Fun With Rugs

A few weeks ago I got to be a student at the guild’s summer school, attending Gerlinde Binning’s two-day rug workshop. Unfortunately, the second day was a scorcher up in the 40s. Fortunately, the tram works outside the guild had finished so the class was moved from the scout hall back to the airconditioned guild rooms.

I had camera amnesia again, but at least I have the sampler I wove to take pics of. We started off with rag weaving. I’ve done this before, but it was a good warm up.

Then we moved on to weaving with fleece. This I didn’t like as much. I’ve done it once before but used roving, eliminating the need to comb locks.

Our homework was to make a rag plait, which we wove the next day. That was followed by Soumak.

I skipped rya, as I’ve done that already, and tried weaving krokbragd using tshirt rags. It worked well enough to prove it would be possible, but the warp would need to be threaded to a wider sett. Sampling will be required.

I had to move my car when Gerlinde taught giordes knots, but she gave me a quick demo when I got back. But time was running out so instead of doing that, I concentrated on learning double-faced twill. I’d come across the technique when researching for the twill project in the 4-shaft weaving certificate course, and was determined to try it one day. Now I had my chance.

To finish there was a brief discussion of finishing techniques. Too brief for me, as discussing the many methods and their pros and cons was one of the reasons I wanted to do the class. But I did learn what Gerlinde’s favourite ones were, and why.

A bonus to the class was that the guild’s supply of donated rug weft was being sold off. I bought some berber wool and two batches of 2ply. I picked up quite a bit of rug weft at various places last year, and I’m looking forward to getting everything together and planning some rugs. But I’m still getting through giving it all a week in the freezer to kill moth eggs.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of warp on the Katie. A few days later I described what I needed to Paul and he gave me a length of plastic with a u-shaped profile to try weaving giordes knots. Then he sawed a groove along a piece of dowel to make a tool close to what Gerlinde had used in the class. It was slow weaving, but fun – and a great way to use up scraps of weft.

Then I wove with strips cut from a rug liner from IKEA, designed to stick rugs to the floor. After a few years they get dusty and smelly, and when you wash them most of the ‘stick’ goes out of them, leaving you with thin pieces of slightly tacky, plasticky felt. Well, they weave well enough, so I have use for it now.

All in all it was a great workshop and I’m all inspired to weave more rugs. However, I have one stumbling block: I want to sell the Osbourne loom but the Lotus loom’s tension brake is barely tight enough to hold against normal beating, let alone what’s needed for rug weaving. I had a close look at a Lotus at the Guild, and it has a ratchet and pawl on the back beam as well as the tension brake. Maybe I can find a way to add one to mine.

Anyone know of an old Lotus loom that’s only good for parts?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. But who knows? I might be lucky enough to find one. After all, a sectional warping beam, tension box and bobbin holder for a Lotus loom came up for sale recently – and yes, I snatched them up eagerly. (Unfortunately, the sectional beam doesn’t have a ratchet either.)