Friday, May 3, 2013

Nursery Rug Tutorial

Like I mentioned before, I'm working on a rug for Baby A's nursery.  The tutorial I found on Pinterest wasn't the best, so i tailored it a bit to work with what i wanted, and have documented it just in case anyone runs into the same issues that i did.  This is the first tutorial/pictorial i've really ever done, so if it doesnt make sense, sorry for that!   The tutorial I found used t-shirts instead of fabric, but I wanted this to match Baby A's quilt I made.  Feel free to use fabric, t-shirts, towels, whatever you'd like.
To make this rug I needed:
6 3/4yd pieces of fabric
1 latch hook grid (from local craft store)
Rotary cutter and quilting cutting mat (I HIGHLY recommend getting one, I can't imagine doing this with scissors =/)
Large quilting ruler (the one i used was 36" long)
Loads of spare time and patience
Also, a few pearls of wisdom I found out the hard way while working on this project:
1) Have a rotarty cutter and cutting mat on hand. This is something that is sold in most any craft store, and if you dont have one, you will be happy you purchased one at the end of this project. The blade is sharp enough to cut through multiple layers of fabric at once, and the cutting mat has a grid measured in inches already on it so things go much smoother!
2) The tutorial I followed called the base of the rug 'rug webbing'.  Dont ask stores for this, becuase no-one knows what it is.  You want to ask them for a 'latch hook' grid, not 'rug webbing'. I asked places for the latter and was told they didnt carry it, but in fact, they carried what i was looking for, just under a different name. Latch Hook=good, Rug Webbing=Bad.
3) Cut all your strips to begin with, not some now and some later. This is a common mistake that people make who dont quilt (yes, I'm a quilter. a very novice one, but i know how). Cutting fabric for a project is the worst part of the whole thing, but if you cut it all at once, its over and done with and you can move onto the creating part much sooner.
4) Cut the salvage edges off all at the same time (I explain this down below). I made the mistake of cutting the first piece of fabric into inch strips first, and then had to go back and cut each section's salvage edge off one at a time. Took forever and was waay more difficult than it needed to be. 
5) Purchase a crochet hook. I did this, but I purchased one that was too big and didnt end up fitting through the holes. It makes it easier to grab the fabric through the grid and your fingertips will thank you.
When I started this project, i wanted a finished rug that was 2.5ft tall by 3.5ft wide.  I had 6 different fabrics that i wanted to use, and after doing some quick math (which isn't necessarily my strong suit) the lady at the fabric store and I figured I'd need roughly 3/4 yd of each fabric. UPDATE: The finished rug is approximately 2"w x 2.5" long, so if you're looking for a larger rug than mine, you'll need to do the math and figure out how much more fabric you'll need.
The tutorial i used also called for 'rug webbing' which, if you're like me, you have no idea what that is.  After a few calls to various craft stores in town, i came to the conclusion that no-one had it, so i purchased the black fishnet looking fabric in the photo above.  Turns out a store did have it, just under a different name, so while my parents were at Michael's looking for something else, they found the one below.  It is used for latch hook projects, so be sure to ask for that and not 'rug webbing'.  Goodbye $6.50 i wasted on the wrong product =/

To get an appropriately squishy/soft rug (and to make them fit securely through the holes of the latch hook rug without risk of falling out), start the project by cutting each piece of fabric to to be 1"w x 4"l.

This is an example of what not to do.  As you can see, I cut the fabric into 1" sections without cutting the salvage edge off first.  I then had to cut the salvage sections off one at a time. 
Pain in the butt.
  Here is an example of what you should do.  The fabric will come in sections with a very visible finished edge and then a white border of sorts on the other side.  (see below- the white edge on the left side is the 'salvage' edge that you dont need/want in your project)
The fabric will likely come to you from the store folded like this. (See how the white edges aren't even?)  You'll need to refold the fabric to make the edge even so it is easier to cut off. 

Once you've made a straight edge, fold that in half again. This way, you'll have a smaller overall section to cut.


After the salvage edge has been cut away, you're left with a straight line from which you can start cutting your 1" strips.
**As you can see, I measured my first cut to be on one of the master grid lines.  Each line is an inch apart, and with my long ruler, it made it very easy to see the straight line i needed to cut.

Once you've cut all your 1" sections, flip the cutting mat and you're able to easily cut the sections into 4" long pieces.  If you're like me, you ended up with a section at the end that was longer than 4".  To solve this problem (and keep things more consistent) i measured a 1/2" to 3/4" and made another cut (i threw these small scraps away).

For me, this is the finished product of my fabric cutting spree.  I have a piece of fabric, folded on itself, that has been cut into sections 1"w x 4"l  (there are three rows of this- see it?) and then one section 1/2" extra, followed by a smaller row of additional strips.  From here, it is simply a matter of seperating the rows up and making a finished pile of cut strips.
Do this for each different piece of fabric that you have, or if you've used t-shirts, cut them all until you're left with piles like what you see below.

Next comes the part that requires TONS of spare time and patience.  After you cut all your fabric strips, you'll begin the process of threading them through the latch hook grid.  The grid will need to be cut to the appropriate size that you are looking for your finished rug to be.  The piece that I purchased from the store comes in a 3'x5' size.
Once you have the right size rug, you start pulling the pieces of fabric through the grid.  You'll notice that I skipped a line in-between row- this was on purpose.  If you fill every single row, the rug will be way to fluffy and the pieces will lay funny. 
Here is the reverse side (right side up) of the rug.  You'll be surprised by how quickly the rows fill in!

Fast forward about 3ish weeks (of on and off working on it) and this was the back of my finished project! 

Here is the front without the rug border piece sewn on.

TAADAA!!! finished project!  It is surprisingly fluffy, and even when weight is put on it (from walking or whatever), you just run your fingers back through it and it fluffs right back up!  If i skipped a step or something doesn't make sense, feel free to comment below and I'll be sure to answer.
 It will make a great addition to the nursery :)

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