Graphed Design Directs Weaving

Like sorting laundry, I separated the fabric into darks and lights for this design. I am hopeful that with the simple distinction of dark and light, the overall symmetrical design will be evident. We will not be able to judge the success of this idea until it comes off the loom.

Double binding rag rug on the loom.

Cloth tape has units of inches marked on it for measuring the rug on the loom. Tape is moved and pinned for each woven section of the design.

Sometimes I question the plan, even though it is drawn out on graph paper. I wonder how the finished rug will look. But then I remind myself that I see the cloth from the breast beam to the fell line, which is a very small segment of the whole design. I have to trust that the graphed design is the way to go, and I make up my mind to stick with it.

God loves all of us. It takes courage to love Him back. We love God by walking in His ways. That is not always easy. It means learning His plan with a humble heart, and making adjustments to our thoughts and actions. It is also recognizing that we see a very small segment of the overall picture. To go my own way instead would be short-sighted. The designer knew what He was doing in the beginning. Surely, He will carry His good plan through to the end.

May your designs come to life.

Love,
Karen

Leave a Reply


When a New Rag Rug Is Unrolled

Despite the fact that I have been looking at the thing all the while I am weaving it, no matter how well I have planned, or how many hours spent warping and weaving, there is always an element of surprise when the woven thing is cut from the loom! When first rolled off, you only see the back side… But what about the front? How will the rug look on the floor? Did the colors work out? Are there any weaving mistakes that show?

Rag rug unrolled from the loom. Karen Isenhower

Rag rug is unrolled from the cloth beam, giving the first complete view of the underside of the weaving.

My first reaction is usually, “Wow! This is fantastic! I made that??!” My later reaction is often, “Oh, that looks stupid unrefined. I’m embarrassed to show this to anyone.” Do you ever go through this? I finally end up with a more rational view, valuing the accomplishment and fixing any errors that are fixable. All the while, making note of what to do or not do the next time. (Similarly, don’t measure the rug until it has been on the floor for a couple days. You won’t get a true reading until the threads have relaxed.)

Willpower, good intentions, and positive thinking can only go so far in giving me a realistic view of what I can accomplish, and how to face failures. I need grace. God’s grace enables me to have a truthful view of reality, and the requisite humility and courage to express it.

May all your surprises be better than you expect.

To see the front of this finished double binding rag rug, “Forest at Dawn,” visit my Etsy Shop. (A special discount as my Thank You to my blog friends: Use coupon code friend615 to receive 20% off this rug, or any other item in the shop during the month of June.)

Happy Weaving,
Karen

4 Comments

  • Trish says:

    I so admire your weaving and the philosophy that goes hand in hand with your art. Being new I keep hoping I won’t make any mistakes if I’m careful, but I’ve rethought this and acknowledge mistakes are part of learning the skills and acquiring virtues such as patience and grace. Soon I will be ready to put this into practice!

    • Karen says:

      Trish, you have really touched me with your thoughtful sentiments. I love what you are saying about seeing mistakes as being part of the learning process!

      Thank you for leaving your thoughts here,
      Karen

  • linda says:

    I’ve been weaving for 40+ years. I’m not fast anymore and can not produce like Karen, but I love weaving. The big thing I’ve learned is Nothing is truly perfect. when I go back and look at pieces I see where I could have done better. Don’t ever beat yourself up about your weaving, because you have created a masterpiece just right for now. She is always accepting. PL&J, linda

Leave a Reply


Never Ending Ideas to Weave

Every patterned rag rug is a new adventure. I can’t imagine being a production weaver who weaves the same thing over and over. I still have childlike wonder when I see a pattern develop on the loom, and then again when the woven cloth is unrolled and cut off. There is an endless supply of ideas to weave. One fascinating idea after another.

Patterned rag rug on the loom.

First third of rug as seen under the breast beam.

When I was a child, our family had a table prayer that we spoke together at mealtimes. “God is great; God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. A-men.” These simple words bring back pleasant memories and a smile, and remind me of truths I hold dear. God is good. He has a storehouse of abundant goodness for those who come and take refuge in him. And that supply from his storehouse is endless–one good thing after another.

By the way, the first rug from this warp (Quiet Friday: Checkered Rug) is now in my Etsy Shop.

May you never run out of good ideas.

Gratefully,
Karen

Leave a Reply


Weaving Favorites

I normally pin a measuring ribbon to the cloth being woven, moving the pins as I advance the warp. This rug is different. I am using a graph paper sketch; and beside each block on the sketch I have written the number of inches to weave. The tape measure that hangs at the end of my weaving bench makes it easy to follow the plan, measuring frequently as I go. This requires mindfulness as I weave, paying attention to the pattern.

Patterned rag rug on the loom

Two cotton batik prints are used for the first section of blocks in this double binding rag rug. The graph paper pattern hangs with the weaving draft in a plastic page holder on the end of the loom for quick reference.

