Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

How to Make a Rag Rug

Update: Many of you have asked if I sell any of the rugs I've made. Well, I've decided to offer some of them in my Etsy shop. Enjoy!

Most of you who visit this blog post will recognize these types of rugs; perhaps even your grandmother at one time made them and now they are in your home.  When washing rugs as a child I remember how heavy rag rugs were and how long they took to dry on the clothesline.  It wasn't until years later that my mom said these were handmade using old clothes.  About 10 years later I had a pile of clothes and some worn sheets and decided to hunt down the technique for weaving rag rugs.  I recorded 4 videos that show the process and some pictures below.  

I hope you feel inspired to make some of these rag rugs during the winter when you are looking for something to keep your mind off the falling snow and cold temps.  Traditionally these rugs were made by recycling old, worn out and stained clothing.  They were made during a time in history where nothing was wasted.  All of my rugs are made with fabric that cannot otherwise be reused...sun-bleached curtains, ripped sheets, stained clothes, etc.  If you are intimidated by weaving, don't be. The weave is very repetitious and goes quickly.  

How durable are these homemade rugs?  One of my rugs is 4 years old and it is the only rug that is used in front of the kitchen sink.  It has been washed dozens of times and still holds up to daily traffic. 

The Frame: 
My frame was determined by the length of steel rods that I could find.  Dimensions: 27x38 inches.  The frame pieces are about 2 inches wide and about .5 inch thick.  The steel rods are 36 inches long and are held in place with 5 eye hooks evenly spaced on each side.  Do not use coat hangers or any metal that can bend easily. I haven't tried wooden dowels but I imagine they would bend and perhaps break.  50 nails are used for the frame, 25 on top and 25 on bottom, spaced about 1 inch apart.  Total cost for my frame: $2.36

Fabric: sheets, pillowcases, curtains, old clothes, corduroy pants, etc. 100% cotton and polyester work the best because they don't stretch and shrink when washed.  

Other Supplies:
-Two clothespins are used to help hold the fabric in place when you aren't weaving.
-Fabric Scissors

Step 1: Making the warp

When you weave, work from the ends of your frame and finish in the middle. 

Almost now the warp should be really tight and weaving takes a little longer because there is less space for your fingers to work. 

The rug is now complete!

Here are two more rugs that I have made (click to enlarge). 

This picture shows the spacing between the rod and the frame.

Video 1: How to Make the Warp
Video 2: How to Weave 
Video 3: How to turn around at the end of each row
Video 4: Finishing the rug

Missing: Queen Last Seen: Flying

On April 8th I received a package of Italian honeybees in the mail.  Installing the package was pretty uneventful and I closed up the hive with the plan to open the hive and check for queen release on the 17th.  Well, to my disappointment during inspection yesterday, the queen was not released.  When I looked closer at the queen cage I realized there was still a cork in the hole where the candy was put; and further, the cork was in there so far that it would literally take something like a corkscrew to get it out.  So without further hesitation, I pried open the screen and released the queen who took off flying, landing on the outside of the brood box, and then disappearing.  Needless to say, I was pretty pissed because I called the company before the package arrived and asked if there was a cork to be removed and being told, "No, the candy is already there, just put it in the hive."  After the hive inspection, I called the company and the person who answered the phone was somewhat empathetic that I was given the wrong information by one of her helpers during the busy season.

But what happens now?  I don't know where the queen went, if she found the hive, and if the colony will still even accept her as the queen if she finds her way home.  One thing I did notice were bees fanning at the tops of the frame when I removed the queen cage.  Hopefully the fanning signals the queen where home is and that they still accept her.  I did check the few frames that had drawn comb in the hive and there were no eggs or drone cells which could indicate a false queen.  I was surprised to find a full frame of uncapped nectar.  With the nectar flow already here, I only fed them twice.  The hive otherwise seems to be doing okay.  Their population numbers are still high and they where really quiet and calm.

I did open the other hive that survived the winter (called The Warrior Hive), hoping to transfer a frame of eggs and brood to the new hive, but they were pretty annoyed with all of the comb I was breaking trying to separate frames and brood boxes so before their hum escalated too high, I closed up the hive.  I have a hunch this hive will swarm this spring and I don't want to create any undue stress for them.

Check this post in a few days for an update on the new hive.  I will be inspecting frames for the queen and some eggs.

The queen cage has some drawn wax inside.  The workers that were assisting her were dead---not sure what that indicates.  Did the queen kill them? 

UPDATE 4-21-2013
The queen was found in the hive today during inspection!   She was large in size and inspecting cells.  I couldn't see any eggs mainly because there were so many bees.  All of the cells I could see contained nectar.  The bees have been drawing out more comb in the hive.

