Tim Knisely’s New Book, “Weaving Rag Rugs”
Paperback – Color – 127 Pages – $24.95
Stackpole Books – www.stackpolebooks.com
I love the fact that you can get so many different styles and a materials of rugs – such as sheepskin rugs, or a bayliss rug. I think it’s even more interesting that people can make them from scratch; sometimes with such intricate designs. As an experienced weaver myself, weaving a rag rug always seemed daunting. Tim Knisely’s new book answers all the questions that worried me. In fact, only one of my students ever wove a rag rug and it shrank 6-10 inches immediately after it came off the loom. Another weaver wove a rag rug for her bathroom and it came out long enough to run a few feet out of the bathroom and down the hallway!
Besides answering the basic questions, his enthusiasm, encouragement, and personal advice make it seem like weaving a rag rug is very, very doable. An example of his personal advice on page 26 is to “weave by the seat of my pants.” However, most of the book tells exactly what to do and what to watch out for.
The book is beautiful, filled with inviting projects and historical rugs, and full of vital information. A beginning weaver who has woven only one warp (even in a class situation) could use this book and not even know there were worry-some issues at all.
He talks about various warp threads to use and recommends polyester-cotton-blend 8/4 carpet warp which is a surprise and change from the 8/4 cotton rug warp I have known about since I began to weave.
His descriptions of how to choose the material for the rags is thorough and easy to understand. He also tells how to figure out how much material you need to have for the amount of rags you need for a specific size rug. (He recommends weaving it somewhat longer so the shrinkage I mentioned above won’t spoil your projects.)
Of course he tells how to calculate the sett-a big issue when the warps are so much thinner than the thicker rag wefts.
Another bug-a-boo for me was weaving a heading that doesn’t draw in. That is taken care of right at the beginning.
There is no “trouble shooting” chapter because he covers the issues in the well-titled chapters so you can easily find where to read about various issues. This said, the reader should read every word in the text.
How to prepare the rags has always daunted me and he gives excellent directions and hints. It isn’t such a hard, tedious job as I thought.
His photographs of making the warp and warping the loom are clear and being in color, they don’t seem at all intimidating. It is nice to see a man’s hands doing things-you have a sense he knows what he’s doing and has had a lot of experience teaching it.
So much for the techniques-they are covered well. The thing I like best is the section on projects. Each project has 2 ½” squares of photographs of the actual cloth that the rugs are made of. You also know what the cloth is like, how thick, etc. and each rug project shows the actual cloth that was used. There are large photographs of the rugs which is very helpful in choosing what kind of project you might want to make. The drafts are easy to read or work out if you’ve woven at least one warp previously.
I recommend this book highly-you’ll enjoy it even if you only weave rag rugs in your head.
Here is a photo of some balls ready for a rag rug found in an antique store years ago. I treasure them.