Friday, October 14, 2016

Stashbusting 101

Rug measures 28"x36"
My first braided rug. I hesitated to share it here because it is so mundane and there are so many things wrong with it. But there were lessons learned, and it is always good to be humbled now and then.

I started off with a big bag of wool fabric reclaimed from various coats and jackets. I had no place to store it and I will be damned if I buy another tote. I had heard that braided rugs use up a lot of fabric so my solution to the storage problem was to use it, not store it. (Hah! Revolutionary, that!) I had a vague idea about how to make a rug, and had some help from Val Galvin's YouTube videos.

I blithely started braiding away, after making some huge balls of 3" wide strips, machine stitched together on the bias, folded and pressed with a steam iron. (I only burned my fingers a few times during the pressing.) After quickly discovering that huge balls are hard to manoeuvre and untangle, I thought I should maybe read up a little bit before proceeding. A book from the library, the Sturges' The Braided Rug made it clear that braiding is no simple thing. Good grief, there are even patterns for braided rugs!

Well, what the hey, I was halfway done and certainly wasn't going to unbraid anything. I joined ends by handstitching, and learned to fold as I went, and to firmly interlace the braids with sturdy waxed linen string. I noticed that thinner fabrics bunched up into unattractive folds instead of the smooth plump braid I was aiming for. I could see why a plan might help manage the unbalanced colour pooling that happened with a hit or miss approach.

But the speed with which a decent sized object emerged was gratifying. And the dogs both seemed very comfortable curled up on it. I tried a tapered end finish - twice - and even though it still wasn't quite right, declared it done. Not perfect by any means, but serviceable.

And no need to find storage space for a big bag of wool. As my friend Heide says, "Managing a stash isn't for sissies!"

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:49 AM

    That is so cool! I think i'm going to have order one from you. Jean-Pierre

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  2. It turned out great! Yay! Stash converted to Functional Object. Isn't that the whole point?

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  3. Nice! And looks good too.

    My throw rugs will not look nearly as nice as yours, but they will save landfill space. [old t-shirts and towels, quick stitched tog.]

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  4. it looks beautiful and very practical. Who decides what perfect is, and why does a rag rug need to be perfect? To hang on the wall and be declared "art"! The battle of the stash, looks like you are winning.

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  5. First, I love Heide's quote at the end! Second, I have watched people braid rugs at my rug hooking camp, and so I know second hand how hard it is. Hard enough that I'm not tempted to try it myself! Your rug looks excellent!

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