[google6a7b7d93c7100df5.html] Sunshine's Creations.Vintage Threads Inc.: April 2008

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools

Supplies and tools:
  • Glove to protect hand you pull thread with (I am right handed, the glove is worn on my left) but you can wear one on both hands if you want. I have leather thimbles over the fingers of my glove to save my fingers even more. All the damage you see to this glove is from braiding, same goes for the thimbles.
  • Bodkins or needles. My favorite is the top one. It is from my Great Aunt; she used it to make rugs over 60 years ago. Next is the one below it found thrifting. The bottom ones are the type you find at most stores in a package like to the right in the photo. I don't like them -- too short, in my opinion. They are hard to manipulate.
  • 6-ply linen cord. You can also get a nice, thick, strong cord from any cobbler. They have two types: waxed and unwaxed. Unwaxed is cheaper, waxed is twice as much. I repaired a few of my Great Aunts rugs right before she died and realized she had used waxed cord on some and unwaxed on others. The waxed cords where still pliable and subtle where the other cords had become dry and brittle. I don't have waxed cord to use, but I think for the long run it is better. However, it has a drawback: it is hard to get a knot to seat in it very well. This makes sewing (lacing) harder to do. But, if I had both types of cord, I would use the waxed over the other just for the durability of it.
  • Swinging gate clamp. This is used when braiding, but I realized I didn't show it in the last post with an explanation, so I am tossing it in now. This is used to hold my braid when braiding. I can push the braid away from me and the gate swings open to let it move through the gate. If I pull towards me the gate holds firm and doesn't let the braid move. That's very useful when braiding and is highly recommended. Clamps to most tables.
  • And, of course, you need a length of braid to stitch together.
First you will need to cut a length of cord. Tie a knot at the tail and another right after the needle or bodkin to make it easier to stitch.
OK, on to explaining how to lace the braids together. Just so we all know, for me this is hard to explain in writing and easy to demo in real life. So if you have questions, please ask because I may have missed a photo (but I don't think so).
  • Insert needle into the top of the t start. Make sure to go through some of the fabric inside the braid to secure the knot. Cut excess threads hanging out
  • Pass your needle inside the braid till you pop the needle out on the inside of the curve 3 twists down on the inside curve of the braid.
  • Go back up to the first l over m and stitch under the braid. You are not catching any fibers anymore, just going in between the strands of the braid.
  • Now, skip the strand next to the spot where the needle popped out of the braid the first time, and pass the needle through the space between the strands. Picture of needle point at the red strand shows that I am skipping that strand.
  • Back to the top of the t start, pass needle under the first r over m.
  • Back to other attaching new braid, skipping next strand on braid, stitch under the next. In other words, every other stand is being stitched. In my case, I am skipping the reds. These skips are known as increases and is adding bulk to the rug edge to make it easier to make the curves. You only do increases on the braid that is being attached to the rug. You NEVER skip any braid strand on the part of the rug that has already been attached.
  • Back to t start and stitch through the second r over m.
  • Continue in this pattern until you get to where both sides of the braid you are adding to the rug have three colors in their twists. In other wards, till you get past the apple peels.
  • Place a safety pin at the t start pointing away from the t; this will point to where you will make all your color changes later in the rug.
  • You will continue lacing the braid to the rug, but now you only make increases where needed; this takes some practice. You can place t pins in the rug to make sure you are staggering your increases. If you don't stagger them, your rug will not be round but will have a free-form shape, especially if you always do them in the same spot. You increase when you feel you have to stretch the braid to make the next lacing. If you don't have to stretch it, then don't increase. If your rug is cupping you have not done enough increases; tear out lacing and do that part again. If your rug has a wavy effect, you have too many increases; tear out that part and stitch again with fewer increases. If your fabrics are not the same weight, both of these two things can happen, too. It just takes practice to know which is happening. If you switch to a fatter or heaver weight wool, do not increase that round. If you switch to a lighter or thinner weight wool, you will have many more increases that round. Best to stay to one weight.
  • Wool rugs are very cushy and thick; some people are surprised by this when they make the rug. Trust me, your shoulders will know you are working with something heavy!
  • When stitching, make sure to pull your linen cord hard to pull lacing stitches together. With wool, cotton toweling, and plain quilters cotton, your stitching should not show, with jeans that is a different story because the jeans don't give much to hid the stitches. I like my stitches to be hidden and have only made one jean rug for this reason. I don't like to walk on what is holding the rug together, because if the stitches show that means they are being walked on, and the vacuum is beating on them, wearing them out faster. Since the lacing cord is not as thick as the rug is, it wears out soon and you will have to make repairs. This is one of the main reasons I will not buy store rugs, because they have little tiny sewing machine thread holding the braids together on the outside of the rug, not hidden inside like the ones I make. So, it doesn't take much wear to wear out those threads and then your rug falls apart. My Great Aunts (the ones still living) are still using the rugs that they and my great-grandmother made over 60 years ago, and they still have 60 more years or more of wear left in them. I only repaired 6 holes in over 13 rugs in their house (to hard of work for their 90-plus year bodies), and those holes were made by the kitchen table's legs wearing out the fabric from sitting in the same spot for so long. In other words, the rugs where like steel if made well and flipped and rotated often, like at spring cleaning time.
  • When your thread starts to get short, also shown in the picture below, you will need to add more cording. You can use a square knot or a weavers knot. I use a square knot, but both would work great. The weavers knot would be a better choice for waxed thread. When adding thread, leave the tails long so when you stitch the tails can be woven under many braid strands to hold the knot secure and to keep it from untieing and unlacing.
Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish
DO NOT USE THIS PATTERN TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Part 4: Braided Rug Apple peals

