Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

In this day and age those words are a catchphrase, and meant to encourage us all and make us think about ways we can live more lightly on the planet.

But they are not new ideas, and people who lived and wove before us have known many ways to re-use and recycle cloth: hand-me-down clothing, clothing re-sewn and made over for extended use, quilts made of scraps from leftover fabrics or from old clothing, rag rugs, and the most humble: rags used to clean, caulk and polish.

We were not always such a disposable society. We were not always so eager to bundle our old and out-of-date, broken or used up things and donate them or discard them. We had rag-bags and scrap piles, and things saved "in case they would be useful".

True, we had fewer things. In general. Which makes each thing more valuable: too much of anything, food, clothing, houses, cars....has made us jaded. Also less capable: people in cultures all over the world still use up more of their (and our!) scraps in sakiori weaving, rippsmatta weaving, and yes, humble rag carpets, rather than throwing so much away.


Tom Knisely has written a comprehensive and approachable book all about this simple weaving technique. The book starts with history, moves into tools needed, then warping and weaving techniques, and finishes with projects. It is beautifully presented, the many photographs illustrate each step clearly, from setting up the warp:


through weaving tips:


and finishing techniques:


The weaving information would be useful beyond rag rugs: some of Tom's tips and methods are simply good weaving technique. And the projects!


Over half the book is step by step information on weaving with new and used textiles, making rugs and table runners with every conceivable type of fabric as weft. The projects are all illustrated with the before and after photos of the weft fabrics: a great tip for any weaver wondering just how this fabric will look when woven!

In this day and age of instant information on the internet, why would anyone want a book like this on their shelf? Because Tom has put all the information here, in one place, no searching, no internet connection needed, available 24/7 even when the power goes out! And this is weaving information you can trust, from someone who has done it, and shows you how. He is not just talking about it: he demonstrates it all.

If you are interested in having this copy, please leave a comment on this post, a number generator will choose a winner, and I will drop this in the mail to you! Blogger does not give me your email information to contact you or respond to you, so please do so your comments, camouflaged by leaving spaces where none should be, and spelling out dot, so bots don't find you. Good luck!


Blogger Anita in SE IN said...

That book looks very useful.
Anita at TheFiberArtist dot com

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of this book. My email is jzdunich at gmail dot com. Thanks.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I very much want that book, but don't you dare choose me - I want the pleasure of buying it at some festival somewhere (instead of the fleeces I've sworn off).

12:19 PM  
Blogger blopeep said...

Ah, but I will wish for it to land on my doorstep. But if someone else wins, then it's karma! (I wonder if torn up t-shirts make good "rags".)

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic sounding book I would not turn it down:) figgythistle at gmail dot com

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic sounding book I would not turn it down:) figgythistle at gmail dot com

12:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That looks like just the book I need. I have been pondering making a frame to weave a new kitchen rag rug (the one I have is very faded). My rigid heddle loom is on 24" and I am not certain it could withstand the tension put on it by weaving a rag rug. Have a great day.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

I wonder if another factor may be that most people are so far removed from the making of cloth that they don't value it as highly as did those of previous generations.

I've never made a rag rug, but I was recently given a large bag of Hawaiian shirts that I think might work very well. Thanks for the chance to win. judithca2000 at gmail dot com

1:27 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Thanks for the review.I'd love a copy of the book.
mary dot miller at gmail dot com

4:44 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I'm not entering, because I already have the book. It's every bit as wonderful as you said--I'm glad to see it getting praise.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely review, would be very happy for that book to live at my studio.

caloosa at juno dot com.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Shirley Marshall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Shirley Marshall said...

Have done some rag weaving. Sounds like a great resource.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to weave a rug! Thanks for the contest - dyepotgirl at google dot com.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I screwed up my email addy. It's - dyepotgirl at yahoo dot com. I had a brainfart LOL!

4:58 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Looks like an awesome book. It would make a wonderful addition to my library.

dnorton at uoguelph dot ca

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love the book! It sounds wnderful! Flemingmpf at aol dot com

3:53 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Neat book, and I have plenty of recycle-ready textiles to use up! eraasch at chorus dot net

8:16 PM  
Blogger Gloria19 said...

i would love the book if the stars are aligned and my # is chosen.
gloria19 on ravelry

8:21 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

I'm just starting to gear up to weaving some rugs. This is something I've wanted to do for a while but never started because I was afraid I would do things all wrong! That's a problem for me - not wanting to make mistakes. I overcome my fears by reading everything I can lay my hands on and then give it a go. Knowledge sometimes equals good results! Key word: sometimes!!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

This is timely. I've been going thru fabric/old clothes stash thinking of cutting to strips and knitting a rug but weaving would be so much better.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Tobie dot lurie at

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Judy said...

After he retired, my father made a floor loom and proceeded to make "rag" rugs from discards from a local worsted mill. He told me of one of his ancestors whose entire income (before income taxes!) was made from weaving rugs.
My mother, on the other hand, crocheted rag rugs. They lasted "forever" !
Thanks for reviewing this book. It brought back nice memories!!

6:34 AM  

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