Rag Weaving on a Rigid Heddle? Absolutely!
Cotton Carpet Warp 8/4 Yarn is the perfect warp for the rag rugs and runners shown in the projects below! Weaving with rags is a fast and fulfilling way to upcycle old clothes and fabric. By cutting it into strips and using it as weft in rugs, table runners, and even novelty fabric for new clothing, you’re creating something beautiful, giving it a new lease on life, and keeping it out of the landfill!
8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp is on sale until Wednesday May 2nd!
Many rag weaving designs are done on two shafts, therefore many rag projects work well on any of the larger rigid heddle looms. With the weft playing a prominent role, there interest comes from texture and color, and less from complex structures. (But don’t let that stop you from trying a more complex design like the twill rug below!) A couple of things to keep in mind:
• Weaving with rags tends to create thicker fabric than other styles of project so you’ll need to account for that on your front or cloth beam – the longer the piece, the thicker the roll of fabric at the front. So as you get the feel for it, and for how much fabric you can fit at the front of your loom, start with shorter pieces.
• Rag rugs are just that, rugs. They’re meant to be tough and firm, so you want a harder beat and pretty tight tension. Especially if the rags are thicker or less uniform, this can be a little more difficult to achieve on a smaller loom. We recommend advancing your weaving more frequently so that you keep a nice deep shed, allowing you the leverage and space to keep an even and firm beat. We also recommend weaving with your loom on a stand or bracing it very firmly (maybe even with a clamp), so that you can beat harder without the loom getting away from you.
• Spend the time at the start getting your warp wound under even and firm tension. Your sett is already going to be pretty wide, and rags are a non-uniform material, so your weaving will progress more evenly, and the surface of your fabric will be more consistent, the more uniform your warp tension. (This is true on any loom, but the effects are magnified on a little loom since some are a little less sturdy than a big floor loom, which can hold higher tension more easily.)
Don’t be shy, give rag weaving on a little loom a try!
In the recent Easy Weaving with Little Looms a Special Issue of Handwoven 2018 you’ll find Constance Hall’s beautiful Rigid-Heddle Rag Rug, which uses 8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp in both warp and weft, along with a combination of blue and green cotton quilting fabrics. Easily machine washable, this would make a great entry rug or bath mat.