A little over a year ago, I saw a blurb in Mother Earth News about creating a rag rug. When I followed through on the link, it was talking about using leftover woolen clothes to create durable floor mats. Well, this Southern California girl doesn’t do wool: it’s itchy, and more importantly it needs dry cleaning, which is expensive.
It did give me an idea, though, so I used the power of Google to learn more about rag rugs. I remember my grandma having them as I grew up, and I loved the way they felt underfoot – a wonderful contrast to that cold linoleum in the kitchen on winter mornings. It turns out, most people make them out of tshirts and other cotton fabric. I was in business!
I piled up all of my stained and otherwise ready-to-be-donated shirts and was all ready to get going. Step one is the least fun part, which is what kept me from starting this project for a long time: It involved cutting 2-inch-wide strips out of the shirts. Me being me, my strips were all going to be EXACTLY two inches wide, which made it a very time consuming, back breaking process, as I leaned over my quilting board and diligently cut the fabric into strips. I actually did the bulk of this project the same night I tried making pectin.
Once the strips were cut, I spent a while watching YouTube videos to find out the best way to proceed: There were different opinions in how to sew these little strips together, so I had to figure out which would work best for me. Fortunately a throw away line in one of the videos saved me a great deal of frustration. It pointed out not to make the strips more than five or six feet long, because trying to braid with them longer made it incredibly difficult.
Next up was sewing these little strips into longer strips. I needed Kurt‘s sewing machine for it. I knew from past experience, however, that if I borrowed the machine, it would sit around my house and never get done. Instead we found a time when I could come over and sew there.
After the strips were sewn, they lived under my bed for many, many months. It just wasn’t doing it for me. Then, about two months ago, despite a ridiculously busy work schedule, I decided to start. I love it! It is so relaxing! The first step is to braid the strips together, and then manipulate the braid into an oval shape and sew it down. I love all of it!
I’ve learned so much in the process of doing my first one. First off, don’t create 50 feet of braid and then start shaping it. It is hard to manage, and it starts twisting in on itself and doesn’t like to lay flat. Also, color choice timing matters. I got lucky when I started to create mine and like the way it is looking, but when I create future rugs, I will be more conscious of the color placement.
Finally, cats really like “helping” with this task, almost as much as the creation of Halloween costumes.
I figure my first rug will be down on the kitchen floor by Thanksgiving. It will feel all nice and cozy beneath my feet, and it’s washable!
Has anyone else had a craft sit unattended for months before resuming it? or What is your latest relaxation activity?