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.