How Soft Is Your Pillow?

I have three short sample pieces from rug warps, where I had experimented with colors and design. I am making these samples useful by turning them into pillow covers. To complete them, I made pillow inserts to fit inside.

Rag rug cushion covers, with pillow inserts made to fit inside. Karen Isenhower

Rag rug pillow covers, with pillow inserts made to fit inside.

To get the most loft out of the polyester fiberfill, I run my fingers through clumps of it, pulling and easing it apart. I stuff these airy clouds into the pillow insert forms that I have sewn and then serge the edge of the insert closed. The durable and hearty rag rug pillow covers are pretty, but they are flimsy and floppy until the cloud-soft pillow forms are placed inside.

Like the pillow covers, your strongest asset is invisible. When we adorn our inner person with gentleness and a quiet spirit it brings clarity and courage to our outward demeanor. You would not fill the pillow cover with rocks, would you? Having cloud-soft humility instead of hard-headed stubbornness enables us to face any difficulty without becoming fearful or resentful. The beauty of your unique design is put in its best light by the loft of the pillow inside.

May you respond to difficulty with a gentle and quiet spirit.

(These three pillows are the newest additions to the Warped for Good Etsy Shop!)


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How I Make a Bound Hem

I intended simple woven turned hems. When this rug came off the loom, however, the white ends of the rug didn’t look as I expected. I was frustrated trying to make these hems work. Was there another way to finish the rug? Yes. A compatible cotton duck print was just what I needed to sew bound hems!

When circumstances don’t go our way, we can get stuck in frustration. I cannot control my circumstances, but I can control my own behavior and attitudes. Give up control to gain control. Isn’t it interesting that options become apparent when we let go of how we thought it should be?

How I make a bound hem:

1. Cut hem fabric the width of the rug plus 2 inches /5 cm by hem depth plus 1 inch / 2.5 cm. Serge all edges of hem fabric to eliminate fraying. With right sides facing, center hem fabric from side to side on rug, with fabric seam allowance toward the end of the rug. Stitch along hem line, 1/2 inch / 1 cm from edge of hem fabric.

How to make bound hem for rag rug.


2. Fold hem fabric over, and press flat.

Steps for making bound hems on rag rugs.


3. Fold the hem fabric back on itself, right sides together. Fold remaining long edge outward, adjusting to match the width of the hem. Stitch through folded hem fabric 1/8 inch / 3 mm away from side of rug.

Stitching bound hem on rug. Tutorial.


4. Turn the corner right side out, straightening out the point with a straight pin, if necessary. Press corner. Fold long edge under 1/2 inch / 1 cm across the width of the rug. Press.

5 Steps to make bound hems on rag rugs.


5. Use doubled sewing thread to stitch the folded edge to the rug. Use a whip stitch, catching a warp end in each stitch. End with final pressing of top and underside of hem.

Last step in tutorial for making bound hem on rug.


To see this rug on the loom, view this post, Made to Be Noticed. To see the finished rug, view “Made to Be Noticed” Rag Rug in my Etsy Shop. Or, simply visit my Etsy Shop to see all my new rugs. (You saw them on this blog first!)

May you see all your options.

Making things,

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Quiet Friday: Five Rosepath Rag Rugs

My mother taught me to notice and enjoy beauty. I think that is why I find so much enjoyment at the weaving loom. The interplay of colors and materials never ceases to amaze me. I am often delighted as I see the woven material forming under my shuttle, feeling more like an observer than a performer. So, it was with great pleasure that I got to show my mom my weaving looms when she came to Texas for Melody’s wedding. I put this rug warp on the loom with that special visit in mind. Thanks for everything, Mom!

Rosepath rag rugs just off the loom. Karen Isenhower

Seeing the underneath side of the rugs first, just after the rugs are cut from the loom.

Winding rug warp on warping reel.

First step is winding the warp on the warping reel. 219 warp ends in two similar shades of grey, 8.5 yards / 7.75 meters long.

Weaving narrow strips for rag rug hem.

After weaving some waste fabric strips, I weave the hem, using 1/4 inch- / 1/2 cm- wide strips. I mark the green ribbon to show the weaving length of the hem, and the overall length of the rug. I also mark the midway point on the ribbon.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 1 of 5. ki

This is the rug my mother got to see on the loom. She liked it!

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 2 of 5. ki

Turquoise paisley fabric pairs with a solid blue to outline the brown rosepath design.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 3 of 5. ki

Three ski shuttles create gradient color changes in the blue and teal (out of view) background, while maintaining the white rosepath pattern. It was a little insane to manage three ski shuttles! But I have to admit I enjoyed it.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 4 of 5. ki

This is my version of Radiant Orchid, the Pantone Color of the Year 2014.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom. 5 of 5. Karen Isenhower

Two-toned rosepath, with dotted outlines. Subtle turquoise waves almost hide in the dark earth tones at each end of the rug.

End of the rag rug warp. Too close for comfort.

This is not how to plan a rug. The end of the warp is right behind the shafts. Or, maybe this shows how well I planned the warp, right down to the very last inch…

Five New Rosepath Rugs. Karen Isenhower

Not yet cut apart, ready for finishing the ends and hemming.

May you make fond memories with those you love.

(While I’m busy hemming these rugs, please visit my Etsy Shop to see more rosepath rag rugs.)

Happy Weaving,


  • Bev says:

    Just beautiful, Karen!

  • Bonnie says:

    Karen, your work is beautiful. I am just starting to weave rag rugs, just a few questions ifyou don’t mind, how wide are your fabric strips in the rosepath rugs, and, do you prewash your fabrics?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks for the sweet compliment! – and the questions. I LOVE questions!!

      My fabric strips are 3/4″ / 2 cm wide, except for the hem, where I use narrower strips. I do prewash the fabrics. I buy 100% cotton fabric in 5 yard lengths. When you wash that long of a piece of fabric, it helps to serge to two ends of the fabric together, making a large “tube.” Then, the fabric won’t twist on itself in the washer and dryer so much.

      Let me know if come up on any more questions. I’d love to hear how it comes out!

      Happy Weaving,

  • Bonnie says:

    Karen, I do have another question, when you are doing the rugs above, you have just one 3/4 inch slice of fabric on the shuttle at a time, run it all the way across and then insert the next or send the same one back depending on the pattern draft. Correct?
    Am I understanding that it is the treading that causes the pattern?
    and makes one pick prominent over another? and you might use 6 or 7 fabrics in a pattern?
    thanks again, may God bless your day,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      Yes, each shuttle has a length of 3/4″ fabric strip wrapped on it. Each shuttle goes all the way across. The pattern determines which fabric color comes next, whether it is the same color, or a different one (on a different shuttle).

      The pattern is created by the threading (rosepath) and the treadling. The treadling is what enables different variations on that threading. It’s because of the floats in the rosepath pattern that make one pick prominent over another. (Does that make sense?)

      I have used as few as three or four, and as many as a dozen different fabrics in a pattern. I LOVE playing with fabric and blending colors and patterns to come up with interesting combinations.

      May God bless your day, too!

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Rag Rug Selvedges Made Easy

The goal is to weave a firm selvedge on a rag rug. This is especially challenging when the weave changes, like it does with this rug. Plain weave in a single color, a lone weft in a contrasting color, rosepath with tabby in between, and plain weave with alternating colors. It helps to have a few guiding principles.

A few guidelines for weaving firm rag rug selvedges:
1. Make sure the weft going into the shed catches the outermost warp end. If needed, manipulate the outermost warp end up or down to make this happen.
2. When using two shuttles, start the second shuttle going in the same direction as the first shuttle.
3. When using two shuttles, be sure to catch the “idle” weft at the selvedge by crossing over or under it with the “working” weft.
4. Turn the fabric strip under twice at the selvedge.
5. Pull the weft snug at the selvedge. (A tight warp tension helps with this.)

Tips for firm rag rug selvedges.

Coming to the end of the last rag rug on this warp. Weaving plain weave with two alternating wefts gives the tidiest selvedge because of the way the wefts interlock as they cross at the edge.

I can handle any rag rug selvedge if I pay attention to these guidelines. Similarly, are there guiding principles that help us maneuver the daily challenges of life?

Following God’s ways gives needed structure to our days on this earth. His faithful guidance is that of a loving father. By practicing his principles we can be mentally prepared for action, emotionally stable, and spiritually focused. And we find we are well able to handle all of life’s twists and turns.

May you meet your challenges with success.

On purpose,


  • De says:

    How are you getting the blue material raised? I love this look. I’m new to weaving and I want to try this. Thanks

  • Karen says:

    Hi De,

    That’s the beauty of rosepath. The floats in the rosepath motif (the blue) against the tight plain weave (the light colored background) give the blue a raised appearance. The dark-light contrast also contributes to making the blue appear to stand out even more. The blue fabric strips are cut the same width as the other strips – 3/4″.
    I’m glad you like it!
    For rosepath rugs I use 4 shafts and 6 treadles (4 treadles for rosepath, and 2 treadles for plain weave).

    Happy Weaving,

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Made to Be Noticed

Each rug is unique. Knowing what the possibilities are with a rosepath threading, I sketch a plan on graph paper. I pull colors from my stash of fabrics, adding, mixing, and removing, until the compilation is just right. My intention is to create a rag rug that will be noticed.

Rosepath rag rug on the loom

Plain weave sections in solid colors separate bands of rosepath patterning.

I start with a confident plan, but I will not see the results until the rug finally comes off the loom and is flat on the floor. I am hopeful, but there is still uncertainty. Do you ever feel that way about talking to God? It should be easy to pray, but how can we know if we are really getting through?

The Lord hears prayers. His willingness to hear is greater than my ability to express myself. When I take the fabric scraps of my life and arrange them in a pattern that pleases him, he notices. And he hears my inadequate sentences. As each woven rug rolls onto the cloth beam, what I do see gives me hope for the end results. Though my view is incomplete, every glimpse of answered prayer gives assurance that the Lord notices this weaving I call life.

May you get a glimpse of what you hope to see.

(One more rug to go on this warp! Soon you will see these rag rugs in my Etsy Shop!)

As always,

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