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Weave a Rag Rug – The New York Times

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After more than a year spent at home and with spring in full swing, you may be feeling the urge to brighten your space with a little redecorating. Enter rag rugs, floor covers made from scrap fabrics, which are an easy, low-budget craft that can cheer up any room using materials you probably already have at home. They have the added benefit of upcycling old textiles that may otherwise end up in landfills.

These rugs are usually made with leftover or worn-out scraps of fabric, which are crocheted, braided or woven together. The crocheting and braiding methods require some technical knowledge (like the ability to crochet or sew), but you can easily learn to weave a rag rug with no prior experience. By creating a basic loom out of a large piece of cardboard and using strips of old bedsheets or clothing, you can make a rug for your kitchen, bathroom or living room in no time.

Most fabrics can be used to make a rag rug, although you should stick with the same fabric type for the entire rug. If table settings are more your style, you can even scale down the project to weave place mats or coasters instead.

Make your loom:

1. Cut vertical notches, one inch apart, along the shorter sides of the cardboard, making sure that they are aligned. Each notch should be about one-and-a-half inches deep.

Prepare your fabric scraps:

1. Start by cutting the fabric into strips about one-and-a-half inches wide. Cut the fabric lengthwise to get the longest strips possible. Be sure to cut off any seams and to trim stray threads.

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2. Once you have a few strips of fabric, start knotting them together. An easy and secure way to knot the fabric is to cut a one-inch slit about a half-inch from the end of a strip. Repeat with a second strip. Stick the end of the second strip through the slit in the other strip so that it sticks out about three inches. Now grab the tail of the second strip and pull it through the slit. Pull both pieces of fabric tight to make a knot. Repeat as needed. (You will want two long pieces of fabric, perhaps in contrasting colors, for the warp and the weft.)

Make your warp:

1. To create the warp, the taut fabric on the loom that you will weave through, push a strip of fabric into the first notch on the cardboard. Leave about six inches of fabric hanging off the back side of the cardboard as a tail.

2. Pull the remaining fabric down the cardboard, and push it into the opposite notch. Wrap around the back side of the cardboard, and continue to the next notch on the cardboard. Repeat until you have threaded your fabric through all of the notches. The fabric should be stretched tight, like guitar strings.

3. Leave a six-inch piece of fabric hanging off the back side of the cardboard as a tail. You will have two tails on the back side of the cardboard.

Start weaving:

1. Leave about three inches of fabric hanging off the side of your loom, then thread your weft, the fabric you will weave through the warp, under the first thread of the warp, over the second thread and then under the third, repeating the pattern. Repeat the process until you have reached the end of the warp. To keep your weave tight, push the weft to the top of the warp threads, so it is flush against the cardboard notches.

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2. Weave your way across the cardboard in the opposite direction and keep pushing the weft flush to the fabric above it to keep the weave tight.

3. Weave your scrap fabric through the loom until it is full. Leave a three-inch-long tail at this end, then cut your fabric.

Finish:

1. Take your three-inch tails of fabric and pull them through the loops on the sides of the rug to secure them.

2. Turn the loom over so that only the warp threads are showing. Cut across the middle of the warp threads, so that you can remove them from the notches in the cardboard.

3. Take the rug off the loom. Set the rug down carefully, and starting at one end, tie the top two warp pieces together. Continue down the side of the rug, creating fringe. This is what will secure your rug, so take care to make the knots tight.

4. Trim the fringes on either end of the rug to your desired length. Your woven rag rug is complete.

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