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How to make a traditional braided Rag Rug

Dear friends,

I'm here to share a project that is keeping me sane during these strange times of quarantine and isolation!

One thing that I have always wanted to learn is how to make a traditional braided rag rug. These traditional American rugs are actually found throughout the world, and in most cultures with a strong history of textile art. I've found Turkish rag rugs and Moroccan rag rugs along my travels. Anywhere there are scraps of fabric, and people (mostly women) looking to put them to good use, you will find rag rugs.  Nothing like a little good ol' Yankee ingenuity to keep you occupied during these isolating times! 

Here's how you make one....

Gather all of those pieces of fabric that you have been meaning to do something with (but probably never will!) and old scraps.  

rag rug fabrics

Cut or rip into 1.5 inch strips. Make the strips from your heavier fabrics narrower, and your light fabrics wider, so there is even weight distribution of fabrics in the braid. 

rag rug strips

Begin braiding! When you get to the end of a piece, just fold another piece into it and braid it to secure the new piece in place. Some people like to sew the new piece onto the end piece, but I think this takes too much time and interrupts your flow. I find the "folding in" method to be just as secure. 

braiding

The braided fabric doubles as a great distraction for baby!

baby with rag rug braid

Use a wide zig-zag stitch and start sewing your braid into a continuous loop. The beginning is a little awkward, but it gets easier as you go.

rag rug beginning

It's very satisfying to see your rag rug come together.  I like to braid a little, and then sew it on, so I can see how the pattern is coming together before getting too far into the braiding. 

rag rug circle

Find pieces of old fabric from other projects, and keep adding on! My mom dropped off a bunch of old ticking fabric from a past project. I love seeing bits of past projects woven into the rug. The rag rug becomes a sort of scrapbook for your past projects, and really can't be replicated by anything you'd buy in a store. 

rag rug threads

 Making progress!

rag rug

I like to keep the rag rug right on the machine, so I can braid a little and sew it right on to see how the pattern is coming together.

making rag rug

Just keep braiding onto your rag rug, and enjoy the process! 

XX

-Milicent