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Trends for 2015: Rug Braiding

Home braided rugs are the perfect alternatives to situations where a fine luxury rug cannot be used. Shabby chic and braided rugs are some of the latest interior design trends for 2015. The art and craft of rug braiding dates back to the early 1800s, but is on the resurgence. In this week’s blog article, we cover the basics of creating your very own oval braided rug for your home in a step by step fashion.

Rug braiding came about as a result of women who showed their creativity by utilizing old clothes and extra pieces of cloth to create a household rug that added warmth to an otherwise harsh and barren home. Original rugs used all types of scraps and worn-out clothing. All-wool, or at least 85 percent wool content is recommended for the uniformity and thickness that results in making a finer finished home rug. The material needed for braiding are as follows: on the average, one square foot of braided rug will require 3/4 of a yard, which is roughly equivalent to 3/4 of a pound of wool material.

If old clothing is used, rip the piece apart after washing the garment in hot water, which serves to firm up the wool fibers. Next, create the strips used for braiding – they can be between 1-1/2 and 2 inches wide. These strips can be torn or cut – this is a trial and error process, as you will find out which materials are best cut.

To make a 2' x 3' rug, determine the length of the first center braid by subtract the width from the length and add one inch per foot: 32=1 foot plus one inch for shrinkage. Next, decide which three colors you wish to use for the beginning of your rug. Rip a 1-3/4 inch strip from each piece of material. Join two of the strips together on the bias. To do this, place right sides together at a 90 degrees angle and join with a diagonal seam by using a sewing machine or hand sewing them. Then take the third strip and fold two sides to the center and in half. Secure them with a stitch for three inches. Attach to the two joined strips so the diagonal seam is directly in the center of the T that is formed. The top portion is then folded to the joined piece and whip stitch for four inches. The process of braiding is next. When braiding, keep all seams to the right side in order to have a reversible braid and a reversible rug.

To start braiding, place your left thumb over the center strip of color number three. Bring color number two over the thumb and number one over the top of number two. The strips will have to be turned for the first loop to get all seams turned to the right side. Continue braiding with a firm but not too tight braid for the desired length of the center braid, which is 13 inches.

To braid a turn that will allow the center braid to lay flat for lacing, the turn to go to the right. Braid the two left colors (left tube over the center, left tube over the center, right tube over the center). Do this twice in a row and a braided a straight double turn will form. Continue braiding to the end of the center braid. A braided rug is laced together by going through the braid of one row and attaching the braid of the loose braid. To lace an oval rug, begin at the double turn end of the center braid. Lace through two loops and knot securely. Lace on the wrong side of the rug, making sure that the open edges of the braid face inward. Do not pierce the material; rather, lace through the loops. Lace every loop for a strong rug.

To finish the rug nicely with a hidden braid, finish coming out of the curve with a taper is 6” in length. Where the braid crosses the edge is the area to come to a finish. Unbraid about six inches of the braid. Cut each of the strands of material, gradually tapering to a modified point. You may need to stitch the strands for easier re-braiding. Interweave the ends into successive loops on the rug. The end of the braid will look like it blends into the rug, and there should be no bump at the ending of the rug. Weave the ends into the rug in a zigzag fashion to secure the ends. Using a needle nose pliers is helpful. You may need to redo the ending until you obtain a smooth finish.

Making a braided rug is fun and useful skill to know. It’s a great alternative when your decorating needs differ from the modern and contemporary rugs in our Los Angeles rug store showroom. With that said, we at Mehraban Rugs in Hollywood wish the best 2015 to everybody! Test

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