Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rugs: My current one, the two "mistakes" I've made in it, and how I fixed them

I decided that I needed a nice low intensity, no brainer rug to work on in the aftermath of my final in Anatomy and Physiology. So as I scrambled together my stuff Sunday morning to head off for the test, I grabbed a needle, my best sisciors, and a wild animal print sheet I'd just "rescued."

After the test was over, I had time to kill waiting for it to be graded, and also waiting for the students who'd not presented their final projects to do so. (They'd sat through mine, it seemed only gentlemanly to sit through theirs, even though I didn't have to.) So I got out the sheet and shears, and away I went. This is 2 days work on it. In the overview picture with the uncut mat'l, I added arrows so you can see the rug... it blends into its source so well it took me a while to see it... I thought I'd goofed up the photo!

Now here's closeups of the front and the back. I made two mistakes in this rug.

1) One time I joined a strip, somehow a 3" loop of strip got caught, and I couldn't get it straight. The presentations were about to kick in, so rather than doink around with it, I just made sure it lay flat along the advancing row, and made sure my needle passed through it each time.

I was going to circle it on the pictures below, but it worked its way into the rug so well that I can't even see it. When I first did it, it seemed like just a slightly thicker row, and if you spot 2 to 4 inches of row about 5 rows out which seems thicker, that's it.

2) (This is my most common mistake) I added too many repeat or double stitches as I moved from the rough start phase on to the rug proper. To fix that, I just skipped a stitch when ever I noticed pronounced puckering. As you can see from the pictures, the rug is still a little more 3d than is optimal, but that kept it from getting worse, and the natural evening out of tension will do the rest.

The problem I've noticed in myself is that I tend to think a double stitch is the solution to any problem... so sometimes I've made matters worse not better.

The moral of the story: Yes, you need double stitches, especially early on, but as with all things in life, don't overdo.

The more precise advice for you ruggers out there- pay attention both to the direction your needle is leaning AND to the surface of the rug. If the needle is leaning far back to the left, its time for a double. (Say, 40 degrees or more.) Otherwise, leave it be. If the needle is leaning forwards OR you have puckering going on, skip a stitch.

Yes, this is stuff better illustrated in a slide show or video, but my wife's still "hospital sick at home" and given how my previous attempts to be both the camera man and the rug guy worked out, I'm holding out for when my wife can help me do a quality shoot.

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