Rag Rugs
and other recyclish projects...

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I really hate throwing stuff into landfills, especially if it still seems like it could still have some useful life left in it. I routinely save old clothes, thinking I'm going to make them into a quilt or something, but often they're just too worn out -- or they're not the right material. T-shirts are often cherished, and many are still beautiful, especially tie-dyes - but once they start to get thin and raggedy, you just can't wear them around in public anymore.

So I got it into my head that I could make rag rugs out of them! I thought of those rugs with a string warp sort of encasing various colored cloth in a lovely random pattern. But you need a floor loom to make those: too huge and expensive to be practical for me. So I checked out some books from my local library, and one about twined rag rugs turned out to be the best for me.

The simple frame loom needed was something that I could construct myself, and, more importantly, once constructed, it would not take up half a room, but could be leaned against an out-of-the-way wall when not in use. One can produce rugs similar to the sort of things I'd envisioned. So I found an old frame-like object in the basement and adapted it into a crude twining loom.

Here's part of my first rug in progress, and I'm totally hooked! With twining, you can even do patterns, like this circle here. See how nice these two similarly-colored tie-dyes look. I've already cleaned Kristin and Andy out of all the ratty tie-dyes they can bear to part with. But I have lots more ideas, and I need more rags!

So I'm looking for donations of ratty old clothes -- stuff too worn out to donate to the thrift store, but still with some color in it. Almost any type of fabric can work, but right now I'm using mostly t-shirt-type stuff.

And speaking of not throwing old clothes away, I've been saving my old wool socks, planning to make something out of the tops (since the heels and bottoms are all worn full of holes). I have two types of wool hiking socks: rag wool and the fancier cushiony stretchy type (SmartWool, for example). I have started to sew together the rag wool ones into a blanket, but I don't have enough socks!

Worn out t-shirts, wool hiking socks, and other dead clothes can be sent to me at:

Alison Frane
c/o Looney Labs
PO Box 761
College Park, MD 20741

I figure it can't hurt to ask...

In return you will get a nice thank-you letter, and the satisfaction of knowing your old wearables have achieved new life rather than clogging up a landfill somewhere. And maybe a pic of the finished project. If I get my act together.

--- Copyright © 2008 by Alison Frane ---