Workshops, Rug Weaving and More

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Uncategorized

rags to riches mat

Rag rugs were once utilitarian floor or bed coverings that could be made at a minium cost using recycled materials.  When yarn and fabric were scarce, worn cloth could be cut and sewn into strips to create weft “yarn”.  The warp was usually a strong cotton thread like seine twine and the loom was set up for plain weave.  Over time, weavers developed different techniques for making their rugs distinctive.  Some depended upon how the rag strips were joined others involved how the weaving was done.  The mat in the picture would be typical of a “hit and miss” pattern where the colours are spread randomly though out the piece.

  At some point in their weaving journey all weavers seem to be drawn to rag weaving.  Perhaps it is the link with weavers of the past.  Perhaps it is the desire to repurpose items instead of discarding them.  

cloth and the two strips it was woven from

While the weave structure may be simple, good technique is required to produce a rug that will lay flat and stand up to heavy use.  The beat must be tight, the width must be consistent and special treatment is needed to protect the fringes.

The thick weft can also create problems with the edges and that is what prompted our workshop committee to organize a Finnish Rag Rug Workshop.  

We are lucky to have talented members like Rita Deverney who are willing to share their knowledge.  Rita took 14 students through the process using a combination of lectures, demonstrations and hands on weaving.  Students prepared their “rags” at home and wove samples on guild looms that had been warped with seine twine by the instructor.  Time on the looms was spaced out to limit the number of people in the studio at one time.

Braided selvedge using 3 strips

   A characteristic feature of Finnish rugs is the braided selvedge which is created by the specific ordering of 3 shuttles each carrying a separate rag weft.  In the example, 3 different colours were chosen to highlight the braiding.  It produces a secure decorative edge that adds to the strength of the rug and protects the edge from wear.


  Below are some of the rugs woven by the workshop participants.  

students rag rugs

In house workshops and studio projects wrapped up for 2021.  The studio looms are bare and having a well deserved rest.  This year they made blankets galore, tea towels, table mats, wash cloths, lace mats, rag rugs and mug rugs. 


Interested in workshops for 2022??  Here is a preview of what is coming up.

Optical Illusions starts Wednesday January 19th 2022 (8 weeks). 

optical illusions 

 This on-line course is taught by Linda Wilson.  Linda will take you through an exploration of optical illusions created by clever manipulation of colours in the warp and weft.  Log Cabin, Shadow Weave and Parallel Threading will be covered with examples for both 4 and 8 shafts.  Students will work on their own looms using drafts that will be provided. 

Cost members $75, non-members $95 

We are also planning for workshops on Transparencies and Working with Linen

For more information contact our Workshop Registrar Gillian Best at 

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