How did you get started in weaving Rugs?

I'll be the first here to tell my story. I'm almost 58 yrs. old, live in the midwest, wife / mother / grandmother.
I am a knitter and enjoy using natural fibers only. I can crochet but don't enjoy it much. I've been sewing since I was in 5th grade. I'm also an organic gardner, raise chickens, play the Autoharp / Mtn. Dulcimer.

I am recently new to weaving, though I've had a love to do such since I was a little girl. I had a child size loom when in grade school that looked very much like a floor loom. I had it until after I was married. During this past year I've been learning to weave on a large table top J-Made loom at a Museum in town. Weaving classes became a thing of the past at the local community building. Looms were dispersed but some made it across the street to the museum. The elderly lady that has been teaching me was the former teacher at the center. She teaches / travels all over the state and to a few other states. She takes parts in many Guilds / shows / demonstration. She's a walking encyclopedia of weaving / fiber arts.

In grade school I use to watch for hours an elderly lady well into her 90's weave rag rugs from sun up to sun down every day Spring thru Fall across the ally. Winters didn't lend themselves to weaving in the unheated shed in northern Minnesota where I grew up. I believe that my dad saw my interest via watching this lady and that is how ended up with the child size loom for either a birthday or Christmas gift, forget which since they were both with in a couple weeks of each other.

I've spent hours on the internet for many many months searching for a rug loom, also a floor loom for fine weaving. Recently I went to see a rug loom listed on Craig's list. It's a 1940's Union #36 and was in very good solid condition. Some rust on heddles / heddle metal frame parts and the reed due to being stored in basement covered over, which should all clean up easily. It's a very heavy loom, 170 lbs.. Nothing is broken on it, has the original books, lots of shuttles and original wood stretcher ( Temple ). All the parts run smoothly. Put money down and heading back in a couple of weeks to pick it up. The gal selling it is the second owner. She had to give up weaving by doctors orders, due to an injury that left her with 6 vertebrae fused together.

I am so looking forward to getting her home ( think I'll need to give my loom a name LOL! Guys name their cars so why not name our looms!! ). 

I'm on the look out for another loom for fine weaving, preferably 8 harness. I do have an 8 harness Schacht Baby Wolf here at home that was lent to me and the gal has never used it. Possibly may buy it from her.

SO HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN WEAVING RUGS? 

SHARE YOUR STORIES HERE. INTRODUCE YOURSELF and invite others to join.

Comments

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2011 - 16:25

Rug weaving is what most think of when they think of weaving.  Since no one has answered your message, I thought I would.  I started weaving with an interest in tapestry and wall hangings, but of course, I did have to weave at least one rag rug in the beginning.  Most weavers are not so proud of their first rug, but they are not hard to weave.  The important thing is to use strong warp threads, sett at about 8 per inch and to use all the same kind of fabric for the weft.  And it is best to only put on a short warp for about three rugs when you make the first warp.  Resist the temtation to put on a very long warp.  Not only is it easier to put on a short warp, but you may want to change the warp width after weaving a few rugs. You should do very well.  Contact me at [email protected] if you have specific questions.

Joanne

Posted on Tue, 10/11/2011 - 18:09

Thanks for the good advice Joanne! I am really enjoying this community of Weavolution and the vastness of info one can find on here.

Posted on Fri, 10/14/2011 - 19:21

I started weaving rag rugs when I bought a 42" Union rug loomnat an antique store. it was love at first sight! I bartered the price down by offering to weave the owner some rugs. She was delighted and so was I! It served me very well until I had to part with it before we moved south as I was worried that I would never weave again. I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was finding it hard to even hold a pencil, but I'm happy to report after about 4 hrs of heavy duty meds... I am feeling good again. BUT.. I don't have my Union anymore.

At one time I had 2 Unions... A 42" and a 36". I rarely used the 36 and wound up giving it to a friend.

I wove with brand new Woolrich wool from their mill end store that I cut into strips. I bought a HUGE pair of carpet shears and could fold the wool and cut through about 6 layers at a time. I did not use a shuttle, but hand fed the weft through the shed of the warp. The warp was 8/4 cotton carpet warp at 8 epi. I liked to use a black warp which really made the colors in the wool fabric weft stand out!

I miss my Union which made the tightest, firmest rugs ever because I could crank the warp up until your could almost play it like a harp! I've exchanged my Union and a couple 4 shaft Leclercs (36" and 60") for a nice 8 shaft Schact Mighty Wolf that fits into our condo living. But oh.. That Union... It was the best!!!

Posted on Fri, 10/14/2011 - 20:13

One of the reasons that Union loom works so well is that it is a counterbalance.  That makes it easier to keep the tension tight and it is still easy to make a shed.

