Braided wool rugs are warm, cozy, economical and fun to make. They're a great way to recycle old blankets, old wool clothing and scraps of wool fabric. Wool rugs are easy to clean, especially if they fit in the washing machine, but not the dryer. And they can add that special, one-of-a-kind accent to a hallway or in front of the fireplace. Making a braided wool rug is easier than you might think. If you can braid hair and sew with a needle and thread, you can make an attractive heirloom to pass down to the next generation.
Things You'll Need
- Wool strips
- Heavy-duty thread
- Heavy-duty needle
- Large binder clip
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Collect wool and cut it into strips. Check with your local thrift store and see if they have old wool blankets or wool clothing (not sweaters) in the back that are too worn to resell. Also look in remnant bins at fabric store for wool scraps. If you've been sewing for years, you might have some wool scraps tucked away somewhere. Try to keep the fabric weight consistent because it will make your rug more attractive and also help it last longer. Of course, if you want your rug to match specific decor, you can always purchase the wool you need at the fabric store. Cut all the wool into 2-inch strips. The length of the strips will vary, and that is fine.
Iron your strips. Fold the strips lengthwise in half. Press with an iron. Open up the ironed strip, fold the long edges into the center press, close and iron again.
Start braiding. Choose three strips and stitch them together at one end. Braid the strips together. When you come to the end of a strip, choose another one, unfold the end and hand-stitch the end of the new strip to the unfolded end of the old strip. Try to vary where you sew on a new strip so there isn't a lump of new strips all the way across your braid by stitching on three new strips at once. As you braid, roll the braid into a ball. Continue braiding until you run out of fabric. If you need to stop braiding for a while, clip the end of your braid with the large binder clip to hold it until you return.
Sew your rug. Decide if you want an oval rug or a circular rug. For an oval rug, measure a strip of braided material 12 to 14 inches long. Run another length along the first, and then spiral the long braid around your original length, hand-sewing them together as you go. For a circular rug, do as above, but start with a 1-to-2 inch length to begin spiraling around.