Friday, June 25, 2010

Stash Reduction Rag Rugs

I am on a stash reduction mission.  I have so much fabric in my stash, from other people and stuff that I bought that I need to make some space to work.  I tried selling some at a garage sale, but that wasn't too successful, so rag rugs should help get rid of some of it.

I own a nice book about making rag rugs (shown below),

 so I've been using it for some ideas.  I liked the idea of sewing strips a set length together to make a diamond pattern, like the photo from the book (below):

I'm still playing around with the length of strips that will work the best, since my warp on the loom isn't the same width as the one in the book.  My first try wasn't with long enough strips, so the colors didn't advance enough. 

The color change remained at the edges, and I didn't like the look.  My next try was with strips that were about 4" longer than the first try, but I don't like that much better.  I think I have to have a lot shorter pieces, with the total of them being about twice the width in the reed plus 3-5". 

I will probably try that tomorrow after I get home from work. 

I did a couple things differently when preparing my strips.  I found that 3" wide strips worked the best.  I also didn't want to butt the ends together and zig-zag them.  I prefer a seam on the diagonal
as I'm demonstrating.  Place the two strips at right angles, and then stitch from corner to corner.  It reduces the bulk of the seam so it isn't all in one spot, and will be more secure than a butt join.

I'm too tired to work on this any more tonight, so I will wait till tomorrow and then unweave what I have tested and recut the lengths. 


  1. I like rag rugs although I never seen one in real life, never wove one..... but everytime I see one on the internet or magazine it itches. I want to make one too! And your strips are so wide, never seen that before. I am curious for your next try.

  2. I actually ended up cutting my strips about 1" narrower than the book recommended. Mine are 3" wide, and the rug feels plenty thick enough. It takes a heavy loom to beat it tight enough. Yesterday, after work, was "clean the studio and put up shelves" day. I could hardly move around in there! Should finish that today.

  3. I've been cutting my strips 2" wide with a 8 epi sett. I read on another blog that the weaver put ankle weights on her beater bar to give it a little umph for packing in. I'm warping to start another one. I'm still liking the crazy colors method but really want to try one where you pull the second color through to make diagonals - next rug, or maybe the one after that.

  4. Sharon,
    I have come to the conclusion that sometimes I need to follow the directions exactly, so I think I will try the self-patterning rug some other time and try the width suggested. I know there is a proportion there between the length of the strips and the width of the rug. And yes, I will probably use thinner strips. When there is too much thickness between rows, it makes it harder to see the pattern developing. I actually think my first try was almost how it had to be to work. Another 1-1 1/2" in length of the strips would have been right, and I need to have a straight seam, not diagonal between the strips. I also need 5 colors, not 4 like I was using. Fortunately, like you, I like the random rag rug look. That's what this rug is going to become.

  5. I am a retired farm boy that spent 30 years working on computers. Took up weaving a couple of years ago. Had good help from local rug weavers. I don't sew rag strips. I cut the ends at a 45 to 60 degree angle and just overlap them. Denim has been the most popular rag. I started using 1" strips and reduced that to 3/4" to smooth out the selvage. Have the most fun with knit shirts. There I use 1/2" strips and get a blanket weight product. Nice mats and runners and light weight rugs. Oh the color patterns one get! I haunt the garage sales and look for XL and XXL for longer strips. Striped shirts can make interesting weft yarn.