This post was updated with 3 lessons I've learned about this rug, still in progress!
Last year, as I was planning what things I could re-purpose for the upstairs, I thought about all of the multicolored fabric rugs my mom had purchased when I was a child. The idea of a fabric rug intrigued me, but I did not care for mine to be multicolored. Then my mom, who has boxes of fabric scraps, showed me her treasure trove of white bed sheets. I knew I would be making bed sheet rugs.
I wanted to find a braided method that could be completely done by hand, with no use of a crochet hook or sewing needle. I was planning to produce this rug wherever and whenever, including on public transportation. I was a full-time teacher and full-time graduate student at the time so free time was scarce. Then I found this tutorial from Little House in the Suburbs. I spent spare minutes snipping two bed sheets into 1 1/2 inch strips, round about, and ripping them down the weave.
This week, I stayed home with a cold and remembered I could work on my daughter's nursery rug while I lay in bed or on the couch.
I tried to simplify the method in the tutorial for myself, because I didn't quite understand how to add additional strips and I also forgot about that step once I got into a rhythm with my weaving/braiding. The result is a white, durable, hand woven rug, with visible knots and fraying thread that, to me, makes this rug even more special. It is entirely handmade by me. :)
Materials:2 - King-sized bedsheets, cut and ripped into strips. Already owned
This rug was free for me, and a wonderful way to keep my hands busy while riding the bus, watching movies at night, and even listening to a speaker during one of my Master's classes (yes, I was that lady one day).
I do not have photographs of the strip preparation, since I prepared the strips more than half a year ago. I'll update this post when I start my next rug and completely finish the first.
First, I laid out the bed sheet and folded it into manageable sections, roughly 2' x 3'. Then, I cut along the folds so that I had about 15 rectangles of white fabric. I cut slits into the hems about every 1 1/2 inches, before I ripped the sheets down those edges. I had to collect many threads that fell off at this step.
Then I cut slits on each end of the fabric strips so that I could interlock the strips securely together.
I gathered 4 strips and interlocked them into one starting knot. Then I began a 4 strand braid in an "under, over, under, over, tuck and pull through hole" pattern.
|Here are my four strips in the rug I had already begun. I didn't mind the fraying, so I didn't take extra time to fold, sew, or iron in the frayed edges to hide them. I was hoping for the handmade look these untreated strips would provide.|
|I took the first strand on the left, went under the second strand, went over the third strand, and under the fourth strand, as shown above; a basic weave or four-strand braid pattern.|
|Here is a photo of the woven first outer strand being pulled through the hole and the butter knife indicating the hole again.|
|When a strip becomes short, it is time to interlock another strip to make it longer.|
|I retrieved another strip I prepared, so that to ends were cut with points and slits. I'll call the strip on the left the old strip and the strip on the right the new strip.|
|Pull the end of the old strip into the hole of the new strip, as shown above.|
|Once the middle of the new strip is pulled through the slit of the old strip, the two fabrics will be loosely interlocked.|
|Lastly, pull the old strip to the left and new strip in the right to interlock the two strips. I cut points on the slit ends to ensure the knot would be less bulky with material. Now, this strip is ready to keep weaving. :)|
I followed the finishing explanation provided at Little House in the Suburbs and the first rug I made was strong, and the end was so hard to notice, I couldn't find it a few days later, though I hunted for it well!
I hope sharing my slight variation of this rug style will help someone turn some unused fabric (t-shirts and jersey knit sheets would be great for a soft, smooth look) into a durable, handmade rug for their space, too. :)