Share the Joy of Weaving

What a delight to share the weaving experience with a friend! Two of these hot pads were woven by friends with no prior weaving experience. Miniature rag rugs make great hot pads, and provide a perfect learning experience for a guest weaver.

Rag rug hot pads.

Tenth hot pad, woven on 12/9 cotton warp. Fabric strips, previously cut for rag rugs, are used for the weft.

Ten rag rug hot pads are cut from the loom!

Ten hot pads are cut from the loom.

Ten hot pads ready for finishing.

Ten hot pads ready for finishing.

Finished handwoven rag rug hot pads.

Ends are tied in overhand knots and trimmed. Ready to be used!

I hope you are finding opportunities to share your joys with friends. The Christmas season reminds us that we have someone greater who shared His joy with us. He stays by our side, waiting for any call for help, but allows us to make the mistakes that teach us life lessons. As with weaving, every error can be forgiven. There is a remedy for any hopeless situation. Take courage, God is a rescuer. He sent Jesus on a mission to rescue us. And absolutely nothing can stop the mission of God. I am amazed at what he can do with the threads of a willing soul. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King.

May you share your joy.

Merry Christ – mas,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen! Thank you for sharing your beautiful work!

  • Lindy says:

    Hello, I love these hot pads but have a question (I’m new to weaving): what are the little white cloth strips on the corners of these pads and what did you do to them – they aren’t in the finished pictures?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lindy, Great question! The white you see is the scrap weft header. I weave two or three inches with throw-away fabric strips (mostly from old worn-out bedsheets) before and after every rag rug, or mini rag rag. The purpose of the scrap weft is to hold the weft of the rug in place. The scrap weft is removed a little at a time as I tie the warp ends into knots to make the weft completely secure.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Jill Kendall says:

    Beautiful & glorious words, Karen!
    Merry Christmas from North Carolina!

  • Norma Sliper says:

    Please tell how I can get your patterns for weaving mug rugs, placemats, and pot holders..

  • Darcy Damrau Steck says:

    Hi Karen,
    I recently discovered your blog while researching swedish rosepath. Your weaving is an inspiration thank you for sharing your experience. I am a self-taught weaver and have learned that rosepath can be woven as boundweave, on opposites or with tabby between pattern picks. Can you tell me how this pattern was woven and where I can find a draft?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Darcy, Rosepath was the thing that drew me into Swedish weaving practices. You will find drafts for rosepath (rosengång) in almost any Swedish rag rug book. The rosepath in most of these mug rugs is woven with tabby between pattern picks. A couple of them have just the rosepath, without tabby.

      Have fun with your rosepath exploration! (I haven’t done a lot of the other types of rosepath, but if you put “bound rosepath” and “rosepath on opposites” in the search field you may find some examples of those.)

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Rag Rug Playground

This is a rag rug playground! I am weaving miniature rugs—rosepath rag rug hot pads. My small countermarch loom is perfect for this exploration. Without tabby or with tabby? Planned weft or hit and miss? Vibrant colors or soft neutrals? Weft inlay or plain and simple? So many possibilities! My “idea bank” is exploding.

Mini rag rugs for hot pads.

Reverse treadling adds a diamond design element at both ends of this mini rug.

Handwoven hot pads. Mini rosepath rag rugs.

Color choices are inspired by views outside this Texas hill country window.

My goal is to weave as many different versions as possible. No two alike! Sure, they all have the same 12/9 cotton warp and all-cotton-fabric-strips weft, but with all sorts of variations. Most will be gifts. Handwoven hot pads, making it to the kitchens of friends, to serve them well.

Rosepath detail in mini rag rugs. Making hot pads.

Rosepath detail.

Rosepath rag rug hot pads on the loom.

White fabric strips are used as tabby weft to highlight the blue rosepath pattern.

Rosepath inlay with mini rag rugs--hot pads.

Deep purple fabric strip is used for weft rosepath inlay over a plain weave background. Woven hot pads wind their way around the cloth beam, separated by scrap weft and warping slats.

There is no one like you, with your hopes, dreams, and pains. You touch others like no one else can. Your life makes a difference. Your life matters because it matters to God. Your Creator had good things in mind when he formed you. Lord, place us where we will best show your handiwork, where we can humbly serve those you’ve given us to love.

May you live on purpose.

Your friend,
Karen

13 Comments

  • Angela Roberts says:

    Great inspiration as always, creatively and spiritually xoxo
    Thanks

  • Annie says:

    It is good to be reminded that our Heavenly Father has made us all as uniquely diverse as your hot pads. Perhaps there is the bit of the weaver in him.

    And I can’t quite decide which hot pad I like best! But it seems fun experimenting!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, It’s fun to have a project on the loom that allows for experimentation.

