Weave a rug? Me?
Since I have never done any weaving, crochet, or knitting, this is truly a“if-I-can-do-it-so-can-anyone” project!
I was actually surprised by how quickly the whole piece came together, and how fun and enjoyable the whole process was!
Is it a lot of work? Well, no more than building a simple piece of furniture…
Will I do it again? Absolutely!!
You only need a few simple tools and materials to make rag rug: ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
- old T-shirts: field trip to Salvation Army, woohoo! I chose mostly cotton, but other fabrics will work too. To weave a 30″ diameter rug, we need about 6-7 x-large (women’s) t-shirts
- hula hoop or cardboard: I started with cardboard because as a total newbie, I was just going to do a quick test first. But I loved the “test” so much that I transferred it to a bigger 30″ diameter hula hoop! You will see more details about both methods!
- optional but very helpful: this rotary cutter really speeds up the yarn making process, and a cutting mat to use with it!
This great book, Twist and Twine: 18 Ideas for Rag Rugs and Home Decor is addictive if you want to expand on this hobby! =)
Step 1: tips on choosing colors
On my first trip to Salvation Army, I ended up with a pile of t-shirts the size of an elephant…
Realizing I was totally lost in all the colors, I put them all back except for 3 pieces!! ( BTW, I have a master’s degree in fine art lol!)
See, colors are like musical notes, the more isn’t the better. It’s really about harmony!
So I came home with 3 colors I know I want to use for sure: hot pink, yellow, and blue-turquoise.
After a quick color study from these 3 “notes” plus clothing I already have, I returned to Salvation Army with samples of colors, much more focus, and great efficiency!
Tip: I couldn’t find the exact pale pink, so I got a few extra white T-shirts, and dyed them pink, using this method here.
Step 2: how to make continuous t-shirt yarn
The trick here is to adjust the width of your t-shirt strips: cut the strips wider for thin fabrics, narrower for thick fabrics.
For the most common t-shirts, 1.5″ to 2″ wide strips works great.
Follow the diagram below, first cut off the sleeves and open up the t-shirt.
Then cut the lines cross the body, using a rotary cutter like this one, or scissors.
Because the fabric stretches in the direction of the cut, we can pull it to form curled fabric yarn, as in the photo below.
Roll pieces of each color yarn into a ball for use later. As you weave, you will need to join 2 pieces of yarn. Cut an opening on each end, and pull it through as shown in the above diagram.
Step 3: make a cardboard loom, or hula hoop loom
If you don’t have a hula hoop, you can make a large rug on a cardboard loom by joining several pieces of cardboard together with glue and tape.
I started small as a test, so I ended up using both types of looms, lucky you get to see two methods! =)
To make a cardboard loom, first draw a big circle using a circular object as a guide.
Divide the circle into equal parts, here I used a protractor and divided the circle into 10 degree segments.
Cut the circle but leave 1″ to 2″ of cardboard around the circle, make slits so the yarn can be held in place as shown in #3 and #4.
If you start with a hula hoop as loom, you will need some tape or clips to secure the yarn at the beginning, so it does not shift too much.
When I transferred the piece to the hula hoop, I just extended the yarn, and doubled each thread which is optional,
Step 4: weaving
I started with some scrap yarn then covered it with a yellow pompom (more on pompoms later). You can also start with t-shirt yarn and use narrower strips for the beginning.
Choose a direction, either clockwise or counter clockwise, weave over and under every two weft (the crosswise yarns) for the first few rounds, then every weft for the rest. Continue To Next Page…