... and make a braided rag rug using knit scraps and old t-shirts.
Once again, middle of the night Pinterest inspiration struck, and I knew I just had to make a braided rag rug for my funky kitchen.
In a warm sunburst of yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks (and maybe more - we'll see!).
So I proceeded to read every online tutorial I could find on the topic (if you're interested, I pinned most of the links here), and I cut up some old t-shirts and scraps of knit from sewing and got to work. Rag rugs can be made from almost any fabric - cotton and wool are traditional - but I figured knits would be an easy place to start and would make a very washable rug. Plus, my pile of colorful scraps and thrifted t-shirts is currently threatening to take over my sewing space.
What I've learned so far: The trick is in getting the coil to lay flat. Any change in tension and it wants to go concave or convex. The rug wants to a be a bowl. Or a big lumpy mess. Making a rug requires fighting against this natural inclination. It is extremely important, therefore, to work on a flat surface - this is not a lap project, but you can sit at the coffee table while you watch television. It is a little tough on the wrists because the braid has to be turned and secured just so as you sew it. There is a "feel" to it that I am still developing.
Other than that, it's really easy. And it's growing fast. Most of the online tutorials mention that this is an extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive project. But for someone who has hand-quilted a couple of quilts, it doesn't feel slow at all. It is so fun watching the colors develop as you coil the braid around. It's strangely addicting!
Making a rag rug will set a person musing about a time when very little went to waste, and old clothes or worn sheets were torn into strips and made into rugs, which lasted for years. And all of the little ways that my foremothers worked to bring a little cheer and beauty into their homes and lives even during the hardest of times - the triumph of human creativity and imagination over mere subsistence.
Once you start a rag rug, you may decide that allowing the children to fingerpaint the walls while you work represents an acceptable compromise. Fingerpainting the walls is an activity that keeps children happy for a nice long chunk of time, allowing you to spend a lot of time cutting strips, braiding, and coiling. And pondering your next color change.
Fingerpaint washes off the walls pretty easily, fyi.
Joe says: "You should make it huge! Like this!" Holding his arms out wide.