      Yes, I’d say our Heavenly Father positively has a weaver side to him.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Gayle says:

    Love the variations, we want to see them laid out on the floor when you cut them off!!!

  • Janet says:

    Fantastic idea and I need some office gifts!! How do you finish your ends?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, I plan to tie the ends into overhand knots and then trim them to about 1/4-3/8″ or so. I could have woven hems on them with thin fabric strips and then turn the hems under and stitch, but I haven’t done that this time. It’s possible to bind the edges (after tying knots) with fabric, but that doesn’t always stay looking great, especially if they are washed frequently.

      These weave up nice and fast! …Besides being so much fun to do. Great idea for office gifts!

      Happy weaving!
      Karen

      • Karen says:

        One more thing… If you plan to tie knots, it is helpful to have at least 4 inches of warp for tying. So I try to put about 8″ between mats, with scrap weft and slats. You can tie knots with less than 4″, but it can get a little tricky. I always regret it when I shorten the distance to try to save warp.

  • Kathryn says:

    Hello Karen,

    These are beautiful! What a wonderful way to play with new patterns and colors while using up fabric scraps. Plus, they’re very useful!

    Can you tell me, how long is your warp and how many potholders do you think you’ll end up with? I don’t have a lot of cotton fabrics laying around, but I’m sure wool scraps would work just as well, don’t you think? In fact, with wool being naturally fire retardant, they might be a good choice:)

    Thank you for sharing. I always look forward to your blog posts!!

    Kathryn

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathryn, I wish I could tell you how long the warp is. This started as a tapestry/inlay project. After finishing the first of four panels, I decided I didn’t want to weave three more. The original warp was probably about 5 or 6 yards. Instead of cutting off the rest of the warp, I decided to do something fun and easy – hot pads! I have not been counting, so I can’t even tell you how many I have so far – maybe 6 or 8. And I’m guessing I’ll get 3 or 4 more.

      If I were planning this from the start, I would figure the length of the hot pad (mine are about 5-6″ long), plus 4″ on both ends for tying knots (or 2″ on each end for weaving hems, plus the 4″ for knots). Multiply by the number of hot pads you want. Add about 15% take-up and shrinkage. Add loom waste. (Hmm… maybe I should do a blog post about project calculations…)

      I think wool fabric would be a great choice for hot pads. I didn’t know about wool being naturally fire retardant. That’s good to know!

      Thanks for asking great questions!
      Karen

  • Limor Johnson says:

    Hi Karen,
    What is the sett on these beautiful rugs? What size reed are you using?

    Thanks for sharing, great work and pictures,
    Limor

    • Karen says:

      Hi Limor, The sett is approximately 6 epi. I’m using a metric 25/10 reed, the rough equivalent of which is a 6-dent reed. One end per heddle, and one end per dent.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      All the best,
      Karen

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Rosepath Miniature

Weaving rosepath is not difficult, but it requires concentration. Similar to overshot, this rosepath is woven over a plain weave ground, meaning alternating wefts that keep me on my toes. Exactly the kind of fascinating weaving experience that I love!

Mini Rosepath Rag Rug on the Loom

Low contrast in colors makes a subtle rosepath pattern. The black and brown dashes are formed by using just one of the pattern treadles.

I like to weave when I have things on my mind, when there are issues to think through. I give full attention to the weaving–placing weft, stepping on treadles, and staying mindful of the pattern. Creative energy at its best. When I get immersed in what’s happening on the loom, the storms of life take a back seat. They don’t go away, but they seem to fade for the time being.

Life brings storms. When my refuge is God in times of trouble, and when I turn to Him for strength, fear blows away. We have a shelter in the storm. A place to come in from the weather outside and rest. It’s like sitting at the loom, only better. It’s sinking into the arms of a loving Father.

May you have a place to come in from the storm.

Your friend,
Karen

2 Comments

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One Mini Rag Rug

I am calling this miniature rag rug experiment a success! Oh what fun to play with colorful fabric to make rosepath designs in rag rugs. This sample size is great for trying out various designs and color combinations. Pure delight for a rag rug weaver like me!

Mini rag rug on the loom with rosepath design.

Mini rag rug on the loom with rosepath design.

I am cutting this first “rug” off. After finishing the ends and hemming the little rug, I will see if adjustments are needed before weaving the rest of the warp. It’s the details I’m interested in–sett, weft density, finished dimensions, selvedges, design, balance of color, size of hem. All of these assessments affect my plans for the remaining warp. I am excited about weaving more of these mini rugs! I smile to think of it.

Small rosepath rag rug sample.

Warp is tied on and ready for weaving the next small rag rug.

Mini rosepath rag rug with favorite coffee mug. Karen Isenhower

Favorite artisan coffee mug is right at home on the cute little rug. Finished rag rug measures 6 x 10 1/2″ / 15 x 26.5cm.

