Funny Farm

A fearsome foray into my fiber follies. I talk about weaving, knitting, spinning and dyeing. Some chatter about the sheep, goats, pigs and chickens.

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Location: North-east PA, United States

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rag Rug Prep

It takes longer to prepare fabric for weaving than to weave a rug in most cases. I don't have an electric or crank cutter so I either rip the fabric into strips or use a rotary cutter. Some fabric cuts easily using the rotary cutter and other fabrics seem to have a protective barrier, like the old Colgate shield!

Lately I've been weaving with 1/2" strips. No folding involved. But it takes me a day to rip two full sheets into these narrow strips.

One inch strips get folded in half and pressed. Some weavers fold in half and wind the fabric onto a rag shuttle. I've tried this, but find that the strips open up in the shed. I suppose if the strips sat folded for a year they'd stay in place.

Two inch strips go through the bias tape gadget and pressed. Time consuming? You betcha! But the results are stunning. No frayed edges or long pieces of thread peeking out between the warp ends.

I'm weaving the second double binding rug and found I hadn't calculated the weft correctly. The blocks are a patterned white and a navy/dk green plaid. I had no more plaid of significant yardage so I grabbed a blue and white calico print and threw it into the dye pot. The sheet weighed a bit over a pound. A 4% solution of navy was mixed. I found it to be a bit too much on the purple side so added black. Though the dye looked great, next to my plaid strip of dk green and navy it just looked bland. I poured 200 ml of 2% gold into the pot. That did the trick. I left it overnight to batch. I really need to rescue that sheet from the pot, rinse/rinse/rinse, then dry it. Today while watching college ball I'll tear 1/2" strips. God be with me.

Joining strips. Strips 1" and wider get sewn on the sewing machine. I usually miter the join but sometimes I just overlap and zig zag. For the narrow strips I cut a slot at both ends and loop them together. I've learned through trial and error to leave "ear" at each end because the ends lie nicely under the warp. When cut short, or the slot is cut too close to the end (which is what I've been doing, silly me), the end bits stick out. Yeah, the edges could be rounded when cut, but I'm spending enough time with prep work.


Blogger beadlizard said...

Photos of joins, please?

11:50 AM  
Blogger Bev said...

As you know, I've been cutting 14 feet of blackout stage curtain into strips. I found that by standing on a stool at my workbench I can fold them into what turns out to be 8 to 10 layers and cut them with the rotary cutter by pushing down harder. My bench is waist high and getting the additional height makes it easy. Before I tackle the electric cutter (which is awesome), I have to make some sort of guide that will work with it so I can get strips of even width.

I tried one bag using ironed strips and I can't tell the difference between the ironed one and the ones I just put in there and beat. I can't even tell which bag it is (I have just taken 6 big ones off the loom.) So, am I going to iron? Nope. Not on your life. It'll be interesting to see how the tan works with and without ironing. Do you think I should try cutting that into 2 inch width and use the bias cutter and then iron them? I will use the electric cutter on the tan because it's much heavier.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

Bev, that tan is pretty darned thick and freys like a son-of-a-gun, so I wouldn't bother folding or ironing that.
I can't cut that many layers! Four to six is my limit with thin fabric. However your black is thin!
Get that guide and use the fancy cutter.

4:10 PM  

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