Rag Rug Loom

My hubby is awesome.

No, wait, that isn’t the entire post, although it could be! Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making rugs. Specifically, rag rugs. Too much Little House on the Prairie and various other pioneer literature around here lately – makes me want to be all rustic. And as we’re preparing to move cross country, I’m sorting through piles of clothes and my fabric stash to narrow down what will actually be coming with us.

It makes me cringe to throw fabric away. I just can’t.

Enter rag rug making – the perfect way to take unusable fabric and make it usable again. And it uses up lots of it, which I have, thus saving giant heaping piles of clothing from the trash (most of it is too worn out for resale shops).

Last week we drove to Georgia to visit relatives and the entire way my husband and I discussed various loom options. We watched youtube videos at the hotels at night and chatted about what features I wanted. Then we got home and he built it for me using scraps we had around from a shelving project. Total cost? Less than $10 for some oak dowels and the hooks to hold them. And I have fabric for who knows how many rugs.

And here it is! Because nothing is better on a cold winter day than weaving at a sunny window.

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Let me show you some of the beautiful details. This loom isn’t taken from any one set of plans, but rather is a hodgepodge of various looms we saw online combined to our own liking.

The frame is a basic 2.5′ b y 3.5′. The top and bottom are the same so it can be flipped. It’s made of 1×2″ doubled on the vertical so it’s thick enough to insert hooks:

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The base is 1×4″ cut 20″ long with more 1×2″ scraps. The frame slips right into it snuggly. He’s going to add a latch to hold the frame in so I can carry it easier, but for now this works.

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There are 4 sets of hooks on the vertical supports. 5/8″ oak dowels slide in to hold the warp. With this set up I can make a rug any width up to 29″ wide and 3 lengths: 18″, 27″, and 36″ (roughly). For my first rug I’m using the middle (27″) length.

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Dowels are held in place by a super fancy rubber band.

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I’m silly excited about this. In the winter, we watch a lot more tv in the evenings. It gets dark here between 4-5pm and it’s really cold. I don’t like just sitting there; this gives me something productive to do that is essentially mindless once I get the pattern going. And look! I’ve already begun. I’ll post more details on this rug as it shapes up. It’s going to be a hug for our feet, all made up of scrap flannel.

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Any one else rag rug? I’d love to geek out with you in the comments if you do!

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Gray Winter Days (PR&P, Winter Wonderland)

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.” Bill Waterson, author of Calvin and Hobbs

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

Winter in Central Illinois is awful. It’s a very unpredictable season. What snow we get is beautiful, for a few few hours at least. And then it will get just warm enough to rain and turn everything to gross mud and slush. Even though the theme at Project Run and Play this week is “Winter Wonderland,” I decided to go more with our Winter Reality. I was up for a challenge: finding beauty and inspiration in the yuck of a midwest January.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

 

“Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.” Willa Cather, My Antonia chapter 7

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

Our favorite outfits have layers. Our favorite boots wash off (mostly). We brave the outdoors anyway – because Spring is still a long ways off and we’ll all go crazy if we don’t go out and run for at least a few minutes. This week I made three layers: A gray knit slip, upcycled from an old pillowcase. A Family Reunion Dress from Oliver and S in quilter’s cotton. And a gray cardigan cut down from one of my old ones, misshapen from years of use.

Project Run and Play, Winter 2014

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner, American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian.

embroidery closeup on Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

I bought the Family Reunion pattern for the tab. To me, it is just begging to be embroidered. I stitched this little snowflake in a steely blue floss, which picks up the hit of blue spattered in the background of the main print (it’s very subtle, you can just see it). I used a simple back stitch; the snowflake design is from Handsewn (a fantastic sewing book!). I didn’t get a picture of it but the buttons on the back of the dress are also stitched on using the blue floss. I love the hint of color in the midst of the gray – just like the few minutes of sunshine that  pop through the clouds. There’s nothing prettier than the clear, pale blue sky of winter.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

“Every mile is two in winter.” George Herbert, English clergyman and poet

And every photo shoot is misery, at least if you ask the toddler! It’s ok sweetheart, we’re done now, and we can enjoy the best part of winter: snuggling on the couch in the early dark with a bowl of soup and a cup of tea. And spring will come soon enough.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

This week’s inspiration image: taken by me last week when the weather randomly decided to be sub-zero temps for a couple days.

