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)
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.
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,
Draw-in happens. It is a natural part of weaving. Sending a weft thread across the warp, weaving over and under, naturally pulls the warp threads closer together–this is draw-in. But excessive draw-in ruins selvedges, causes warp ends to fray and/or break, and wastes time because it creates problems. The width across the fell line needs to be the same as the width of the warp in the reed. If the cloth is narrower at the fell line, there is abrasion on the outer warp ends from the reed, as the beater comes to the cloth.
Two things work together to help prevent excessive draw-in:
1) Angling the weft. Placing the weft across the warp at an angle adds extra length to the weft, which helps to accommodate for the natural draw-in.
2) Using a temple (stretcher). The purpose of a temple is to maintain consistency in the width of the cloth. It does this by “stretching” the cloth out, holding it in place with little spikes on each end of the tool. Moving the temple frequently uses the tool to its best advantage. I move mine about every inch of weaving. For more instruction on how to set a temple, please see one of my most popular posts, Tools Day: Temple Technique.
I weave with a temple more often than not. The temple must be set properly, to the precise width, so I have several sizes in my growing collection of temples. Sometimes it works to combine two different sizes to get the measurement that is needed.
My first temple was a make-do tool that I used with my rigid heddle loom on lightweight weaving. It is not adjustable, so it only works with one specific warp width.
My wooden temples are from Glimåkra. They serve me well, and are the ones I use most often. Since they are adjustable, they cover a wide range of possible widths.
The metal temples are heavier, with thicker teeth, and work well for coarser weaving, especially rugs.
May your selvedges shine, and your broken ends be few.
A good rug lasts many, many years. The finest rugs outlast their owners, being handed down as useable heirlooms, like the two aged rag rugs I have that were woven long ago by my grandmother’s neighbor. I get excited about making colorful rugs that are meant to be walked on for years and years.
I am hemming this rug by hand, using 12/6 cotton seine twine rug warp and a tapestry needle. This makes a tidy hem, with nearly invisible stitching. I secure the ends of the hemming thread by weaving them back and forth into the woven hem with the tapestry needle. (Refer to Related Posts in the sidebar to see other ways I finish rug hems.)
Pursue truth. That means doing what it takes to find answers. It’s as simple as examining what we are walking on. What are we basing our life on? It means seeing the created and looking for the Creator. Taking a closer look at a unique rug that catches our attention, we see evidence of the weaver and the stitching hand. Discovering truth is like finding a handmade rug that is intriguing enough to put on display, yet is placed on the floor to satisfy our needs for daily living. It gives our feet a sure place to walk, and it’s worthy of being handed down for generations.
May you experience a satisfying walk through life in all respects.
(This rug is called “Improvisation,” and you can find it in the Warped for Good Etsy Shop.)
I am using graph paper and colored pencils again to design double-binding rag rugs. Twill double-binding rag rugs this time. The draft comes from Swedish Rag Rugs 35 New Designs, by Lillemor Johansson. The graph paper squares are great for playing out my own ideas. I am not aiming for specific color combinations with this exercise. And I don’t strictly follow my colored design when I weave, but instead use it as a guide that suggests a design pathway. This allows me to improvise at the loom as I see the cloth taking shape.
May your best designs materialize.
Isn’t it amazing how many different things you can try on one tie-up? All you need is color, time, and a craving to learn. It has been exciting to try some fresh ideas for double binding rugs. Now I have new patterned rag rugs, ready to hem!
Lessons abound in life. There are amazing things to learn with the Lord by your side. Jesus is friend and coach. He governs and carries. The diverse and satisfying results are woven into your life experiences.
May you see positive results.
PS The rugs are now hemmed. One rug has been sold, and two of the rugs are in my Etsy shop.