r = right
m = middle
l = left

There are two ways of starting this type of braid once you have a t start

The version I use is listed first; the second version, the one I don't use, is listed second. Both work great.

Start with the apple peel itself.
  1. r over mr over m
  2. r over m (make sure when you are braiding you are keeping the raw edges turned inside so that it continues to have the shape you stitched closed without the extra stitches).r over m again
  3. l over m, pull hard on the piece of the braid that was left over middle 1 complete apple peel made, this picture. The one below shows one more step than indicated in instructions above; it shows the next r over m , r over m as well as the l over m talked about above, then the second apple peel is started with 2 r over ml over m r over m r over m
  4. Do 8 of these, including the first one in the 8. If done correctly, on the left side of the braid will only be two colors where the right side has all three but one color is ever other twist.8 apple peals
  5. Then start plain braiding, r over m, l over m; keep braid tight and firm. This isn't like hair where you want a long braid, but a short stocky braid. Make sure you are turning in your raw edges.now braiding straight seams to left
If I can get my husband to do it for me, I will make a little video later and add it to this post showing how to turn ends in while braiding.




Version 2:
  1. Start with normal braid (r over m, l over m) then start "apple peel" (see above).

Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish
DO NOT USE THIS PATTERN TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Part 3: Tutorial braided rug T start

  1. Fold inside strip for the starting of the braid over on itself to hide all raw ends. Fold down top, fold up the bottom, then fold all to center; should look like a heart shape from the end.folding inside of t start braidfolding other side of t start braidno raw edges foldedlooks like a heart from the end
  2. Stitch this tube closed for about 2 inches. I am using bright colored thread so you can see it; usually you should try to make it match your wool color.inside piece
  3. Using the previous seam from last post in tutorial that I showed with the 45-degree angle, we will start our T-started rug. This is the first strip; it is two colorsimage 5
  4. Attach second strip to inside seam of first. I do this by hand; I guess you could do it by machine, but it would be very awkward.attached to wrong sidesclsoe up of attachment
  5. Fold over first the strip (cream and green) and stitch closed for about 2 inches on both sides of second strip (red). When stitching this closed, make sure to stitch both sides back and forth for a strong connection to the steam coming out of the top of the T; also stitch to the red, too, so all is closed up. With this technique, your starts will be very smooth and it will be hard to see where the two top fabrics (khaki green and cream, in this case) are joined together. folding over other sides stitching closed
This is all there is to a T start.
t start now compleat
It is good to start with a light, medium, and dark color; if you start with too many darks, it sort of looks like a bulls eye in the middle of your work. Now, if you want that look, go for it; not every one does.

