New eBook! Top Ten Rugs on Four Shafts
In spite of how much I love rugs, I have never woven one. I’ve been collecting them for over forty years, and they cover my walls, my furniture, and my floors. Weaving them has always seemed intimidating to me. Color choices matter so much; smooth selvedges, firm structure, even (and very heavy!) beat—all are critically important if a rug is to lie flat on the floor, stay put while being walked on repeatedly, and endure all that walking without wearing out.
Because I don’t weave rugs, I also haven’t used many of the weave structures that make a great rug, particularly weft-faced weaves. Many of them—taqueté, Collingwood style 3-end- or-more block weaves, krokbragd, corduroy, boundweave twills treadled on opposites—are more appropriate for rugs than for other items. I can see that these weaves do have advantages. With them, you can quickly warp a loom (usually using a single strong, smooth thread with very few ends per inch) and then the loom becomes your palette and anything goes. You can choose any weft colors and change them throughout the weaving of the rug. The colors show as solid hues contrasting completely with other solid hues (not an easy achievement for a weaver). I think if I ever got started with a rug warp, I’d probably keep trying new colors in a very large, long sampler.
Until now, though, I haven’t thought of starting one. As I brought together the articles in this ebook, I found myself itching to do just that. This eBook is not just a collection of projects. It also includes articles on rug-weaving techniques: how to get the firm, even tension so necessary for a rug warp; how to bubble the weft; how to use a temple (stretcher); how to adapt a light loom for rug weaving; and maybe best of all, it presents a complete compendium of rug finishes with beautiful drawings and photographs by Doramay Keasbey (Damascus edge, Philippine edge, warp twining, twined loops, chained loops, 3- and 4-strand braids, and more). These articles have been in past issues of Handwoven, but having them all in one place puts them at your fingertips.
And the projects! Not only are the rugs beautiful, the accompanying instructions and helpful tips make me think I really could make one. Each weft-faced structure is represented in this eBook with enough information to give me confidence I could use the instructions to weave the rug shown or even design my own colors and block orders. Many of the weft yarns used in them (some a great number of years ago) are no longer available, but current yarns in the same colors are given in the project instructions. The krokbragd rugs by Janice Jones and Wynne Mattila are symphonies of color. Michael Rohde’s and Barbara Kent Stafford’s block weave rugs fill my mind with design ideas. Boundweave twill rugs by Jean Scorgie and Marilyn Dillard look easy and fun to weave and invite experimentation with color variation. And the corduroys! Marilyn Dillard’s bedside rug with its varied levels of cut pile and Jean Scorgie’s inlaid flowers simply enthrall me. It’s time for me to weave a rug!