Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hemp Rope Rug

As promised yesterday, another post catching you guys up on some of the fibery stuff that has been happening around here.

Not sure if I mentioned it here before, but I've been working on a rug for the patio for a couple months now. Haven't touched it for over a month. I'm using a hemp rope that I picked up at an estate sale (go figure) several years ago. I got 3 kegs of this for 50 cents each. Duh! Snatched that up in a hurry! LOL

I'm making the rug in random pieces of knitting, crochet, and a couple kinds of weaving. At some point, when I run out of rope I guess, I'll figure out exactly how I'll place the pieces. In the pic I just have them sort of laid out NOT in any particular way, it's just so I could get them all in a photo. I plan on joining them and making a border with a heavy coarse cotton that is also, of course, an estate sale find.

I'm finding it very interesting how much the texture of the stitches/technique used plays havoc on the color of the pieces. I kid you not, they are all the same color from the same keg!

Here's the first piece I made, it's just a little 4ft spiral crocheted rug for in front of the door. Nothin special, I just wanted to get a feel for the rope.

Things I've learned so far:
  • Knitting rope is a helluva lot easier on the hands than crocheting it. I have to use a leather glove while I crochet, think rope burns, and blisters. Knitting however causes no such problems. Weaving is the bomb.
  • The hardest, think most physical, aspect of working with rope is getting the rope to feed off the keg. If you just pull it from the top you'll get all kinked up pretty quickly, you have to pull or "roll" the rope off the keg. Pulling from the center as in a center pull ball of yarn doesn't work either.
  • Rope, just like wire or any other stiffer type material, will only "conform" to the size it wants to. In other words, it doesn't matter that the actual loop size of the knitting is the size I'd get with #50 needles, my #19 work just fine and are soooo much easier to hold.
  • Hemp rope is smelly, dirty, drops all manner of vegetable matter in your lap, and has careful and do this outside.
  • After it has been worked and has been outside for a day or two, hemp rope is "soft", cushy, doesn't shed or drop junk, and doesn't smell. :-)
I really, really, like making this rug. I'm eager to see how it turns out. I guess I'll have to get busy though, I won't sit out there when it's 20 degrees just to knit some rope!

Oh, one other thing, not sure how well you can see it in the pic but the shorter "lighter" strip that is near the top left......I did that in stick weaving. First time ever for stick weaving. LOVE the technique. Modified it a little bit by not actually using any sticks, just made the ends of the rope a little stiffer with some duct tape.....Red Green would have been proud. Expect to see some "stick" woven rugs emerging from this house this winter, it will be a fabulous use for some of the heavy cotton from the "mother load".

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