warp for a rug, how much

I have a 40 " weaving width and I would like to try my hand at making a rag rug, If I buy the 8 oz spools fo rug warp, how may willI need to make a medium size rug?

thanks carole


Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 21:59

Where do you purchase your rug warp?  If you go to the Yarn Barn, The Woolery or Paradise Fibers or most any supplier and ask for 12/6 cotton rug warp, one tube will be enough to give you about four rugs, or about a 9 yard warp.


Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 22:34


I have not purchased any yet, I wanted to find out howmuch I need beofre ordering. Are you talking about the 8 oz cones?

I callled total rugs.comand she told meI needed 20 cones.. so I did not order. I think it was 8/4 cotton

so is 12/6 better?

do you have any guidelines to follow for my first rug? I have both a 8 dent reed and a 12 dent reed..

I dont know what the average size rugs are.. I want to do just a plain rag rug using some cotton fabric I have, so what would be the best formular to use for these rugs..

what is a good width and length for a rug.?

thanks carole

Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 23:14

The 12/6 cotton comes on tubes - a little over a pound each, I think. I've used it for warp on all my rag rugs and it makes a nice, firm warp.

The nice thing about weaving your own rug is you can make it whatever size you want; it doesn't have to be a standard size, if there is such a thing. I have a couple rugs about 24" wide by 36" long and they work well for me.

I cut my cotton fabric strips about 3/4" wide. Most sources say to cut the fabric lengthwise, rather than across, for stronger weft strips. I prefer my strips to be at least 5 yards long, so I can weave further with each strip. Some people sew the strips together, but I prefer to cut tapered ends and overlap them in the shed.

For a sturdier rug, try using two strips together in the weft. They will pack in nicely and make a heavier rug that lays better on the floor, in my opinion.

I'm certainly no expert, but I have enjoyed weaving the few rag rugs that I have done. There are always several ways to tackle each aspect, so the discovery of what works for you is part of the adventure.

Have fun!

Posted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 23:36


ok,thats great, I was wondeirng how wide to cut the strips and I was not real happy about having to sew all the ends together , so I think I will try the overlaping method.Do you put fringe or a hem on your rugs? I cant wait to try one! When using 2 strips together do you use 2 shuttles at one time or just lay one stip on top of the other when winding them on the shuttle? Do you fold your fabric so you dont see the back side? So many things to learn ! LOL

thanks carole                                           

Posted on Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:45

I have done plain fringe with a simple overhand knot, twisted fringe, hem with warp thread, hem with thin weft rag strips, and a bound hem with purchased cotton twill fabric. Each one has it's advantages. I suggest trying one way on your first rug, and trying something else on your next rug. You'll find out what you like best, and you'll build a repertoire of options that you can use in the future.

The ones that I like best are the twisted fringe and the hem with thin rag strips.

If you use two weft strips, just wrap both strips around your shuttle together. I use a ski shuttle.

I don't fold the fabric, but I do sometimes turn it one way or the other in the shed, depending on the look I want to achieve. Usually, though, I liked to let It fall as it may, and let the back side be part of the mottled finished look.

You're going to have a blast! Be sure to post your first rug pics.

Posted on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 23:29

I tend to make rugs on even foot increments like 3' or 4' wide.  There is no good reason for this -- totally arbitrary. 

I also overlap the ends --  if you cut them at a taper you can avoid lumps.  If the rag strips are the right length with respect to the warp width, I have been know to leave the same amount on both sides and plait the edges.  One of my friends uses glue sticks to to glue the ends together, but I have never seen the point.

If you go to the websites mentioned above, they typically tell you yards per pound.  You then figure ends per inch * width * warp length to calculate the yardage.  On a Macomber I figure about a yard of "loom waste" and space between rugs, etc., so add a yard to the desired length. You also may need to add an additional 10% takeup if you're doing more than a few yards.

The websites in question, if you call them, will help by suggesting warp.  You also might try Michael White, moderator of the Macomber group.  I'vebeen getting warp from him recently, and he & his wife can help you.

Depending on the fabric, strip widths may vary.  The coarser the strip, the more open the sett if you want a more or less weft-faced rug.  I strongly suggest you find a copy of Warp, Weft, Sett to clarify the relationships.

Posted on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 12:23


thanks for all the information. I will definately post a pic of my first rug. I am waiting on my warp thread to coeand thenI can get started..


