I decided to embark on linen rug warp in order to use up some jersey fabric I’d bought ages ago. Using a basic Diamond pattern (twill) the result was, in fairness, stunning. I’m a fan now of both swedish linen rug warp (it gives a lovely weight and firmness to rag rugs) and trying out new patterns for rag rugs. I am NOT a fan of fringe twisting, but I did it. Now looking at alternate finishes for the future.
I also am now a fan of a good old fashioned solid rug loom. I did this on the Cranbrook loom, about 48″ weaving width and I am smitten. Love that loom.
I tied on to the warp with some cotton rug warp and am now using up more old fabric. So far I’m not its biggest fan, the colors of the cotton rug warp show up nice in dark brown fabric, but I don’t have a lot of that and it’d be a small rug. I’ve been supplementing it with the yellow / orange / brown fabric, but the warp disappears in that. Though, on the plus side, it does pop in the brown. I’ve only done two sections. I’ll keep going with a pattern of 1/1/1/2/1/3/1/4/1/3/1/2/1/1 and see how it goes. More pics to come.
After the first rug experience, I’ve decided to give it another go. I’m doing an overshot rug out of the Tom Knisely “Handwoven’s Master Weaver Collection: Favorite Projects and Lessons From Tom Knisely” PDF.
I’ve wound my warp of double cotton rug warp in Pear, and have some wool rug warp for the weft in Indigo. This I’m doing doubled.
Now that I’ve started (and figured out how overshot works), I think I may just love overshot. A lot.
Of course, I am again attempting this on a table loom, but so far so good. I have one pattern repeat done, and it’s looking good.
I was determined to find out. After the linen curtains, I needed a fast, fun project. I have old Buffalo Wool from Canada (unspun, six-strand, used for making Cowichan sweaters) and needed to use it up.
I picked up some Harrisville Highland wool in Blackberry and Straw, wound a warp for two rugs (one 60″ long and the other just 28″ long) and got everything set up.
Turns out that you can weave a rug on a table loom. Possibly it is because the Buffalo wool is so forgiving (lots of give and fills in spaces well), I don’t know.
But I’m going to find out! Because one rug done, I’m now setting up the loom for a full-width (31.5″) overshot rug out of cotton rug warp (in Pear) and some rug wool I got on clearance in Indigo. Should be interesting. Oh and I got a temple stretcher to help keep it at 31.5″. New things to try!
Yet another lesson learned on this project. While I had double and triple checked everything, I messed up writing down the Spot Bronson pattern. I had a moment upon realizing it that I had to either pull the whole thing off the loom (and let me tell you winding the linen on the beam was NOT a light task. I earned a blister doing it. 12 yards of linen was a task).
So I decided to accept the error. On the plus side, I threaded it flawlessly. I checked each shed and my care and attention paid off. Not a single error. It was perfect. Just perfectly flawed, of course. 🙂
The linen went on beautifully. Thanks again to my teacher for telling me not to comb out the threads as I warped them, but rather to just give them sharp tugs to straighten them. Worked amazing, again (also did it on the dish towels I did).
I’ve started weaving the beginning, the draw in is not great and I’m working on that, but the fabric is very “linen” and the pattern is amazing (I think).
I wanted a very subtle color effect, and this seems to be fitting the bill. The hard core weaving spot bronson people will spot the mistake right away, of course. But the rest of us? Not so much.
A close-up here:
Long and short of this is my new lesson learned: I purchased iWeaveit for the iPad and now plot my patterns so that I can “see” the mistakes before they happen. I only got the app after I had warped everything and then immediately noticed the mistake on the app (before I even started weaving). Plus, I made a mistake on each side with the pattern as well, but again, while it’s not ideal, it’s not enough to pull everything apart and re-do it. I’m working around it. And again, I at least did it consistently.
I’ve long had a predilection for fabric. That is buying fabric that I love, when I have no real use for it. Granted I do that with wool as well, but odds are I get around to knitting something with what I buy. But I rarely sew. I’m not good enough to design my own clothes (they’d look homemade) though I’m good at halloween costumes.
So I own a variety of fabric. And I recently was at a Joann’s where they were shutting down the store, and I bought more (how not? it was soooo cheap).
Then at weaving class I was muttering about making a rug next time around (after finishing yet another set of dishtowels) and I managed to get in line for a 60″ loom and won, and then my brain, ticking along, realized I could cut up the fabric and make rugs.
It felt like one of those moments where you go: oh that’s why I’ve been buying fabric that I like for the last 20 years.
Long story, shorter, this September I’ll start on my first rag rug. I’ve bought a simplicity fabric cutter to make my life a little easier, and have picked out my warp colors. I’ll be doing a gradation in the warp to give some variety.
I’m using this upholstery fabric (may be a dumb idea we’ll see):
And these are my warp colors:
I’m not doing a dark brown, but the linen, because I’m also making linen curtains for the same room that use a matching linen shade in the main body of the curtain. See the Linen Curtain post for those. I’m using 12 sett and am attempting to make a 4.5ft by 8 ft rug. We’ll see how much fabric I have. I’ll post update photos.
Just an update on my post where i was attempting to weave on an old loom and facing a lot of issues (Weaving on an Old Loom). I was doing an advancing twill in cotton. Nice pattern. Not so nice loom.
BUT! I saved it. I finished the fabric and though it was a lot smaller than anticipated due to the excessive draw-in (loom size limited by brake and apron), and some other issues, the fabric came out great. Heavier than anticipated due to the pattern (so we all believed).
