I am going to do a series of tutorials because it will take a few posts to make this. Many people have asked how to do this, as well as a sister-in-law. So, for hers and your benefit, here we go with the first tutorial on how to make a round braided rug. Why round? It is the easiest to make first, ovals next, corners and odd shapes the hardest and last.
So, here is the start of the round rug.
Supplies for this step:
- Scissors/ruler or rotary cutter/mat
- fabric can be wool (easiest to work with if you are not allergic to wool, that is). jean (denim, hardest on the hands to work with), cotton (very thin; won’t last long), cotton toweling (easy to work with, just messy when cutting strips and braiding — little tufts of toweling everywhere), or any thing you like (I hate using synthetics for this, but if you just have tons of polyester, go for it just [eww] don’t show me, I don’t know how it is to work with because I have never used it, nor do I want to)
- washing machine/soap/cycle on hot water, dryer
Steps in prep work:
- Acquiring the fabric. You can collect old towels to use in making a bath mat, or worn out jeans to make a kid’s playroom rug. Some people use scrapes of cotton yardage that they will never use to make anything else. I don’t do this because I feel it is too much work to use such a thin material. The result is lovely, but it takes 5 times the work and supplies and doesn’t last even half as long as a wool one. You can use wool mill ends if you have a place near you ,such as Pendleton woolen mills. Now this I do like: cheap price, but high-quality material. If you get your fabric from old clothes, you will have to tear down the old clothes getting rid of all seams and such because they are not useful at all. This is a lot more work, but if you have clothes from a deceased relative, it can be rewarding, too, or if they are clothes your children have worn and such.
- Wash all fabric first in very hot water to shrink them and set colors, and dry on high heat in dryer to shrink it as much as possible before use. This will also help in getting rid of and killing any moths that may be in the fabric, if using wool. I also, afterward, stored my wool in big black garbage bags with moth crystals for three weeks to make sure I don’t bring moths into my home; that would be a nightmare at my house!
- Cut fabric into 1 1/2 inch-wide strips, for wool. For jeans, I would use 3 inch-wide strips, and same goes for toweling and cotton fabric. Cut strips with the grain or cross grain of the fabric, never on the bias; bias has stretching issues when braiding, and that is not good. You can tear the fabric; for this, cut small snips at one end of the fabric and just tear to the other side. This makes sure that all your strips are uniform and with the grain or cross grain of the fabric. If you want to cut all the fabric with a rotary cutter, that works, too; just might be on the bias if you are not careful…
Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish
These tutorials will be all about making a braided round rug. If after this everyone likes the tutorials, I will add one on how to make an oval rug; it has a different starting. I will also explain the math involved in the increases and figuring out a finished size of an oval rug. This is useful if you want to make a rug for a special space that you will want to fit with an oval.
I do have a group on flickr about handmade rugs; you are welcome to check it out.
This is the wool rug, known in our house as the ladybug rug, this is below the jean rug in the other photo. two up.
DO NOT USE THESE PATTERNS TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!!!!