Tag: textiles

Peg Loom Rag Rugs

Peg Loom Rag Rugs

I first came across peg looms at one fiber festival or another a few years back and was immediately enthralled.  What I was seeing were gorgeous alpaca rugs and throws. My immediate thought, however, was that I might try my hand at peg loom rag rugs.  The idea simmered for a time.  And then a time too long.

I’m a tremendous fan of recycling and reusing.  Much of my work involves the repurposing of old wools, cashmere sweaters, vintage and antique cloth and other materials.  While my love affair with rug hooking is unequivocal, I’m always curious about other techniques, processes, and learning opportunities.  New ways to use materials I may have collected, but aren’t necessarily my go to’s—cottons for example, are a constant tease.  Weaving would seem an obvious destination for a girl with my fiber proclivities, but two things held me back:  the space requirements of a number of styles of looms and the limitations of a shoulder injury.  Here I circle back to my introduction to a peg loom and the possibility of it fulfilling  my dream of creating rag rugs.

The Appeal

Unlike most looms I’d known, a peg loom is compact and requires very little space, is portable, and could work with the stash I already have.  It is simply comprised of a wooden block  base drilled to accept pegs.  Each peg, in turn, has a hole drilled through the bottom diameter to accept your warp threads or yarns.  That’s it.  You can use as many or as few of the pegs as you like for a piece.  The more you use, the wider your weaving will be.  The length of your warp threads determines how long your weaving can go.  When I divulged my plans to my hubby, thinking I could give this a go with a scrap of 2 x 4 and some dowels, he surprised me with a beautiful, well thought out finished maple piece.  The pressure was on!

Getting Going

I had a few stops and starts with peg loom weaving.  And I’m going to insert here a big thank you to Anne at Cape Newagen Alpaca Farm for the confidence building time she spent with me!   The finished weave is a bit different than the more traditional under/over method.  Fabric created on peg loom creates a weave that leaves only the weft visible.  Rather than beating the weft into place as you go, the warp is cinched up at the end to create the density of the fabric.

My first few attempts found me experimenting with core spun alpaca, vintage flannel yardage, and recycled saris.  The latter two were torn into strips that I joined as I went.  I definitely have been bitten by the bug now and have more plans.  I want to experiment with chunky warps and, alternatively, more delicate wefts.  Visions of denim and antique silks are a tease.  The possibilities are enticing.  Rag rugs have always appealed to me, but different materials could make wonderful table runners or placements, window shades or pillows.

Peg Loom Rag Rug

Under the Apple Trees

Under the Apple Trees

Never has a photo session been so inspired. I threw open the doors and hauled a favorite chair out under the apple trees. My dogs padded behind me befuddled, but delighted with the diversion. And never was I happier to be taking care of the business end of business.

Japanese Cranes

I’ve just finished up and delivered a fantastically enjoyable project: a commissioned hooked pillow that I took through the process from beginning to end.  The Landmark School was celebrating the retirement of a much loved teacher after 40 years of service and wanted a gift that would truly reflect their admiration for her and her own personal loves as she embarked on the next phase of her life’s journey.  After multiple discussions and drafts, we finally honed in on the perfect design.  Hooking was a joy—there is never such a pleasure as  finding the perfect shade of wool to express what you are trying to convey or deciphering the direction and style of the hooked rows of wool to pull it all together.

The creativity did not end when the hooking was done.  We found a gorgeous crewel work fabric to back the pillow with, and another teacher beautifully hand embroidered the date, school, and sentiment throughout the design.  This project was truly a labor of love to celebrate a person who so clearly deserved it.

Paris: In Part

Nothing makes me prouder than overhearing other women in fabric and yarn shops commenting on how well behaved my husband is.  My guy takes all things in stride.  We enter said establishment, he reaches for my mittens/coat/bag, and scopes out the Man Seat.  He sits.  He waits. And waits.  When I cast a worrying eye in his direction, he assures me he’s good.  When I excitedly point something out to him from across the shop, he gently taps his chest.  His heart is all aflutter, too.  We recently reenacted this well rehearsed routine while on one truly amazing trip.  Paris.  Entree des Fournisseurs.  And when you get to number 8 rue de Francs Bourgeois, the gentleman in the perfume store will kindly interrupt your butchered but earnest attempt at French with his beautiful English to tell you that the shoppe is just around the corner in the courtyard.  Confusion resolved.  Let the shopping begin.  Cue the lovingly patient husband.

EdF is a small but but charming boutique of yarns, trims, ribbons, fabric, buttons, haberdashery, and all things true to a fabric lover’s heart.  The quality of the ribbons and trim, in particular, just sent me into ecstasies of design imagination.  I simply could not resist selecting a sampling of my favorites to return to my studio with.  Even the magnificent 13 euro/meter lace and ribbon edging made the cut, though just one meter of it.

The store fixtures are just as inviting as the merchandise.  There are worn and patinaed wooden antiques—cutting tables, display cases.  The wrought iron ribbon displays made me envious.  The antique  armoires are brimming with felts the colors of confections.  And then there are the oh so tempting samples of finished pieces demonstrating the design acuity of knitwear and fashion pattern designers I’ve never heard of, but can’t wait to research and study.

My time there, though not rushed, was far too brief.  It was a Pandora’s box that now open cannot be closed again.  I know what is out there.  It’s the best I’ve seen so far in my endless search for beautiful fabrics and trim.  I spent my time there, made my modest purchases, collected my sweet husband and treated him with a stop at the patisserie.  While he tucked into his Gourmandise (and me my croissant), I began scheming for my next trip to Paris to continue the discovery of all its textile wares.

Craigslist for Fiber Fanciers

Craigslist:  Love.  It.  How was the grammar there?  Never mind.

Flea market junkies, bargain hunters, cheapskates–ahem, Frugal Yankees—that we are, CL is a haven.  We’ve found sofas and antiques and cars, but it is also just the ripest picking ground for fiber lovers.  I’ve bought and sold yarn, found rug hooking tools and supplies, and discovered vintage books of technique and design to die for.  And my latest discovery??  Vintage Indonesian batik sarongs.  Gorgeous.  The design wheels are turning…  What to do?  What to do?

Sarongs and more. Design candy.