Joanne

Posted on Sun, 10/16/2011 - 03:23

I have had a 42. Inch rug loom counterbalanced for several years. It was given to me ,but I hadn't used it more than a couple times. My jack loom worked much better for what I produced.

I was home for 6 weeks recovering from surgery and I came across a fraizer. Cloth cutter that had been motorized on E bay. I bid and got it for a great price. Also found a excellent source for. Rags rolls , carpet warp, and rug selvage . Now that I had the materials I had to weave. So now I am making rugs.

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 20:56

In 1997 I was offered a loom, supplies, and lessons from an experienced weaver who also had a shop in Deerfield Village, Mi.  Having just opened a pottery studio I declined this free and wonderful offer.

Now this past summer I am again offered a Bexell 48" floor loom.  I did not want to pass up this offer.  The loom awaits my picking it up.  The price !  My donation to any orphanage of my choosing,  Any amount I can afford !!!  Was I going to pass it up again.  No!

I don't know anything about weaving, but my daughter has said she would be interested after her two little Dyna-Mites are a bit older.  I want to pass something on to her. 

I feel like it is going into a tunnel, but the more I research it the more interesting

Can rag rugs be woven on this machine?  I feel like rugs is a good and an interesting place to begin.

Any thoughts will help,  Thank you

Vivienne

 

 

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 21:42

 A need for rugs to put on a tent floor started this rug obsision. I was loaned a loom to use that has a lot of problems and I still was able to make a few rugs on it. Then I said, (my mother used to say, be careful what you wish for as you just might get it)I think I want my own loom, a 4 harness that can weave rugs and some wide fabric.Well one came up for sale in a local thrift shop within a week  and I made a very low offer on it and now I have a beautiful 40 inch Macomber in my living room along with the borrowed loom. I have wove about 10 or 12 rugs with some of the yards and yards of new material I have stashed. Hoping to get some of it used up so I have a bit more room.I am now weaving a baby blanket for the spook of the loom but then I will get back to rugs. I like them a lot!

Marlene in Oregon

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 22:06

The Bexell Cranbrook was designed as a sturdy countermarche rug loom for all types of rugs.

It has all manner of reinforcd parts to assist in keeping the tension guitar string tight.

Posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 22:34

My husband just showed up one night with a floor loom.  It's a Harrisville Designs 40", and I'm certain it lacks stellar qualities of a real rug loom, but since its all I have, I'll give it a go.  I just got a great deal on a  bunch of fabric, so it won't cost me much to try my hand.  If I like it enough, I may just have to buy a dedicated rug loom.

Posted on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 02:32

I have a new-to-me 36" Harrisville 8 shaft (although I've only used 4 so far).  I'd love to make rugs on it for these chilly Maine floors.  Also, being a "sewist" I have totes full of fabric I'd love to use for rugs.  I've loved weaving since my Mom taught us to weave newspapers and covered them with oil cloth for a "Sit-Upon" in Girl Scouts.  Since then I've made rugs with braiding wool strips, "traditional" rug hooking with tiny wool strips, punchneedle and yarn, and most recently, locker-hooking left-over polar fleece and cotton strips.  I guess maybe I'm a rug-aholic and am now looking for a way to make them even faster.  (and my wrists are sore) Please, let me know if there is another thread better suited to ask technical questions about warp, etc.

 

Posted on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 16:15

Hi Chris,

I would plan on weaving a weft faced rug, as they are a little easier to beat.  Check you loom for places where it is assembled with screws.  That is what starts to wear when you beat hard and tighten the tension tight.  Also, look at the how the cloth beam is assembled where the turning handle is.  Our guild has a 36 inch Harrisville and a weaver who was weaving a 30 inch cotton fabric cracked the cloth beam when tightening the warp.  So be careful about tighting the warp too tightly.

Joanne

Posted on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 18:38

When I bought my first loom, it came with 20 meters of rug warp. It was sold by a collegue who was moving and would not find room for the loom that she had hardly used. It was made by her great grandfather, and as her daughters were not interested in weaving she  wanted the loom to come to nice people who would weave on it. She told me the local museum had been interested. It was a very sturdy loom with direct tie down, and very well suited for rug weaving.

I had not thought of rugs before, but as the warp was there, and I had no warping board yet I just started, and soon I had no more worn out bedclothes. I finished the 20 meters and started on a new warp, rug warp can be bought readymade. It was not till 3 years later, when I bought a tabletop loom for the holiday house, that I got a warping board and started to experiment with other kinds of weaving projects.

The old loom was rather simple and, I think, good for a beginner. I made a few rug of a draft, tried different variations and then I resleyed a new draft. I kept finding new things to try, and I never really got bored with rugs.

