You need to decide whether you want to make your rug round or oval.
If you want to make it oval, it can be helpful to have an approximate size in mind. This is because you have to start with a length for the center around which your two ends are curved. So for example, you might have a particular spot where you want to put it, such as a hallway. An oval is actually a circle, cut in half, with a square or rectangle placed between the two halves of the circle:
You can see that in the pictures, the first rug would be shorter and wider -- the drawn line in the middle of the square is the length of the first part of your braid.
So that in the second photo, the line is longer, and the rug is longer and skinnier.
For example, if you'd like your rug to be about 36 inches wide and 70 inches long, this is what you'd do. 1. subtract the desired width from the desired length (70-36= 34) 2. the result is the length to start with.
Example 2: if you'd like your rug to be about 30 inches wide and 84 inches long, 84-30= 54 inches to start with.
Easy right? The hard part is deciding what size you'd like the rug to be, especially if you're like me and just keep on adding to a project until I get tired of it. However, just pick a length if you can't decide, and then later, you can find a spot to put the rug.
Now, gather some equipment!
1. some coils of folded wool (see part 1)
4. some sturdy thread, such as perle cotton size 8
5. a needle large enough for your thread
6. a bodkin
Okay then, it's time to start! Oval Version!
1. Open up one of the folded coils, and place the end of another one inside it, about 10 or 12 inches from the end, to make a T and then stitch these pieces together -- you can see the seam is about an inch long.
2. Start to braid
you will notice that one side of the coil will show the open side of it, where the wool is folded in on itself. The other side of the coil will just be smooth. Try to keep each side of the braid consistent. Either braid so that all the smooth sides are facing up at you, or else braid so that all the folded in sides are facing you. Later, you will lace the rug together this way as well, so that the rug will have a "right" side and a "wrong side".
Open up the end of both coils that you plan to join. Place the ends at right angles, right sides together, and sew a diagonal seam,
Cut the extra triangles of fabric off, and then coax the folded wool back into its shape.
4. Now you can continue braiding for a while, until you get to your pre-determined measurement! (see above)
When you are braiding, the coils might want to get all tangled together. I try to keep two of them short, and just let the third one pool on the floor. What I mean by Keeping them short, is that I place a pin into the coil so it can't unravel, so, it starts about 15" long from the braided part to the pin in the coil, and as I braid, it gets shorter. When it is right up to where the braid is, I re-pin it further down. doesn't that make sense?!!
Nb. Keep the braiding fairly snug and tight. Not insanely tight, but pretty snug.
Normally, when you are braiding, you have 3 strings, the left, the center and the right. This has nothing to do with the specific colors, it is just where the ends of the strings come off the finished braid.
So in this photo, the beige is the left, green is center and turquoise is right. To braid, you would put right over center, (Turquoise over green--- now turq is center and green is right) then put left over center (beige over turq, now turq is left, and beige is center) Then repeat, right over center, left over center, etc etc,
To make a turn, you will go Right over center TWICE in a row, so, I'd go Turquoise over green, then for the second Right over Center, it would be green over Turq.
Then, go left over Center.
Then, go right over Center Twice again
Then you can go left over center and resume the normal braiding
6. Braid the length of the center again until you have to turn the end again.
You might want to lace together the two lengths so that you are quite sure of the placement of the second turn.
7. to Lace together the braids, you will need to get the nylons or pantyhose you've collected. Cut off the toe end, and then cut rings off the end that are about 1/2 inch wide, or so.
(At this point, I am wondering why the heck I thought it would be a good idea to write these instructions, I hope you are doing okay!!!!!! If so, great, if you are having some trouble, just stick with it, it feels really awkward when you do this for the first time or two)
When you pull on these rings, they get long and skinny, like elastic bands. you can link some together, place one rig under the edge of another, fold it over and pull that loop through. Right.
Then, just thread one end into the bodkin.
Pull the bodkin through the end loop on the inside, and thread it through the end of the pantyhose loop and pull tight. then, you just lace it back and forth from one side loop to the next loop on the other side --- pull the pantyhose lace tight so that the braids are pulled closely together:
Also, as you lace the strips, at times you may need to pull the lace through two steps of the outside edge braid rather than just one. This will ease in the fullness of the turn. If you don't ease in the fullness enough, then the rug will not lay flat, but "cup" in the center.
After you have made a few end turns, you may find that you can just do regular braiding and ease in the fullness of the turns as you go around the circular parts of the rug. Or, every so often you might want the braid to curve a bit so you'll throw in a double R over C.
I'm going to post this now, but as I get further in this rug I might take some more photos to add in here. If you are working along with me and find anything unclear or a problem, please leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can make that more clear.
It really is satisfying to make a rug, and this technique will result in a rug that should last for decades, so stick with it!! m
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