When a blog reader of my previous post asked if I could elaborate on Nedra Granquist’s rag rug hemming instructions, I thought I should contact Nedra and ask her permission. She graciously said, “That’s fine with me. Always glad to spread the word.” The system worked very well for me. Had I known I would be posting this, I would have photographed the steps of the process!
On the loom:
- Weave 3/4″ to 1″ of hem. I used doubled carpet warp on this 6 epi rug. Work really hard to keep the hem the full width of the rug!
- Weave one row of soumak, which makes a nice raised turning edge.
- Finish with weaving a corresponding 3/4″ to 1″ of hem.
- Weave in waste rags, just ensuring that in the end, the warp ends will be long enough to work with (5″?)
Off the loom:
- With the rug upside down, so you are working on the reverse, tie a damascus edge. This is a nice video (seen more than 24,000 times!), with the bonus of an Australian accent. You don’t need to do a double row, just one row that turns the ends to the back side of the hem. Easy instructions can also be found in Peter Collingwood’s Techniques of Rug Weaving.
- Use masking tape to tape down the threads (temporarily) to the back of the hem, 1/2″ from the edge.
- Machine stitch the warp threads in place, 1/4″ from the edge.
- Trim the warp threads 1/4″ from the machine stitching.
- Lay in a piece of Stitch-Witchery (a fusible bonding tape) along the hem.
- Close the hem, dampen it, and then steam the hem shut, about 20 seconds at a time along the edge. This is the magic part, ensuring that the warp threads are immobilized, and adding a hint of stiffened flatness to the hem.
- Machine stitch the hem, near the half-damascus.
As Nedra said, “Voila!”