Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hang on

  "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

A large part of a rug is the end.  You have to figure out a way to finish the ends.  Most of my rugs get a fringed end, and to do that I get to tie a bunch of knots.

Here is a step by step of the process.

My trusty tool is a latch hook.  

Each knot uses 8 pieces of warp, or ends.  The far left and right ends are "traded" with the ends of the neighboring group of eight.  This step helps secure all of the knots together into a continuous line.

I take a turn around my left pointer finger, 

stick the hook under and grab the tails of the warp.

Pull the strings thru and snug the knot down

and you have your finished knot!

Repeat 39 times on each end of the rug and you're finished!

Always be prepared to tie that knot at the end of your rope ~  and hang on!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

S U R P R I S E !

Look what came out of a bag of donated "rug material"!  As I was taking pieces of textile out of the big black garbage bags the donation came in, I admit, I was a little disappointed.  The pieces I was finding were small or, quite frankly, gross.

Until I came to this --  That's when I got excited. 

And then I got a little more excited when the next thing below it was this,

Another quilt top ---

Both are in great shape except for a few small repairs that need to be done before I can finish them into actual quilts.  

From this little escapade I have learned to not give up when the beginnings look a little disappointing...

Monday, March 29, 2010


Many rag rugs that are available are woven all on white or natural colored warp.  I use natural warp sometimes, too.

More often though, my designing eye wants color.

From the colors of warp I have on hand, I have an unbelievable amount of ways to combine them to get the look I want.

Sometimes I'll do a sort of tone on tone ~ for example~  I'll use Red, Rust, and Burgundy together.  This makes for a really rich warp that has alot of depth to it.

Other times I will use some neutrals with one or two colors - usually a dark and a light value of the same.  Such as this warp that I've pictured.

One time I put 12 dark blue on one harness and the other harness had 12 different colors... that turned out to be a fun one!

The warp is a very important part of each rug.  Sometimes it tones down the colors in the weft materials, and sometimes it enhances certain colors.   It's like magic sometimes and other times, it's like... ummm... no - not gonna work with this!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Hunt

The way I work this rug thing is to make them out of other people's castoffs... Rummage sale finds, dumpster diving, Salvation Army, donations....  You get the picture.

Because of this choice of materials, when I'm out I can't just pick up the phone and order some more and get it shipped right out.  I have to go on "the hunt".

Here is a picture of one of the piles of freshly laundered textiles I've accumulated in the last few hunts.  Of course I seem to find colors that won't work with my current warp.

I can tell right now, my next warp is going to be blue.  For one thing, I am out of denim rugs, so I need to get some of those made up, and secondly, I have alot of BLUE in my piles.   Just not this one :)

Next color will be a black/charcoal warp.  I've never had a dark warp like that before, but in my last warp order I included some black and charcoal so that I could use it on my black denim.  I find I don't care for the black denim on the other warps I've used, so I'm looking forward to the black denim rugs.

I've also laid aside some other textiles that I think will work on that warp and can't wait to see how it turns out.

Lately in my forays I have been finding bunches of tablecloths.  Most of these are stained in spots, so I will be cutting those parts out and then making the rest into table runners, and maybe even some placemat sets.

The tablecloths make up really nice into these runners and are a fun little project that I'm hoping will be doable on my Structo Loom. 

I am warping her up now -  HER?  Some people name their looms.  So far I haven't done that, but this little one seems like a girl to me at this point, so maybe she will end up with a name.

Odd, I know....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A little bit of character

I'll take a break from showing you rugs today - they are still on the loom!

I'm always on the lookout for vintage 'stuff' that I can repurpose into something useful and interesting.

This is a place to hang things in my bedroom. I tucked it in behind the bedroom door so it is a nice spot to keep jackets, jeans that can see another day, and other such items.   I made it from saved old window trim and doorknobs. 

The old style trim has moulding that is basically a little shelf.  I used it to put my daily reminders on.  Four ceramic doorknobs are the hangers.

The piece shows a little bit of history in all its scrapes, wrinkles and boo boos.   I considered scraping the paint and refinishing so that there would be more contrast for the knobs, but decided to leave it.  It wouldn't have been perfect anyway, so why not have some character instead!

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's an ill wind

Wind... inevitable in South Dakota.  On days like today when the wind is this crazy, I always feel a little restless, sad and lost.  I don't know what it is, maybe the moaning in the eaves? I have a hard time setting into any project and find myself wandering from window to window.  This kind of day makes it especially hard to start any new projects.

Fortunately, I always seem to have many different projects to pick from!  There is warp on the loom that I have weft ready to weave, I have a new little loom I can play with, and there are some quilts that are whispering to me to come play. But  all those things will have to wait a bit while I get some gainful employment in today.

The roll o' rugs is no more.  All tied up and outa here...  I had two helpers the other night as I was tying.  This must have been an especially comfy rug - I stepped away for a moment and came back to these two testing it out.  Goofy things.  I had to chase them off so I could finish!

