Saturday, September 5, 2015

Reflections of a Rag Rug

I have been weaving since 1997. Since that time I have been collecting rags in the form of old sheets, clothes and other fabrics. One end of my attic is full of baskets of discarded fabric of one type or another. One basket is just full of old jeans. And all alone they have sat for years and years. 
Back when I first started weaving I wanted to save up enough of this scrap fabric to someday make rag rugs but in the meantime I learned to weave with wool yarn, cotton yarn and the wondrous chenille yarns that make such soft and sultry scarves.

I was first introduced to weaving at an art festival in Magdalena, NM. I fell in love with Navajo weaving and watched in utter amazement as a wonderful Navajo woman named Isabel wove while sitting on a pillow on the floor. It was magical how she skillfully wove each piece of weft yarn by hand in and out of the warp. I was mesmerized. Next I saw Swedish looms and the colorful rugs and tapestries that the woman in this weaving community had on the walls of the display.

I had never considered myself crafty or creative but this...this I wanted to do.
And so I bought a Swedish loom from a neighbor down the road that happened to be a successful weaver, well known in the weaving circles of my state and beyond. The loom was  then  25 years old and she had maintained it lovingly. It is a  beautiful piece of furniture that,, once purchased, became a working piece of art in the home we had just built. And then I bought a book and taught myself to weave. 

That was in 1997 and I still weave on that loom. My husband built me a Navajo style loom then too but I never did get the hang of the tension of the warp. I never actually completed my first project on it. Probably because the talented Navajo women teach their craft to others orally and by demonstrations and not by writing books so it was just harder to learn. But I did learn  how to make all of the staples on my Swedish floor loom. Staples like scarves and place mats, baby blankets...all the easy but fun stuff. I gave most of it away as gifts and sold a few things too. It was fun and I even thought I would sell my weaving for a living and in 2005 I quit my job to build our second, and current, straw bale home and then I was going to switch careers and weave full time. That didn't happen and in fact I took a 3 year hiatus from weaving. But slowly I got around to weaving again and when I did it was with rags. 

I finally completed my first rag rug a few years ago. I had a couple of hurdles to get past and it took me a long time to figure them out. One was that I hate to sew. All of that fabric in those baskets were going to need to be cut up. That was actually the first hurdle. Cutting up jeans, shirts and whatever else had accumulated in those baskets over the years was going to be painful...literally... to cut each "rag" into the strips I was going to need to fashion a rug out of these seeming rags. And then the second hurdle...sewing the short strips into long ones. Did I mention I hate to sew? 

Over the years I met a few rag rug experts at shows and shops. I learned two important concepts... the tearing of sheets into strips and, the best of all, NO sewing needed. The sewing machine that I bought several years ago still sits, mostly untouched. I don't care. If you saw the shirt I attempted to make for myself in Home Ec class you would understand my disdain. You would also understand my new found glee that it wouldn't be necessary to dust off that machine and become one with it after all. 

This is my third rag rug. Its dimensions are 33X66" and it is called 
Raspberry Cactus Sky

The part of weaving a rag rug that I love the most is what is captured in the photo above. As I put together different color of sheets, warp yarn and accent pieces I have a general idea of the color combination but I have absolutely no idea what those combinations are going to create as a finished rug. And the beauty of that is I don't even know what the creation is until I take it off the loom and unroll it. But for each 6-8" that I have in front of me at all times I have ongoing glimpses of what the finale will look like. I am fascinated at each crank of the loom wheel. 

It is a humbling sort of experience for me. I love how the rug actually seems to make itself. I just place the different color fabric in random order. Sometimes following a sequence I become comfortable with and other times totally changing it up just to see what comes into my 6-8" window next.
Then when I unroll it I get to see what it is that it wanted to be. I am as astounded as anyone could be by what my eyes behold. And this brings me much joy. 

