>Part 8:Braided rug butted ends, the end

>Sorry so long in posting this.

  1. The last round is braided while not attached to the rug. Safety pin three strands of material together — see picture below.imgp7921
  2. Just start doing a normal braid.imgp7923imgp7924
  3. When you have enough braid then some to go all the way around the rug, place a safety pin near the edge of the rug. This is to wind your lacing cord around (see photo) that will be used to tie a knot when you stitch all the way around. imgp7925imgp7926
  4. Attach lacing cord to needle. imgp7927
  5. Start stitching braid to main body of the rug. Leave about 2 to 3 inches of the beginning of the braid not stitched down. Also do not start where you taped the last row.imgp7928imgp7929imgp7930
  6. When you get to the taper, see photo for to how to handle the small parts of the braid; they mainly get skipped. imgp7960
  7. Then continue stitching it down ’till you get within about 5 inches of your starting point.imgp7961
  8. Overlap ends of the braid, line up colors and place safety pins where they match up in color and in number of loops left on inside of rug. Needle is pointing to where my first twist is of the first braid; the next braid needs to match and end here, too.imgp7962
  9. You may need to have one or two more twists on the braid being attached to get the patterns to line up. Just your basic increase when stitching. The left side of this braid will be stitched down. Then sewn to the starting point of this braid. The right side of the braid (the side on the right of the safety pins) will be cut off.imgp7964
  10. Leave one strand long to use to weave at the endimgp7965
  11. Unbraid a little and match up the colors to their counter parts with the beginning and end of the rug, and safety pin two sets of strands together. Then stitch those two as well; I do this by hand, but you may use a machine if you want to.imgp7966
  12. This part is kind of hard to explain — you weave the two that are stitched back and forth while weaving the third loose strand into it to reform the braid.
  13. Match the last loose strand, pull it tight and stitch the two together by hand. imgp7967
  14. Then go back to lacing the rug together all the way to the end. That is ’till the two ends of the lacing cord meet at the beginning of your work. Tie knot. Sorry bad photo. imgp7968
  15. weave in ends for about an inch or two away from knotimgp7969
  16. Repeat last row 1 or 2 more times so you have two or three butted rows.imgp7970imgp7971
  17. All done with the rug, now find a home for itbraided rug from tutorial

Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Sewing the strips together & forming reels
Part 3: 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/hemostat tool
Part 8: Butting last rows for a smooth finish

>rug groups on flickr I admin for


hand made rugs. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

Rag Rugs (Braided or Crocheted ONLY Please). Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

>Part 7: Ending in a taper/hemostat tool

>Well, finally part 7 of the rug tutorial. In this part you will need to have a hemostat; you can get these at most medical supply stores or your family doctor. This tool aids in pulling the tails into the rug when finishing your last round before the two butted rows.

hemostat used in finishing a rug

When you have braided the rug to the length you want, cut the braid.


Unbraid the last 12 inches of the braid,


then trim each piece of the braid. Trim both sides so that they tapper down to a point. I am showing, also, that you are not supposed to use one that has a seam in the middle of it because it makes it hard to braid one so skinny that has a seam. My other two do not have a seam in them; that is the preferred way.


Pull each stand of the braid and fold the sides over and whip stitch closed. I am using blue for the tutorial; please make your thread match the color of your fabric. Do this to all three strands of the braid


Here I braided them together, so you can see how the braid gets skinnier now. However, this is not needed for braiding the rug, so I have to un-braid this part and continue with tutorial.


See above photo where the linen cord is coming out of the rug; this is where we will pick up on our rug. The hemostat in the below photo shows where the green strand is going to be woven into the rug.


This next picture shows the hemostat going through the space between the braids to pull the green strand into the rug.


Here it is being pulled through.


Repeat ’till it has gone through about 5 to 7 loops on the rug


When you have it as far as you want to in weaving it in, cut it close to the rug and make sure the tail is tucked in and not visible.


Now do a few apple peels to get to the next color to be woven in; in this case, the red.


Repeat with the last color. After you are done, make sure and check to see if your ends are cut close enough not to be seen. As you can tell, I need to tuck the red one in or cut it closer. To cut closer, grab hemostat, pull on it hard, and cut below hemostat then let the strand pull back into the rug.


Remember that linen cord that is holding the rug together up ’till this point? Well, now you have to weave its tail into the rug, as well. This is much easier to do than the strands from the braid. Just insert your needle into the next loop and go under about 5 loops this way, then make a u-turn and go under about 3 to 5 in the opposite direction; cut the thread and you’re done with this step.