But I managed to turn it into a granny bag after all. I changed up the handles last minute and sewed those on (not easy) and the lining / fabric all together with the interfacing was painful even for my trusty old Juliet (husqvarna sewing machine in the background). So I ended up handsewing the ends of the bag top as well after I inserted the granny bag closure tubing.
Lots of lessons learned, but at least it wasn’t a throw-away project and I got something from it.
I decided to make curtains, or linen panels more truthfully, for the living room. Largely because I can. Not because I should.
After many changes in pattern and styles, I settled on a natural linen shade (actually Newport 16/2 Linen) and then am supplementing that with a dk brown, a rust / orange, and a dark green. Pictured here:
Because I’m making three long panels, I have a super long warp chain. The longest I have ever made and it was only after the fact that I had an “oops” moment. I’m not positive it is going on the loom. Picture of it as I’m sleying the reed here:
During this project planning I did learn from past issues and measured and re-measured the reed before working out my final dimensions. It doesn’t look like I’ll get the 32 inch wide Panels I really need, but I’m locked into this project now, so I may just have to modify the hanging of them. I’ll see once they are done and dusted what I can do with them.
I’ve started threading and I have to say, despite all the dire warnings about working with linen, I am so far loving this yarn:
This kit is from Halcyon and can be found here. I purchased before I tried to make waffle weave towels at home and then regretted my purchase. But I fought through, and besides my little Leclerc Nilus at weaving class was the absolutely right size for the kit. I figured having Pamela (instructor) around to help if I hit a snag would help too.
Pamela paid off right away by pointing out that while many people “comb” their threads when they get tangled, she finds a sharp tug works much better. You basically take a handful of warp threads and literally yank on them. I was skeptical. But it is genius. Compared to my disastrous last project with dish towels where the warp threads were so incredibly tangled, these just lined up after a few tugs.
You bascially just keep winding the warp, stopping every once in a while to go back and tug on the threads in front. It really is amazing how it works.
After that success, I should have known the towels would be great. And they are. They turned out perfectly and even better, Halcyon supplied plenty of cotton to get them done (some companies just don’t do kits well…knitpicks being one of them). So buy the waffle kit! it works! the towels are amazing (even my husband had to admit they are the best dish towels he’s ever used).
End result? I’ll do this kit again. Maybe the Christmas Towels…they’d make a great Christmas gift.
Now that I’ve started three projects on three different looms, I have one piece of advice for all of you.
When you get a new loom plan a simple project, something you don’t care about how it turns out, and make it a fast one.
This will allow you to get a feel for the loom, it’s quirks and crazies and what it can (and can’t) handle.
I didn’t. So here how it’s gone:
Project #1: On an old, second hand Leclerc Nilus. First I had to repair the loom. Then I warped it and found out problem number one. Though I had measured the reed and it came out 22 inches and I was at the limits of the reed width…I didn’t realize that the Leclerc Nilus has an interior brake that is high enough to “hit” the apron rod and therefore the apron rod is only around 20″. The REAL loom width. So my draw in is insane. Lesson Learned: Using an advancing twill that was insane to thread and treadle.
Project #2: On my new Ashford Loom. This one not as bad as it’s new and fun and friendly. BUT. It’s new and fun and friendly. I’m getting a feel for it. And I decided to get a feel for it while weaving a waffle weave hand towel. Where (see past posts) I made mistakes on heddle counts and such. It’s been painful as it’s been dragging on forever (decided to make three to four towels at once to justify the number of threads). I now hate those towels.
So I’ve told myself. Moving forward if I ever get on a new or new-old loom again: Small project. Easy to thread. Easy to weave. Get a feel for the loom. And then plan the ambitious project.
I weave once a week at a workshop class. There I don’t use my new Ashford Table Loom (now on the stand), but an old 24″ Leclerc Nilus. I spent the first class with it doing loom repairs.
This is not a bad thing (just like putting together my Ashford was not a bad thing) as it forces you to understand your loom a bit more. I thought I was “good to go” and finally started weaving officially this week (the last class of the session).
Here’s what happened. I was beating and finding that the front brake kept slipping off. I had tried to repair it day one, but the screw has been fixed so many times, it’s damaged the wood frame. So short of moving the holder around, it’s a bit stuck at the moment the way it is.
This meant I had to be delicate. But I was also finding that my fabric was moving forward and loose. I was constantly tightening and shifting things. It took me a while to figure out what was going on.
(I also had a draw-in issue but that’s a lesson learned in using a 24″ loom I’ve never used before and finding the apron rod was actually closer to 22″ so it could get past the brake…so next time I won’t be so free with my width in loom).
Here’s the difference I was seeing in the fabric:
The black is the header, but the next section you can see how spread out the pattern is compared to the top section (both sections are the same number of picks). I finally realized that my brake on the back was also slipping. Every time I was beating, the fabric was moving forward as well.
Because my brakes kept slipping on the front and back, it was resulting in a very stretched pattern that was impossible to correct. The more forcefully I beat the fabric, the more it moved.
A pair of needle nose pliers and a wrench were found, and the back spring on the back brake was shortened. This tightened it up so it stopped slipping (took off about six spring coils, it didn’t take a lot). Then the front brake was secured with a pipe cleaner (it was on hand).
The result is the new top section of the pattern.
I didn’t go back as I’m using this as fabric for a small purse and I can work around it for what I need. (Although I’m debating that now that I look at it, and may remove it on Saturday when I return to the workshop).
The good news out of this is that this is an advancing twill that had a VERY complicated threading pattern (78 threading pattern repeat). I was very pleased to see that despite my issues with the brake slipping, the threading looks correct. Very happy about that as it was not easy to stay focused while threading and make sure I got it right.
I’ll hopefully take a picture when it’s finished and off the loom so you can see the full effect.