Before you get too far with braiding your rag rug, you will want to begin lacing the braids, or attaching them together. Some may think of lacing as the last step in the braided rug-making process, but lacing is often done alternately with braiding as the rug is created. Lacing your rag rug will make the finished rug reversible.
Lacing techniques will depend somewhat on the shape of your braided rag rug, so first choose your rug shape. For an oval rug, decide on the dimensions of the finished rug and make the center braid as long as the difference between the desired length and width of your finished rug. For example, if you want a rug that is 4 feet by 7 feet, then make the center braid 3 feet long.
For a rectangle rag rug, make your center braid more than twice the length of what you would like for the finished rug because the rug will shorten considerably during lacing.
Alternate Lacing and Braiding
Begin lacing once your rug braid is 3 or 4 feet long, or twice as long as the center braid length for an oval rug. Continue braiding a few feet and lacing the braid alternately until your rug reaches the desired size. This keeps the length of the braids more manageable.
Basic Lacing Technique
Set two braids side by side so the loops of the braids form a chevron pattern. Thread your needle and push it through the first loop of the center or inside braid, pull the thread all the way through and then push your needle through the second loop on the outside or joining braid. Continue lacing back and forth through alternate loops on the two braids you are joining together. The lacing motion, which is side to side rather than up and down, should remind you of how we lace a shoe. As you lace, pull the thread taught, but don't stretch or pull the braid, which could make the rug pucker.
Lacing an Oval Rug
The basic lacing technique works for the straight sides on an oval rug, but when you reach a curve, increase by pulling your thread through two adjacent loops on the new braid, one loop on the existing rug piece, and again two loops on the new braid. As the rug gets larger, adjust this pattern as necessary to make sure your rag rug will lie flat.
Lacing a Rectangular Rag Rug
To lace a rectangular rug, start by lacing two straight-braided segments together. Lace the third braided piece to the other side of the braid you've identified as the center braid. Continue by lacing a braid to one side of the rug and then to the opposite side, keeping your original braid in the center of the rug.
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