Entries in weaving (4)
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.
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.
‘Shag’ rugs refers to how they’re made but not what they’re made of. So like other carpets or rugs, basically any material that can be woven can be used—synthetic fibers like nylon or rayon, or natural fibers like cotton or wool.
For centuries, the ‘original’ shag rug—the flokati—has been made of tangled goat’s wool in Greece. Traditionally made without dyes they’re notoriously known to be the natural, virgin hue of the wool. More recently however wool shags can be found in any color or mix of colors.
To make a shag rug, strands or yarns of material are loosely woven—horizontal weft through vertical warp yarns. In contrast, standard pile rugs are more tightly tufted, ie. yarns are ‘passed through’ a woven cloth backing, usually with more and thinner yarns per square inch making them more dense and crew-cut like.
Typically manufactured by making loops in the weaving process, shags yarns are then trimmed at a longish length, ie. creating a deep-pile, that gives the rug a lush and shaggy look. And when the weaving is completed, the warp yarns are cut from the loom and those vertical edges are finished.