making your own rugs : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

the floors in my house are all hardwood...some refinished, some painted and i need some rugs. i'm wondering if any of you make your own rugs and what your favorite method is. i prefer the look of woven rugs but i'm open to any ideas.

-- kristen (, April 27, 2000


I have knitted for years-about 44 by now-and started spinning 16 years ago. I'm just learning to weave. I have done small braided pieces for mats and such but never a full sized rug. My experience is just in having watched others weave rugs,I'll admit, but it takes a really heavy duty loom to stand up to the stress of rug weaving. And they are expensive and greedy in the amount of space they require. Some of my weaver friends actually have a loom room housing nothing but the loom and its acoutrements. The woven rugs can have a more modern look to me with the braided rugs having a very old feel suitable to a restored farmhouse filled with "using" antiques. You didn't mention your decor.

A braided rug only requires fabric strips, usually discarded woolen clothing, special needle for sewing the strips together, and suitable thread. I have a set of "braid aids" that automatically fold the strips and some sort of clamp affixed to a solid object to work against is very helpful. Have fun.

-- marilyn (, April 28, 2000.

I do "toothbruch" rugs. The equipment is: fabric, sissores, and the tool[which is the handel of a toothbrush without the bristles. one end sharpened to a point the other end has a hole}. It's hard to explane over the net and i learned how to do it out in Kansas in the 80's. I do oval rugs, have done round coasters. I haven't done rectangle, square, heart shaped rug or tryed baskets, yet. It is something that I can do in front of the tv and feel like I'm acomplishing some thing.

-- redhen (, April 28, 2000.

Kristen, if you can crochet, and have strong hands, then you can crochet a rug. I have made some fair sized rugs this way. I usually go to the thrift and buy bed sheets (flat, they are cheap fabric in nice colors) but any long fabric would do. Rip the fabic into strips. At the ends of the strips, make a slit, and loop the next through that slit/buttonhole and pull through to join the strips end- to-end. When all that fun is over, roll the strips into a big ball.

Now, get a large crochet hook. Really big. While crocheting this rug, allow some space and work loosely, and it will save your hands. You can do all sorts of patterns, and shapes. Just begin with a long chain, and work in rounds. Pay the most attention to the flatness of the rug.

If you use good fabric, it will wash and wear very well. Cotton is nice for the bathroom mat.

Another way to make rugs is to buy used wool coats, rip these and sew end-to-end, and braid. Lace the braids together. These braided wool rugs last a lifetime, at least. They weigh a ton.

-- Rachel (, April 28, 2000.

There is a braided rug business near us (they have this neat little machine for doing the braiding that the husband's father invented), that sells really nice quality wool ends and remnants, also the selvedges off the material they use for making their braided rugs. The selvedges would make a nice crocheted rug the way you describe -- a friend of mine uses them to make small braided rugs, but because they are stiff, they are hard to fold for the braids. Anyway, they are pretty cheap, only a dollar or two a pound. The fabric ends go for about five dollars a pound, but I've gotten enough material that way to make a skirt or a shirt. Check around and see if there is a similar business anywhere near you.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 28, 2000.

My aunt made me a small throw rug, and makes and sells many each year, made from small squares of waste polyester fabric. Can be cut from old clothing that is almost free at thrift stores/garage sales, etc. The ruggs look similar to a braided oval rug. She starts in the center, folds a square over and sews the whole thing on machine, one square following the next. Hart to explain, but the little peaks of different colored fabric stick up. It is washable, and wears forever. Can be made in different sizes. If you are interested, I will ask her for the directions. Jan

-- Jan B (, April 28, 2000.

I have woven rag rugs on the loom. I just got a book today that is hooked rugs using wool strips hooked into burlap to make designs that looks interesting. Have fun.

-- Tami Bowser (, April 28, 2000.

