While helping Peggy mend a couple of long runs of weaving last week she asked me to weave the end of the warp she had on her barn frame loom because she had run out of rags. She is out west on her own adventure this week so I figured this would be mine.
I have never woven on one of these looms before. What I found was once you understand the mechanics of weaving you can pretty much weave on anything. So in this one spot I’ve gone from crazy power looms to one of history’s finest.
It has two shafts and was warped for rag rugs, all I had to do is bring the weft. I hadn’t woven a rag rug before but have seen plenty in progress so I figured how hard could it be? I spent a few hours tearing fabric (I’m a long time quilter so fabric is everywhere). It was torn into strips 3″ wide, folded with the wrong sides together and pressed. Then I randomly picked pieces and sewed them together in flat seams. I had a 30″ rag shuttle so I added the strips to that. I really hadn’t looked at the warp that close before I decided to do this so I had no idea how much weft I was going to need.
There is nothing like a loom you have to climb into. It’s quite comfortable, so much so that I think I need to build a bench into my Macomber.
There is no shuttle race when you open the shed but the rag shuttle worked perfectly. I began and ended the rug with a few picks of rug warp and wove to 60″ in length. Probably a little long but once I started I couldn’t stop. Advancing the warp was easily done just required a little muscle.
There’s a window at your back and a nice breeze was blowing in the entire time I was weaving. It also gave a rather harsh light to the finished weaving.
Time for a confession. I’m really a control freak when it comes to a lot of things, especially color. When I chose my fabric for the weft I used a blue that I had a lot of to add to the continuity of the entire piece. I didn’t really randomly choose fabrics, they were chosen with intent. I knew what the warp colors were so I made sure to incorporate those colors in the weft. This didn’t go together the way I had envisioned it but I have to say it finished with something I’m satisfied with.
Now I’m dreaming about that rug loom restoration project in the shed and the things I’m going to be weaving on it. Sometime we just need a little push.
4 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Fun”
I learned how to weave on one of these, and you’re right, there is nothing like climbing into the loom to work. I loved it. It took me a long time to weave on my Harrisville, because I couldn’t lean into it the way I could the old barn loom, And when OSV took my beloved 200 year old friend away to replace it with a repro, I was bereft. The heft, the solidity, and the awareness of generations of weavers sitting where I sat, bruising where I bruised, and rhythmically shifting harnesses and throwing the shuttle were irreplaceable. I still miss it. Have fun!
I’m thinking I’d like to build one.
And yes to bruising. I was surprised at how banged up I got. Chalked it up to inexperience.
I lived near Washington’s Crossing PA and my mother and I used to demonsrate weaving using a loom like that for the tourists. Boy was it heavy! My cousin bought a cabin in Virginia and a loom was built into the rafters in the attic! I always wanted to see that – what a clever (but hot!) place to have a loom. Rag rug weaving is attictive and such a great way to play with color. I am almost finished with some hand towels, which have been picky but fun to weave and I think I may have to put on another rag rug warp… You will enjoy the finished product, I am sure!