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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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!)

Quietly,
Karen

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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,
Karen

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