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
Pendleton 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.
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.