Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tutorials: Finishing a rug, finishing off a solid color row

Background: I was finishing the rug made of the clothes my wife and I wore when we wooed and fell in love 13 years ago, and as she was in the hospital, and the rug celebrates our love and marriage, I lugged the huge rug down on the L and bus to finish with her.

(In a future post I will show detailed pictures of this, my "opus magnum" so you can see more detail. But for ease of people finding tutorials about various topics, I'm keeping those sorts of posts separate from these.)

When I was doing it, she wanted me to explain how you finish a color band row or solid color row, and as I had the camera along to take stills of her with the rug anyway, I recorded my final stitches and tying off of the rug while explaining it to her and answering her questions.

The lighting gives a spooky or film noir overtone, but I think the video is made better by my wife's interaction, as while a brilliant linguist and utter genius, she's just started doing this craft.

Finishing a row of one solid color

When finishing off a row of a given color or pattern, it is best to overlap by a few stitches so that the color is joined when the rug is viewed from any angle. This is especially important when the row is the final row of a rug, as in this case.

High res Veoh version

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Tying off the rug

When you're done with your rug, there's any number of ways to tie it down. The stitch is incredibly resilient, it isn't going to unravel or pull loose regardless. Still, this is how I usually do it.
  • I do the last few stitches very tightly (even for me)
  • I use a thinner strip or a graduated strip for an even blending of the end of the row into the preceding row.
  • For the final stitch, I pull it down as tightly as I can,
    • I run the strip in a basket weave pattern (over under) for three loops along the row,
    • I do three loops in the other direction along the previous row
    • And finally I tie it off using two half hitch knots (see previous post about these.)

Again, don't worry, do what ever you want and what ever works for you, but this technique will give you a clean visually attractive finish.

High res Veoh version

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Low res Youtube version

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