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Monday, June 30, 2014

Weave Your Home a Little Happy Rug

I love making things to make my home happy and cozy. Sure, you can go out and buy some mass produced item, but when you make a basket, quilt or rag rug for your home, you know what the quality of the item is, you choose the materials and you can change up the colors, textures, etc.



My weaving partner, Mr. Mittens at work!

 


I started this blog featuring one of these rugs. They are the perfect use up for selvages, old  flannel blankets that have torn or even to reduce that fabric stash we all have. These make wonderful gifts and they may last long enough to even be passed down. I made my first rag rug over a year ago and I'm happy to say, it's one of my favorite things I've ever made. Cushy and wonderful, it's the perfect partner to have under your feet when you are doing the dishes. Because I've packed a lot of material in there, it will last years.



As you can see this would be very simple to build.



The great thing about weaving these rugs is that if you want to create the frame, it really isn't all that difficult. There are a couple of books that you can get online that show you how. A few brads, four pieces of lumber, some hooks and some long stem hooked bars and you are on your way. If you don't want to make your own loom, you probably can find them online or maybe in your local quilt shop, that is where I found mine at
http://countrytreasuresquiltshop.com/ctqs2011/
although the cost will be a lot more than what it'll cost to make it.







Once you have your frame, you start your rag rug by ripping fabric into 1" strips. You want to use a cotton or flannel that has been washed and dried so that the resultant fabric has been shrunk. Ripping the fabric makes sure you straighten out the selvage ends. While not really all that important when weaving a rug, it is when you are cutting out a quilt. You want to make sure that this is the final size of the fabric so that when you wash the rug for the first time, you don't get any unforeseen consequences. I accomplish this typically in two ways. One, if I have any selvages left or strips left after a quilting project, I use those or two, cut little cuts along one edge of the material you are going to use and rip it on down! You want strips at 12" or longer and trust me, it'll take a lot.


The placemat loom showing the warp. Always start with
a longer piece that fold so that one end is longer than the other.


The strips that form the base of your weaving is called the warp. It really doesn't matter what color or pattern you use as this is going to be completely covered. Utilize the ugliest fabric you'll never use here or whatever you have left over from other projects. I use whatever fabrics or strips I got left and just join them together.

Sandwich your strips together and cut a slit. Pull the top
strip through the bottom hole and pull tight.
Joining fabric strips together couldn't be easier! Just cut a vertical strip at the end of the row you are joining to. On your new strip, cut an identical hole. Now, with the new strip on top, layer your strips together. Feed the top strip underneath your layer and feed up through the bottom hole. Pull though and tug so that you have a solid join. Don't worry if you have a few "wings" peaking out. You'll be weaving over them.








To warp your loom, start by making a simple square knot in the upper left hand corner on

the bar. Then start your warp by wrapping the strip up and down to make a grid like this. When you run out of a strip and you will... trust me it takes a lot of fabric to warp and weave... simply tie a simple not around the brad and make sure to keep your tension on the grid even. You want your grid to be tight... not tight enough to bend your brads but tight on them. Finish your warp by tying yet another square knot on the bar at the other end.

 


Now the fun part, actual weaving! Yeah!

 
Unlike a loom or basket, weaving on this loom you are
twining around the warp on either side so the warp is
never seen. Use your fingers to push the fabric up
tightly against your previous row of weaving. Your fingers
become your "beater bar".
With a decently long piece, fold it so one end is longer than the other. Does this sound familiar? If you read through the basket piece it is the same idea. You don't want both pieces to end in the same place so you don't have a "lump" in your finished project. To weave, simply go in and out around your warping strips making sure that you pack the strips as tight as you can towards the top of the brads. There is no sewing on this rug, so when you remove it off the loom, you want to make sure it is packed tight.







Now comes the tricky part, the edges. You need to make them tight. When you get to the edge, on the strip that is ending on the top of the bar, wrap it around the bar. Open up a loop and slide this in the loop and pull it tight. Knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words, here we go.


Bring the strip on top around the bar, open the loop formed
and slide the strip through.







Pull tight. Starting with the strip in the back (in the case the
pink strip, begin your weaving with the second strip in.

 When you get several rows of weaving, turn the piece and begin the process over again and weave the other side. You are going to be weaving this way switching sides each time until your rug is completed. The rug completes in the middle and you simply weave the loose ends back into your weaving cutting off any long ends.


 


To complete your rug, simply remove the two bars on either side that you wove & knotted the weaving around. Then gently lift your rug off the loom.







Weaving your first rug can be as quick or long as you make it. I find the repetitive nature of weaving very relaxing. I can listen to the TV and keep my hands I weaving in and out of piece and it's very gratifying to see how many rows you can weave in a setting and watch the pattern emerge. I don't ever plan my color palette and find that regardless of the color or pattern of the fabric, the end result is very beautiful. Sometimes I make sure that if I have a dominate color on one side, I'll do it on another just to be somewhat symmetrical.



These are wonderful additions to any home. They are perfect and unexpected gifts for the holiday season. Start one today, you may find a new hobby that you'll enjoy for years.


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5 comments:

  1. I love handwoven rugs. I've been (off and on) hand weaving a white bedsheet rug for my daughter's bedroom. I love that you made yours rectangular using a loom - a someday craft for me for sure!

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  2. If I can find the title of the book, I'll send you the name of the book I have that shows you how to make the loom. It's really simple. I had taken classes on weaving looms and I'll tell you they are really comlplicated and EXPENSIVE! There was no way I could justify buying a whole loom just to weave a rag rug. I was so glad when I found this loom. The great thing about it is that you can use up any fabric you have. I had an old flannel bedsheet that we tore and normally you'd throw that out. Instead, it became part of this rug. It's so comfy and I love that it has been reused instead of simply thrown out.

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  3. What a great and useful project! This is something my daughter and I want to tackle one day. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  4. Thanks so much for commenting and dropping by. This is a perfect project to use up all those strips from your strip quilting project or for that matter to "upcycle" any fabric that may have otherwise gone into the trash. I hope you try it, I'm sure it'll come out beautiful!

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  5. Stacey your rug is beautiful, thanks for the inspiration :o)

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