The Lord is intricately involved in the lives of those who belong to Him. He delights in details that require His guidance. It is as if the Lord is holding my hand, especially when I need guidance to navigate life’s challenges. The Lord delights in helping us. After all, what He is making is much more exciting than anything found on our looms.

May you find delightful details in the work of your hands.

Happy weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Fran says:

    Never thought of sampling rugs. Good idea! Patterns and colours for rosepath; going to do that! Thanks.

  • linda says:

    Watch out!! Doll house buffs will be calling for rugs. It’s so cute; can’t wait to see the finished large one, and just imagine a couple sewn together, as a carpet. LP&J, lindalinda

  • Rose says:

    How many epi do you do?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rose,

      I’m using a metric reed on this one. It’s a 30/10 reed, so 3 epc. If I use a reed measured in inches, for rag rugs I use an 8-dent for 8 epi. I like the metric reed because it’s a slightly denser sett, but the 8-dent works just fine, too.

      Thanks for asking,
      Karen

  • Debbie Moyes says:

    Very nice! I’ve never done anything but plain weave for rag rugs and runners. And I do delight in buying funny and fun fabrics! I wait for them to go on sale at a place like Joann’s and get a big stack and the cutting lady wonders what on earth I am making with all the kooky prints.

  • Jenice says:

    “The Lord delights in helping us.” Sigh. I needed to be reminded of that, Karen. Thank you!

    And I love how the rag rug turned out. 🙂

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Tools Day: Teeny Tiny Temple

What if you start weaving a project and realize your smallest temple is too big? And that your smallest temple is the smallest one they make. I am aware that most people do not use a temple for something this narrow, 16.7 cm/6.5 in. width in the reed, but this is a rag rug. A miniature rosepath rag rug. And draw-in is inevitable, which leads to weaving headaches like broken selvedge warp ends. A temple helps prevent all that.

Smallest temple is too big. How I solved this dilemma.

Smallest Glimåkra temple is two inches wider than my weaving width.

I have seen makeshift temples that I could try, but my genius husband has a better idea. Why not cut down my little temple to the size I need? So he takes the tiny temple out to his workshop in the garage and turns it into a teeny tiny temple! (He does this knowing full well that I will need to replace the temple being cut.)

Cutting a temple down to make a teeny tiny temple.

Measure twice; cut once. Steve marks his cutting lines on the original temple parts.

Small temple is cut down to teeny tiny size.

Happy with the first cut, Steve is now ready to let the second piece meet the saw blade.

Small temple is cut down to teeny tiny size. It works!

Once cut apart, we wonder if a temple this tiny will work? Will there be enough length for the pieces to pivot as needed? There’s one way to find out…

Perfect! It works! And holes for the locking pin line up, too!

Teeny tiny temple in place on miniature rag rug. (6 1/2")

Teeny tiny temple does its job. Yay!

Start of a mini rosepath rag rug. Karen Isenhower

Start of a miniature rosepath rag rug.

Mini rosepath rag rug in the making.

May you cut your problems down to size.

A little weaving,
Karen

7 Comments

  • Nancy says:

    You have a real sweet husband. I enjoy reading your blog. Something positive that gives me a little lift every day. Keep up the good work.

    N

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I am very thankful for my sweet husband. And I’m thankful for your encouragement! I’m so glad to have you in the journey with me.

      Karen

  • linda says:

    Karen: maybe this is the time to spread your wings and fly? Your warp is so small I’m sure you can manage no pull in. I know the Rose Path is a leap…just ditch the stretcher. maybe at the end of the rug on leftovers? Trust…it will work. Your technical skills are all A’s I believe in you. Just let go of the “Blankie” and step off. I BELIEVE IN YOU, linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda,
      Your confidence in my ability is very heartwarming! I do like my tools. 🙂

      I can sew a straight seam on my sewing machine without using straight pins to hold the pieces together, but I use the pins because they are tools that help me focus on other sewing skills. I don’t have to think about the fabric shifting out of place. I see the temple as a similar tool. I can weave without it, but using the temple enables me to “forget” about that part and focus on other weaving skills. With rugs in particular, the temple helps me get very tight selvedges, which I consider the mark of a high quality rug. Even Jason Collingwood said he wouldn’t dream of weaving a rug without a temple.

      But, actually, you are right. With this narrow width, I really could weave it without a temple. 🙂
      Love,
      Karen

  • Anonymous says:

    I just recently had a need for a larger temple, and, oh, was it expensive. A 60″ is a lot of money.

    • Karen says:

      It would be fun to see your 60″ temple next to my 6″ temple!

      Karen

      • linda says:

        WoW. that 60″ temple requires a 5’2” or more arm span. Either you’re tall, have a sliding bench , or are using a flying shuttle? I’m old, 5’5″ and am not comfortable reaching beyond 42″. linda

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