If you see this sign and go down this long lane, you’ll find a craftsman at work.
This small sign points the way. Driving down the lane, we passed the beautiful produce garden and produce stand of their daughter-in-law, who now lives with her family in the main house; two years ago, Leo and Lorene moved their home and shop across the driveway into the “dawdi haus.”
Leo works at his loom most days, except when he’s at a wedding, funeral, or out fishing! He told me he averages one rug a day. You can watch him work—but be subtle, and don’t take any photos that show either of their faces, since this is against their religious beliefs and very distressing to them.
Wikipedia puts it this way: “Warp and weft are the two basic components used in weaving to turn thread or yarn into fabric. The lengthwise or longitudinal warp yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the horizontal weft (sometimes woof) is drawn through and inserted over and under the warp.” It’s really fascinating to watch Leo do it.
I told Leo that his cousin Ruth, a friend of mine, said to me one day, “Leo’s rugs will last longer than we will!” I asked him if he thought that was true, and he said it probably was. The reason? The black and white warp threads on his rugs are made of polyester thread, not cotton, and polyester thread holds up much longer.
Leo and Lorene have a retail area near the loom. Rugs are priced by the foot--all are the same 27 to 28-inch width. The shortest I saw were 22 inches long (priced at $19.80) and the longest were 76 inches long (priced at $68.40). Leo says that he prices his rugs at 90 cents an inch—or if the customer provides the weft/woof fabric strips, then it’s 45 cents an inch.
The color combinations are varied and lovely. Earlier this summer I took a bus tour here, and the tour director’s young daughter got a lovely one in black, white, gray, and magenta. Lorene takes the money at her kitchen counter in the adjoining dawdi haus.
The shop doesn’t have regular hours, but most days, it’s open to visitors and shoppers. If you want to be sure, give Lorene a call the previous day at (574) 349-0717. This rug shop is a popular stop with my private tour groups, and for tour buses, too!
Leo and Lorene work and reside at 10780 US Hwy 20 in Middlebury, IN.