If you are new to weaving, making a rag rug is an excellent introduction to this rhythmic and methodical craft. Most likely, you have every thing you need at home: cardboard, string and fabric scraps. And, if you don’t want to walk on your crafting, you can turn the weaving into a bag.
To start, make the loom with a large rectangle of cardboard. The size of your finished weaving will be a few inches smaller than the size of the loom.
Make short cuts every 1/2-inch along the top and bottom of the loom and add a 1-inch strip of cardboard the width of the loom next to these cuts to elevate the warp threads.
Tie a knot on the end of a thin cotton string and pull it through the first cut to hold it in place. This is the warp thread. Extend the thread straight across the top of the loom and pull it to the back through the corresponding cut. Pull the string through the adjacent cut to the front again and repeat. Continue threading the warp back and forth across the top of the loom creating parallel threads on the front and a stitchlike pattern between the cuts along each edge on the back. Make a knot at the end of the thread and tuck it into the last cut. Now you are ready to weave.
Using fabric scraps cut into long strips or T-shirt yarn (see note), weave a simple over-under pattern, changing colors as needed and tucking in the ends.
When the loom is full, carefully cut the warp threads on the back of the loom. Tie two threads together making a knot against the edge of the weaving and continue until all of the threads are tied.
To make a bag, fold the weaving in half and sew up the sides, then add handles.
Note: To make T-shirt yarn, cut across a shirt under the arms and trim off the hem. Then make parallel cuts across the shirt every inch, stopping before reaching the second edge. Make diagonal cuts across the uncut section to make one continuous length of yarn. For more complete instructions and photos, see the February Upcycled Life project at spokesman.com/tags/upcycled-life/.
Katie Patterson Larson is the director and founder of Art Salvage, a creative reuse center in Spokane. Art Salvage keeps usable materials out of the waste stream and makes them accessible and affordable to everyone. For more information, visit artsalvagespokane.com.
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