My daughter and I just bought a frame to make rugs on. It consists of four pieces of 1x2" whatever length you want. The pieces are screwed together at the corners and have a metal rod running down each side held by two eye screws. Across the top and bottom are little nails. You rip the material into 1 1/2 or 2" strips and weave up and down and then braid across. Kinda hard to explain. We bought a book the name of the company is Country Threads 2345 Palm Ave., Gardner, IA 50438 1-800-544-6852. I have made a couple placemats (thats the size we bought) and have materials to make a larger frame. It's really simple once you've gone across the loom a couple times. Can do and watch TV or visit. You could make some 2x4 footers and sew together. Can use any material. Good luck.

-- Betsy (, April 28, 2000.

I am glad to see this question asked as I have been doing some of the same. have used old sheets torn into 1" strips and crochets them into a circular rug that I use in my bathroom. Hope I can explain the technique that I use say with a long sheet. Start at an edge tearing a 1" strip and when you are about 1" from the other end don't tear off the strip, move over another inch and tear the next 1" strip. UPon reaching the other end again don't tear it off but stop approx 1" in and move over an inch and tear the other direction. Hope you can figure this out as you have a continuous long strip that you roll into a ball and will make a great rug. I used a worn flannel sheet that my daugher had to start a rug and just love the look of the crocheted. like the idea of using wool clothing or scraps as that would make a great rug too but one thatr probably you would have to spot and dry clean where these are machine washable. Also another thing to use is to cut used poly/cotton tshirts into 3/4- 1" strips I start at shirt bottom and keep cutting round and round the shirt for a continuous strip. Once cut streetch it and it rolls it self in from the edges and works very nicely to crochet almost like a thicker yarn. These are the techniques that I use. And makes me feel great that I am reusing the resources that have been given to me. ckksdgal

-- ckksdgal (, April 28, 2000.

Kristen, there are lots of ways to make rag rugs. Check your library for some books with ideas. Don't forget to look through the books of general craft collections for techniques and ideas. Some ways to make rag rugs are weaving, crocheting, knitting, braiding, locker hooking, latch hooking, and the various sewn shags.

You might also be able to find someone near you who can weave rag rugs. There are still a lot of rug looms tucked away, especially in rural areas. The cost is generally quite low.

If you have kids, one way to make a rug is to cut fabric in small strips (depends on the type of fabric, cut just a little of each at first, but roughly 1/2" x 3") Build a small frame (could use 2x4s), the bottom maybe 14-16" long. One end sticks up maybe 3 1/2", the other end maybe 2". Think about that old kids' game where you try and make a metal ball roll uphill by slowly pulling open two metal rods. On the lower end hammer in a nail in the center leaving about 1" exposed. On the higher end 2 nails about 3" apart. I like to use double-headed cement form nails, but any nail (or screw) will work, headed kinds will work the best. Now take 2 balls of sturdy string. Tie them together and loop the knot over the single nail. Take each string to the back of the loom and secure it to a nail by wrapping. You end up with the string in a V-shape. Place a strip of rag either over the strings or under them. Wrap the loose ends to the center-either between the rag and the back of the loom or the rag and the front of the loom-pull through and tighten. Just be consistent. (You'll end up with the sort of knot you make when you latch hook) Tighten each knot and push it toward the single nail. As the strings fill up with "shag", loosen them in back, pull the shag up and over the single nail, retighten the strings in back. Kids adore making the shag strings. If you have to do the cutting, you'll have trouble keeping up with them. The shag string can be sewn together using the same technique you would for a braided rug. Any library should have a book that gives those directions.

I will admit though, I favor woven rag rugs. There is a simple loom you can build that will work for weaving your own rag rugs, however, they won't be the best quality, this loom simply isn't sturdy enough. If you're interested, I can try to describe such a loom and how to weave on it. If you have the room and will, the big old rug looms generally don't sell for much at auctions. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, May 03, 2000.

For a different kind of rug, you can use big (or small!) sheets of canvas, and paint (fabric is best) on them. "Hem" the edges down with glue. You will want to either tack the rug down or use a non skid pad or equivalent underneath. This can be quite creative: Make stencil borders, do a free for all like a Jackson Pollack painting, or? Your choice! You could also use a grommet maker and punch holes for a fringe border. I think you could spray scotchgard or whatever they have these days to protect it from *some* dirt....obviously wouldn't be the best application in the mud room!!

-- sheepish (, May 03, 2000.

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