The old loom has now come to some other nice people, who live in an old farmhouse that really looks good with the loom. They want to weave rag rugs.

I got a Glimåkra Ideal with 8 shafts and CM. I have made only a few rag rugs on it, but it works well with the rag rugs, and I have a new rug warp ready, just waiting for me to finish my halloweave project.

Posted on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:46

That sounds good to me. I've made lots of warp faced items on my rigid heddle and am comfortable with the process there, so I'm hoping it will transition to the Harrisville (Harry, for short). I need to buy carpet warp. Are there different sizes of that, too, or is "carpet warp" enough to know?

Posted on Sat, 10/22/2011 - 15:15

is available from Yarn Barn and the Woolery.  It is the strongest cotton rug warp and will hold up much longer when the rug is on the floor.  One tube will make a 10 yard warp for most kinds of rug weaving.  For your loom, sett it at 6 or 8 per inch to make it easier to beat the rug.

Joanne

Posted on Sat, 10/22/2011 - 16:27

I went to help a friend pick up a Newcomb Studio 4H loom she wanted, found it in a basement that had been remodeled which made us completely dismantle it, then restore it to weave again at her home. We found some weavers 30 miles away that taught us on a Norwood 4H cherry spinette loom, which I liked so much we built a copy and took it w/ us on the CRAFT-SHOW circuit in Metro-Chicago area over 26 week-ends annually, from 1979 thru 1986. Quit then, married an ' AR ' gal in '88, retired in '91. Came to AR to build our own design of a LOG-HOME, could not get back-to-weav'n 'til 2005, when we finally made space for the 6 looms.  Having time to weave, as well as design & build 3 looms, we now " KEEP-HAPPY-WEAV'N " !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on Sat, 10/22/2011 - 19:29

I am about to embark on my first rug weaving.  I have several bumbs of alpaca core spun alpaca yarn.  My first loom was a rigid heddle that I made scarves and a couple shawls on.  I was then given a Norwood Workshop Loom 22" 4H 4T loom that I have made many scarves on.  I wanted to try larger projects and started looking for a loom.  I found one from a lady in central Kansas that she had purchased directly out of college many years ago and used to weave rag rugs.  She is a very accomplished weaver and had reached an age that weaving on this loom was becoming difficult.  I believe she was around 70+ years at that time.  I now have a Sabina Sectional Folding Loom, which is a four harness, six treadle loom.  Pattern treadles are 1,2,3,4 for the left foot and A,B tabby treadles for the right foot. The loom is in the  So far I have made totes made from plastic shopping bags and curtains for my family room in perle cotton, using a clasped weft design.  (will upload pictures in the future).

I would like to warp up and give it a try, but feeling a little intimidated.  I have spooled up an 8/3 linen "natural" to begin with and would appreciate any input you folks may have.

 

Teresa

 

Posted on Sun, 10/23/2011 - 03:22

Enjoyed your remembrances of weaving on a Union Loom. I'm picking my Union 36 up this coming Monday. So looking forward to weaving on it, just needs some clean up then it will be ready. Currently I am borrowing a Schacht 8 shaft baby wolf.

Posted on Sun, 10/23/2011 - 03:30

I've been away from here for a spell and just got back and found all these stories of how each got started. I really enjoyed reading each one and all the added info shared. Great inspiration!

Posted on Sun, 10/23/2011 - 03:36

As Joanne shared.....Yarn Barn @ http://www.yarnbarn-ks.com/ is definitely a great source for everything weaving, plus knitting, spinning, etc.. I have noticed many others here on weavolution mention them. I have the priviledge of having them right here. I often frequent the store. Susan Bateman who owns / manages the store with her husband is a weaver herself, so is a great help to me when I go in with my many questions as I get into weaving. They have a large mail order dept. serving all over the nation, and more.

Posted on Sun, 10/23/2011 - 15:46

My only contact with a Union Loom was when I volunteered for a local historical museum. The neighboring county had a 36 Union loom that they would give to this museum if we came to pick it up. They wanted the space to revamp their displays. I will say it was heavy and did need two strong adults to move,load and unload in its full assembled condition. At the time I did find a full printing online of the "owners" manual for this and similar Union Looms. I thought I would have had a chance to work this loom but conflicts I had with the director and the museum board gave me no choice but to quit.

Posted on Mon, 10/24/2011 - 17:01

Thank you for the info. I've written it in my "must have" shopping list and noted the sett.

Posted on Wed, 10/26/2011 - 15:50

I've been weaving rag and wool rugs forever! I use a Leclerc 4-s counterbalance loom that is older than me - it is strong and sturdy. I have attached a 30lb steel bar to the beater and that gives me incredibly tight rugs with less wear and tear on my body. I use a direct tie-up so never have to crawl around underneath re-tying.

