Monday, September 17, 2012

Rag Rugs

Yesterday I pulled off the four rugs that I had finished, washed them and hung them to dry. It's a pretty meager offering for a craft fair but I was tired of fighting with the warp.
I formed a cross behind the heddles so I could pull the warp back through them and still keep track of the order of the warp threads. I decided to change to two harnesses and set it at six ends per inch. No time like the present, even if I'm working under a deadline. You know you have a problem when you call your warp the demon warp. I wasn't having fun so I either needed to stop or change something.
I actually got to this stage yesterday afternoon but warping from the back is back breaking. I don't understand now anyone can do it. There's so much reaching and stretching, and it was at this point that my back cried uncle.
I'm really happy with how the hem-
stitched fringe turned out. It takes much less time than actually tying fringe and there are no knots to step with your bare feet or wear out.
This is how knots wear on a rug. I love this rug from San Miguel de Allende and we had it on the floor for a year or two before the damage reached this point. One day I walked into my studio to find that Ian had tacked it to the wall, which has preserved it, though only I get to enjoy it now.
The fourth rug on the warp was this stubby one that I hemmed and put inside the laundry room door which is probably our most heavily trafficked area. I think a rag rug needs fringe but I made this one for utility purposes. It's from Tommy Hilfiger sheets and boy does it feel good to walk on Tommy Hilfiger.
I worked hard today. I finished the towels on Maudie Mae before lunch and after lunch I tackled the warp on Miss Millie. First of all, I'm grateful to Melissa and Linda for insisting that lashing on the warp is the only way. It is for me now. I was lashed on and ready to weave in ten minutes. Never has "live and learn" been more appropriate. I'm stoked - over the moon - gaga - gratified that my hunch paid off. Six ends per inch on two harnesses is the ticket. Not only that, because there's more space to pack in the weft, I can cut the strips at 2" instead of 3" and get more bang for my rag.
Meanwhile, I've usurped the balcony for my staging area. The dogs are confused. I've got probably 30 pounds of cotton in various colors and amounts. I'm trying to decide what the last two rugs will be in a huge hurry since I really need to weave about 30 more towels in the next three weeks.

Next year I'll do one craft fair - this one - and I'll have all year to get ready for it. Thankfully I'm sharing a booth space with Carol and Kerry again so if nothing else, I know we'll have fun. We've shared space for the last couple of years and I'd feel naked without them.


Benita said...

The rugs look great!! So glad that you have found more techniques that you like.

Cindie said...

The rugs are wonderful - I agree, knots on the fringe aren't a good thing.

On warping back to front - I'm a 'back to fronter' and swear by it, I've done both but I will say it depends on your loom. All the looms I've owned the front beam either folds down to the floor or comes off which means I can put a stool inside the loom and be right at eye level to the heddles, no bending over the front beam required. I remember warping up a loom once where the front beam could not be removed or folded down and it was a back breaker. So, even though I will always encourage weavers to warp back to front I also always say that it depends on your loom - do what's most comfortable with that loom - nothing connected with weaving should hurt.

Nina said...

I really like the look of the hem stitched fringe. It gives the rugs a very sleek look. I say dress the loom in whatever way works for you. I can't actually get in close enough to the front of my loom to even reach the heddles. I'm just too short, with not a long enough reach. However I can pop off my back beam and slide a small chair in to thread heddles from the back. If it works, it works and can't be wrong. Just keep on weaving!

Laura said...

Sorry I missed Cindie! It would have been fun to connect with another Sharon's Friend!

I'm with you on back to front - I have enough trouble reaching over my back beam to thread the heddles - I can't imaging reaching over the front beam to thread *and* sley...

The rugs are awesome, as all of your work is. I think you'll kick butt!!