19 September 2011

Braided Rugs

You can make colourful and unique braided rugs from scraps of fabrics, just as our great-grandmothers did. Braided rugs could be found next to beds, in front of fires, under the kitchen sink and even by the back door for boot wiping.  They are easy to make and can be a very frugal craft if you use scrap fabrics you have around the house.  Old bed sheets, shirts, dresses, even jeans can be used to make rag rugs. Try to match the weight of your fabrics i.e. don't use a sheet with denim.

Basically you just cut a lot of fabric scraps into 8cm wide strips and hand-sew or machine stitch the strips together at the narrow end to make long lengths of fabric ribbon. Alternatively, tie the strips together using granny knots. Make several of these strips and braid them loosely together. Don't pull the braid tight or your rug will curl up at the edges when you stitch it together. Continue sewing or tying fabric strips to the ends and braiding them. Once you have a very long continuous braid, place it flat on a table and create a coil to make the round rug. Then hand-stitch the coils together with quilting cotton to secure the rug.

You don't have to make rugs. You can use the same processs to make placemats, table runners, doyleys - even seat covers. And your rug doesn't have to be round - you can coil your length of braid into an oval shape if you prefer it.

Braided rag rugs aren't the fastest craft you can do but they are beautiful, practical and cost virtually nothing but your time - the ideal craft for a Cheapskater!

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