
    I’m hoping you can help me, again, by giving me an idea of how much string garn it might take for a lovely rug such as the pink one shown here. Thanks in advance for your help–especially as you have other things on your mind.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise, It’s no trouble at all! I can tell you how much string yarn I used in total– for the sample, long rug, and short rug, and I’ll let you do the math for the length of rug you want to make. 🙂

      Lengths: Sample 17cm, Long rug 115.5cm, Short rug 42.5cm
      Midi string yarn 500m/kilo; 250g/125m per tube (#124 Dusty Coral from Vavstuga.com)
      Total yarn used: 4 tubes, with about 2-3m leftover

      I hope that helps!
      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    From one grandma to another…
    Although everything you make is just beautiful, little Lucia Annabella shines even brighter 🙂

    Love, Elisabeth

  • Angie says:

    Pictures speak a thousand words! I really enjoy seeing your weaving process and all the lovely items you make, and the beautiful grandbaby.

    As you are a weaver that gets good use from your Glimakra, may I ask where you rest your feet when not pressing a treadle? I’m almost ready to bring one into my home and while I’ve sat at one I haven’t woven more than a pass or two on it. I have a Norwood Jack loom and just slide my feet to the base of the treadle when switching. Of course, a Standard is set up differently. Thanks for your advice and any tips you may have for my Glimakra contemplation.

    • Karen says:

      Angie, First, thank you for your very sweet words. That means a lot to me!

      Glimakra? You said the magic word. 🙂 I am extremely happy with my 2 Glimakra looms, Ideal and Standard. It is all I have woven on, so I don’t have anything to compare them to.
      The Standard has a foot rest directly under the breast beam. It’s in the perfect spot for resting your feet when not pressing a treadle.

      Here are some resources I highly recommend for Glimakra loom weavers:

      Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, GlimakraUSA.com
      Tying Up the Countermarch Loom, by Joanne Hall, GlimakraUSA.com
      The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com
      Dress Your Loom the Vavstuga Way: A Benchside Photo Guide, Vavstuga.com
      Dress Your Loom the Swedish Way DVD, Becky Ashenden, GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com
      Vavstuga Basics class at Vavstuga

      Please let me know if you have any more questions as you get going with your Glimakra Standard. I predict that you will love it!!

      Very happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Na says:

    Your photos including all of your finishing ideas are very helpful! Would you tell me what part of the world you are in? Just curious–since you use meters, etc.!! Grand babies are beautiful everywhere–even when they grow up.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Na, I’m an oddball from Texas. Houston, Texas. I like to use metric for weaving — makes the calculations simpler. Also, I primarily use Swedish drafts, so I have gotten used to using metric measurements from the Swedish weaving books I have.

      Yes, grandbabies any age are the best everywhere in the world.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Gerda Hoogenboom says:

    Thank you, Karen, for all the clear pictures and inspiration. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be pictures (or even a video) of the process of binding a rug with fabric. I wonder how you reinforce the rug before sewing the binding on, and how long a cloth binding would last on a rug. It is not a quilt, after all. Every one of your posts teaches me things and leads me to ask questions I had not anticipated. The mark of a true teacher! Looking forward to seeing the finished products (on Etsy?). Greetings from France, Gerda

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Gerda, You have great questions! I can answer some of them by referring you to previous posts. But first, I want to say that’s a terrific idea to do a video tutorial of making a bound hem on a rug! Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will do that.

      (Click on the links)
      How to bind a rug with fabric: How I Make a Bound Hem
      How to reinforce the rug before sewing the binding on: Tools Day: Rag Rug Finishing Video
      How long a cloth binding lasts on a rug: I made this rug a few years ago that sits in our front hallway and is walked on every day. Blue Twill Rag Rug

      I don’t know if the items will show up on Etsy, but I will try to remember to show the pieces here when they are finished.

      Happy weaving from Houston to France,
      Karen

      • Gerda says:

        Thanks Karen for taking the time to give real answers and even to index your previous posts for me. Please remember, we do not actually deserve that much of your time! But I am gratefully reading the posts and learning. Hopefully absorbing enough to avoid crucial mistakes. Thanks again!

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Two Short Rugs Finish the Warp

Two short rugs finish off this warp. One has a treadling sequence that produces a delightfully different pattern; and the other one has fabric strips for weft, making it a rag rug. I am scheduled for back surgery this week, so I have been working hard (a few minutes at a time) to get this project off the loom. I know I am facing some new limitations in the coming weeks.

Stringyarn weft for 8-shaft block twill rug.

New treadling sequence. Stringyarn weft makes a well-defined pattern.

Rag rug in an 8-shaft block twill. Karen Isenhower

Fabric strips, cut 2cm (3/4″) wide, are used for the weft. The intriguing pattern in the weave structure is more subtle with print fabric than with the stringyarn weft.

Time for cutting off! 8-shaft block twill rugs.

Time for cutting off!

Pain and weakness heighten our understanding of what truly matters. Faith, family, friends. The Lord, Himself, is a safe place for those who come to him for shelter. When we are feeble, he directs our hearts to a place of strength. He invites us into the protective shelter of his mighty and loving presence. You’ll find me resting there. And don’t be surprised to see a portable loom in my hands before too long.

May your heart be at rest.

Yours,
Karen

PS I have prepared and scheduled my Quiet Friday post in advance so you won’t have to miss the unrolling of these eight-shaft block twill rugs!

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