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Weaving: News, tips and hints by Pat Monié

Re-weaving an Old Rag Rug

Honestly, you only need to reweave one old rag rug to learn a lot. If you are lucky the strips of rag in the rug will all be sewn together. If they were originally all just 'laid-in' then you would be wise to sew them together as you pull the rug apart. Of coarse this is only important if the original design of the rug is to be preserved.

In most cases, surprisingly, the weft of the rug will be in very good condition. It is the warp threads that wear out and break, making the whole rug look as though it is ready for the trash bin. These old rugs will look good as 'new' when rewoven, and give many more years of service.

The first step in attempting to keep the original design of the rug to be rewoven is to get several (depends on the size of the rug) paper bags that you can number boldly. You will carefully deposit the weft you are taking out of the old rug into the bags - dividing it fairly equally amongst the bags.

Start at one end of the rug (you might want to tie a bright colored scrap around the very end of that first strip), and methodically pull about a fourth of the rug's strips into Number 1 bag. Continue with the next fourth into Number 2 bag, and so on.

Be careful as you wind onto your shuttles that the strips go on in the way that you want them to end up in the rug (I.e. that bright colored bit you tied onto the beginning of the rug will be wound onto the final shuttle first so that it will be the last part woven into the new rug - or, if you are going to start the new rug with that end of the old rug, you will wind onto your first shuttle with that bit hanging off the end of the first shuttle, so that you will be able to begin with that strip, and that end starting the new rug.

There is something very gratifying about preserving these old rugs. Oh, if they could only talk to us. Or, maybe it is just as well that they keep those secrets to themselves. Who knows what went on in that room with that rag rug!

Happy St. Patrick's Day 17 March 2014