This rug ended up being a tiny 22 X 22 inch rug.  It's made from a wool or wool blend woven throw that I found at a second hand shop.  I love the color!  The pictures I got of this rug don't do it justice.  Nighttime light and a shaky hand were my enemies.  I'd take another picture for you, but this rug is currently on consignment at the Goss Opera House in Watertown. 

Yesterday I had to go get the dear son from the airport so I stopped to show my rugs on the way there.  They accepted into consignment 19 rugs and 2 purses.  We will see how it goes! 

The last rug on the roll was this cute little thing.

Another unused and tired stadium type blanket becomes a nice little rug.

As I sit here, I realize that the wind also creates a bit of other emotion in me... It makes me cranky.  Time to move on with my day.  Hope you have a good one!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


In my last post we had some high fashion - or out of high fashion materials in the rugs.  Today is a rug made from much humbler origins.  This rug is made from burlap.  The burlap came on a roll, not the feed sack variety, but still!  This material was a find at a thrift shop and it was an exciting moment for me!  (My life is very ho hum - a roll of fabric gets me going....)

I've had some pretty scratchy burlap, but this is some nice soft stuff.  Fun on the feet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So what's with the sweater?  I guess a few years back (maybe more than a few, but I really don't keep up with the fads) there were alot of sweaters around made of this really soft, buttery feeling rayon.  Well, that fad went out of style and all those sweaters don't get worn anymore!

For the most part, I really don't make rugs out of clothing very often, except for the jeans and corduroy pants.  But these little numbers begged for an experiment.

Here is a full view of a rug made of these sweaters -

The sweaters I used were a little brighter than the one I pictured.  But they must have been quite the deal in their day, cause I found 3 that were the same bright blue, one light blue, 1 REALLY bright pink and a sedate brown.  I thought they mixed well!

Here's another one made from the same sweaters - yes, I got two rugs out of 6 sweaters!  I need to figure out why this rug is narrower on one end than the other.  ????? Too bad I don't know which is the start and finish - that might have helped me.  I suspect I wasn't very consistent with the stretch and selvedge as I was weaving and ended up with a wonky shaped rug.  Oh well, life is an experiment, RIGHT?


I told you there were some surprises in this roll o' rugs!  This is a bag that I made from the fringes off of chenille blankets and coverlets.  As you can probably tell by now, I can't throw anything away.

Weaving with this fringe is labor intensive.  All the fuzz needs to be pushed out thru the warp so that it is free on one side of the weaving.  If I start saving up, maybe in about 2 years I will have enough fringe to make a shag rug.  Whatya think, should that be a goal?

So now for a bit of a teaser.... I'm finishing tying up a couple of rugs that are quite colorful.  Full pictures coming later!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In a former life...

What does a former lowly blanket look like when it gets re'New'd?

When I start on a new rug, I take a good look at the old textile that I'm using.  By cutting with a plan, I can use the former design to create a new one.  This blanket was a solid pinkish color with stripes on either end that were a buttery yellow.  As I wove this rug, a new pattern emerged that I think is rather striking!

~The blanket that was once hidden beneath the quilt on the bed is now the star of the floor ~  The workhorse, the plain jane, and the invisible deserve to shine!

Wedding Gift

The first layer is off and done.  These two rugs were made from the same bedspread/comforter on a random warp of browns and naturals. 

These rugs have already been spoken for to be used as a wedding gift.  

If you ever see a rug that you are interested in purchasing, please message me! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

I love corduroy

The roll o' rugs is a bit smaller tonite, but the lighting is bad enough I'll wait until tomorrow to take pics to show you the first layer that has been unrolled.

In the meantime, here is a picture of a rug I made a couple of weeks ago.   This rug is made from ladies corduroy pants.  I came into a group of pants and made 3 rugs of the same design.  I tried a new end finish on these - This is the hemmed end, which gives the rugs a completely different look!

Here is a closeup of this rug.  I really like how these turned out, especially the colors!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wait and See

As I am weaving on my loom, I don't stop between rugs.  The rugs are 'stored' on the take up beam and when the beam is full, or when I use up all of the warp, then I take them off to cut apart and tie.

roll o' rugs!

Between each rug is a space held for fringe by a spacer I made from tagboard.  These pieces roll right up along with the rugs and I use them over and over until they are worn out.

In this roll o' rugs, there are a couple of surprises ~  Come back and see what we find as it unrolls....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New loom!

I did a little sleuthing and have found out that this loom is a Structo brand loom.  From comparing it to pictures, this one is maybe a model 600.  This is what I found...It is all there except for one crank, I think!

Structo Artcraft 600 4-shaft loom with a maximum weaving width of 20". The loom came with a 15-dent reed. If the reed is slayed two threads per dent (for a sett of 30 ends per inch) the loom could accommodate 600 warp ends. It was made sometime around 1925 but before 1932 (when the next model was released).

Chenille blanket rugs

Chenille Blankets make wonderful rugs. Every one is different and unique.  It's fun to see what the final rug looks like when it comes off the loom.  I find the blankets at rummage sales, thrift shops, and from donations from kind people!   Most of these blankets had seen better days.  Many are threadbare, stained and holey, but have been re'New'ed!