Turkey Tracks: December 13, 2010
Last summer, Tami told me she’d love to make some of the placemats I had made using a simple hand loom and fabric strips. About two years ago, I took a class at Alewives Fabrics, Damariscotta, Maine, to learn this technique. The book that contains directions for both the looms and how to weave the rugs is RUGS FROM RAGS, by Country Threads. I think even I could make one of these looms.
I have two looms, a placemat size and a rug size that is about 2 feet by 3 feet. I got the rug-size loom first, and my first project was a rug for our kitchen door. We had just painted the kitchen a color called “beeswax,” from Benjamin Moore paints. It’s a warm, soft color in the orange family. So, I wanted kitchen rugs to have warm colors.
What I learned with this project is that my muslin inner fabric strips (warp? woof?) should have been in the color palette, not the ususal off-white muslin suspect. But, but, let me tell you that this rug washes frequently and gets popped right into the dryer. It takes on mud, snow, and rain without a fuss, and I love it. Ditto the 8 placemats and the upper side door rug I made after finishing this first rug. The placemats and other rug are made from “on-sale” fabrics, and they are not batiks. They ravel more, and it’s harder to weave them because you have to pay attention to keeping the outer, colored part of the fabric turned out so that the inner, bland side does not show.
Here’s a picture of the upper side door rug so you can see how different it is. That’s the door stopper Bryan and Corinne sent to us as a housewarming gift when we moved to Maine.
Here’s a picture of one of the placemats. Each one is different. And, I trim off unraveled threads every so often. Again, they are wearing like iron and get popped into the washer and dryer without a backward glance.
Tami and I left the next morning to pick out fabric for her project. John, upon hearing of her project, offered to make her a loom. Meanwhile, after choosing batiks in soft creams and blues (beachy colors she said), she cut her fabric strips and started a placemat on my loom.
Tami and I always get into crafts toward the end of their month in Maine with us, so she did not have time to finish this first placemat and went home with both my loom and the one John made for her. She did have time to master the technique and finished one of the placemats in short order. Here it is:
I, meanwhile, made the six napkins with fabric she left with me and mailed them to her.
Tami and Mike, after looking for the kind of home they wanted to buy in Charleston, bought a home in August. Thus, she was preoccupied with her third move in three years and with some changes to the new home throughout the fall. (They bought a simple, beautiful home that works to keep them together as a family–along the lines of the “not so big” home idea.) And now, both of my sons and their families live on Isle of Palms, a barrier island just north of Charleston’s harbor. They live two blocks from each other and within two blocks of the beautiful Isle of Palms beach.
Together over Thanksgiving, we finished three placemats, so now Tami has four completed. She has materials for two more.
Here’s what the loom looks like, with a placemat in progress:
And, here are three placemats with their matching napkins:
Some time this winter I would like to start a rug using an old light green duvet color and some old sheets.
I warn you: this craft is addictive.