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Weaving: News, tips and hints by Pat Monié

Quick & Easy Potholder Rug Loom - old t-shirts = rugs!

Here it is the 4th of March 2015, and I turn 67 tomorrow - ooh, that's a big number.

What does that have to do with potholder rugs? Just that they are great for both the young, and the old. No gender/age/any-kind-of discrimination here. Let's all have a potholder party!

First you need a loom. Which turns out to be fancy talk for a large old wooden picture frame. I see them at thrift stores frequently. If you want it to be absolutely free, then grab some 2x2s (I used 1x2s 'cause that's what I had, but a sturdier frame would have been a little better) from the wood scrap pile (that's where mine came from).

You may make the loom any size you prefer. Mine was determined by the size of the scrap wood I had on hand. Two sticks about 40 inches long, and two sticks about 30 inches long. I happen to have a miter saw, so my corners are mitered (and then glued & screwed together), but that is totally not necessary. You just need to join the corners in a sturdy fashion, and, hopefully, get them fairly square.

In the end you will have 2 inch finish nails all the way around the frame (spaced about 2 cm to an inch apart) - sticking up about an inch. See photo.

I chose to place the nails before I glued the corners, but that, again, is a matter of preference. Obviously, if you picked up a frame somewhere you will be putting the nails in as the last step.

I chose to use a drill press, and pre-drill the starter holes for the nails. By clamping a simple block of wood to the drill table I managed to get all my nails in a straight line - which was important for me since I was using 1x lumber, and had a fairly narrow area for placing the nails into the frame (I pre-drilled so that I wouldn't split the thin wood).

It came out so nicely that I decided to paint it to cover the old, dirty wood. This whole process took me about two hours before the painting. I did let the corners dry overnight before painting the frame.

Now you have your loom, and here is where the t-shirts come in. Take the t-shirts and cut them horizontally into 3 inch wide strips. They should end up as a big loop. Like the little loopers used with little potholder looms, these are big loopers for your large frame. If you made a fairly large loom like mine, you might need size L to XL t-shirts for the long side of the loom, and size M to L for the cross pieces.

I have 38 nails along each of the long sides of my loom, and 28 nails on the short ends. Add those numbers together, and I know I will need 66 t-shirt loops to make one rug. I usually get about 6 or 7 loops from one t-shirt, so I will need 10 to 11 t-shrits for a rug.

At this point you proceed just as you would on a potholder loom - placing loopers all across either the long side of your loom, or all along the short side. You will need only your fingers to weave the remaining loops into your rug, but it is handy to have a large crochet hook for taking it off of the loom when you are finished weaving. You can watch youtube videos to see some actual weaving, and taking-off.

Here's a link to a great page: (you may have to copy & paste the address)

And here are great photos of a potholder rug workshop:

I hope that this article helps to inspire someone to give this fun project a try. I will send additional photos to anyone who contacts me. At this time I can only add two photos to the article.

Weave On! Pat