I'm branching out a bit with my weaving. I'd woven with cloth strips (from now on I'll be calling them rags), but I hadn't realized there was a better way to get them ready until I took the double weaving class from Juanita, at Vavning Weaving Studio (http://sites.google.com/site/vavningstudio/juanita), last November. I'd used scissors to cut them, which took quite a bit of time and let's face it, I wasn't too cautious that I cut them nice and straight. Not only that, but using scissors becomes uncomfortable after a bit, too. :(
During my class, which was one on one with Juanita, her husband Norm spent his time cutting rags and getting them ready for weaving. He was using a "rag cutter", which is what I ordered last Friday, and it arrived on Monday afternoon. I ordered a Fraser Rag Cutter from Great Northern Weaving Supply (http://www.rugwarp.com/index.asp), which is located just north of Kalamazoo, MI (where I attended college). They have always had wonderful customer service and orders arrive within a few days of placing them. I have always called them because I've had questions, and they are very knowledgable and super friendly.
Here is a photo of my collapsible "work station". I am very fortunate to have Rob living next door. I had the idea as to how I wanted to set up my cutter, but I didn't have a board wide enough for it's secure attachment. Rob came to the rescue! He has a number of "finished" pieces of oak trim, extras from his front room, that had actually been milled from a tree taken down from his backyard. Not only did he donate a piece of wood to my work station, but it also has true ""local" history, too. ;)
Cutting the rags is just one part of the process.....the fastest one actually. After cutting them, they are folded in half so the prints are showing on both sides. This is another thing I learned while at my class. My final project, woven after my sampler, was a woven bag, using processed rags of Juanita's. They were so nicely done that I'd thought they had been ironed, but they'd only been carefully folded and wound into a ball! The tension created by winding actually "pressed" the rag.
I spent my day yesterday cutting and winding rags. Obviously I took breaks and such, but basically I was working with the process on and off all day. This is all I finished......seems a pitifully small amount doesn't it? I'm going to weave a rag rug on the warp that I have leftover from weaving the Pendleton Wool Blanket Selvages. I had planned on using all of it for the selvages, but there wasn't enough of the 4th selvage for a 3' wide rug with a decent length. Not having woven a rug using properly processed rags, I'm not exactly sure how much I need for at least a 3' x 4' rug, possibly longer. Because of that, I am cutting up all 5 of the coils I have, weighing them, and then will re-weigh what is left over,so I will have a better idea as to what I need from now on. There are so many facets of weaving and this "old dog" continues to learn. ;) My thanks again to Rob for making my "Fraser Rag Cutter Work Station" a success!