Strip Rugs

Dianne here….

I took a class from Deb Weinhold at the Valley Forge Braid In last April on strip rugs. I had never made one before; to be honest, I was wary of the fringe being a tripping hazard; wondered how I would stitch the ends; and thought straight braiding might be boring.  Wrong!

I made one from some IMG_0413
IMG_0409Pendleton selvedge I had. It was a jacquard design, so pretty stiff and quite narrow (<1.5″ wide), but I liked the colors, had alot of it and planned for it to go width-wise across an entryway that is covered in bamboo flooring, so the fringe wouldn’t be a hazard.

The challenge that made it fun, was trying to match the design the fabric made in the braids. Since each length of selvedge was exactly the same in design as others, by attaching the 3 strips of selvedge to the safety pin at exactly the same spot in the design, matching the braiding as well as I could and then lacing carefully paying attention to the design, I could create my own design…more or less!  Because with a strip rug there is no increasing, the lacing is 1:1 so it is possible….I used some black and orange solid to make it interesting (and because I didn’t have enough of the selvedge…why don’t we buy more wool when we can?!)

You can see from the pictures the design, the pins at one end and the masking tape at the other to keep the sewing line straight. At Deb’s suggestion I did not e-lace or shoelace the center braid, but laced normally – the result is that one end-length of the rug has folds exposed…it is going near the door so no one will know….I had little trouble keeping it straight when lacing.

The problem came when I tried to find someone to stitch the rug across the ends. My sewing machine froze when I tried it so took it to a shoe repair place who tried, but the ‘arm’ of the machine is very small and there would be no way they could keep it straight….he gave up and suggested the sewing machine place across the street: an old fashioned sewing machine and vacuum place. The owner is Ukrainian and extremely nice. He was cautiously up for the challenge. He used a fancy machine in the back; all I remember is that it has a well underneath it filled with machine oil and it continually bathes the moving parts in oil…He stitched it for me; not perfectly by any means; it was hard for him to keep the line straight and you can see from the pictures that has affected the shape of the rug somewhat-wider at one end.

But I have already started another and would encourage those of you who have not done a strip rug, to try one, with or without designs the way I did it. Another way to insert designs is in the placement of the fabrics as Christine has illustrated in our book in the pattern section.

Edit: Peggyann Watts from NY has sent me a good example of the patterns you can get by placement of  the fabrics. Not sure if this IS a strip rug or an example but it would make a great strip rug!IMG_0601

Two last things:  I apologize for not getting this post out sooner, not having better photos, especially of the rug in place, and for being a quiet blogger these last few ?months. I have been trying to organize my fiber photos between my PC and ios devices without luck…until I found a smart ‘apple’ helper who listened to me and helped.  So far so good!

Edit: Sandy Busby from OR has sent me a wonderful example of a patterned strip rug using the same type of Pendleton selvedges…she is lucky to live close to the source. Look how well her strips match.


And the other thing…I will be teaching a Patterned Hybrid Basket class at New England Braids in October using the same type of selvedges and concept to make baskets that have stacked,matched designs as this one. Let me know if you want information on the class.IMG_0313 IMG_0469 IMG_0589 IMG_0297

8 thoughts on “Strip Rugs

  1. Diane – I appreciated reading about your rug. Thanks for this, Your descriptions are always excellent. Others have discussed how to stitch the ends of these rugs, and also shared their challenge to find someone with the skills and/or machine that’s needed. One question I have; is it possible to stitch by hand – a good over locking stitch with good strong carpet thread? Thanks, Mary

  2. Oriental Rug importers may have a sewing machine that will sew through braids. They also put binding on carpets and may be able to sew binding on the ends of straight braided rugs. I was able to sew threw all my straight braids on my singer feather weight.

  3. Hi, Peggyann here. Diane I like the colors and pattern in your strip rug.. I made one years ago of hit and miss.At the time, I didn’t know anyone else who braided. I had just seen a strip rug in a magazine. Some how I laced it together. I don’t even remember how. It was not exactly straight on the ends but I hid the ends under the cabinets.Recently I did a strip rug during a class with Christine. I didn’t want to ruin it. Luckily we have several large Amish communities around Belfast, New York. I took my rug to a gentleman that works on leather. He sewed it quickly and straight with his belt driven sewing machine. So remember to look around your neighborhood for other craft persons. We can learn from and help one another. I will try to post a photo. See you soon.

  4. Dear Dianne, I enjoyed your post on the strip rugs. I have been able to sew through pretty fat braids with my Viking Husqvarna sewing machine, as long as I have a new pack of Jeans-weight sewing machine needles and am willing to sacrifice a few. Remember you can always send your rug off to Pam Rowan, too, for her industrial machine. I had a similar experience with going to a shoe repair place — his leather-stitching machine had a width of about an inch where the needle would sew, and he doubted he’d be able to stitch the whole rug straight across.

    Enjoyed seeing Peggy and Sandy’s strip rugs.

  5. Loved the rug and the baskets,especially the navy with red and beige.Carol Rizzo

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Hi there. I just joined your blog and found it very interesting.I am a self taught braider who lives in Canada.I wish there were more people involved in rug braiding here. I would love to learn how to make a basket. And I have not been able to master the butt as of yet.

    • Dianne here: where do you live in Canada? Do you know about the Thetis BC Woolgathering in April? If you want to be included in the Rugbraidersdatabase send me your name, email, city, Provence and postal code to and I will put you in and run a query for braiders in your Provence. I know there are a few. I taught a number of Canadians in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Quebec in October.
      We cover baskets in detail in our book, Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding. Basics, Borders and Beyond which you can get through Amazon, etc and perhaps your library. Write me at the rugbraidersdatabase email if you have more questions. Glad you enjoy braiding so much!

    • Hi
      Welcome to braiding – a fun hobby that lets you be very creative. I wholeheartedly support getting a copy of “Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding. Basics, Borders and Beyond”, mentioned above. PLUS, Christine Manges can supply you with her booklet that details the many ways to butt. Mary

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