DIY Positive Vibes Rug + DIY Woven Art Book

Today I'm excited to share with you a really cool project from Rachel Denbow's new book, DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows and More!  Having followed Rachel's crafty world for many years now as a regular DIY contributor at A Beautiful Mess blog and her own blog, Smile and Wave, we were excited to hear she wrote a book on one of the many crafts she does so well, weaving.

And now the book!  DIY Woven Art is filled with 15 fabulous fiber art projects—from awesome wall hangings that Rachel is well known for to colourful projects like pillows and rugs.  She even shows you how to fabricate 3 simple, portable looms if you happen to need one.

The project Rachel and her publishers so kindly are letting us share here is her Positive Vibes Rug, perhaps a little amibitious for the novice, but like she says in the beginning of this tutorial, "if I can do it, you can do it".  So well, there you go! She also says if you feel it's a little intimidating, use the center board as the top part of your loom and weave a bath sized rug instead.  Let's take a look!

Excerpted from DIY Woven Art Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Denbow and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy. 

Positive Vibes Rug

Weaving your own rug might seem a little ambitious, but if I can do it, you can do it.
This design is a little more complex than the first rug I ever wove, but it’s just a giant star motif, similar to The Stars at Night on page 78. You can easily alter this pattern and weave bold stripes similar to I Want Candy on page 34 if you’d rather work on something without diagonal lines. If a large rug just feels too intimidating, use the center board as the top part of your loom and weave a bath-sized rug instead.
Fabric yarn is an excellent choice for weaving a rug because it can be found in a variety of colors and patterns, it’s quite durable, and it’s thick enough to make quicker work than if you were using a worsted-weight wool yarn. It has a lovely weight and drape to it, so it isn’t easily disturbed when walked across. But you will still need to pair it with a rug pad if you use it on hardwood or tiled floors.
Most of the fabric yarns I used here are fashion industry remnants that have been cut and wound into balls of yarn. Many of these are a cotton blend, but the fettuccia yarn is a little more like rayon. Fettuccia is Italian for ribbon or strip and is currently a fashionable yarn to use in Europe. When using fabric yarns made of different fibers and with different elasticity, be doubly aware that you aren’t pulling your weft rows taut as you weave to ensure everything lies flat when you remove it from the loom.

This rug is machine washable, but I suggest spot cleaning instead. Vacuum over it as you would with regular rugs.

Finished Size
3' x 5 ½' (91.5 cm x 1.7 m)

frame loom, 4' x 6' (1.2 x 1.8 m)
3/8" (1 cm) cotton rope in natural for warp, 384 yards (351 m)
11 oz. fettuccia yarn in olive green, 140 yards (128 m)
medium fabric yarn in light pink, 140 yards (128 m)
medium fabric yarn in pink, 140 yards (128 m)
medium fabric yarn in light mint, 140 yards (128 m)
medium fabric yarn in ochre, 140 yards (128 m)
medium fabric yarn in white with black dots, 20 yards (18.3 m)
stick shuttle, 12" (30.5 cm)
tapestry needle, 21/2" (6.5 cm)
wooden comb or fork

1. Warp your large loom with the cotton rope in natural as you would your lap loom. It will accommodate a 4' x 6' (1.2 x 1.8 m) rug when woven all the way across the nail heads, but you can customize your size.
Start your first color block with the olive green fettuccia yarn. Weave 4 rows of plain weave and then reduce 2 warps on either side every 4 weft rows. This will create the same stair-step pattern used in other projects, but you’ll use a diagonal interlock (pages 86–88) to make sure there isn’t any pull between warp threads where the color blocks meet. Weave up for a total of 19 stair steps (Fig. 1).
As you work, be sure you continue arcing, bubbling, and gently batting down each weft row so you don’t pull in the warp.

Fig. 1

2. Flip your loom and weave the same shape with the same yarn on the opposite end (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2
3. Your next section will be a shorter version of the same shape on top of the previous shape. Weave the light mint yarn all the way across your warp for 4 weft rows and then decrease 2 warps on each side for every 4 weft rows. When you need to cut another length of yarn, overlap your ends as shown and press them together with your weaving comb as you work that weft row down (Fig. 3). Create a total of 12 stair steps, or 48 weft rows of this color.

Fig. 3

4. Flip your loom over again and repeat the same pattern (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4
5. Add in your final color block for this first group of shapes with the ochre yarn. Above the light mint shape, weave all the way across for 4 weft rows. Decrease 2 warps for every 4 weft rows for a total of 5 stair steps and then increase 2 warps for every 4 weft rows (Fig. 5). This should meet up with the light mint area above it and create a reverse arrow shape on each end.

Fig. 5
6. Next, fill in the negative spaces with a light pink color block. Thread the light pink yarn on the tapestry needle. Interlock your light pink yarn by stitching through the back side of the mint loop on the third warp as shown. Pull through until you have a 4" (10 cm) tail (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6

7.Weave over the second warp and under the first warp (Fig. 7).

8. Weave in the opposite direction as usual and interlock again through the loop from the back side (Fig. 8). Stitching through the back side each time, no matter how the loop is angled, will create a more consistent design and a less bulky seam.

Fig. 8
9. Weave back over those warps as you usually would and under the selvedge. Continue interlocking as you weave your way through this entire negative space next to the light mint yarn (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9

10. After you weave your last weft row in this negative space, weave back in about 5 warps to secure your tail and trim the end. This will leave a cleaner edge (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10
11. Continue filling in your negative spaces until you are done with your rug. The olive green color block will share weft rows with the dark pink color block; the light mint color block will share weft rows with the light pink; and the ochre color block in the center of the rug will share weft rows with the white-and-black patterned color block. You don’t have to weave them in a specific order as long as they all get filled in (Fig. 11).

Always be mindful that you aren’t pulling too tightly as you weave. You may still end up with a slight curve toward the center of your weaving on a large project like this, but consider it one of those handmade imperfections that add charm.

Fig. 11
12. You shouldn’t have any room left on either end of your loom, so carefully pull your warps off of your nail heads. I like to use my metal tapestry needle for this to save my fingers the wear and tear. Remove your warp from both outside edges toward the center to keep the warp and weft rows from pulling too much in one direction. Stitch in your tail ends along the edges of your rug.

Stand back and beam with pride!

DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows and More is available through Interweave Store HERE and  Amazon HERE.

Thank you Rachel! Also, here's a few snaps from inside the book!

DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows and More is available through Interweave Store HERE and  Amazon HERE.

Follow Rachel Denbow online: 
Blog - Smile and Wave
Instagram - @smileandwave
Shop -

Jan Halvarson

1 comment: