16 April 2013

Introducing Ken!

This is Ken. He's been with me since last summer, he is my first! He is a Kenmore Model 158, a solid metal beast. I'm already very fond of him, and a little embarrassed to say he has been neglected.

I thought today's post would be about how far along I was on the rag rug that I gathered materials for last week. But, during the week, I chatted with a friend about how both of us felt we were not paying enough attention to our sewing machines. Because of that conversation I couldn't help but pull Ken out from under his cover and reintroduce myself! I also started thinking about how I could tie him in with the weaving of the next rug. 

When I first got Ken, I sat down and immediately started making table runners out of upholstery fabric I already had on hand. I made two runners and a small square for a teapot, then promptly stopped sewing.
I should say right about here, that I don't really know how to sew, and my mom just shook her head when I said my first project involved upholstery fabric. But, I was always told that if you can read, you can learn just about anything (thanks mom) and Model 158 has an awesome manual. Mom did show me how to poke out the corners to get them nice and crisp! 

So how will I tie Ken into the making of the rag rug? Well, instead of cutting fabric strips out of several pieces of fabric, then choosing which one to place next in the rug, I am making one very large piece of fabric! I will then turn that into a tube, by sewing the right selvedge to the left selvedge. This makes a huge piece of fabric, and if cut with care, will give one long continuous strip. Depending on how the pieces are sewn, and then cut, there will be geometric patterns that show up in the rug. A big surprise! -- Especially if you are me, and not exactly sure how this works just yet. There are great instructions in many of the rug reference books. I believe it is very similar to the way variegated yarn works, where a pattern shows up in the knitted item.

Below is a photo of the first 3 panels of fabric sewn together. There will be at least one more plain blue panel added, maybe another smaller patterned panel too, but it is tricky to work with such a large piece! There is a way to do it so that diamond shapes are the end product. But this time? We'll just have to wait and see what we get.

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