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/hemostat tool
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish

>Another Braided rug


sils rug in progress

I hope to post the last two rug tutorials today (but I may only get one done) since I have a day off, which only happens every now and again. I posted a little bit of this rug on the post about tatting. I am making it for my SIL who watches my kids almost everyday while I am at work. She is a great blessing to me and my family. I don’t think she truly knows how much I appreciate what she does. Sometimes (lots of times) my schedule at work gets changed at the drop of a hat and I never know from 1 hour to the next how long my shifts will be; she rolls pretty good with the punches. I just wish this wasn’t the case because I am sure it is a large intrusion on her family. This rug is about three feet across at the moment; not all the braids are stitched together, so this is an estimate. It will be 5 feet across like the last one when done. There are two shades of red in this rug, it isn’t a camera trick; there will probably be a few more before I am done because the red keeps running out, while the black and brown haven’t yet.

>Tatting Callenge 14 & 15/rug



I have not done tatting in a while so I thought I would post it today. This is also one of those things I do while my husband drives the first and last parts of our daily commute. The pattern is 3 picot term 5 joins at first and last picot.I am doing these for the 25 motif tatting challenge this really has been a challenge for me to work this into my life so I have done simple patterns I wanted to do more complex but life is to complex at times and I just needed easy mental release when tatting lately. As you can tell from the photo I just started one and one has about 5 yards thus far. I have more of both of these vintage threads somewhere in my stash so I may dig more out after I run out of this thread to add to the length of these edgings. The red shuttles a gift to me by a friend on the internet. I think that is sweet of her this is my first time using them I am trying to get use to their quirks every new tool has quirks some good some bad still figuring these out.
If you like tatting also check out the mad tatter group on flickr.

Also in the top of this photo you can see the start of another project a red black and brown rug for my sister in law. I know she reads this blog this is not a surprise to her.

The other rug is done I just haven’t had a chance to edit photos and make the tutorial yet. But here is a picture of it for you all to see what it looks like. I hope my kids piano teacher likes it.

This rug is over 5 feet across I am standing on a tall chair with my arms as high as I can reach in the air trying to take this photo. It is a good thing my camera has a viewing monitor that pivots so I can do this.

>Update on braided rug


update on braided rug tutorial

The rug is about 4 rows from the next step in the tutorial. It is hard to tell in the photo, but it is almost five feet across now. The length of measuring tape that is extended beyond both sides of the rug shows five feet, my goal. So, I will be posting the last two tutorials in the round rug series very soon. This would have been done sooner, but as you noticed I had an absence with working, and commuting 20 hours a week and two holidays with crazy hours, 70-hour work weeks, a death in the family, and being sick on top of it all. It was all I could do to get up in the mornings lately. I think I am back on top of things. This should be done in the next 10 to 12 days.

>Progress on rug


33 inches across now

So far, the rug is about 32 inches across; when done, it should be about 60 inches. This rug, when completed, is a gift for my children’s piano teacher. It is hard to explain how nice of a person she is. Not only is she their teacher, she is my friend and a great lady. This is a thank you for everything she has done for my family over the years. Mrs. Bear-Hunter is a great lady, to say the least (that isn’t her real name, it’s just what my kids call her).

The item to the right is my braiding stand. It has gotten kind of wobbly from all the use I have given it. Any craft table will work to attach your braid clamp to. In time, I hope to make a better one. Sort of an over-grown crate with room to put my feet inside of it to balance it as I braid and with shelves to put my supplies on. The shelves would be inside the box right above my knees; this would be much better than what I have. I just thought you all might want to see this anyway because it is a tool I use religiously when braiding. Also notice you can use rubber bands instead of reel aids or safety pins; anything goes.

If you noticed in the photos, I have done a color change, actually three of them, white to cream, red to plaid red and medium khaki to a little darker khaki. It is hard to see where I changed the colors. If you do it the way I explained, it will be hard for others to see it, too. In the photo below, the color change is happening just above the needle and another to the left and up a little. If you want to find it, click on photo for a blow up. This is the back of the rug; they are harder to find on the front. But I stitch from the back when lacing, so I never see the front of the rug ’till I am all done and flip it over. The rug is reversible; I just like one side more than the other.

32 inches across

The colors are those in the piano teacher’s house. She knows she is getting this gift, and I wanted it to work with in her home, so she picked the colors.

