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Entries in rug (14)

Monday
Sep192011

material world: hemp

preparing hemp yarns for weavingphoto by: dunks-a-lot Hemp is—again—gaining popularity for its inherent characteristics: strength, durability, fast growth, and its friendliness to the environment since it needs fewer substances to control pests and/or weeds. A bonus is that its fibers are stronger when the plant is younger—which means it spends less time in farm fields taking up valuable real estate.

photo by: SweetOnVeg Hemp has been used for thousands of years in the making of household goods—it’s one of the earliest domesticated plants—but unfortunately it fell out of favor in the US after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed.

The soft, brawny fibers of hemp for industrial production come from the Cannabis plant—its genus significantly lower in THC (tetrahydro-cannabinol) than narcotic strains and it grows quite differently as well, especially in height.

Its versatility and benefits, specifically as a fiber used in paper and cloth production, are ironically what may have caused its growth to be restricted to this day. It’s suspected that some paper and cotton industrialists lobbied in favor of the Act—seemingly by blurring the difference between it and its narcotic cousin—thereby protecting their own interests.

Compared to cotton, hemp cloth can be stronger and last longer—durable rugs, ropes and cording can be made from these fibers as well. Due to its fiber structure, colorfastness can be an issue if dyed—especially for darker tones—and some shedding should be expected, similar to jute and wool.

Beyond paper and textiles, today hemp is being used in biodegradable plastics, home insulation, fuel and health foods.

Its seeds are rich in heart-healthy, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. They’re also pressed to make ‘milk’ which is both dairy and gluten-free.

As a crop, hemp seems to have tremendous untapped potential since it can be grown for food, fuel, daily necessities, tools and building materials. But also as animal bedding, horticultural mulch, and to clear impurities out of wastewater, sewage—even contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear reactors.

photo by: Jordanhill School D&T Dept

Friday
Jul292011

the making of: mille swirls rug

The making of the mille swirls rug and runner are a combination of art and technology—patented by artist Liora Manné. First, fibers resembling thin cotton puffs are blended to create a unique transparency of colors. These blended colors are rolled then sliced like sushi into thin pieces and laid out to create a mosaic—all by hand.

To transform this the fibers into a durable rug, the mille swirls pass through a loom of needles that entangle and blend the colors. For added strength and easy care, the rug is then saturated in a transparent latex formula and treated with a anti-microbial finish. The final product is a hand-made work of art—and at the same time it’s highly durable and ready for indoor or outdoor use.

hint: For best results, vacuum on a regular basis and address stains as they occur. Use any commercial carpet cleaner or mild soap with water—not dry powders—plus gentle rubbing and dabbing with a white cloth. Professional steam clean on a regular basis depending on traffic levels. Do Not Dry Clean.

Friday
Jul222011

how to: hang a rug as wall art

Much like tapestries from the Middle Ages—which were originally hung for better insulation in stone castles—hand-tufted rugs can enhance almost any wall with their colors, designs and texture.

big hint: once you’ve chosen the rug you’d like to hang, and the location or wall, visit your local hardware store for the best advice when shopping for screws, hardwood strips, and mounting hardware.

1. Cut two hardwood strips to a length proper for the rug you want to hang—just shy 1 or 2” from each edge—and miter one long edge of each strip at 60 degrees.

2. Attach one to the backside of the rug by screwing screws through the rug and with the miter in a similar position as shown. For best results, use a metal strip across the front to keep screws from pulling through the rug. If you’d prefer not to disturb the look of the rug design, consider smaller, flat metal pieces. They can be square, or round washers which can be painted to blend with the rug design. Just make sure they’re larger than the screw heads so they’ll stop them from pulling through.

3. Test the attachment of the rug to the strip by holding it aloft—without support for the weight of the rug—to ensure it’s well attached.

4. Next measure the location for a second wood strip to the wall in the correct location. Mount it with the miter opposite the rug-mounted strip as similarly shown.

5. Last, carefully ‘install’ the rug by positioning the strips so the mitered edges match yin for yang. Together, in profile, the two strips will create an elongated rectangle and ultimately the weight of the rug is supported by the strip mounted to the wall. This is known as a French cleat.

Thursday
Jul212011

the making of: hemp rugs

The fine finished hemp rug can be deceiving—it’s actually made completely by hand from raw hemp fibers.

Its tonal burnished brown effect is achieved with a blend of unbleached, undyed hemp fibers that yield a warm variegation depending on when they were harvested.

Yarns are woven and handknotted in a labor-intensive process that can take one week to create one rug.

Below are the step by step processes including a final wash that lends a subtle sheen and amazing softness.

Prepping natural yarns for weaving by making smaller bunches from the large mill bunches.

Since hemp is a strong and rough yarn in its natural state, the yarns are set on a machine for washing which will remove smaller fibers making it softer, cleaner and neater.

Weaving the rugs.

Washing the woven rugs to further soften the final version.

Finishing stages of trimming the pile and edges.

Friday
Jul082011

the making of: tie dye rug

Above, hand-tufting and finishing the natural wool pile—the base of a tie-dye rug—then prepping the rug for dyeing.

After dyeing, rinsing, and blocking, a latex backing is added above. Below, four tie-dye rugs shown side by side—each unique in pattern and color variation—ready for inspection, wrapping and shipping.