The two rag rugs I completed this week were closer to the kind of result I have been aiming for but had not quite achieved. The rugs used a double thickness of weft, made up of old business shirts and old sheets cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm strips) sewn together. The two weft strips were of different fabrics in the yellow toned rug and I am very pleased with the variation in tone that this achieved.
Folded hems extend the life of the rug
Use of a temple keeps the edges even and prevents draw in
Close up of the rug and the rose path border
I chose to make folded hems as it’s likely they’ll end up as bath mats and experience has taught me that a fringed finish is like a magnet for fluff. Also I expect a folded hem to wear very well.
The new pro-tip from this project was serging (overlocking) the ends of the rug when they came off the loom. This gave me a tidy finish and secure ends.
Sett was 10 dpi in a 10 dent reed, threading was rosepath over 8. Warp 8/4 cotton in blue.
This rag rag was always intended to be a test. It was the first time I used warp from my big cone of 8/4 cotton rug warp, a first time using a temple (stretcher), a first time finishing a rug with a turned edge and a first time weaving with a rose path threading.
The hemmed ends are a first
- Don’t keep threading after you start feeling tired. You will regret it when you find yourself rethreading the following day.
- Measure twice, cut once. I was two warp threads short. The problem was easily solved with a new length of warp and some washers for weights, but I had to think about how to solve it.
- Using a temple is well worthwhile. No draw in visible this time.
- It’s worth the time sewing strips together for the weft but this only worked well for me with the main pattern 1 1/2 inch strips. The sewn joins on the narrower 1cm strips that I used for the hemmed edges pulled apart under tension.
- Worn out sheets make excellent weft strips. This rug has a combination of worn fabrics (old sheets and shirts) and new fabrics (the dark blue is a remnant and the brown is a never used bed skirt from the op shop.) The worn fabrics packed in better and were less rigid in the finished mat.
- Don’t be frightened to make up your own design. Magazines and books are great but so are your pencil, your calculator and your mind. One of the reasons I bought the huge mill end spool of cotton rug warp was so I could experiment freely without worrying about wasting expensive rug warp.
The rose path threading yielded sections with patterns that remind me of the beach. It’s a lot less formal a look than I had in mind but I like the unstructured look. Having said that, the rose path border patterns I tried to achieve were a total bust. I don’t know what went wrong and I’m keen to try again.
I plan to have a crack at dying the warp next. I like the yellow, but I also like variety.