I Could Blame ...

I'd like to blame it on Jessamyn West since it is her character, Eliza, in The Friendly Persuasion who reminded me that years ago I had printed off instructions as to how to make a rag rug. Eliza braids them in between chores in West's novel ... and I was inspired to do the same especially since I had a pile of old denim skirts that were either wearing out or required mending (or, I hesitate to admit, no longer fitted).

Wouldn't a rag rug made out of denim be a wonderful project?

If only I'd backed the horse up at that point and decided that I already had enough projects on the go and didn't need another one.

Cutting out the strips was no problem. Mind you, I don't know if I'm doing it right. Most instructions say to tear the strips ... anyone tried tearing denim lately? I have a rotary cutter but for some reason (probably to justify the amount I spent), I decided to use pinking shears. I have this vague (and possibly incorrect) idea that pinked edges will fray less.

So pinking shears it was. And the denim was so tough that I managed to jam the shears closed at one point and had to wait until DH arrived home to open them for me. ("How on earth did you do that?" he should have known better than to ask.)

Braiding was a breeze - and fun - and backbreaking - and I joined new strips in by sewing machine after trying the slit method I had seen online and not liking it. Note, keep the strips at 1.5 - 2m for manageability. I found this out the hard way. Too long and they tangle. A supply of pegs nearby is handy to clamp the braid when you need to unravel the strips or sew more strips on or answer the phone/door, etc.

Two knee length skirts and the front of one ankle length skirt yielded this much braid ...

And an hour of hand sewing produced this miniscule sample ...

I think I'm going to be in this for the long haul. Why, oh why, did I think I could whip this up in a day or two at the most?

But at least I know who to blame!

(In case anyone is interested in the details: my strips, cut by hand, were not all even, and my braid was thick in some places and thin in others but it all evened out in the end when I began sewing. I used quilting thread - because I always have some lying around - and a large needle to sew the braid together and I sewed on the back rather than the front because, to my disappointment, I couldn't manage to hide the stitches. [And I call myself a quilter!] My denims are all similar shades but the backs vary greatly, and once I discovered that I liked the look of the wrong side, I allowed the strips to twist as I braided. Some strips also contain some decorative stitching from their function as clothing which I left in place. I'll update when - and if - I ever get this done. And then I'll have to decide where to put it. Somehow, despite the time and effort, I don't think it's destined to be wall art!)