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#13: Needleworked Rag Rugs
Needleworked rugs are of relatively recent origin compared to other types of traditional rag rugs. With needleworked rugs, fabric (rag) strip is substituted in a needle work method that had originally developed with finer threads or yarns.
Rag rugs have been made on burlap or canvas bases using various needlework techniques including: cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint and rya knots. The same techniques have also been used for making rugs using bulky wool yarns.
At left is an example of cross-stitch with cotton rag strips
The rug is shown in progress. Note that a grid of guidelines is drawn
the burlap as a stitch guide.
RYA ON BURLAP
Hi Andrea, Do you have a choice whether to make any sort of shag rug, or only a rya rug? That makes a difference in the techniques available and the knots used. Rya rugs are made using on a rya knot, and it is one that is better learned from pictures or diagrams. So I'd suggest a trip to the library to find a book which shows how the rya knot is made.
For a rya rug on burlap, it would be a good idea to get "even weave" burlap, rather than "primitive" burlap. The even weave allows for more regular placement of the knots. Even weave burlap is also called "Scottish Burlap" and is available from Harry M. Fraser Co, Cushing & Co, or BraidAid (all listed in the links on our site).
Before you begin working on the burlap, be sure to stitch around the edges to keep them from fraying out (a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine works fine). You will also find that pinning or tacking the burlap to a frame, or using a quilting frame, will make it easier to work on the burlap.
As with every rug technique, I would also suggest that you take a small piece of burlap, and practice the knots, before you begin the rug itself. With every technique there is a learning period and you want the knots in your rug to be even throughout, so it pays to do a practice piece separately first.
Hope that helps, Diana
To answer your questions Lib, You can use any good quality
cotton blend (high thread count) fabric.The fabric doesn't have to be
so worn dress shirts would work fine. The best thing to keep rugs from
sliding around is to use an expanded rubber mat (it has holes in it,
looks like a mesh). They used to put backings of canvas on rugs, which
made them stiffer. It didn't keep the rug from sliding at all, but did
keep it from bunching up. Best, Diana
Dear Megan, There have been several books which feature
the traditional yarn rya rugs. Most of them are out of print at the
though, dating from the 1950's to 1970's. I don't know of any current
book with rya directions that you could order. I'd suggest that you
by some used book stores and look though their titles. If you can find
it, the directions that I like best are in a smallish paperback called
"Rugmaking from Start to Finish" by Joan Scobey, Lancer Books, 1972.
check the general rugmaking guides that Good Housekeeping and McCalls
around the late sixties. I'm afraid Rya is one of those rugs that
ever been widely made, except in Scandanavia, because it is fairly time
consuming, but it is a lovely traditional method. Good luck, Diana
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