A little while ago, I discovered a GREAT book on weaving T-shirt rug, wall tapestries, and other types of rag rugs.
The author’s passion is totally contagious, and I just have to try it!
The whole process of building a simple rug loom and weaving a rug was lots of fun and surprisingly easy.
I will share with you a couple of ways to build your own adjustable loom and some short cuts I learned on how to weave a T-shirt rug.
If you love little snack breaks ( which I do ), and sneak in a few minutes of weaving during each snack break ( which I did ), you will have a beautiful rug in no time!
The book that I love so much is called Twined Rag Rugs, by Bobbie Irwin. It is the result of a chance meeting between the author and an 80 year old lady who made magnificent rag rugs. which inspired her life long journey to revive this traditional craft.
She also published another beautiful book called Twist and Twine: 18 Ideas for Rag Rugs and Home Decor.
To make a T-shirt rug, first we need to make some t-shirt yarn or any fabric yarn. Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to make t-shirt yarn and weave a round rug.
Next, let’s build an adjustable rug loom! ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links, full disclosure here )
It sounds so impressive. It is actually really simple.
Build a frame with 1x2s, you can build them any size. Secure the four corners with dowels so the frame is adjustable length-wise.
See plan below-
I did it a little differently. Partly because I have a bunch of 1x2s cut in 12″ sections from this project: Star-shaped cloths drying rack.
Instead of building the whole frame, I only set up the top and bottom bars, and screwed them into the wall. (If you don’t want holes in your wall, then build the whole frame like shown in the plan!) The nails are spaced at 1″ apart.
Now we can start weaving!
Remember these two words: warp & weft.
Warp: (in weaving) the threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the Weft) are passed to make textile.
Step 1: Continuous warp.
You can use string or t-shirt yarn as warp. I used some acrylic yarn.
Tie a loop at the very beginning. Zigzag the warp onto the nails on the upper and lower bars. Tie a loop at the end.
The warp should not be stretched too tight. As we weave, they will be come tighter.
In addition to the frame, you will also need two side “bars” to help the rug stay rectangular as we weave, because the tension will pull the shape towards the center.
I used a piece of quarter round trim piece on each side. Thin metals rods are popular choices also. Tie a string to secure ends of these bars onto the end nails / screws . We will need to be able to remove the from the rug at the end. See following steps.
I found the tension to be quite strong that the wood trim pieces stated warping. So I added 1-2 extra nails to help them stay straight.
Step 2: Double weft weaving
Take a piece of t-shirt yarn, fold in the middle so you have a double strand.
Go through the first loop we tied on the warp like shown above. This is the only tricky part. You can also stitch this spot, or tie a knot- the goal is to prevent the rug from unraveling at this beginning spot.
Now take the doubled weft and weave it over and under the warp.
In case you missed the definitions – Warp: (in weaving) the threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the Weft) are passed to make textile.
When you reach the end, turn the corner and weave the weft over and under the warp, alternating from the row above.
That’s the basics. Next we will look at how to change colors and create designs! Continue To Next Page…