I was watching someone weave a rag rug and she used the warp yarn for picks in between picks of the cloth weft. She said it made the rug studier. Do others of you do this too? Does the warp thread go in the same shed as the cloth or the next one? If it goes into the next one, that would mean in a plain weave structure, the cloth weft would always be in the same down shed and would not pack as well.


I am also wondering about which direction to cut my strips - parallel or perpendicular to the selvages? Perpendicular would only give a 44 inch long strip, so parallel seems more efficient.


I am working on a small sample using 8/4 cotton warp and calico weight fabric and I am with the strip width/sett. I think a 1.5 inch strip in a 6 epi warp seems pretty good in plain weave.


All input is welcome to this newbie rug weaver!





steve104c (not verified)

I'm just a beginner, but, I cut salvage to salvage. I cut 1 yard pieces at a time. Then cut 2" strips from the 1 yard piece. It's much easier to handle the small pieces of fabric. The best book to get if you don't have it yet is, "Rag Rug Handbook" by Janet Meany & Paula Pfaff. I wouldn't waste warp thread weaving it in with the rag weft. If you are wanting a stonger weave, I suggest using a double warp thread. The warp is the weakest part of the rug. I haven't been weaving very long, but this might help you...............Steve

jordanj (not verified)


Thanks for the tips. I will look for the book in the library. I have minimal time for weaving and thought a rag rug would be a fast, easy project to feed my weaving addiction, but did not take the time to research this new technique like I usually do! 

I saw your posts about joining strips and I thought I would try tapering the ends and "laying" them in. What method have you found to be most efficient?


steve104c (not verified)

Jennifer, I've tried the sq. seam, then the 45 degree seam and also the tapered lay in. I find that the 45 degree seam with folding the 2" stips down to 1/2 " w/no raw edges makes the best weft. I turn the edges flat and that makes the edge look really nice...Steve.

villageweaver (not verified)

I'd say it's more for form, than function.

If you have 4 distinct warp colors, say black, white, red, yellow, but putting in the  warp thread between your fabric wefts, on one side of the rug the black and red warp threads would show up and on the other the white and yellow would show. So you'd have 2 rugs in one! Or if you used a different warp color, you're adding more design. Lots of people do this - IMHO, it's alot of fussiness if you're simply using a solid warp.I don't think it would add that much stability to a rug, but I may be wrong!



villageweaver (not verified)

I would double your ends if using 6 epi. Set your loom up with 12 epi, but double the threads (2 to a heddle or 1,1, 2,2, 3,3 sister fashion) and work it as 6 epi. i think 6 epi might be a little too loosey goosey. 10 epi is usually the lowest epi i hear of out there in rag rug land.

i always do 2 to a heddle (although some books will tell you never to do this)

jordanj (not verified)


I was hoping you would chime in here! Your rugs are gorgeous!

I got the book Steve recommended, "Rag Rug Handbook" and they say to use 10-12 epi too, so that is what I will do. Would you recommend that I double the warp threads even at 10-12 epi? I am using the 8/4 cotton rug warp, which the book does not rate as being very strong.

Ah, now I understand about the warp material pick, and that is not by goal for this rug, so I will not do that. Thanks for that explaination.


What do you recommend for cutting the strips of yardage? Lengthwise or crosswise, or does it really matter? I haven't decided how to treat the "edges" of the cloth - turn both edges in, so that no cut edges show, as Steve recommends - or just fold the strip in half and beat the edges in so they do not show. The second would be less fussy. Any thoughts there? Thanks! Jennifer

TinaHilton (not verified)

I don't weave that many rag rugs, so this may be wrong, but I thought it was better to cut along the length of the fabric rather than from selvedge to selvedge.  Strips cut crosswise (selvedge to selvedge) will stretch more because the fabric stretches that way. 

claudia (not verified)

Hi Jennifer,

I have found crosswise strips to lay in better and the edges shred less, another benefit if you don't feel like turning under both edges.  

I was very upset when my 8/4 carpet warp threads began popping so I switched to very firm 12/6 carpet warp from Glimakra in a natural color.  It's here or just click on their ad on any page.  I have also doubled the 8/4 carpet warp and dropped my sett to 8 from 10.  Nothing popped but the 12/6 works much better.  

I also cut men's ties for weft and made a purse with carpet warp which you can see here.


Rugsbyjoe (not verified)

Hi Jennifer Most of the time when a "tabby threaded" is used is when the weaver is weaving a rag rug that would be "log cabin" "munks belt" or some "overshot" In useing a thbby thread the weaving is not as tight as when a rag rug is woven with out a "tabby Thread" the rug is softer because of the tabby pick between every other rag weft pick I like to cut my fabric strips with the warp grain of the fabric the fabric will cup nice in the shed the fabric cut weft grain has a bit more give to it and it does not cup well in the shed The rug is as strong as the number of warps to the inch I myself will not sett 8/4 warp less them 10 to the inch 12 is what weavers have used for a lot of years and I set for pattern weaving no less then 15 to the inch I find a rug with less then 10 warps to the inch to soft I like a nice tight ferm rug Joe