Monday, March 31, 2008

Q&A: "I just put my foot through a flannel sheet, can I use it?"

Q: How do flannel sheets work up. I put my foot through a hole in my fitted sheet last week so figured it's time to rip the entire set up!

A: Flannel sheets work great, but the weak spots or places where its thinned out you'll want to cut especially wide, and avoid having junctions in those spots. For the undamaged areas, you'll probably want to cut it 3/4ths to 1" wide... that should be enough to provide for the weakened areas provided their localized. If a large area of the sheet is getting thread bare or weak, increase that by 50%.

The fabric itself feels great in a rug when done, very cozy, and since its cotton, the tension will even itself out nicely if you add or omit the occasional double/repeat stitch.

You'll find that it doesn't pull through quite as easily as broadcloth, since flannel does have a somewhat textured surface, but I've never found it a problem, and I stitch so tightly that people joke you could use my rugs as bullet proof vests. (Only my grandmother stitched more tightly- when she was done with a rug, she sometimes had to put it under several mattresses for several months to flatten it out! *grin*)

For the needle, I'd recommend one with a nice large hole, but a more rounded tip. If the sheet's already ripping, the last thing you need to do is "spear it" with an especially pointy/sharp needle.

I think a rug made out of JUST the sheet set would look spectacular.
Send me a picture when you're done, I'd love to feature it.
Same applies to other "Rugsters" out there,
I'd love to share your pictures and stories!


Golotomer said...

Thanks for answering my question! I have another one to throw on top of it. If I start it in flannel do I have to stick with the same material or can I mix other materials?

Golotomer said...

I have another question... What is a good gauge of how much of one material (or mixed) will make a nice sized rug. For instance... I have the entire flannel sheet set to tear into strips... do you think this will amount to enough material for one rug. It is a queen size set.

Golotomer said...

And you have to help me start it before I can finish it! Grin!

The Rug Goth said...

So... the how to start a rug tutorials haven't worked for you?

Its fine if they haven't- updating and improving my video tutorials is high on my list of things to do now that my health has mostly returned.

The Rug Goth said...

I somewhat answered G-'s question about whether or not her sheets will make a rug in my follow up QNA post, but I'll be more explicit and specific here.

Assuming most of the sheets are in good shape, and the part through which you put your foot was just the first weak spot to pop up, yes, two sheets should make a complete rug.

I'd guess with flannel you'd want to cut the strips medium width, .75 to 1.25", but if its a heavy flannel, you could go as small as a half inch. Likewise, if its a lighter flannel, no heavier really than broadcloth (think normal blouses or men's dress shirts / slacks) you'd probably want to go up to 1.5"

Obviously the thinner the strips, the larger the rug will be, and the easier it will be to pull them through. You just want to make sure the strips are wide enough that they don't fray out too much or break off as you pull them through or when you join one strip to another.

Also obviously... thicker strips = thicker and longer lasting rugs, but since the life span of these rugs (even when in regular use) is measured in decades more than years, I don't really worry about that issue.

I don't want to worry about strips breaking or fraying out, so I err on the wider side.

My beloved, on the other hand, doesn't want to feel like she's doing resistance exercises when she's making a rug, so with her we err on the thinnest side.

(I also make sure to chose mat'ls which are in good shape, with a tight weave for her to use. I'm not gonna repeat that corduroy misadventure... no sir! A husband can make a mistake like that once in 13 years, but the wise man doesn't make it a 2nd time! *grin*)

Questions, comments?

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