Quiet Friday: Rag Rug Finishing

How many people get to have a handmade article right under their feet? You come in from the world, with your feet dusty and weary; you look down, and the rug says, “Welcome home.”

After the weaving is complete, the only thing left is finishing. For rags rugs, that means securing the warp ends, and finishing the ends with fringe or stitched hems. I prefer the look of hems over fringe, so my rugs usually have turned-under hems (occasionally, I do a bound hem, but I’ll save that for another time). The hem area is woven with narrower strips (about 1/4 in. or 1/2 cm) than the rest of the rag rug, to make it less bulky for turning under, and it lays nice and flat on the floor. Ah, rosepath rag rugs, I shall truly miss seeing you on the loom!

Rosepath Rag Rugs rolled up on cloth beam. Karen Isenhower
The end is the beginning. The end of the warp means the rugs are ready to be unrolled from the cloth beam.
Rosepath rag rugs unfurled from the loom.
Rosepath rag rugs being unrolled and cut from the loom. This always feels like the moment of truth: I ask myself, “How do they look?” (Note, this view is the underside of the rugs.)
Upholstery needle helps separate warp ends from header to secure ends of rag rug.
Step 1. An upholstery needle helps separate warp ends from the header. A clothespin keeps finished ends out of the way.
Securing rag rug hem with square knots.
Step 2. Secure the hem with square knots. Four ends at a time, pulled out of the header, are firmly tied into knots.
Finishing rag rug with square knots, and trimming warp ends.
Step 3. Trim the warp ends about 3/4 in / 2 cm from the knots.
Steps for finishing rag rug hems. How-to pics.
Step 4. Fold hem edge to the back side of the rug, keeping the knotted ends inside the fold. Press. Fold again to complete the turned hem. Press.
Stitching rag rug hem. Steps for finishing rag rugs.
Step 5. Stitch close to the fold of the hem. Stitch the side edges of the hem closed. Be sure to use sewing thread in the needle that matches the underside of the rug, and bobbin thread that matches the top of the rug.
Rosepath rag rug. Karen Isenhower
Rosepath rag rug, hemmed and ready, with the look of a breath of fresh air.
Rosepath Rag Rug. Welcome home! Karen Isenhower
Let’s call this one the “Welcome Home” rug. We’d love to have you stay a while.

May weary feet find your home to be a welcoming place.

Still being finished,