Tag Archives: Rug weaving

Sometimes the magic works…

I am constantly surrounded by a variety of projects in different stages of completion. As much as I try to be conscientious about finishing them, I’m never certain which ones will make it all the way from idea to finished item and which ones never make it past a conceptual stage. The frenzied and involuntary planning mindset that strikes me with a brand new idea is always the same, but sadly, its priorities are often out of sync with what reason would recommend.

A pile of scrapped plans.

When I ordered my nice new kantele, I was planning to construct it a gig bag, a light case to carry it around. Although I had plans and a parts list, this is one of those ideas where time and budget actually made it more practical to purchase a pre-made bag. (For one, I don’t own a sewing machine.) As much as I enjoy creating my own things, I can’t make everything myselfotherwise I’d probably have built the harp, too.

Yeah, I’m all talk.

I console the yearnings of my creative soul by pointing out to it the appealing embroidery on the yoga bag. As far as my dreams of luthiery go, well… I have no consolation, although I did build a plywood lyre for a long-ago Latin class.

Other projects get lost along the way, and find themselves mired in a state of potentially permanent incompletion. I find it a bit distressing to have these lying around my studio and usually find something to do with them, but there are a few that still sit waiting to be put to use. Short, flawed samples of tablet weaving come to mind.

They do make wonderful cable ties!

Another class of projects is that of the almost-finished. The failing here is in discipline more than in craftsmanship.

My first rag rug. One day soon it will be hemmed. Honest!

But there are indeed finished projects, with all of their various levels of success.

I won’t lie: I liked this one.

It’s satisfying to finish a project, but that’s not always why I make things. I love exploring ideas and testing hypotheses, improving my skills and learning as I go. Since the only deadlines and objectives of Crafting Time are my own, I’m able to follow a whim and see what happens. This occasionally means rebelling against the more organized part of my mind that grumbles and demands an orderly step-by-step approach. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Thus, I’ve abandoned the long-awaited tambour project. Anyone who enjoys this sort of hobby has to be willing to let go of a non-starter. I suppose that in the abstract there’s no shame in letting go. Of course, it’s not really that easy to give up! So instead of cutting the project off the loom, or simply tossing my efforts in the samples bin, I took the warp in a new direction.

When my crafting buddy came over last weekend, we had planned to spend the afternoon spinning away. Instead, we gravitated to the loom, then occupied by some uninspiring white plain weave. My friend was not yet a weaver, so I handed her a shuttle, and the next thing I knew, she was weaving away like a duck in water. (If ducks wove. What a dreadful simile.)

Since we only had a few minutes for an impromptu lesson, I did the hemstitching and finishing, but the rest is chopsticknitter‘s excellent work.

I taught someone to weave! At least a little bit. It was very very exciting, and my friend’s enthusiasm inspired me to make better use of the warp than simply stabbing at it glumly with an embroidery needle. After she left, I quickly wound some of my handspun onto a bobbin and threw it through a plain-weave shed, just to see what would happen.

Nothing fancy. Actually pretty sloppy. But I’ve decided to devote the rest of the warp to experimentation, and I’m back to my usual excitement about weaving. So I’ve learned two things: that teaching someone a craft you love is delightful, and that in certain circumstances, abandoning a project gives you the creative kick in the pants you need. I’ll let you know what comes of it all.

And there was weft

(Or as my father would undoubtedly remark, “and weft wuz“. Hi, Dad!)

It’s been a busy week here with lots of errands and not so much crafting– or writing– time. There are a few projects in the works, but first, some glamour shots of my new spindle.

I was recently given a Spindolyn, which is wonderful, but less portable than I’d hoped. My initial plan was to cart the Spindolyn to and fro as a travel spindle, but even with the case I concocted for it, I’m afraid of damaging the brass quill and throwing off the balance. I decided that the Spindolyn would be happiest staying home, but that still left me with a yen for a portable bottom-whorl spindle.

I saw this charmingly named “Delft” set on Etsy last summer and was immediately won over by its handpainted appeal and matching wristaff (I sense a post on the word “distaff” coming up!), but the listing was taken down soon after and I assumed the set had been sold. When the listing reappeared, I considered it fate and snapped it up.

And just in time for my last spinning class, it arrived!

A friend of mine with much more photographic skill than I has taken some better photos that I hope she’ll let me post over here.

Front: fractal spinning. Back: any-which-way spinning.

In said spinning class, I also happened to learn about the technique of fractal spinning. I decided to give it a try, and spun up a bit of colored roving. The roving didn’t split quite evenly, so the colors don’t match up perfectly, but I’m pleased with the effect. This is also the first finished (albeit tiny) skein that I’ve produced off of the Delft spindle.

So, that’s the spinning. There are also exciting goings-on in the weaving department: I finally found some rug weft!

The weft is actually composed of scraps from a textile factory, and it is working beautifully. For one thing, each strip is very long. Instead of sewing strips together, I’m actually cutting them to fit onto my shuttle. The only challenge so far is that the fabric is somewhat elastic, so I have to be careful not to allow it to stretch when I pull the shuttle through.

One more status update: a while back, I mentioned that I wanted to try some on-loom embroidery. Naturally, this is not an original idea, but it was surprisingly difficult to find information on the topic. After searching the internet without much success, I stumbled across a copy of a book that may prove useful:

I’ll be reading this book and coming up with ideas as long as the rug is taking up the loom.