Studio Stories: Mighty Mug Rugs

Introducing Studio Stories

In this post I am introducing a new occasional series. There are several projects I have done over the years which have aroused interest in readers of my personal weaving blog, and I plan to start sharing more about them here. Sometimes I will be sharing a draft, sometimes a technique or a lesson I have learned. I’ll post the essentials here on Warp Space, but there is more!

I know many blog readers also subscribe to my newsletter, and I want to say thank you for doing that. So in addition to this post there will also be some extra content – the ‘studio story’ behind the project – sent directly to newsletter subscribers. If you would like to receive my Studio Stories, approximately six times a year, as well as news of new work, events and classes, you can subscribe here.

Mighty Mug Rugs

row of mug rugs

These little mug rugs are a delight to make. They are woven in Summer & Winter, which is a tied weave requiring two wefts: a tabby weft for the background and structure of the cloth, and a thicker pattern weft for the design.

A multi-coloured warp like this one is a great base for Summer & Winter because you can use any of the warp yarns as a tabby weft. The result is many different but harmonious variations. I used 10/2 cotton from the Lunatic Fringe Tubular Spectrum range, which I set quite tightly at 30 epi for a sturdy little mat. The pattern weft yarn I used at the time was a lovely matte tussah silk which also came in a wide range of colours but, sadly, is no longer available. The simplest substitute would be a 3/2 cotton or a lighter weight doubled up.

Warp plan

Of course you can use any colours you choose to get 144 ends in total.

Draft for a treadle loom

I first wove these on my countermarche loom using the following tie-up, which requires two feet working together on the pattern picks: one to lift the tie-down shaft and the other to lift the relevant pattern shafts. In this example, the tabby weft is a bright orange-red and the pattern weft red-purple, but the joy is in the mixing and matching!

Draft for a table or dobby loom

The mug rugs were so popular I carried on weaving them on my dobby loom, using the following liftplan:

Off the loom

To save space I have only shown a few plain weave picks at either end of the draft. However, I tended to weave about an inch and a half of plain weave at each end to make enough for a nice neat hand-sewn hem. A contrast pick between mug rugs helps you cut them apart after washing, pressing and zig-zag stitching on the sewing machine. Then get out a boxed set and spend an evening with needle in hand for a relaxing conclusion. And, finally, make a cup of tea.

mug rugs and mug

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First posted on weavingspace.co.uk © Cally Booker

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