The Rug of Waiting

As I mentioned a few posts ago, one of the batches of flannelette had a horsey-plaid-camo-sporty vibe, in greens, blues, greys and browns. I cut them into 2 inch wide strips before realising that I wasn’t going to get many strips out of the flannelette if I made them that wide, and switched to 1 1/2 inch wide strips.

I figured this batch would be my first rug. After working out the size of rug the rags should make using the rough equations I’d come up with based on Tom’s ook, I considered the rug’s design. Do I mix up the strips, or weave bands of each colour? I hung the strips over the front beam of the loom, then tried mixing them up. Nope. Didn’t look anywhere near as good as when they were arranged in groups of the same colour, going from green to brown to grey to blue. But there was quite a jump from green to brown. I had two strips of an khaki camo which would fill that transition nicely, so I googled camo flannelette… and found only one shop in Australia that had any. I ordered some, but the shop was supposed to ring me to get my details and they never did. I also found some nice grey-blue plaid in another shop, and bought two metres of it because it was cheaper that way. I waited for the order to arrive but when it arrived it was not really the same sort of fabric, so I decided I would just weave the rug as it was.

(I did consider contacting the woman I’d bought the flannelette scraps from to ask if she had any more in camo, but I didn’t want to risk ending up with another enormous bag of it! At least not until I knew I wanted to keep making these rugs.)

Black seemed the obvious warp colour, but just black or should I add variation? In Tom’s book there are a couple of projects with staggered stripes of a second colour in the warp. I wanted to try this some time. Well why not this time? But of the colours I had, would any suit? Not really. So I ordered another cone, in grey.

More waiting for an order to arrive. In the meantime, I had been joining strips. In Gerlinde’s class she’d shown us how to overlock them together quickly, and her method certainly was satisfyingly fast.

No shuttle of mine was going to hold the whole rug’s worth of strips, so I did them in batches of the same colour. That also meant I could add a batch of camo or plaid when the fabric arrived. After the joining was done I used a bias binding thingamejig and iron to turn the edges of the strips in. Then I wound them onto rag shuttles.

With the rags ready, and the grey warp yarn having arrived, and the Lotas loom free, it was time to get warping. I got winding, and a niggle started straight away. The yarn was thinner than expected. The project in Tom’s book had a very dense sett – 16epi – compared to what I was used to for rugs. Gerlinde’s recommendation had been 6. I’d reduced that to 12 for this project. I reasoned that I should stick to the instructions, but once I began sleying the reed I knew it just wasn’t right. The warp would cover the rag waaay more than I wanted. So I rethreaded… while watching Eurovision on SBSOnDemand.

So where the warp staggered from black to grey, from 1 grey/1 black, I rethreaded to 2 grey/2 blacks. Then, when I wove, I wove 1/2, 3/4 rather than 1/3, 2/4 so that I had two warp ends together all the way across, effectively halving the sett to 6epi.

I wove a three 15cm header, then got weaving and immediately knew I’d been right. The balance of weft and warp looked great. The warp colour pattern was breaking up the bands of colour enough to unify them but not obscure them. The Lotus was coping with the heavy beating well. The rag was nice to work with. It was all very enjoyable and a relief to FINALLY be weaving.

Then I hit the next snag: I ran out of rag strips two thirds of the way to my intended length.

Well, this was the test rug!

I needed more rag strips. So I considered the colourway so far. Green to brown to grey to blue. Combing through the flannelette rags I hadn’t yet cut up, I found some dark blue with red designs. Perhaps I could transition from blue to red. I looked for flannelette I could buy online. Mostly pastels, a few brights and tie-dye effects, but also plenty of plaids. I ordered a metre each of a dark blue and red tie-dye, and a red plaid.

I’ve cut up the small bundle of rags in blue and red, joined and ironed them. I knew I’d have to wait until the order arrived before I could finish the rug. And the shop I’d ordered from had taken two weeks to deliver last time.

So it was time to start another project. A scarf on the rigid heddle? Or a quick one on the Jane before the next class? Or something else? Sewing? Machine knitting? Jewellery?

Or maybe none of the above, as RSI has flared up in my left wrist. Hmm.