Arrival of Fruit Trees and Berry Bushes!

It's Christmas here at the Wolfe house!  Berry plants and fruit trees arrived this past weekend!  Everything was purchased through Stark Bro's Nursery.  We were certainly busy planting, watering, fencing, and mulching everything.  Paul was right there unwrapping plants and helping us tuck everything in their holes. Paul made me smile when he identified the blueberries by the few flowers that were on the plant.  He definitely has a better memory than I do when remembering the finer details of things!

The list below includes everything we received this year.  Add this list to the 13 fruit trees, 5 raspberries, 25 strawberries, 10 blueberries, 1 black raspberry, and 2 kiwi's from last year; and 4 fruit trees and 3 raspberries planted last fall.  There is no doubt about it...we have a lot to take care of!

  • Cortland Apple Semi-Dwarf
  • CrimsonCrisp Apple Semi-Dwarf
  • Orleans Antique Apple Semi-Dwarf
  • Chojuro Asian Pear Dwarf
  • CrimsonCrisp Apple Semi-Dwarf
  • Ichi-Ki-Kei-Jiro Oreiental Persimmon
  • Mango Pawpaw
  • Pennsylvania Golden Pawpaw
  • Sunflower Pawpaw
  • Seedling Pawpaw
  • Starking Delicious Peach
  • Elberta Peach Standard
  • White Giant Peach Standard
  • July Elberta Queen Standard
  • Reliance Peach Standard
  • Redhaven Peach Standard
  • Cherry Stark Surecrop
  • Hall's Hardy Almond
  • Night Mist Honeyberry
  • Midnight Blue Honeyberry
  • Sweetheart Blueberry
  • Northcountry Blueberry
  • Blueray Blueberry
  • Chandler Blueberrry
  • Bristol Black Raspberry
  • Anne Yellow Raspberry
  • Himbo Top Primocane Red Raspberry
  • Jaclyn Primocane Red Raspberry
  • Prime-Jan Blackberry
  • Prime-Jim Blackberry
  • American Cranberry
  • Ozark Beauty Strawberry Everbearing
  • Issai Hardy Kiwi
  • Somerset Seedless Grape
  • Concord Seedless Grape
  • Reliance Seedless Grape
  • Marquis Seedless Grape
  • Thomcord Seedless Grape
Indoor Plants:
  • Key Lime
  • Arbequina Olive
  • Meyer Lemon
  • Tangerine Citrus
  • Valencia Orange
Unpacking everything and placing the bare root trees in water. 

12 raspberry plants alongside the garden with electric fence for deer protection.

Here is one of the pawpaw trees.  Instructions say to provide partial shade its first 2 years and then full sun after that.  This was our homemade version of making partial shade...pieces of burlap woven into the fence.

I just couldn't resist taking a picture of the Saturn Peach that was planted last year.  When taking this picture, Paul gave me a lesson about pollination and how the honeybees up the hill help make peaches.

After everything was planted, we mulched with leaves.  First we cut the grass really short using the weed whacker and then we added leaves, leaving about a 6 inch diameter at the base for air flow and water.  If you click on the pictures below you can see a big difference between fresh leaves gathered in the woods and those removed from the chicken coop.  The chickens do an excellent job shredding the leaves into tiny pieces and fertilizing it with their poop. 

Leaves from the woods...

Leaves from the chicken coop.
Leaves gathered from the woods came from a location where we think we lost the car keys last fall.  The leaves were hauled using an old bed sheet.

We add about this many fresh leaves in the outdoor run and a month later we receive...

A nice pile of shredded leaves with small sticks and nut shells.  This mulch is an added benefit to having chickens if you are willing to put in the extra effort of raking and hauling the leaves!

Cost of Food the First Year for 3 Chickens

On April 7th this year, our three Golden Comet Chickens will be one year old.  All together their food cost for one year was $118.00.  The chickens have an outdoor run area that they have access to 24/7.  The outdoor run receives a fresh supply of leaves about every two weeks for scratching and bugs; this will make excellent compost a year from now!  Depending on the weather and what we are doing, the chickens receive at least an hour of free range time around the property.  We would like to give them more free range time but hawks and stray dogs are prevalent here so we have to literally have them in our sight or by our side at all times.  We hope they eat a lot of chiggers this year!  The easiest way to lure them back into the coop is to give them a handful of chicken scratch (mixture of corn, oats, and wheat).  We also give the chickens apple cores, celery stalks, and other vegetable scraps.  These ladies are well-fed!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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