I also have a Woolhouse, 8-s countermarche for other weaving :)

Posted on Mon, 11/07/2011 - 00:06

I am 58 years old and been weaving for almost 30 of those years now. I took a Boundweave workshop from Cloitilde Barrett about 28 years ago in Peoria, Illinois. I belonged to a weaving guild then that was great!!! Ms. Barrett had worked with Peter Collingwood way back when... She was great! I was so thrilled and loved rug weaving from that day on. She was my inspiration!

Posted on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 21:21

I have an 8 shaft Gilmore loom that I use for everything except rag rugs. It just doesn't give a nice tight rug. Then on Craigslist I saw a listing for a 2 shaft Hammett loom. Last summer my husband and I travelled a couple of hours away from our home to a small town with one store and a school to pick up the Hammett. I love it. It is just made for rag rugs and it makes a nice tight weave. Then on Craigslist I saw another ad asking if anyone wanted 10 boxes of jeans, free. Luckily this was just a couple of blocks away from my home, so I brought home the jeans.  Now I have a huge supply of weaving material.

Posted on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 15:24

I have wanted to learn how to weave after seeing someone's loom over 40 years ago. A few months ago I got a Structo to help me weave little things (and it's fine for whatever fine weaving I want to do) but I wanted a rug loom to make rugs from recycled plastic.  Specifically I want to figure out how to use the feed bags we use at the barn.  Fifty horses go through a LOT of feed bags and I hated the thought of 10-15 feed bags A DAY going to the local landfill.

I found an Union Loom in my price range (cheap!) and I'm now working on a way to utilize these bags for rugs.  It's not to make money, necessarily, it's just a way to recycle plastic.  All rug makers know how to recycle fabric so I just think of this as 21st century "fabric".

P.S. One of my fav plastic rugs is from a 90 year old gentleman who works in a museum in PA. He makes FABULOUS rugs from store/produce bags.

 

Posted on Thu, 01/26/2012 - 18:20

I would love to know what you did with the jeans!!!! 

I am currently weaving with old teeshirts from the rag boxes at the goodwill store, but have a large collection of my boys jeans (missing knees of course) and would like to use these for a rug.

What I do not know is if I need to sew the pieces together after I strip them or if I can just weave away....so I would love to know what you did with your jeans for inspirations for mine!

 

Thanks, Jera

Posted on Thu, 02/02/2012 - 23:11

Hi Jera,

I have made quite a few rugs from jeans. I cut them in strips and cut them at an angle in both ends. The longer pieces I just lay into the shed with an overlap, the shorter ones I sew together to have longer strips, as it is not very practical to have to put several ends into the same shed. I make sure I have only one overlap in each shed. This is the way I figured it out by myself, others may have other ideas about what to do, but my idea is to sew as little as possible, and still not more than necessary as I prefer weaving to sewing.

Eva

Posted on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:54

I am weaving a weft faced rug a 6 epi with a 12/4 linen as the warp.  The weft is alpaca fiber spun around a jute core which is somewhat bulky.  I am noticing alot of rippling in the weft. 

When I count the 6 warp threads across the weft they are spread out to cover 1.5 inches instead of the 1 sett that I warped on the loom.

Should I be using a sett of 4 epi instead of 6?

Also, when I wove the header for the rug out of double strand alpaca there was no rippling at all.

Thanks so much for any help you can give me.

 

Posted on Wed, 08/19/2015 - 15:33

I began on a twining loom. I made 4 rugs and moved on to a floor loom.  I've only done about 8 rugs, but I love. I used a weavers delight loom without the fly shuttles. It worked very well. I cut strips about 3/4 inch also. I sew mine - at a veery long angle. They lay in the shed much better without any bumping.

Old cotton is wonderful to weave; sheets or curtains. Poly has it's merits but also its drawbacks. But thos silly fuzzy blankets work beautifully too. They take the tension without fighting back. The gawdier the pattern in the material, the better the rug it will make. Try to cut striped material on an angle. It makes a better pattern.  I've done both fringe and hemmed.  I like both but fringe seems easier for me. I find it difficult to keep the plain weave hem together while trying to sew it. I've been told the gel glue works well. I'll have to try it.

So far I've only used cotton warp and I've only broken one warp thread. As long as it works and it's less expensive, I'm happy with it.

 

Posted on Sun, 08/23/2015 - 20:23

My husband and I are history re-enactors.  I love the old crafts.  I am an eclectic crafter and love to go through a whole pattern book.  When I saw Tom Knisely's Colonial Rug in ??? Handwoven magazine, I had to make it.  It is very narrow and I have enough yarn to make a duplicate and will sew them together.  It is a beautiful orange peel overshot pattern.  Mine is dark green and white.