Nedra’s Pretty (Darn Sturdy) Rag Rug Hem

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!


Classmate Nancy Gossell's linen hem, ready for her rug
Classmate Nancy Gossell’s linen hem, ready for her rug

On the loom:

  1. 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!
  2. Weave one row of soumak, which makes a nice raised turning edge.
  3. Finish with weaving a corresponding 3/4″ to 1″ of hem.
  4. Weave in waste rags, just ensuring that in the end, the warp ends will be long enough to work with (5″?)

Off the loom:

I only had narrow stitch-witchery, so I used two strips for my 1" hem
I only had narrow stitch-witchery, so I used two strips for my 1″ hem
  1. 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.
  2. Use masking tape to tape down the threads (temporarily) to the back of the hem, 1/2″ from the edge.
  3. Machine stitch the warp threads in place, 1/4″ from the edge.
  4. Trim the warp threads 1/4″ from the machine stitching.
  5. Lay in a piece of Stitch-Witchery (a fusible bonding tape) along the hem.
  6. 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.
  7. Machine stitch the hem, near the half-damascus.

with-wordsAs Nedra said, “Voila!”

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