Posted on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 12:25

I will look for that book, it sounds like it would be helpful..Thank you for all the good info. I have started a folder on weaving tips, this will helpalot



Posted on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 23:28

Macomber never published a real manual.  If you go far enough back in the Macomber thread you will see that someone collected the tips to put together a manual.  You've been collecting tidbits at a goodly clip.  If the past collector is no longer collecting, then maybe you should take it over.

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:55

caroleg51, I get my rug warp from Great Northern Weaving. Click on rug warp section, top left side of home page.  I use the cotton/poly blend. Each roll contains 800 yards and has a dozen colors to choose from. You need about 1 1/2 yards longer of warp than your finished rug. Multiply the width of rug(inches) you want by your dents(per inch).That's how many warp threads you need. Now mutiply your warp thread count by the length you want( yards).Then divide that by 800 yards(thats how much one spool has) and that should give you how many spools you need for one rug. Now, I have a sectional warp beam and have loaded enough warp for about 25 rugs, 28" X 48". If you are going to take time to load a warp,put on enough to keep you busy. Warping a loom , I think, is the least favorite thing to do.  I hope I did the calculations right. ............Steve

Posted on Sun, 10/21/2012 - 18:01


thanks,thats a great help.. I have saved this info..I will go check out their site

thanks carole

Posted on Tue, 10/23/2012 - 02:27

I also am a new weaver.  I do rugs from sweatshirts mainly.  For my warp I purchased from the Great Northern Weaving.  I also have a sectional warp beam and love it.  What I really wanted to tell you... When weaving the rugs you will loose inches in length when you take them off the loom. 1-2 inches per foot.  You will need to plan for this or you will be dissapointed. 

Happy Weaving.


Posted on Tue, 10/23/2012 - 13:10

Michael,i did just buy the book from sarah, 

thanks carole

Posted on Tue, 10/23/2012 - 13:15


sweatshirts?interesting,  do you just get them at  thrigt shots, garage sales? Thank for the info on the shrinkage, I will try to remember that when I plan my first rug

thanks carole

Posted on Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:07

I cut them with a rotary cutter, about 1/2 inch.  I started with the arms (cut double wide) you will have a circle.  Then I do the body of the shirt.  I then gather all the colors I need. (5 shirts or pants per 4ft).  Then I loop them together.  (no sewing).  This makes a thick, soft rug. I love them. The small knots give them texture.


Posted on Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:22

very interesting,thanks for the info.I guess I needto add sweat shirts andpants to my search list! Is there a way of making the loops that does not add big knots to the rugs?

many thanks


Posted on Sun, 12/02/2012 - 07:30

If you sew your rag into a tube shape, you can cut it at a slight angle and have a continuous strip.  As for the amount of warp, it is worthwhile to write down the length you think you want to weave, add a percentage to be taken up in the over/under process, determine waste between pieces and at the beginning and end of the warp.  Depending on the qualities of the rag weft, you may want extra warp width to offset the tendency of some materials to pull in.  Once you have the total estimated yardage you can figure the weight based on the yards-per-pound of the warp yarn.  Write it all down so when the project is off the loom you can compare and see how close you were.  Over time you will save materials and money by reducing your safety factor and only buying what you need.  Not that there's any harm in over-warping for a rag project.  After you've woven your project you can experiment on the remaining warp with patterns and pictures from the cloth you're cutting up.  With a little practice you can weave pictures from the rag into the woven cloth.   

Posted on Fri, 03/22/2013 - 16:46

it is not the same loom, and i know pretty much nothing.. but feel free to take a look at the few rag rugs that I have done.   i have used a cotton yarn from a cone from a local store for warp and mostly old polo shirts for the weft strips.   the first 2 i loaded the long strip from each shirt onto a shuttle, which gave me about 4" per shirt as big stripes.  the one i am working on now i cut those into short strips about 1 1/2 the width of the rug and am putting them in randomly.  it just depends on what pattern you want.  the sett i have stuck with is about 4.  it is certainly not weft faced...you can see the warp throughout the rugs.  as for the tassles, the first 2 i put an inch or two of the warp in before the rags.  the first one just knotted, but then i started a hemstitch i found somewhere... i could track down the site that showed it.   this last one, i am using the bottom strip from each tshirt as the edge, doubled up, with the hemstitch through these.    here is the link    http://peggyosterkamp.com/peggys-weaving-ips-tips-hemstitching/      there is a lot of reading in her tips section... very helpful.

Posted on Thu, 03/05/2015 - 03:03

Great Northern has a good selection.  Leesburg Looms are a lovely small distributer with great prices, I think if more people shop with them they will bring back greater color selection!