the resource for traditional rug makers since 1984
by Diana Blake Gray
8-strand braided-in rug with typical swirls
Two rugs made with modern materials in 8-strand plaits, as braided-in rugs
These are braided rugs that are made in a single step: as each strand of fabric is braided, it is also laced directly into the rug. (With regular braided rugs, the braids are made separately and then are sewn or laced together to form the rugs.)
Braided-in rugs are made with the left- or right-hand versions of flat braids and plaits, most typically with eight strands in older rugs, though any number of strands from four up to twelve can be used. Braided-in rugs form a stronger structure, but have fallen out of use since WWII, and are seldom seen now in more than four strands. (The Mother Earth News published the basic 4-strand technique in the 1990s and those have been the only instructions available until now.)
Rag rugs developed as a way to recycle and reuse scarce resources in the 1800s and though today fabrics and worn clothing are abundant and cheap, the ability to reuse (or upcycle) the materials is important for the future of the planet. Above right is an 8-strand braided-in rug which incorporates recycled t-shirts. The rug on the left was made with worn fleeece throws.
Tools used for braided-in rugs
Braided-in rugs are made using only safety pins and/or large eye lacing needles.
In our catalog:
Simple, Spectacular Braided-in Rugs (Rugmaker's Handbook No. 5)
to preview the table of contents and introduction to the new handbook.
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