Weaving Rag Rugs on a loom

By Alexa Hoke, Diana Foreman, Carla Roberts and Kyla Gibson, images by Alexa Hoke, photographer by Staff

In older days living of a bit of cloth until it reached the rag bag to-be converted to rugs had been lengthy and tough. The fabric, possibly hand carded, spun and woven of wool or cotton fiber created regarding the farm, might start as a tiny young child's clothing. Then it was passed through the younger kids into the family, collecting holes and loosing its original buttons along the way. After serving the proper years of use as a shirt, it had been included with a rag assortment of mom's worn-out dresses, father's old pants cut-down to match the sons and many other garments which could no longer be mended or redesigned. When the collection was big enough many of these towels would-be used in making rag rugs, therefore prolonging living for the material numerous many years. Since clothing are not worn just a couple of times in those days, it took many years of conserving to own enough towels to produce a rug, particularly enough to weave the four or five space length strips needed to carpet a room.

The countless coloured and often faded rags independently don't seem like much, but once torn and tacked together and woven through a loom into a carpet, they made appealing, of good use and sturdy floor coverings.

Ella Dunn has made numerous cotton fiber cloth rugs and stated they'd continue for years if taken care of correctly. Wool towels can last also more than cotton, frequently outwearing the warp that presented them collectively. The wool weft, already surviving years as a rug, could possibly be cleansed and re-woven with brand new warp in order to make an innovative new carpet.

Edith Fulford showed us some breathtaking rich-colored wool rags she was going to weave into a carpet. Many wool rags originated from wool coats, jackets and even old wool covers. Wool normally takes dye better than cotton and since the wool wasn't laundered like cotton fiber whenever made use of as a garment, the colour tones would remain very cozy and wealthy.

Rugs woven for space sized rugs typically don't have any genuine patterns. The rags of varied colors and styles, cut into pieces, had been all tacked together in random purchase, resulting in a varicolored all-over design.

Although the term had not been made use of after that, the rugs were "wall-to-wall." The rugs were generally a yard large and also as long once the space. The weaver would continue weaving, rolling the carpeting layer over layer on the fabric ray associated with loom. Later she would unroll exactly what she had woven and slashed it in lengths to fit the area. She then tied the warp at the cut ends to keep them from raveling, and whipped the pieces together side by side with a heavy thread. Some utilized a solid mending bond known as employer baseball.

Ella said the parlor or front room had been the only area her family used rag rugs as flooring. Carpeting wasn't for each and every day use due to the trouble of cleaning. She did not make use of little throw rugs as we do now. "We did not have towels sufficient for all your rooms. We scrubbed others flooring every Saturday with homemade detergent and sand until these were so clean you'd be happy to eat away from them if necessary. We carpeted ideal space and stored it for when we entertained our younger company."

In her residence to truly save the carpet, her family rolled it within the spring, beat the dirt from the jawhorse and stored it through to the after that autumn. During the summer time that they had bare flooring. After that when you look at the autumn they earned newly threshed straw to spread over a floor around three or four ins deep. They unrolled the rug, stretched it and tacked it down around the wall space with carpet tacks, switching under the edges to hide the rough edge in which the strips were cut apart. The effect was a rather smooth and smooth carpeting which combined with any shade system. Ella remembers the woman boy taking an old coal oil lamp and stretching-out on smooth, hot rug carpet to the office on his classes.

There clearly wasno effortless solution to cleanse the room-sized rugs then, though little scatter rugs might be cleaned in the board. The everyday cleansing was sweeping with a large broom. An interested audience, Lola Garrett, typed of the woman childhood experiences aided by the huge work of spring cleaning.



At this time of the year when I was cleansing house windows, curtains, and woodwork, i will be reminded of spring housecleaning in the farm when I was a young child. I am sure it was a strenuous task for my mama and my older siblings which usually invested the entire time cleaning only 1 area. There was no such thing as a $200.00 hoover running on electrical energy to pick up the dirt and dust. That had become carried out by a willing mind, a good back and most "elbow grease" in using a scrub brush and broom. It had been daily of enjoyable and play for us children, since we had been too small doing some of the work.

Color picture by Emery Savage


First, we'd to select a definite, sunshiny time when all of the furnishings inside room was moved out to the yard, in which every person wielded a dirt fabric to eliminate winter months's buildup of dirt. Then each piece was rubbed and refined to a shine, or was presented with a unique coating of varnish, and allowed to set outdoors and dry and environment throughout the day.

In the meantime, the hand-loomed carpeting which my mama had woven needed to be taken up and hung regarding clothesline where it was beaten and pounded and flailed with brooms and sticks at intervals the whole day to obtain the dirt out, and environment into the hot sun.

Taking the carpet up was an arduous task, for this have been tacked straight down throughout the area with carpeting tacks. These needed to be removed very carefully to prevent ripping. We had no rug pads currently, but utilized a thin layer of clean, sweet-smelling straw through the straw bunch call at the wheat area. The old straw had been completed and burned, the bare floors had been swept and scrubbed with gallons of liquid and soft lye detergent until they fairly shone. It absolutely was always my task maintain the scrubbers provided with another bucket of water, therefore felt there was no end to it. With regards to had been finally completed, all windows and doors were thrown available to help a floor to dry as quickly as possible, for a number of work had to be done yet before dark.

Close to the center regarding the mid-day whenever flooring ended up being dried out, a level of clean magazines ended up being set within the whole flooring surface and on top of the a slim level of clean straw. After that emerged the duty of holding that huge, heavy carpeting back to the space and having it placed perfectly without disarranging the straw and papers. It had been stretched and tacked once again all over the area and the freshly cleansed and aired pieces of furniture were moved back in their particular usual positions.

We smaller kids rolled and tumbled on the puffy rug to the heart's content whilst the older girls and mom were putting the last details on spotlessly clean space with a feeling of great satisfaction it would not need to be done once more until another springtime rolled around.


Adapted from AMA Weaver TeacherWeavers have their unique and interesting vocabulary. Probably the most common terms are given right here:

Beater-With the reed placed inside, it beats the completing (weft) into place.

Bundle-A set of warp threads, often twenty-four, handled as a device from the warping board and in threading through the loom.

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