>Part 6: How to change colors

>Once you have a length of braid laced together and want to change colors, look to the safety pin you placed in the beginning of your rug. Take a straight line from the end of it to the edge of the rug. In the photo I have laid my needle to show this imaginary line.

need to add new colors
In my case, at this point in the rug I wanted to change two strands because I like to let the fabric sometimes dictate when I change colors. In this case, two colors are not able to make another complete round. Place a T pin in the piece of the braid you want to cut; you can change 1, 2, or all 3 strands at the same time. I have also made rugs where I change all three colors every round. That is a lot of work, but the results are amazing.

showing where to change colors

Place the T on the outside of the braid and place it close to the edge of the braid over lapping it. The pin placement is important, because when you cut this spot and sew, your seam should lay under the strand next to it ,and the join cannot be seen from either side of the rug. The colors change where you cannot see them.

markings for cutting
close up of markings for cutting

Now, cut your fabric to the right of the pins.

cutting strands

Unbraid and unlace a few inches back at this point to make it easier to add on your new fabric. I am changing white for tan and red for a brick red plaid.

cut strands
un braided and un laced

The way you add fabric is the same way you started the rug, with the 45-degree angle to stitch two pieces together. I stitch this by hand when adding a new color; when just joining the same color, I do that by machine. The reason for the different ways is that when I am just adding the same color, I can do that at any time and have a long enough length to take to the machine. When changing colors, I am about 5 inches from where the rug is braided and laced together, making it hard to manipulate at the machine. I have done it both ways. If I have my machine sitting on the floor, then it is sometimes easier to do this step on a machine. When making a jean rug, if you plan to change color every round it is a good suggestion to set your machine on the floor next to where you want to change colors, because stitching through jean is hard on the hands; wool is easy. I did mine scrappy on the jean, so it didn’t matter.

adding new color  how to lay new color on
hand stitched forward and back again

In these two photos I have traced (not well mind you) the two new pieces of fabric that have been changed changed. This is so you can see; because of where we cut it, the old colors disappear at an angle into the center, making them blend better when laced together making the color change harder to see in the rug.

showing new colors
close up showing new colors

On a side note, another tool I use is a clothes pin. When I want to set my work down and not have the braid undo itself, I just place a clothes pin over the ends. This saves redoing a few braids each time you stop.

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

>Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools

>Supplies and tools:

  • Glove to protect hand you pull thread with (I am right handed, the glove is worn on my left) but you can wear one on both hands if you want. I have leather thimbles over the fingers of my glove to save my fingers even more. All the damage you see to this glove is from braiding, same goes for the thimbles.
  • Bodkins or needles. My favorite is the top one. It is from my Great Aunt; she used it to make rugs over 60 years ago. Next is the one below it found thrifting. The bottom ones are the type you find at most stores in a package like to the right in the photo. I don’t like them — too short, in my opinion. They are hard to manipulate.
  • 6-ply linen cord. You can also get a nice, thick, strong cord from any cobbler. They have two types: waxed and unwaxed. Unwaxed is cheaper, waxed is twice as much. I repaired a few of my Great Aunts rugs right before she died and realized she had used waxed cord on some and unwaxed on others. The waxed cords where still pliable and subtle where the other cords had become dry and brittle. I don’t have waxed cord to use, but I think for the long run it is better. However, it has a drawback: it is hard to get a knot to seat in it very well. This makes sewing (lacing) harder to do. But, if I had both types of cord, I would use the waxed over the other just for the durability of it.
  • Swinging gate clamp. This is used when braiding, but I realized I didn’t show it in the last post with an explanation, so I am tossing it in now. This is used to hold my braid when braiding. I can push the braid away from me and the gate swings open to let it move through the gate. If I pull towards me the gate holds firm and doesn’t let the braid move. That’s very useful when braiding and is highly recommended. Clamps to most tables.
  • And, of course, you need a length of braid to stitch together.

First you will need to cut a length of cord. Tie a knot at the tail and another right after the needle or bodkin to make it easier to stitch.
OK, on to explaining how to lace the braids together. Just so we all know, for me this is hard to explain in writing and easy to demo in real life. So if you have questions, please ask because I may have missed a photo (but I don’t think so).

