Friday, March 25, 2011

No Sew Rug Making Tutorial - Part 2

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This is the second in a series of a fabric rug tutorial. I have to give credit to my friend MZ for showing me how and her aunt RR for showing her. This is a unique method that I have never seen instructions for. It has been passed down by word or mouth for years. Those that have know how, have been generous enough to share the method with us.

If you missed the first part, you may want to catch up by going here:

Also, check out instructions again here

Picking up from where we left off on my last post, we made strips and we made holes in the ends of the strips.

Now, on the end of two strips, fold them into thirds, then into thirds again, so that you have a very narrow folded end.

Secure this with a safety pin. Safety pins make it easier to go into the holes. I don't know what our grandmothers used, but these work great for me. They do not have to be extra large, but the little gold ones that you use to secure that gap in the front of your blouse will not work. They are going to be used over and over and they just don't have enough umph for me. In fact, the large ones (not the honking ones!) are really good.

Next, join two strips. This is easier than I will make it sound. Right sides up, on your lap, a table, etc, lay down one strip and put another strip over the top, matching the holes. Just like you are extending the strip.

Take the top strip and find the end with the safety pin, bring it up from the bottom through both holes.

Pull it through until they are joined. If you pull too tight, then you will have the ends come through. Don't do that. Just pull enough that they join. Here is the back (fabric wrong side)

and here is the front.

It will not lay perfect, the side will "roll" out, don't you work with the strip you can (and this is a personal preference for me, roll the edges to the back, so that they are encased in the knot. Some don't do this and they are perfectly happy with their results.

The middle of the rug is the hardest and this seems like it will never come together (you are saying - when do we start? !) OK, I like to not have the start at the seam of the two strips, so I make one strip a little longer than the other by moving my "center" down just a little, perhaps 4 - 5 inches. Pin it to a surface.

This can be the fabric on your leg (ouch!) or the arm of a chair. Start making knots, tying them the same way, left strip over the right, or the right strip over the left. Be consistant.

 Don't draw them real tight. Do several and you will notice that there are holes, you will use these.

When you feel you have enough for the center line of your rug, turn the corner, ( I think I did around 12 knots) working from left to right, by tying about 3 knots into the last hole you did. Now look for the next hole and bringing the fabric strip from the left, the one underneath, wrap it around the one from the top and go up through the hole.

Go to the next hole and repeat -- the one from the bottom goes around the one from on top, bring it up through the hole (it now becomes the one on top). The whole rug is based on this one knot. Now, working along, you will get to the end of the very first knot, (by now, you will have removed the safety pin that is holding the "rug start" to your leg or couch arm) tie about 3 into the end hole. Turning the corner...

Now work one knot at a time around to the other end. Add extra knots into holes as you go around. When your rug gets larger, you will add on the rounded ends, not ususally on the straight sides. This will make an oval rug. There are ways to make round rugs (If you have crocheted, you know how) and also square or rectangular rugs. This one seems to be the easiest.

You are using the fabric from your strips as you tie those knots and your strips are getting shorter, then shorter, etc. When the end you are working with is around 6", remove the safety pin, attatch it to the next color strip you want to use and attatch the strip to the one on the rug using the method outlined above. Now, if you staggered you strips, one will be longer than the other, that is good, so that your joining knots will not be right on top of one another. Continue with your strips until you reach the size you would like for a finished product. This could be a small rug, a chair pad, a placemat, or it could even be a room size rug, your choice.

When it is time to end your project, pull your last knot around to the back and weave your ends around and through several previous rows until it is hidden in the colors.

I have found that as I work, at first it is easy to lay on your lap, then it starts to hang over, you don't want bubbles or knee marks in your rug, so roll it over or work on a table in front of you. Sometimes you need to lay it down on the floor to admire your work, (walk away, turn around and squink and see if you really did this piece of art) I took the makings on an airplane and had many stop and ask what was I doing...

I have laundered my rug - I used cold water, spun it really good and hung it over a chair to dry by the fire. In the summer I will probably lay it out on a table outside. You can dry it in the dryer if you want, I just wanted it to last a little longer and as it wears, it will look more vintage and homey.

Any questions would be welcomed. I wanted to share this with you, but I don't know if I was clear or not.  Enjoy your new rug.


  1. Wow, this is very cool. I'm not sure I've seen the knot method before, only braids. What a great way to use up extra pieces of fabric.

  2. Helen, would you mind directing me to the coffee/punch recipe you mentioned awhile back. I remember looking at it, I don't remember what I did with it. My daughter's shower is in a few weeks and I'd like to make a batch. Thanks! Kim

  3. I've never heard of this rug making style. It sounds simpler to me then braiding rugs since it is all finished at one time.

    Thanks for your directions!


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