Tuesday, September 22, 2009

weaving of another kind

I'm working at my home studio for a few days; my nephew and his wife are staying at the studio this week.  They're in town so he can exhibit his photos at the Brooks Pennington Jr. Military Leadership Center at North Georgia College & State University.  He's a Combat Documentation and Production Specialist with the US Army Reserve and has served three tours in Iraq since 2003.   Several of his photos from Iraq are on display through October as part of several exhibits and other events being held during North Georgia Photography Experience.  Check out more about these events and also the Atlanta Celebrates Photography happenings in October.

My weaving here at home is two rag rugs for our kitchen.  I'm using a three-end block weave that's sometimes called double binding.   I have Maysville cotton carpet warp sett at 8 epi and cotton rag strips that are 1" wide.  The rug in the photo has the blocks change position to alternate the large and small squares near the edges; this is the second one of the two.  The first, rolled onto the cloth beam so it isn't visible, has no change of block giving a narrow stripe near each side.  The warp color is dark blue and deep red-violet for two 2" wide stripes.  I'll braid or ply the ends of both--not sure which yet until they're off the loom.  I've had them underway for a couple of months, just weaving on them occasionally.  Since I've turned my "real" studio over to the two young-uns for the week I'm hoping to finish these rugs.  If only Jacob & Connie would finish my big tapestry for me while they're there!

Back to the rag rugs... for the first rug I used a clip and link method of joining the strips.  That's sort of like linking the loop ends of sock loops for looper rugs or linking rubber bands.  With the fabric I snip a slot at each end of strips, put one end of the next strip through and pull the tail-end through.  This gives a bump of fabric which I don't at all mind in rag rugs.  Feels kind of nice to stand on with bare feet.  However, I'm sewing strips, end to end, for the second rug.  I'm doing this mainly because of my recent impulse purchase of a sewing maching!  Of all things I WASN'T expecting to do--buy another sewing machine.  But, at $39.99 how could I pass it up?!

I came across the machine on sale at Hancock Fabrics--was regularly listed around $50 +.  It's a Janome Sew Mini, has absolutely no bells and whistles, not even a light.  But it does straight stitch of four lengths and three width of zig-zag.  It will also go in reverse.  And as I use it to sew the strips it's working just great!  So now I've got a little 5 lb. sewing machine that I can easily carry around if I want to.  Nice when an impulse buy seems to be working out well!

My tapestry diary continues to move through the days with me.  The trips last month gave me quite a bit of white blank spaces.  It's about 30" high now at the tallest part.  Three + months to go until it's completed.

Right now, my plan is to start one for 2010 on January 1, a warp on a frame loom that I can take with me when I'm out of town.  I have plans for next year brewing that will take me away for days or weeks at a time: a week of teaching in March at John Campbell Folk School, a trip to the Southwest for Convergence and the ATA events in July,  two weeks of teaching at Penland in August, and a several week residency at the Lillian E. Smith Retreat Center in the first part of the summer.  Having the new tapestry diary on a portable loom will keep me engaged with it daily.


  1. Love seeing these rugs, Tommye. I have had a hankering to do some rugs for several years, kind of 'rsg rugs' with a bunch of rug yarn that I have accumulated. Yours quite inspire me!

  2. The rag rugs inspire me also! So does the diary - it's amazing what a little bit every day can produce. And good for you on the sewing machine deal. I'm amazed there still is a basic machine - so many I see have a million bells and whistles that I would never use.

  3. Yes, K & J... these rag rugs are fun. I do some for the house every decade or so. The last ones for the kitchen finally gave up the ghost. Next on the agenda for "hobby" weaving is to again weave the kitchen curtains. I did a set 18 years ago in Atwater-Bronson lace; they're still there but I'd like to do new ones with bit of different design. That's the next six months long-term project once I get these kitchen rugs done.

    Yep, the little machine is just what I need. I can only barely stay in a straight line when I stitch so it's perfect for my skill level!