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Rag Rugs Tour
1. Tambour
2. Shirred 
3. Standing wool

4. Knitted
5. Flat Wrap
6. Amish Knot

7. Chain Braids
8. Broomstick & String Crochet
9. Crocheted

10. Fabric Tapestry
11. Anchored Loop
12. Hooked, Poked, Prodded, Bodkin

13. Needleworked
14. Toothbrush rugs
15. Braided rugs

16. Knotted & strung shags
17. Loom woven
18. Patched (penny rugs) & sewn shags
19. Frame made rugs
20. Wagon wheel & frame braids 
21. Odds 'n ends

 

 

Rag Rugs Tour
#5 Flat Wrap & Twisted Cords Rag Rugs

Flat Wrap Rugs
The flat wrap is one of the oldest methods of rug construction, developing in ancient times on nearly every continent. It was used for coiled baskets from Asia to the Americas and later in Europe for mats and rugs. The use of this method with fabrics to make 'rag' rugs is relatively recent (within the past 150 years). Basically, the technique is of wrapping a strand of fabric strip around a carrier (of fabric or cord) and then lacing the strip back through the work. Patterns are worked by using multiple strips of fabric, all but one carried along within the wrapping, and changing the positions of the individual strands. Appearance both front and back of the flat wrap rug is an identical basketweave texture. 

Twisted Cords Rugs & 'Rope' Rugs
Twisted cords rugs are made using 3 or more strands of fabric strip (most commonly 5 are used). In sequence each strand is wrapped around the others, then laced into the body of the rug. (It is apparent in the method that it is an elaboration of the Flat Wrap, but eliminates the carrier strands.) The final appearance of both sides of the rug is that of cords twisted in a similar fashion to rope making. (Some years back entrepreneurs tried to market a rope making machine to recreate twisted cords rugs but in the traditional rugs the strands are not twisted ahead of time. The type of rugs where the cords are twisted together, then coiled and sewn into a rug are called "rope" rugs. See the Letters below for the basic instructions for a two-strand rope rug.) 

A bit of oral history: Some time back I ran into a lady who had made these rugs during the depression. She was hesitant to admit that she had made them and was apologetic. Puzzled, I inquired further. Apparently twisted cords rugs were regarded as a poor man's substitute for braided rugs since they were more often made of cottons than wools. Even the name "twisted cords" was looked down upon and considered an insult implying poverty and a lack of home making skills. (Ironically, examples of these rugs are now more highly valued because of their relative scarcity.) Appearance front and back are similar with a distinctive 'twisted' appearance in each round of the work.
 

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 LETTERS
ROPE RUGS
Hello, I am looking for instruction on how to make Rope rugs - my daughter has a class project to make a Rope rug. Need all the info I can get! Having trouble finding anything in the way of instructions - thank you very much!

Hi, The general directions for 2-strand (the easiest) 'rope' rugs from rags: Find a couple of old sheets* (of the same size) in contrasting colors. Cut off the hems on the end and the selvage edges. Cut or tear the sheets into strips 2 inches wide. Take one strip from each sheet. Secure one end of each strip with a safety pin or what have you and close the ends in a drawer or a secure clamp. Pull the strips gently so that they are even (one not sagging), and start twisting. Twist the strips until a firm cord is formed, but not so tightly that when the tension is released that they form a kink. Carefully take the end out of the drawer or clamp, and use the safety pin to pin both ends of the twisted strip together so it can't unwind. Repeat this with pairs of strips until they are all twisted into sections of cord. Try to get them all about the same tightness so the rug will be even. 

To make the rug, take one 'rope' section at a time, coil it (like a braided rug). Use a needle and thread to stitch each round to the rug. Use fairly closely spaced stitches for a strong rug. Be careful not to let the 'rope' untwist while sewing. When one 'rope' is all sewn on, sew the next one the same way. Add a little twist or two to the very ends of the 'rope' to hide the strip ends. Well, that ought to get her started....Diana

*You can use fabric yardages or rags, but since we're dealing with a young rug maker, it is much easier if you start with strips of the same length.

ROPE RUGS, AGAIN
I was reading in a magazine about how to make a particular rug, under tools needed they mention a "Bond America Magic Cord Machine"...what is this and where could I find one, I am sure that "Bond America" is just a particular name brand for the item, is there a "generic" name for the tool? What exactly does it do and it's purpose? Is it a neccessity? thank you, Brook 

Dear Brook, The machine in question is a basic rope making machine which twists together strips to form a 'rope' which is then coiled around and sewn into a rug. It only makes these rope rugs which aren't a traditional type of rag rug. You're right, Bond America is a brand name, and I'm not sure that they are still in business, since the fad for these rugs was about 20 years ago and didn't last long. 

The 'rope' rugs imitate a 'twisted cords' rug which is traditionally made one strand around at a time with just a lacing needle, not a 'machine'. You really don't need the machine to make great rugs. Hope that helps, Diana

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