Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rag Rug Tips from Mary

I have a treat for you today! I'm showcasing a lady who has taken Rag Rugging to a whole new level. . . .Mary bought all our looms months ago and has worked diligently weaving numerous rugs ever since. . . .

With MacGregor's and Moses' (isn't he adorable above) help weaving, Mary has started a new business, selling her Rag Rug creations at a local boutique. . . .and hoping to expand her business very soon.

She says she's no expert, but I think by this time she is! I asked her to share some of her tips with fellow Rag Ruggers. . . .She was more than happy to do so. . . .

My ultimate goal, is to have a small corner in the house up north (dare I say it?  a studio) with shelves of hoarded fabric, in all colors; then when I want to weave,  I can say today I want to do an all blue (like a lake)  rug and pull from my stash, all blue/grey fabrics.   Thus far, the rugs are coming in with whatever colors/materials I have on hand. 

Extent of my knowledge thus far....I am learning as I go and can't wait to sit outside and weave vs in the house (oh the lint!).

Hmm, tips; I'm not an expert by any means.  My thoughts based on experiences (good and bad) thus far:
  • Really like cotton sheets.  Most bang for the buck. You get long strips. Cotton/poly blends are ok, but, the higher the poly it seems the more 'shredding' I get. It seems, also, the "uglier" the sheet, the pretty the resulting weave.  I bought a sheet last week that is straight out of 1968 (orange, bright yellow, green- big floral, long hair hippy look,  weaving up realy pretty!!)
  • Don't make strips for weaving too long, all the pulling and tugging and weaving thru the warp seems to add to the "fray" factor.
  • Wash all materials first.  I do this as 99% of my material is from thrift stores.
  • Don't cut warp for loom to thin, made that mistake and about halfway thru a completed rug (or so I thought)  the warp started to fray and tore,  had to pull off loom, unweave, and cuss  a bit.    :)   I would estimate my warp strips are at least 1 1/2".,
  • I like the thicker, 'shabbier' look, but have seen some rugs that are more polished or smoother.  By that, it appears as though all the weaving (and warp) strips were sewn together rather than the loose join I do; this does create a smoother rug, more reminiscent of the old harness loom woven rugs, and as my mom's Friend did.  However, I hate too sew (anything) hence I don't!
  • Knot the fringes, the loop doesn't seem to hold.
  • If your material has a seam, sometimes it pays  to open that seam and lay it flat before joining in the next strip.  Or simply cut it off, a seam always seems to create a bit of a weak spot or to big a bump.
  • Experimented with hand washing vs machine.  Again, as I am lazy, like to machine wash, gentle short cycle.  And threw in dryer (be prepared for a lot of lint).  You can also lay flat to dry, but, it takes a long time.  A good sunny day would speed up the drying process, but, since we haven't seen the sun in Wisconsin and temps over 50* since last October.......!!
  • .For rugs I would sell I would recommend the hand washing and lay flat to dry method.
  • Finally, perhaps because thrift stores seem to be my best source, I have to weave using the current colors on hand; making do with what you have philosophy. 
  • Be prepared for lots and lots and lots of lint.

Wonderful tips, Mary! I've never washed my rugs once they were finished, so I was more than glad to hear they do wash well. . . .And, don't you love the fringe that she adds? Just a few along the sides adds a special pop to the rugs.

Thanks so much, Mary, for gathering and sharing your thoughts with us!
Looking forward to your future Rag Rug projects!

If you'd like to contact Mary for price quotes on her rugs, her email address is:

If anyone would like their work showcased, feel free to email me. . . . . . .We all learn from each other. . . .

Also, if you enjoyed these tips from Mary, please leave her a comment below. . . .I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!

Happy Rag Rugging!