the rainbow rug
January 20, 2011
Looking back, I fully admit that this was one of those crazy pregnancy-induced projects. When else would someone find it necessary to spend weeks braiding, piecing, and sewing a rug for a play room? I can answer that! When that very someone found it INCREDIBLY uncomfortable to sit on the floor due to a burgeoning belly. The piles of t-shirt yarn were strewn across the room, threatening to consume her.
Poor lady. We crafters do the oddest things when we have a goal in mind, don't we?
I must be frank with you. This was not an easy project. Grumbles and sighs could often be heard coming from my sewing studio until late into the night. The braiding was meditative, but coiling it and stitching it together with the correct tension? Oh. My. I can't tell you how many times I had to rip the thing out and start over. Sometimes I would pull too tightly on the coil being attached and the thing would turn into a bowl rather than a rug. At other times, I would have too little tension on the braid, and the rug would ripple and wave. I never seemed to be able to get the hang of it - it was trial and error the whole way through.
I started off with the intention of sewing it together by hand, following the instructions in Handmade Home. I quickly figured out that hand sewing was not cutting it for the stretchy t-shirt fabric. I'm sure it would work wonderfully for woven cottons or wool, but the jersey was just slipping all over the place. So I switched to machine zigzagging the coils together, as shown in the photo below (along with cat hair and crumbs). Even with my walking foot and appropriate needle, I had issues (see above) that necessitated a lot of seam ripping.
In the end, though, I couldn't be happier with the results. I daresay it was even worth the effort. (Of course it was.) I just want to warn you that you'll likely spend a whole lot of time on this project, so if you're looking for a beautiful rug without the challenge of sewing it together yourself, you should check out Green at Heart's incredible offerings. If you are set on making your own (Laurine from Green at Heart said that she'll have some more t-shirt rug yarn available in the next few days) then set aside some quality time to become one with strips of t-shirts that are 1.5" wide.
Even with all of the frustrating moments, I would do it again. I mean, how awesome is this rug? But you know what? I'll cross that bridge when I'm no longer pregnant.