Standing in the sun

katiehere.jpgMy creative progress is inversely related to Laura's- she is getting more and more done, I am doing less and less! Not for lack of trying or planning, I am scheming about yarn for a winter sweater, and plan to start working in earnest on starting that soon. As Laura mentioned that she is headed down the slippery slope of buying clothes from thrift stores for recycling fabric, I have been snapping up wool blankets and cotton sheets for crafting use. I can't help myself and now have a half-dozen wool blankets in crazy colors. They whisper "rag rug" to me, and I have been researching the best way to turn them into a floor covering. Before using that good wool, I am messing around with a cotton sheet, and found a good tip here about ripping many strips quickly. (Bad rugmaking directions though, I think she wants you to buy the pattern!) Wouldn't this make a fun wig at Halloween? I could be blond for a day.

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A few months ago, I tried a plain braided rug technique, and it was a train wreck. I ended up with tangled fabric and a wimpy, floppy rug. I knew I didn't want to go back  down that road for this new project.

I read about all kinds of rug-making here and was intrigued by the "Bohemian Braid" style rug. It's like a braided rug in some ways, but the fabric strip is looped and knotted to make a solid, sturdy rug that doesn't require sewing together. Sign me up! The only trouble is, most people want to sell you the pattern, and I couldn't find any free instructions. I pride myself on my Google research skills, but I had trouble finding directions for this folk technique. There were the crappy photos from the old HGTV show linked to above, and I had about given up when I found this article, from "Bittersweet," which was like the Ozarks version of "Foxfire." The technique is also called "toothbrush rug" making because people often sharpen the end of a toothbrush to a point to use as a large needle.After much reading-aloud and only a moderate amount of swearing, I figured it out. It was one of those things that was tricky at first, but now is mindless. Just what I need for Sunday afternoon- mindlessness that is!  I cut off the end of a paintbrush and drilled a hole in one end and it worked just fine. Here are the first few rows. You actually braid a 12" strip and use that as a foundation row. Both sides look nice, but I think this is the back of my rug.
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One tedious thing was sewing the strips together, but I remembered a tip that same HGTV article that said you could cut a slit in the ends and pull one end through to half-knot them, and that really sped things up. Eventually, it was approaching rug size, at least for Julian's almost-6-year-old feet:
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From then on, I just kept working, strangely pleased with my new skill, and now it's big enough for my feet, Birkenstock tan lines and all:
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I am going to dye the whole thing blue when I am done and am shooting for a small rug to put in front of our kitchen sink. It's so squashy and comfy, it will maybe induce me to actually do some dishes. By the way, do you see our new flooring underneath the rug? The house painting is almost done, and we laid laminate flooring in our living and dining space. It looks great. Anyway, I am very pleased and am going to go look for more sheets tomorrow- this one's almost all used up!  

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