Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 Parts Frustration + 3 Parts Boredom + 1 Part Ingenuity = Rug needle made from a discout key fob

While my wife was in the hospital, I took a rug with me back and forth to work on while on the CTA. One day I made the mistake of leaving it in "Savi land" and she decided the needle was a chew toy. I got it back, but forgot to put it with the rug.


 We show up for her follow up apt. after discharge and... no needle. Initially I tried using a key, but the head of the key was just too fat to fit through. Then frustration and ingenuity came together, and I cut up one of my discount key fobs, and it worked. It wasn't ideal- it was a bit shorter than I'm used to, and I was always worried about giving myself a hellacious papercut, but it worked! I love the "make do with what you have on hand" aspect of this craft!

You can see me discussing this in the video below, and also see the canine culprit, angelic papillon puppy Savina...

Watch Toothbrush Rugs: Discount Key Fob as an emergency needle in Video Blogs and How to Videos  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not dead, just moving- Look for better tutorial videos Dec / January as a side effect

I tend to keep details of my personal life off this blog for the simple reason that they're not relevant to this craft. What my tastes in music are, where I live, and so forth having nothing to do with anything, and easily become distractions. (I've been involved with the medium of computer-aided communities and communication since the days of 300 baud dial up modems, so I've seen a lot of flame wars, etc.)

Those who have asked via email, I'll say a bit more to, but I love this craft so much that I don't want me, my life, or my personality to distract from it.

That being said, events in my personal life obviously affect the frequency and nature both of my rug making, and of my posting about it. I've mentioned before about working on rugs while waiting at the doctor's office and in my wife's hospital room (she is disabled and is hospitalized several times a year.)

So, a big one is coming up which will take me off line for a while, but when I come back, my posts here and especially my videos will show the difference. We're moving to a new home in a different but not very distant city. That home has much better lighting and "studio" resources, and that city has several other rug makers in it, so I may get the chance to showcase the craft of others, should they be willing to.

I expect I won't have anything new until December at the earliest, and for a week or so in November when the move itself happens I probably won't even have access to email, but go ahead and keep sending me questions, and as I have the chance, I'll be happy to answer them as always.

Happy rugging, be well, God bless...

Questions asnwered: Too many / few doubles and clockwise or counterclockwise?

These came in by email, and I always figure if one person is asking, many more are wondering.

The last first- too few:
When the rug is cupping up, you've put in too few double stitches. If you catch it early on, and depending on how tightly you stitch, what kind of material you're using, and so forth, usually no drastic action is necessary. Just make sure to put a normal number of double stitches in the following rows, and it will probably flatten out.

In extreme cases though, you will have to pull out a row or two. Except for where you've joined one strip to another... I usually just snip the joints out rather than try to pull them through.

Ripples and Waves- Too Many Doubles:
This is more often my problem, especially since I stitch so tightly. Unless you're sewing very loosely, or catch it early, you'll almost always have to undo to correct this.
The rug I'm working on currently has had this problem, but I'm trying to correct for it because I'm sewing it very loosely and using much more thin strips of fabric than usual. No, its not the rug most recently pictured. As per my next post, our life has turned upside down, so...
So, you'll be able to see when I'm finished with my "sari rug" as I call it how well trying to counter the ripples worked.

The big exception to both of these: Working with fabrics with spandex (such as hosiery) or plastic bags.
Both make wonderful rugs... I think rugs made from old pantyhose feel the best to walk on. But both of these are very unforgiving. Its easy to overstretch any fabric with "give" in it, only to find your rug is trying to self form itself into some bizarre 3D shape. Plastic bags, on the other hand, will NEVER stretch out. You have to keep the number of doubles just right with them from start to finish.

Clockwise vs. Counterclockwise = right / left handed
It was recently observed that the rug start I posted October 2nd seems to be going in a counterclockwise spiral. In the picture, indeed so it seems. When I work on it, however, its back is towards me, and I stitch with my right hand, so I actually go clockwise.
Left handed people tend to spiral in the opposite direction.
As I do many other things left handed, I've had no trouble teaching people to do it that way, and can stitch left handed also, just not as quickly.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A new beautiful start (Photo) - But I don't know what to call this one yet- suggestions?

This equals only about 3 hours work- starts are easy for me.  The pattern will be three rows pink print to one row teal print, as long as the teal holds out.  I havea LOT more pink than teal.

This will DEFINITELY be for sale... its contrary in every way to our idiom, but beautiful none the less.

I don't know what to call this rug though... country kitchen, cute and cuddly...?  Suggestions?

As dark and painful as things might be, I can always work on my rugs, and turn to my wife.

(She'll be calling her doctor during his calling hours today... once that's figured out, we'll call mine about my foot.)

Questions, comments?

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