I am almost done braiding the ends and then my beautiful Raspberry Cactus Sky will be for sale. I am selling my rugs for $150 presently. I think this is a fair price at this point. I have been weaving for 18 years minus that 3 year break so there is a bit of experience in the mix. If you are interested let me know via email at

If you have read to this point I thank you. I want to write about weaving as a way to honor the act of the craft itself. Selling a rug or two while doing that would be a bonus and was an afterthought so don't feel obligated just because you read to this point. In fact, I would love a comment or two about this blog and anything you've read here on Rainwalker Mesa. Life is good here. Thanks for stopping by... 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Love Energy

Right Now
In this moment I feel grateful to have the tiniest inkling of what I really am
Be still with me
Sit here and feel what I am
Don't try to create it, it is already
Release all gripping
There is nothing to hang on to anyway
Know this present energy
This wave or thread
This ripple of energy
This love is you
Let go and relax into that
This is who we are
Though we aren't even a who
We just are

The man sitting across from you exists in this same reality
He is energy...Love Energy
The body this energy resides with
Is eventually only dust
The real man over there isn't a man at all
There is no gender, no race, nor class
Just energy
This God that your religions talks about
Is this same Love Energy
The only difference is that it knows what
It is in every moment
Of which, there is only one

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love has always been the answer...but what does it mean to love yourself?

What if we could change this world we see?
What if we could think something new?
Would that be too scary?
What if we could change me and you?

Our thoughts have the power to make it all look gray
Our words have the power to to take it all away
Our actions have the power to hurt or to heal
Nothing really matters 'cept how we feel

There is a way to change the story
There is an idea for us to ponder
Reach inside for all the answers
If you can imagine you must wonder

The world we see right now
Isn't the only reality
We can think new thoughts and make it better
A better world for you and me

It will take a lot to make this work
There are no more prophets to hear
We are the ones that have come
To save us from a world of fear

Love has always been the answer
We must be our own best friends
Love ourselves to love another
Then the cycle of hate will end

I wrote this poem last week and will likely turn it into a song as I am long to do these days. But I questioned myself this morning about what it means to love ourselves. I have given this advice to two people I love recently and both of them were hurting at the time. It didn't exactly fall on deaf ears but I could feel the do I do that exactly when I feel so bad right now??

Does it mean that you try your best to fall in love with the human characteristics that make up what we appear to be on the outside? I think not. I think it means that we come to a place where we are in touch with the LOVE that IS us. To love ourselves means that we go inside and get acquainted with the LOVE that is always there, always present, because it cannot not be. That is what my friend Noelle is referring to when she tells someone they are "magnificent". It doesn't mean the art you just created or the song I just wrote nor how shiny your hair is nor how bright your smile may be. And yet it does because it also refers to the LOVE within you that is shining outward because you tapped into it and allowed it to be shared. That is when we are loving yourselves. 

We don't always feel good about life. We have good days and bad days but that love is always there inside ready to guide us to be at peace in this moment no matter what is going on in our outside world. 
But how to access this wondrous balm we are all ARE? I suppose it is different for each of us. I don't know anything for sure. There are lots of books that have been written, lots of songs that have been sung about love and how to find it. For me, it is to go inside and notice that inner silence, the still small voice and sit with her, get to know the LOVE there. Sometimes it comes to me when journaling and a poem just comes out of nowhere (just like the one I wrote on this page). This is when I feel connected and at peace. It is as if a muscle because the more I go there the easier it becomes to hear and feel this true self, the inner voice that is this energy I call LOVE. Others call it God and I don't mind that at all. It is what we are, what we have always been and what we will forever be. 
So, on those bad days when someone tells you to love yourself more, before we hit them or walk away in disgust, maybe we could remember who and what we really are and feel that love for ourselves. I like to think of it as the love I knowingly give to my grandchildren with that really sincere smile on my face going inward as a gift to myself. It feels really good when I remember to do that when I am otherwise feeling bad. That is what it means to be your own best friend. Allow yourself to give to you what you give to others. Like praise and patience, time and tenderness. We so easily give it to the ones we love...hmm. Ones we love but not ourselves...
Love has always been the answer and maybe THAT is what is means to love ourselves. 

We can change the way we see the world
We can think something new
We can love ourselves and each other
We can change me and you