Elspeth’s Sustainable September Project Begins…

This September, four very talented full time crafters (@jenerates @cocoonandme @afrayedupcycling and @peasandneedles) and I will take part in a September Sustainability Challenge where we are each making a project of our choice from six balls of blanket edging saved from landfill from the Yorkshire mills. You can read a bit more about the challenge and the others taking part here. We’ll be charting our progress on Instagram and Facebook, so please do follow along and wish us luck!

Today is the 1st September, so I can officially begin making my project. I thought I’d share what I had in mind…

What Sustainable September Project to Make?

As the source of the blanket yarn itself (I drive it down from the mills personally), I have a slight advantage over some of the other crafters taking part in the competition as I’ve made items with it before – these items and the items below, for example. I’ve used quite a few different techniques with the blanket yarn over the years and, as a result, I know some of the yarn’s quirks.

However, it wouldn’t be much fun to do the same stuff I’ve done in the past, so what I really wanted to do this September is challenge myself practically and creatively to make something in a rag rug technique I’ve never done before.

So… drum roll please…. I’ve decided to make a Braid-In Rag Rug.

You may not have come across this style of rag rug before… I certainly hadn’t until a few months ago. Style-wise, it looks a bit like my braided rag rug from Rag Rugs, Pillows and More below, but strands are secured in position along the way, which means it doesn’t require stitching together at the end (or stitching together at all to be honest). That was always my least favourite part of the braided rag rug process!

Rag rugging with handmade t-shirt yarn to make a braided rag rug
Braided rag rug from Rag Rugs, Pillows & More

Braid-in rag rugs are generally built up in a spiral (either round of oval) and don’t require complicated tools, looms or assembly. In fact at a basic level, they can be made with just some old fabric and a few safety pins.

[Images: Ilka White]

I’ve never tried this technique before, but I’m planning to experiment over September and use my six balls of blanket yarn to create a circular braid-in rug entirely from the woollen blanket strips.

So with the project idea nailed down, which colours to choose?

Colour Scheme and Design:

As the person who roped in the other craft experts to the challenge, it was interesting as I could see exactly which colour blanket yarns everyone had chosen to work with (we posted them out to them!) All four chose at least one orange in their colour scheme (completely independent of discussing it with each other!), autumnal colours were popular and bright jewel tones.

I noticed that no one had chosen green and the colour schemes were all warm and cosy. That gave me the idea to buck the trend and stand out with a cool, fresh colour palette (completely against my usual magpie colourful tendencies. I decided to choose green as the pop of colour.

I also wanted to choose a colour palette that could work in my home and, as someone with a lot of house plants, green will work in any room in my home.

Here are the blanket yarns I chose…

Woollen blanket selvedge strips for Sustainable September Challenge

The three greys on the left are from the Weaving Yarn section of our website as they’re a slightly looser weave than our classic blanket yarns. Other than that, the other three were classic blanket yarns but with very different weaves and chunkiness. I thought it would be interesting to see how these different thicknesses would mix together. I do love a good challenge!

Right, so that’s where I’m at with the challenge at the moment. I’ve got my project chosen and my colour scheme locked down. Now I just need to make the thing! Stay tuned for further updates.


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