Woven Rag Rugs

I finally made some handwoven rag rugs! I've had the rags for several years and knew I wanted to make rugs out of them.

I bought some non-slip rug backing to sit underneath them so they stay put on the wood floors. I like woven rugs much better than crochet or braided because they're so thin!

For the living room rug, I got the fleece strips from a friend who got them from a factory where they trimmed the end of the rolls. They were about 1-1/2 inches wide and one side was fuzzy. I used carpet warp at a sett of 12 epi.

fleece rag rugLiving room rug: 1-1/2 inch fleece rag strips

The bedroom rag rug is made of my old clothes, mainly T-shirts, all thin cotton, some quite worn and stained. I also used a sett of 12 epi here. These rag strips were 1 inch wide. Cutting them all took as long as the warping!

cotton rag rugBedroom rug: 1 inch cotton rag strips

The actual weaving time for both rugs was very fast.

How to Weave a Rag Rug

There are two main factors that are different about weaving rugs.

The first is that your beater needs to be really sturdy. Some people add a weight to the bar. I did not, but I really beat on it hard, and I used a fork occasionally. Yes, a fork from our silverware set... An official tapestry beater would be better, but that's what I had!

The second factor is that most rugs use carpet warp which is an extra strong cotton yarn specially designed for rug making.

You can used colored carpet warp to make it warp-faced and only use the rags as inner filling totally covered by the warp, or you can space it out so the weft rags show, as I did.

Calculating the Size

The next step is to determine how big you want your finished rug to be. Then it's a bit trickier figuring out how much warp you'll need than if you're using all yarn because rags can vary so much in thickness. It's best to weave a sample.

I didn't need the length to be exact on my first rug, which was the cotton rag one for the bedroom, so I took an educated guess, made the calculations, and got to work. I then had a more accurate way to measure for the second rug!




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