Monday, March 31, 2008

Q&A: Mixing materials in a rug - The "Levitical myth"

I decided to make this a separate "Q&A" post because it comes up a lot.

I call it the "Levitical myth" because Lev. 19:19 (among other places in the OT) prohibits the mixing of two different fibers together in cloth.

The specific question as seen in the comment to the previous post was if she could start with flannel and add other things later, but I'm going to abstract it out to be more generally relevant.

Q:Can you mix different types of materials in the same rug?
Will it make the rug weaker or the junctions less durable?

A: In the broadest sense, the answers are "YES" and "NO," but see following discussion.

There's no functional reason why you can't mix different types of fabrics together in the same rug, or even fabric and non-fabric. One of my most beautiful rugs was one with a leather center and a blue jean body (pictures and a video of it are in back posts.)

The major issues are:
  • Aesthetics- how will they look together?
  • Functionality- where and how do you plan to use the rug?
  • Strip size- different materials need to be cut to different widths, or else the thicker fabric will tend to overwhelm the thinner rows, and create problems with the tension of the rug.

On functionality for example... I like to make rugs from plastic bags, shower curtains, and umbrellas to use in the bathroom and kitchen. You'd totally destroy the functionality of these rugs for use in wet areas were you to mix in normal fabrics which absorb water.

Likewise, jean rugs are great for heavy use areas, places where pets and children are likely to get to them, etc. Chiffon might look nice enough as an accent in such a rug, but its not going to be as durable.

But so long as the aesthetics & functionality work, and you adjust the strip width to get a relatively constant row thickness... have at!

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