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What Are the Best Tips for Rug Weavers?

By Terrie Brockmann
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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Usually, the best tips for rug weavers come from master weavers who have experienced mistakes and successes and can share them with others through both books and videos or in person at workshops and through apprenticeships. One important tip is that the weaver needs to maintain consistent, proper tension on the warp and weft threads. Beginning weavers should use inexpensive materials, such as old clothing or bed linens, and practice on small projects before tackling full-sized rug projects. A weaver should choose the proper loom based on the type of projects he or she plans to do and the amount of room that can be devoted to the loom as well as his or her skill level.

Rug weavers use several techniques and tools to make their items. The simplest projects do not require a loom, because the crafter weaves the materials with his or her hands. Normally, these projects do not require a warp thread. Often this technique entails weaving the strand back into the previous row of braid. If the previous braid is too tight, it is difficult to weave the material into its loops. Other rug weavers use looms.

Maintaining proper tension is very important. Each method of rug making, such as braiding or loom work, has its own challenges when trying to maintain the correct tension. Improper tension during weaving often causes a rug to buckle. Master rug weavers stress that the proper tension is not too tight or too loose. Tension is a challenge for hand weavers and loom weavers, and a weaver learns the proper tension by practicing.

One of the best tips that master rug weavers offer is that novice weavers should practice the craft. Typically, they suggest doing several small projects, such as pillow tops, runners, or place mats, before beginning a large rug. While making the practice pieces, a weaver learns how to maintain the right tension, how to use different weights of materials, and how to combine different materials. For example, generally a weaver needs to cut narrow strips of denim and wider strips of lighter-weight materials to help a rug lie flat.

Many instructors caution that a weaver should use materials that are similar to prevent uneven shrinkage or uneven wear. Warp threads that are too tight may also break when people walk on the rug. Another tip is to wash the material before making the rug to lessen the chance of getting dye bleed-out.

If a weaver wants to do loom work, he or she should consider many factors. Some of these considerations include the size of the rugs, the size of the loom, and the weaver's experience. Consulting a weaver can help a novice avoid a bad selection. For example, a floor loom may take up most of a small room and a weaver may not have the room to hold it. Another problem may be that a table loom is too small to do a room-sized rug.

When working with a loom or a project that requires waft yarns, a person needs to choose the proper materials. A weak waft typically breaks with wear, and repairing a rug can be challenging and time consuming. A weaving instructor can instruct a beginning weaver on how to correctly dress the loom, which means stringing the waft yarns. A person needs to be careful not to tangle or cross over the threads.

Buying the correct loom is one of the more valuable tips. Generally, a person should sit at a loom and assess whether it is a comfortable height and width. Experts advise that a person should not buy a loom without a return policy in case it is uncomfortable or not suitable. Weaving instructors usually address loom size and features during training.

Rug weavers usually can find good tips from several sources, and typically the best source is a master weaver. Often these craft masters offer workshops or apprenticeships to beginning weavers. Other sources include books and instructional material, such as CDs and DVDs. The Internet is also a good source of rug weaving tips. Internet sources may include articles and videos on websites, online classes and workshops, and forums or bulletin boards where weavers share tips and answer questions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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