On a side note:
Sorry for the messy nails; stripping wool gets lots of wool-fiber dust under your nails, not a neat job. Expect to get a little fiber dust under your nails and all over your house.


Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish
DO NOT USE THIS PATTERN TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!!!!

Rug Braiding tutorial updates

handmade rugs. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr
I am going to try and post at least three more parts of this in the next seven days. That way, if people want to get it started before their kids get out of school, they can. This is a nice summer project all ready and set to go when they have a minute here and there to add to the length. If you didn't guess it already, it was my day off today and no school, so I got to work on my tutorial.

Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish

Part 2: Braided Rug tutorial

Sewing Strips Together

stacks of wool for making braided rug

So, I cleaned the sewing room so I could instantly make a mess with this project. Above photo: stacks of wool for making the rug.

The strips are sewn together at a 45-degree angle. This is used to change colors and to add more of the same color to the current strip being used. This is also used in the beginning when you have three colors starting at the same time.
  1. Lay ends of wool strips that you have cut at right angles to each other. image one
  2. Sew from corner to corner, a 45 degree-angle, right sides together. image twoimage 3
  3. Trim off excess wool; leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch-wide seam allowance. image 4image 5
The reason the seam is sewn at a 45 degree angle is to reduce bulk in the braid because it spreads it out over about an inch instead of putting all the bulk in one spot.

When braiding, you need one of your strands to be short; there are a few ways of doing this.
  • One is to leave two long strands and constantly add to the third strand.
  • Another is leave all three strands short and add to all three as needed.
  • I don't like to do either of these methods because it breaks the rhythm of braiding. So, I leave two strands real long and the third strand is left sort of long, but in the form of a reel, which makes its over-all braiding length short.
You can do any of the above that works best for you. Two are pretty much self explanatory, the last I will explain a little better.

I like using a braid aid reel; the only thing was, it didn't hold enough in my opinion - only 5 yards. reel aid by braid aid
reel aid
So, I bent an old wire clothes hanger and attached it to the bottom of the reel tool to make it longer and hold more. At the bottom of the bends I placed a piece of PVC pipe to help the wool roll around the wire better for ease in braiding.
extension for reel aid I made
Wool wound in a circle/reel with a hole big enough in the center to accommodate the pvc pipe.
wool wound into a reel
Extension inside wool.
with extension added
Remove pin from Reel aid and attach to extension.
extension on reel aid
Wool strips feed through the tool.
strip fed through reel aid

I don't use the reel to fold the fabric; I just use it to hold more fabric. You can use braid aids on all your strips to help you fold, especially if you have arthritis or something of that sort. Personally, it is easier to braid without the gizmos and creates less fiber dust, too. That is why I now prefer to use just the one, the reel, to speed up the braid time by not having to stop so much to sew more strips on. But I leave the other strips without the tool because it is faster for me.

If you don't have, or don't want to buy, a reel-aid tool, you can do the same thing with a safety pin and just undo a loop every time you need more of the strip to braid. I do this, too. I am trying to give you as many options as possible on how to do this so it is the cheapest for you in the long run in case you do not want to invest in a lot of tools.
imgp7785imgp7788

Part 1: Prep work and cutting fabric
Part 2: Will be about sewing the strips together and forming reels
Part 3: About starting a t-started rug
Part 4: How to start a round rug, apple peel style
Part 5: Sewing and increases / tools
Part 6: How to change colors
Part 7: Ending in a taper
Part 8: Butting last one or two rows of the rug for a smooth finish
DO NOT USE THIS PATTERN TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY!!!!

Copyright/permissions info

I like to share on this space my ideas and projects.
Please don't take ideas or photo and claim them as your work.
I am always happy to have new links to me.  So if you like something just link back to me and give the source some credit thanks.
Any questions? just ask. I am happy to work with you if you need something
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. 2006-2014 Copyright Vintage Threads Inc. All content and images.

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