Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The problem of lint

I post my rug videos on several services and on my other sites, and on one of them the following comment was left after my previous video on starting a rug with the half hitch knot:

the half hitch was used for macrame! I should be able to do that! [Rug Goth] do you guys have a problem dealing with the floating fibers? I have been waiting to work on my rug until I can sit out side on the porch because the fibers really fly about the room. I have it all over my clothes, the chair I'm sitting in and I feel as though I'm breathing them. Maybe it is just eh material I'm using?

My response:

I'm not surprised- its the basic knot behind many crafts. Yeh, this is MUCH easier and quicker way to get a good start than the braiding or chain stitching most rug makers use.

Funny you should mention the fiber problem. One of the videos I have from my trip back to your 'hood is of my mother talking about my Grandmother- the rug matriarch who got us all going on this- who refused to use cotton or linen after a while, and used only cotton poly or synthetics for just that reason.

Its also something of a matter of how you cut it. This makes a big difference in, say, working with jeans or cords. If you cut with the natural grain of the fabric, it will fray out a LOT less.

Broadcloth, your light weight cotton poly blends as used for men's dress shirts, clerical shirts, many blouses, etc. doesn't fray unless you go out of your way to make it do so, like cutting diagonally across it!

T-shirt and jersey mat'l doesn't either, though you do have to cut your strips extra wide- at least double the normal width- to account for how stretchy they are.

Generally, the tighter the weave and smaller the fibers, the less lint. I used a few strips of a very coarsely woven shower curtain (think burlap) a few times in my anniversary rug, and I had one strip left over which I worked into my new "remnant/romper room" rug, but that was just too much for me.

Since I swiffer and vacuum several times a week to deal with the dog hair and grime (we have all wood floors- if I don't keep up with it, it feels like we're living on a beach!) , it doesn't usually bother me, but that stuff lost about 1/2 its width after an inch and half of stitching!

Plastic bags and pantyhose of course yield no lint, so if that's your "prime directive" go with them.

Bed sheets are great too.

Dockers type pants/slacks, anything remotely like denim, is going to give you a fair amount of lint.

Perversely, even though Grandma preferred synthetics, after the shower curtain the worst lint problem I've ever had was with some really tacky old K-mart special "dress pants" from the 80s. The weave was loose, the fibers thick, and being synthetic, they stuck to everything like glue. I think I finally consigned that stuff to doggy-bed purposes too.

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