I have the end in mind, and this may turn out to be my favorite rag rug ever! (Have I said that before?) It is true that my favorite thing to weave is usually that which is currently on the loom…

Double binding rag rug on the loom.

Tape measure hangs on the right end of the weaving bench. This tape measure records inches and centimeters. I use both imperial and metric units, depending on what I am measuring.

The Maker of heaven and earth is mindful of you. Cherishes you as his favorite. I know that seems incredible; but as a weaver, I understand it. When you create, you care about the process and the results. As the ones created, we find ourselves in his story. The living Creator God invites us to himself. So, we come to his studio to meet the Mastermind behind the marvelous creations.

May your hands find favorite things to make.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • nancy ryan says:

    Karen –

    Your rug is beautiful.One of the things I like about weaving is mindfulness. I find that the zen of weaving happens when I am mindful of the design I am weaving. As I concentrate on the pattern, I find myself totally “lost” in the process and nothing else matters.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I appreciate hearing your thoughts! Getting “lost” in the process is one of the things I enjoy about weaving.

      Thanks!
      Karen

Leave a Reply


Quiet Friday: Checkered Rug

I have another rag rug warp on my Baby loom (Glimåkra 100cm Ideal), playing with the magic of double binding again, this time with four shafts and four treadles. Ten yards / nine meters of warp. I planned an additional twelve inches / 30.5cm between rugs for cutting off and tying back on, so I can cut each rug off as it is finished. Here is the first rug.

Winding warp for another rag rug.

Small warping reel is used to measure the ten yards / nine meters of 12/6 cotton rug warp.

Beaming the warp under tension, using warping trapeze and weights.

Warp chains are undone and lengthened out over the warping trapeze. Several pounds of walking weights hold the bouts under constant even tension for beaming the warp.

Tying on.

All tied on. Ready to weave.

Designing a rag rug.

Design concept is created; and fabric colors are chosen.

Double binding rag rug on the loom. Karen Isenhower

Progress.

Using a temple for weaving rag rugs.

Temple is always in place when I am weaving a rug. I fitted two different temple parts together to get this warp width. Notice the lengthwise gaps between the temple parts…but not a problem.

Rag rug on the loom. Nearing completion.

Around the breast beam, and over the knee beam, to wrap around the cloth beam. Warping slats are placed between the cloth beam and the rug the first time around to make a smooth surface for the woven rug-cloth.

Rag rug on the loom. Woven hem.

Hem is completed with 12 picks of rug warp. Three inches of scrap fabric header comes next, and then the rug is ready to be cut from the loom.

Hand-hemming rag rug.

Warp ends have been knotted and trimmed; and hem folded under and pressed. Now, hemming with a needle and rug warp, the last step is almost complete. The only thing left is to sew on my label.

Checkered rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Notice the subtle changes in color and depth of color where the warp colors change–purposely not aligned with the block changes.

Home sweet home. That's what rag rugs are for.

Home sweet home. A patterned rag rug makes a house feel like home.

May you finish what you started.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

9 Comments

  • Betsy says:

    Hi Karen. A beautiful rug! Do you have a suggestion for a good source for rag rug patterns and drafts? I really like your designs. Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Most of my favorite books with rag rug patterns and drafts are not in English. But weaving drafts work in any language, and the pictures can inspire many different ideas.
      Here are some of the rag rug books that I refer to often for design ideas:
      Alla Tidors Trasmattor
      Älskade Trasmattor
      Trasor och Tekniker: 35 nya mattor (I did find this one in English from a used book seller – pricey$$$ – Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs)

      I’m always on the lookout for Swedish weaving books, which sometimes have rag rug drafts in them.
      The books I mentioned happen to be carried by Vavstuga.com. (Not affiliated; just offering a source.)

      The Big Book of Weaving and Happy Weaving also have one or two good rag rug drafts for starters.

      Hope that helps!
      Karen

  • Joanna says:

    Ooh, pretty! It looks like blue skies and fresh green meadow grass, absolutely lovely.

  • linda says:

    note: any pattern can be used for a rag rug even colonial overshot, summer winter, ….as long as the floats are not too long. just plan on using a plain weave between shots of pattern and make the floats over 2 or 3 warp threads. Of course this means you’ll need a 4 harness loom if your using a floor loom. another note: If you weight the beater bar with a metal rod screwed to the beater bar not as much muscle is needed to beat the weft into place. So get out that draft paper and design. linda

  • linda says:

    I love this sight it keeps me on my toes. I couldn’t remember what bouble binding was; I know it as double weave. The double binding moniker must be Swedish…Beckey again. The last three fridays when I’ve been by the studio/school it’s been closed. when i do see her I’ll say hi for you. Love Peace and Joy (LPJ), linda

  • […] the way, the first rug from this warp (Quiet Friday: Checkered Rug) is now in my […]

Leave a Reply