Rug Braiding

Rug Braiding
Rug Braiding

Rug Braiding Instructions

Our lives are so hectic today that few of us have the time to create these beautiful pieces of art. But for those who do, you will enjoy this instructional article.

The addition of a handmade rug to the home is always a cause for pride. To be able to accomplish this easily and with satisfying results every time, is almost unbelievable. But such is the case when you follow these simple instructions for braiding a rug.

Selection of Fabric-Fabrics most adaptable are wool and cotton. Colors of rug may be chosen to accent room color, using three of four different colors, or many colors for a bright multicolored effect.

Condition of fabric determines how long rug will wear; therefore, use new or almost new material.

Proper preparation of braiding strips is very important. Cut material into strips one to three inches wide- weight of fabric determines width. The heavier the fabric the narrower the strips. Sew strips together diagonally so that when folded for braiding there will not be a thickness at seam. Make sure that each strip is same thickness, otherwise finished article will buckle or ripple. Take each strip-fold each side to center-then fold strip in half. You may slip stitch these strips to prepare for braiding. Wind strips around a discarded cardboard roll.

Braiders for strip folding may be used. These are usually metal cones, through which strips are threaded, folding in raw edges, forming round even braids for easy and fast braiding.

Braiding-The braid described here is called three-strand braid. It is very simple, but here are some tips for getting best results. Take three strips of material that have been prepared. Sew them together at ends. Sew only eight or nine feet of strips together at one time or braid will become tangled. Join end of braid to something stable. Mentally number strips from one to three, from left to right, then begin braiding. Pass strip three over center strip two and under strip number one. Continue this same procedure until three of four yards are braided, then begin sewing or lacing rug together.

Shape of Rug-For an oval rug, begin with center braid which measures as long as the difference between width and length of finished rug. As an example: a 6 x 9-foot rug would require a 3-foot center braid. An 8 x 10-foot or 4 x 6-foot rug would require a center braid of two feet. Turn braid and fold back an equal length in hairpin shape. Lace (see sketch) or sew these two together side by side. Lacing together makes rug reversible. Sew round and round this core with a large needle and carpet thread. Be careful and do not pull or stretch braiding strip when sewing or lacing.

The directions for a round rug are similar except that you begin rug in form of a spiral.

To make a rectangular rug, make beginning braid more than twice as long as finished length or rug. As this length is measured for beginning braid, allow at least one inch per foot extra which may be lost in first lacing. Pin braid at mark indicating length of first braid and cut braid near pin. Lift second braid to beginning of first braid and lace first and second braids together, being sure to match loops of braids to achieve pattern effect desired. It is best to lace third braid to opposite side of first braid and continue to lace to alternate sides as braids are added. This will result in a straight flat rug if braiding is firm and even. When desired size is reached, stitch across each end to secure braids. Stitch rug binding tape across both ends.

Lacing: Along straight sides of rug the loops of each braid are side by side to form an open "V" or chevron. Using a curved needle or bodkin and carpet (linen) thread, lace through alternate loops of adjoining braids ( see sketch). When rug begins to curve another method is used. To allow fullness needed to keep rug flat it is necessary to increase by lacing thread through 2 loops on new braid and continuing to lace through alternate loops on rug (see sketch). Be sure to increase enough at each curve to allow rug to lie flat.

After rug is complete, it may require light pressing with a damp cloth and a hot iron. Now you may relax, sit back and admire your handiwork.