Braided rugs are with us since the white men landed in the Americas. It is a tradition which we love to retain with all its old charm and grace. It is obvious that it does not require any high technology or computer controlled precision, otherwise how could the ladies hundreds of years ago make such exotic braided rugs out of rags. But what it requires is concentration, dedication and above all love and respect towards both the craft and the product.
So, if you really love braided rugs and admire their intricate artistry, let's not waste any more time and get cracking with the job at hand.
How To Make A Braided Rug
Let's go about making a braided rug from rags the way they were made in the early stages of colonization of the Americas.
Cut the material you have with you into roughly two inch wide strips. If you feel that the material is on the thinner side, make the strips about three inches wide.
Instead of sewing the strips together and rolling them into a ball before you start braiding, I would suggest you to begin braiding and sewing the material as you progress. I have found that in this way there are lesser number of tangles and knots which become a big hassle and take ages to unravel.
Tie the strips together and loop them over a doorknob or a handle or a hook of some sort and start making a three strip braid just in the same way as those who have long hair braid it. While joining the strips take care that there are no weak joints as they might spoil the whole show. The best way to join the strips is to hold them at right angles and sew a diagonal seam across the square so formed.
Another important point to note is when you start braiding fold the ragged outside edges of the strips slightly inwards so that there are no rough and jagged edges of cloth on the outer side of the braided rug you are going to make.
The first length of braid determines the final shape of the rug because the subsequent braids will only be laid one after another along the lines of the first braid. So, ensure that the length of the braid is adequate for the final rug size and shape you would get. The ground rule is that the first braid should be 1/3rd of the original rug size if it is to be an oval rug, and, it should be about half the original size if you are intending to make a runner.
The last and most intricate step is to be finished now. Take a large darning needle and pass the lace string you are using to sew the strips together back and forth between the braids much the same way as you put shoe laces through the eyes of the shoe. When you reach the desired length of the braid just flip it back and start sewing it with the lower strata of the braid. In this way you keep adding on and on to the previous braid and the rug grows outwards in size.
Keep the rug absolutely flat as you proceed and strictly avoid any wrinkles or dimples which may occur at this stage. Don't ignore it as it would become more pronounced as you keep on braiding. So, if you observe a wrinkle, come back, smoothen it and then proceed further.
Carry on in this manner till the desired size is reached and then sit back and admire your handiwork!
Article written by Joe Matcheck, his site offers a wide selection and low prices on braided rugs and country braided rugs .