  • Insert needle into the top of the t start. Make sure to go through some of the fabric inside the braid to secure the knot. Cut excess threads hanging out
  • Pass your needle inside the braid till you pop the needle out on the inside of the curve 3 twists down on the inside curve of the braid.
  • Go back up to the first l over m and stitch under the braid. You are not catching any fibers anymore, just going in between the strands of the braid.
  • Now, skip the strand next to the spot where the needle popped out of the braid the first time, and pass the needle through the space between the strands. Picture of needle point at the red strand shows that I am skipping that strand.
  • Back to the top of the t start, pass needle under the first r over m.
  • Back to other attaching new braid, skipping next strand on braid, stitch under the next. In other words, every other stand is being stitched. In my case, I am skipping the reds. These skips are known as increases and is adding bulk to the rug edge to make it easier to make the curves. You only do increases on the braid that is being attached to the rug. You NEVER skip any braid strand on the part of the rug that has already been attached.
  • Back to t start and stitch through the second r over m.
  • Continue in this pattern until you get to where both sides of the braid you are adding to the rug have three colors in their twists. In other wards, till you get past the apple peels.
  • Place a safety pin at the t start pointing away from the t; this will point to where you will make all your color changes later in the rug.
  • You will continue lacing the braid to the rug, but now you only make increases where needed; this takes some practice. You can place t pins in the rug to make sure you are staggering your increases. If you don’t stagger them, your rug will not be round but will have a free-form shape, especially if you always do them in the same spot. You increase when you feel you have to stretch the braid to make the next lacing. If you don’t have to stretch it, then don’t increase. If your rug is cupping you have not done enough increases; tear out lacing and do that part again. If your rug has a wavy effect, you have too many increases; tear out that part and stitch again with fewer increases. If your fabrics are not the same weight, both of these two things can happen, too. It just takes practice to know which is happening. If you switch to a fatter or heaver weight wool, do not increase that round. If you switch to a lighter or thinner weight wool, you will have many more increases that round. Best to stay to one weight.
  • Wool rugs are very cushy and thick; some people are surprised by this when they make the rug. Trust me, your shoulders will know you are working with something heavy!
  • When stitching, make sure to pull your linen cord hard to pull lacing stitches together. With wool, cotton toweling, and plain quilters cotton, your stitching should not show, with jeans that is a different story because the jeans don’t give much to hid the stitches. I like my stitches to be hidden and have only made one jean rug for this reason. I don’t like to walk on what is holding the rug together, because if the stitches show that means they are being walked on, and the vacuum is beating on them, wearing them out faster. Since the lacing cord is not as thick as the rug is, it wears out soon and you will have to make repairs. This is one of the main reasons I will not buy store rugs, because they have little tiny sewing machine thread holding the braids together on the outside of the rug, not hidden inside like the ones I make. So, it doesn’t take much wear to wear out those threads and then your rug falls apart. My Great Aunts (the ones still living) are still using the rugs that they and my great-grandmother made over 60 years ago, and they still have 60 more years or more of wear left in them. I only repaired 6 holes in over 13 rugs in their house (to hard of work for their 90-plus year bodies), and those holes were made by the kitchen table’s legs wearing out the fabric from sitting in the same spot for so long. In other words, the rugs where like steel if made well and flipped and rotated often, like at spring cleaning time.
  • When your thread starts to get short, also shown in the picture below, you will need to add more cording. You can use a square knot or a weavers knot. I use a square knot, but both would work great. The weavers knot would be a better choice for waxed thread. When adding thread, leave the tails long so when you stitch the tails can be woven under many braid strands to hold the knot secure and to keep it from untieing and unlacing.

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

>Part 4: Braided Rug Apple peals

>r = right
m = middle
l = left

There are two ways of starting this type of braid once you have a t start

The version I use is listed first; the second version, the one I don’t use, is listed second. Both work great.

Start with the apple peel itself.

  1. r over mr over m
  2. r over m (make sure when you are braiding you are keeping the raw edges turned inside so that it continues to have the shape you stitched closed without the extra stitches).r over m again
  3. l over m, pull hard on the piece of the braid that was left over middle 1 complete apple peel made, this picture. The one below shows one more step than indicated in instructions above; it shows the next r over m , r over m as well as the l over m talked about above, then the second apple peel is started with 2 r over ml over m r over m r over m
  4. Do 8 of these, including the first one in the 8. If done correctly, on the left side of the braid will only be two colors where the right side has all three but one color is ever other twist.8 apple peals
  5. Then start plain braiding, r over m, l over m; keep braid tight and firm. This isn’t like hair where you want a long braid, but a short stocky braid. Make sure you are turning in your raw edges.now braiding straight seams to left

If I can get my husband to do it for me, I will make a little video later and add it to this post showing how to turn ends in while braiding.

Version 2:

  1. Start with normal braid (r over m, l over m) then start “apple peel” (see above).

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

Previous Older Entries