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Friday, September 3, 2010

Cuttin up the rug

I found the book Handmade Rugs from Practically Anything at the public library a few weeks ago. It has some really bangarang ideas for rug making such as crocheting a rug from strips of plastic bags... I definitely recommend this book for some awesome inspiration. I chose to weave a denim rug for our back door as my first rug-making project.

As luck would have it, I had just scored a sweet wooden fruit crate from OSH a few days prior. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it until I decided on my rug project. So I ran off to the hardware store and bought some nails, which I spaced about half an inch apart along the two short edges of the crate. I warped my "loom" with kite string and wove strips of old blue jeans (from Freecycle) to make the rug.

The rug turned out pretty well, but next time I'll:

1) Sew the strips together as I go The strips were just long enough to span the width of the rug, so the edges of the rug had to be reinforced with the sewing machine to keep the rug from completely unraveling. The strips that *were* longer left off in the middle of the rug and now they kind of stick up unattractively.

2) Use a heavier string or strips of fabric for the warp The kite string had some elasticity, so my warp felt like it was being stretched as I went and thereby loosened. I had to wrap the string around the nails as I went to keep it taut.

3) Add a binding to protect the edge

4) Try this technique rather than the simple "over under"

The denim worked out really well. It's so nice and sturdy that it makes a good thick, hearty rug for the back slider where we kick off our shoes after trekking through the poultry yard. Also, the right and wrong sides of the denim lend a nice variegated effect.

I'm still not quite sure why the middle of the rug narrows... I always had this same problem when I was weaving with yarn on little looms as a kid. Since my strips were not continuous in this project, I'm not altogether inclined to believe that it's a result of pulling the weft too tautly. I think it might be a result of my loose warp strands. Does anybody know how to avoid that?

In the works: a queen-size black-and-tan four square wedding quilt, a diagonal alpaca scarf, a moss-stitch wool scarf

On the docket: a rug for the kitchen.

Stay tuned!



  1. THAT's what the crate is about! YES.

    your use of bangarang here is truly first-rate.

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