 

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Be sure to check out the other sew along entries right here. Many of them are more “Wonderland” – ish, if you’re tired of gray!

Pumpkin and Acorns Embroidery Design {free!}

When the weather turns cool, I always want to do handwork. It just seems right to curl up on the couch watching TV and making something beautiful. Two years ago it was knitting. Last year I worked on hand quilting Grace’s baby quilt (which still isn’t done). This year is shaping up to be an embroidery year!

Yesterday I showed Grace’s Thanksgiving dress – rich chocolate brown accented with leaves and acorns. The skirt on the Birthday Party dress just begs for embellishment. So I embroidered it 🙂

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I knew exactly what I wanted, which can sometimes be a blessing. This time it was not – no where on the wide world of the internet, either free or paid for, could I find what I was looking for. Thankfully my husband uses Photoshop professionally, so I’ve been able to pick up a few tips here and there. Combining a couple coloring book pages (from Google images) and more time that I will admit to, I came up with this:

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It’s so far from perfect! But all you need for embroidery are the basic lines anyway. Feel free to use this graphic in any way you desire. I’d love a link back to here though!

Use your favorite stitches to create the look you want. I used: stem stitch (outlining leaves and pumpkin), back stitch (outlining acorns), satin stitch (pumpkin stem), running stitch (inside leaves and pumpkin), and a made up long straight stitch for the acorn caps. spinI’m feeling like this will be the first of many embroidery projects this year. It’s very soothing and very portable – good in this busy holiday season. I did the leaves while watching the Doctor Who 50th at a friend’s house. Interested in embroidery? Interested in what I might make next? I have a pinterest board full of inspiration for you to check out!

Have a safe weekend!

Little Things to Keep Her Warm

I love fall. That brief moment between too hot and too cold, when every step you make crunch-crunch-crunches. When your nose starts to get just-right chilly – where it makes you feel more alive, but not so cold you want to go hide. And there’s pumpkin spice EVERYTHING everywhere you go! I think it’s short so we can appreciate it all the more.

And, it’s an excellent excuse to start whipping out all the cute little warm things Grace will need through the winter.

I went straight to my Little Things to Sew book from Oliver + S. Partly because I’m sewing along and partly because the winter things are so stinking cute. In not much time at all, I made a matching set of hood, mittens, and scarf for my girl.

First, the hood:

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How cute is this? Except… it’s not a bear like the book shows. I tried to make the ears a cat. That obviously failed. I’m not sure what they are now. Sheep? Llama? Anything but a cat. Cute though! I actually like them, they make me giggle. Instead of ribbon, I took scraps of the purple and sewed a long tube, tied a knot a few inches from the end, and fringed that end.

Mittens:

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This pattern is mitten perfection. Last year Grace screamed bloody murder every time I tried to have her wear anything on her hands. That pattern continued… until these. They slid right on and she’s been hard pressed to take them off ever since. That’s a win in my book. She can even do buckles with them on, which is all it takes to make her happy.

Scarf:

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The concept of this scarf is brilliant. There’s a loop or pocket between the layers near one end so the other end just slides through. Hence the name – “no tie scarf.” It was very “I DO IT MYSELF!” friendly.  This fringe technique is kinda cool; I like it. I just used scraps of the main fabric plus some hot pink cotton I had laying around. Nothing fancy turned out pretty cute this time!

If you’re like me, I had to stare at the diagram in the book for a very. long. time. to understand how to sew the loop. Here’s a quick picture to help visualize sewing the top edge of the loop after you’ve done the long sides. You pull the scarf parts out of the way and only stitch the 2 layers of loop, solid white on mine. You can only see the seam allowance; everything else is inside the tube.

scarf in progress

For all project, the purple is a thin microfleece from Joann’s. The flip side is a white flannel with tiny neon hearts I’ve had around for a couple years; I’d assume it’s from Joann’s too. It’s all warm and cuddly.

All together now!

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roll about

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And if you’re curious, yes… I can look like a llama too.

meCheck this post here if you want to see a round-up of all my projects from Little Things to Sew