Posted by Holly on Sunday, April 28, 2013
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.
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.
-Two clothespins are used to help hold the fabric in place when you aren't weaving.
Step 1: Making the warp
When you weave, work from the ends of your frame and finish in the middle.
Almost done...by 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