Featured: 8/4 Cotton Warp by Maysville
Cotton Carpet Warp 8/4 Yarn is classic for every weaver – on sale for a limited time! Maysville’s unmercerized cotton yarn is made in the USA. It’s sturdy enough for warp in tapestry or rag rugs, and it’s also great for warp and weft in table settings alone or in a rep weave. It also makes a great fine weight knit or crochet yarn. We’ve added three new colors too!
Cotton Carpet Warp 8/4 Yarn is one of the most familiar and versatile yarns for handweavers. This is the perfect yarn for rugs, sturdy table linens, coverlets, and tapestries. The matte surface of these unmercerized cottons offers a rustic look in a great range of colors. These cottons are very durable, easy to work with, affordable, and they feature minimal elasticity. 8/4 cotton warps are more supple than linen warps and more resistant to abrasion.
500 yards/8 oz tube • tabby sett: 12 EPI • twill: 18 EPI
The color range and strength make it an especially great choice for rag rugs, where it is important to find just the right color to go with the weft tones. Use instead of Pearl Cottons for a softer look.
Knitters and crocheters: These cottons are great for carry-all bags and toys. Try multi-stranding it to obtain a heavier gauge.
Care & Color-fastness:
These cotton yarns may be machine washed and dried. When machine washing some shrinkage should be accounted for and it may vary according to the type of project. Use warm water and no bleach. Darker colors may not be color fast. As always, when using highly contrasting colors we recommend sampling and washing as you would your finished piece. If bleeding is a problem, skein and pre-wash the yarn until water runs clear. Hang to dry. All colors will soften with prolonged exposure to light.
For more general tips on working with cotton, see our recent post here: Crisp Cottons for Spring
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!
Rag Weaving on a Rigid Heddle? Absolutely!
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 [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] 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.
Weaving With Rags – Best of Handwoven, Printed Ebook
Some of Handwoven Magazine’s best rag weaving projects are collected in this terrific reprinted ebook Best of Handwoven - Weaving with Rags -Handwoven eBook Printed Copy. With ten great rag projects, this book is a must for anyone interested in trying this rewarding and affordable type of weaving. Here are a couple of highlights:
This Weft-Faced Twill Rug, by Mark J. Nofsinger, features a crisp and colorful design. Twills are not as common in rag weaving, and the designer notes some important tips for making this hybrib of twill and rag a success. We’d say it’s well worth the effort!
Picture this cozy number in front of your hearth, beside the bed, or welcoming you at the door. The Country Charm Rug, by Alma Benedict uses about 1,200 yards of 8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp for a 31″ by 46″ finished rug with a 4″ fringe at each end. Woven in plain weave, the weft is made by twisting coat-weight cloth strips into cords to create a nice thick fabric. The strips are twisted into cords, using a [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] , which gives the rug an unusually polished appearance compared to many rag rugs, plus the ridged texture is also unique. The cord process is well explained and it let’s you control the color pattern to great effect!
Rag Rug Handbook - 2nd Edition is the must-have manual for any rag weaver. Janet Meany and Paula Pfaff take you step-by-step through the mechanics and detail the tools and techniques you’ll need to weave wonderful rag rugs of your own design. The book features a fascinating historical information as well as great illustrations. Try your own design or work from the twenty-one included projects. A little retro, and very rugged, you’ll be delighted to dive into the possibilities of rag rug weaving!
The book is worth it just for the images of historical looms and vintage weaving advertisements! (From The Shuttle newsletter, published by January Wood & Co. for the Maysville Guild, circa 1964, pp 98.)
Blocks of color Rug, woven by Chuck Benson, photo Eileen Troxel.
Detail of Love’s Path Rug, woven by Wynne Mattilla, photo Petronella Ytsma.
Whether you’ve got a project in mind, or just want to stock up on this weaving staple this is a great yarn to always have on the shelf!
Related items of interest: • Our yarns • Super Fine weight yarns • Cotton yarns • Weaving Books