So many of you have asked for some instructions on making rag rugs – so here for your edification is my very first tutorial!
The first thing you need to do is make a frame. I used the instructions in this book – or at least my husband and son did! My frame is about 3’x4′, but your frame can actually be any size. Mine makes a rug which is a bit larger than you probably want in an average bathroom. The book provides very good detailed instructions on the whole process from beginning to end, and I would highly recommend it!
The frame needs to be solid and have the part with the nails in raised higher than the sides. The nails are about one inch apart. Down the sides there are two removable metal rods which run through metal rings – don’t miss these out, they are critical!
Then cut 2″ fabric strips to make the base strips and weave them up and down the frame to make the base for you to weave your strips on. Just tie a loose loop to start with and to finish off. Leave at least a 2″ tail – this will be woven in so don’t worry if it looks a bit messy at this stage. You can use almost any fabric for this – I used plain loose weave muslin, but you could use old sheets and some people even use heavier leftover fabrics.
The fabric can be joined together in which ever way you like best. The lazy way (my way!) is just to join them with a sling knot – or you can sew the ends together (which will give you a smoother finish).
It will then look like this:
As you can see I have tied an elastic around the end, to make sure that the fabric doesn’t ride up.
And then you’re ready to go!
Cut lots and lots of 2″ strips. I use a serrated blade for my rotary cutter and this stops some of the fraying, but not all. In total a rug of the size I’m making will take about 15m of fabric – which makes it just about the best stash buster around for old and ugly fabric!
Start by joining two different strips of fabric. Wrap the fabric round the metal frame to start off (avoiding the join) and then start to weave the fabric in front of and behind the vertical strips. It should look like this:
At each end the strips must pass over or under the metal rods as you turn. This keeps the rug perfectly square.
Once you have a few inches established on one end, start the weaving in the same way from the other end. The aim is to meet very tightly at the middle. It would be impossible to get this tight finish if it was at one end of the frame rather than in the middle.
Now get weaving! In part two I will show you how to finish the rug off!