Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What to do with 300' of clothesline?

And a mountain of fabric strips in your scrap bin?

Make a rug!

NOTE: This project was fully inspired (as in I never would've thought to do this myself) by my hilarious friend Jodie who blogs at RicRac. You can see her gorgeous rug and a tutorial to make your own here. The only thing I did differently is that instead of a regular zigzag stitch, I used an 8.5mm wide triple stitch (that is three stitches in every zig and zag). I thought this might be more durable in the long run with my chair rolling over the carpet.  I also didn't join ends with tape, I just wrapped the fabric around a few times flat to splint the ends together.


100' (or one skein of Dritz cotton clothesline) made a 21" diameter rug....


200' (two skeins like the one shown) yielded a 31.5" diameter rug. At this point, I'd broken two Topstitch 90 needles, which isn't bad considering the weight of this thing and the fact that the feed dogs haven't got a chance. You have to feed the rug into the machine with your own effort. My left shoulder started complaining right about here.


I posted on IG throughout making this rug. After I started in on the third skein, things started to get a bit warpy. I began to wonder if I was making a giant nest. The rug was much bigger than the plexiglass extension table for my Pfaff and even though it seemed like I was feeding it into the machine totally flat, obviously there was tension from the weight of the rug causing pulling and warping.  I felt a bit panicky, to be honest. Opinions on blocking varied. I decided to call it quits after 300' of clothesline was wrapped and sewn and the rug had reached 40" diameter.   I really wanted a 5' diameter rug for my sewing room, but I just didn't have it in me (or my shoulders) to keep going.  Like Jodie says, the KEY to success is having a totally flat surface. If you've got a table with a hole in it for your machine, you are all set! I ended up using various boxes and an ironing board on my left side to help support the rug.

I dipped the rug into a bathtub filled with cool water, then rolled it in a beach towel to remove as much water as I could. Then I laid it on a big terry blanket on top of our playroom carpet. I put our round kitchen table upside down directly on the rug and pinned all around the outside coil of the rug to hold it flat against the carpet. I weighted the table with about 30 pounds of stuff (exercise weights, ski boots, a box of office supplies and a karaoke machine - basically whatever was lying around within reach!); then I waited.

Miracle! It's flat!



FAQs based on people at my retreat and on IG:

How are you going to clean it? (really?) Well, it is going to live in my sewing room under my chair. It will get dusty and thread-covered, but not really dirty because like most Canadians, we don't wear shoes in the house. I'll likely vacuum it once in a while and maybe take it outside for a beating now and then.

How long did it take?  I'm not a huge tracker of information like this. I make stuff because I love to make stuff. Tracking hours doesn't always make me feel good about how long things take and I'd rather just enjoy the process....however if I had to guess I think I'll say about 18 hours

How much of your scraps did you use? I have no idea. Hardly made a dent. You know how it is. I can tell you that I used about 1500km of polyester thread, though (that is easy to measure! One 1000m spool and have of a second one.

Would I do it again? Maybe one day. It is more likely I'll return to rope bowls.

Are you going to give it a go?



12 comments:

GO STARS! said...

I love this so much! I’ve got some clothesline but think I’ll start with a small project first.

QuiltGranma said...

love this! So where is the spot to get regular blog posts from you? fletcher.jean@gmail.com

KaHolly said...

It’s lovely!

Four dogs and one quilter said...

I want to try one after the holidays, need some color in my kitchen and my scraps are totally out of control.

Unknown said...

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Quilter Kathy said...

Totally amazing! I love it!

Kris said...

Love this! Great job for working to get so big even though not the size you wanted.

mangozz said...

I love your colorful rug! I intended to try making one awhile ago but when I finally decided to do it, I found out that my clothesline wasn't all cotton. Also, I don't have a machine in a cabinet either. Did you use your walking foot?

Adrienne said...

Love this!

Esther Dunn said...

Well done!! I would like to give this a try but think I will start with rope bowls to get my feet wet.

Jean said...

Love seeing your project! Nicely done. Love the story of the making of it. It took 3 days to dry my library books bag but I use it daily and it is so durable! I'm going to stick with bags, bowls and hot mats and pretend I have your mat.

Dianne said...

Nothing that large is likely to happen but I did love the table mat you made for Andrea and I do have a skein of rope so maybe one day....
Your carpet is lovely!