I must admit, it wasn’t like a rug was high on my list of home or life priorities. But I saw this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess and, in true me-style, I had to make one right away. It wasn’t even a choice: I was possessed by a rug-making demon and within a matter of hours it had ordered 750m of jersey yarn off eBay.
J was going to be away for two weeks and let’s face it – I should’ve been taking the opportunity to get out and see friends, or have girly nights in – instead of sitting at home alone talking to a giant loom and falling in love with Jamie Fraser in Outlander. But you see, it wasn’t enough for me just to make a flippin’ great rug. I needed pressure, deadlines, drama! So I determined to entirely complete the rug in the two weeks of J’s absence, in time for a ten-person dinner party we’d be throwing the day after his return. In this two week space I also had a three-day trip to Frankfurt, a three-day visit from my mother, and a Saturday sewing meet-up. And a cold. Camilla at the Dalston sewing meet-up said I was mad. I’m inclined to acquiesce.
We made the magnificent loom out of some leftover wood from our new wardrobes. It was actually rather romantic, making a loom together. He made the frame; I banged in 116 nails at 1-inch intervals; we had Magic FM on in the background. Sexy times. Plus there was the ‘hilarious’ moment when J first showed me the frame and I realised that I’d seriously mis-imagined the 6′ by 4.5′ dimensions. In my head this loom was going to be something that sat on the dining table. Mega brain blip.
The tutorial said I needed ‘cotton twine’. Turns out that’s just ordinary string, and you need two and a half balls. I’m going to give little tips like this that I picked up during the project just in case anyone else is mad enough to attempt it. Or in case in a year’s time I ‘need’ to make another rug.
The tutorial didn’t say anything about how to do the actual weaving (it does link to another post specifically on weaving, but I was too eager to read that), so at first I tried with the largest wool needle I have. It was ok, but difficult to thread the jersey yarn. I switched to a giant safety pin and it was perfect.
The key to the weaving is not to pull too tight. I did at first, and the edges of the rug bowed inwards; as I relaxed the tension moving upwards the sides returned to straight and I was left with a rug of uneven width. So about two thirds of the way up I ended up removing some of the yarns from the bottom and re-weaving those sections more loosely.
The trickiest part was actually negotiating the different yarn weights. The maroon in the centre was very thick; the red and cranberry were consistently slim and silky; the pink and white varied, sometimes becoming almost string-like, at other times ribbon-y. Sometimes two rows of red would have to abut one row of maroon, which made the rug look ‘holey’, but this was somewhat mitigated by the looser weaving.
I also feel I should point out that colour-wise I wasn’t trying to simply copy the original – eBay had a very limited colour selection. Of course when I went to Frankfurt I came across a wool shop quite by accident (Wolle Rodel) and they had a wonderful range of colours. I may have to fly to Frankfurt next time I want to make a rug.
I think I took more than the 15 hours in the project description, but then I was having to follow the adventures of a time-travelling nurse in Jacobite Scotland at the same time. Weaving was great when I didn’t want to look at the bloody violence on-screen, but I regularly dropped my safety pin to be fixated by the ruby-headed handsomeness that is Sam Heughan…
Making this rug was so enjoyable. Weaving was not mindless, but repetitive and straightforward enough to be mind-soothing. I rather miss my loom (dismantled) already. And I’ve still a decent quantity of jersey yarn, so if anyone knows of any small projects with this stuff let me know! Of course I could embark on another rug… but I think I’ll wait for series 2 of Outlander for that.