Jan 172012

After my first rag rug experiment came out a bit misshapen, I decided to try again.

Rug rug number one had a couple of problems, the main issue being that it came out sort of pear-shaped. This was because I kept pulling the weft too tight across as I wove, so the final row was a good few inches narrower that the starting row. The other problem was the fringed sides – I just didn’t like the way it came out. However, my niece Melody quite liked it, so it’s hers now and that makes me happy.

With good intentions, lots of hope, and a different type of loom, I started again. Here’s a pictorial essay of how that went. I cannot call this a tutorial because you really have to show a successful outcome to call a pictorial process a tutorial.

Balls of t-yarn (strips cut from cotton t-shirts) look awfully pretty in the basket. I especially love the tie-dye.

About $5 at Home Depot got me what I needed to make my loom  – PVC pipe, 4 elbow joints, and some household twine.

It is well to remember that cats (especially young cats like Minou) are very much attracted to string. No amount of scolding can dissuade him.

The warp is all tied on and the weaving begins. Good start, neat and tight.

Here’s the trick for joining colors – cut a small slit in both ends of each strip.

Green strip feeds into slit of pink strip…

Then the tail end of green strip feeds into the head end of itself.

Pull snug for a nice neat join without a lumpy knot.

About a week into the project I can see that my attempt to keep the rug from going pear-shaped is not really working. So I decide to flip it over and start weaving from the other end so that at least it might end up more or less symmetrical.

So here it is… more or less. OK, less. Hardly symmetrical. And the colors – a bit of a mish-mash. Mark thinks it looks like a rainbow threw up. At least Lima seems to like it. But Lima eats bugs and licks his own butt.

A few thoughts: perhaps next time I should plan a color scheme. Also,  if I paid closer attention to my work, I could probably have managed to keep this rug more evenly shaped. Melody suggests simply starting tighter, i.e. keeping the warp more tightly spaced to begin with. Mark has an idea for an additional piece of PVC that slides along as you weave and helps keep the warp evenly spaced (too complex to properly explain without a diagram).

If anyone knows any good methods for weaving a simple rag rug with a simple hand-made loom and keeping it neatly shaped, please post comments – I’d love some feedback!

in central NJ



 Posted by on 2012/01/17 crafts Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Add comments

  12 Responses to “Another WTF rag rug – not exactly a tutorial”

  1. Good luck in your efforts! I can sympathize with you, as sometimes I get into a roadblock when trying something new.

  2. Mark definitely has the right idea that the warp needs to be tighter. How about trying 2 pieces of pvc longer than the width of your loom. Imagine using the pvc pipe to tighten your warp yarns by “weaving” the pipe across your loom. Start on the left (or right) under the loom’s pvc pipe, go over ALL the warp yarns, and back under the loom on the other side. Do this on both the top and bottom of your loom. You might have to secure the new pvc to the loom frame. Clear as mud, right? Good luck!

    • Actually Evon I can totally visualize that. Not in the least muddy! We must think alike. If I don’t secure it I can slide it as I go and also use it to mash down the weft. Thanks for the suggestion – it sounds like a clever idea. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  3. On YouTube search twined rag rugs….scroll down to Rag Rug Weaving – WCKPartnersLLC in the “author line”

    Using eyehooks and dowels or perhaps eyehooks and a narrow diameter PVC will eliminate hour-glassing. I am going to make a PVC frame and that is how I found your blog. Check this youtube video I think it is the answer for you and not a major effort or expense to use on your frame.

    GOOD LUCK….Love the overall look of your rug!

  4. Hi,

    I made my loom from PVC pipe as well. I also bought and use the clips that you buy at Michaels for the pvc embroidery squares to hold the top and bottom in place while you weave side to side.

    What I do is run my warp from top to bottom in one continuous pieced strip from top left to bottom right, Secure the warp at the top left and bottom right corners with a slip knot on the actual pipe frame. You also will start your weave to and from these knots to secure the weave to the warp.

    Use the clips to secure the vertical warp onto the pvc frame once you complete the warp threading.

    Weave the strips horizontally as you would any weaving, but make sure you weave around the vertical side pvc pipe. This keeps the weave uniform. All the wooden frames weave around the steel rod layered on top of the vertical wood sides. The difference is when you take the rug off the loom. On a wooden loom, you pull the steel rods and lift the rug off.

    I take the clips and my elbows off and slide the rug off the pvc framework. Now you have several options to finish the rug. Since the pvc rod is thicker than the steel rod, one of the following finishing is a good idea.

    You may hand sew a tacking seam before you slide the rug from the pipe, or after you slide the rug off the pipe, run the sides through a sewing machine, fringe the sides, braid the sides with another strip of cloth or thread a strip in a large plastic tapestry needle and run this through the side loops, securing at the top and bottom to stop the weave from loosening into the space created when you remove the pipe from the side weave.

    It is much easier to explain this with pictures, but I don’t know how to post them. I also have never taken any.

    Hope that helps in some way

    • Shari, thanks so much for your wonderful comments – you have basically provided a whole tutorial here!! Tell you what – if you can get someone to help you out by taking pictures of the process, I would be happy to post your tutorial here – you can be a guest blogger! Pictures are essential, for sure.

  5. drill small holes in the top & bottom PVC where your end warps will be. I bought a narrow metal rod at ACE Hardware & you can run it through the holes. When you reach the end of a row, go around the rod, including it in your warp turn. When finished, slide the rods out. you rug should be straight. If you find you are pulling the rods in towards the center, take a piece of fabric or string & tie them to the up/down PVC pipes.

  6. On each side of of the loom you need two metal bars & while weaving treat these bars like warp. Since they do not bend your finished product will have straight lines. Just slide out metal bars when finished. Your warp has to be close to these bars so the edges are tight

  7. Once you get your rods in..your rug will be straight..You did s beautiful job weaving and love the colors..you have got it..you will do fabulous once you get those rods in.😀

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