Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday Makery - Hula Hoop Rag Rug

What do you get if you cross a hula hoop with a pile of T-shirts? A wonderful rag rug of course!
We have lots of wooden floors in our house and "not enough rugs" apparently! Whilst I've wanted to teach my eldest daughter to knit I feel that she is just a little too young and that perhaps the effort and concentration required doesn't quite match the time it takes to create a result. So we've been weaving in the garden, making  rugs. The skills needed are easily learned with a motion of 'over and under' or 'through the door' and its utterly appealing to young children. It takes only a few hours to complete and children will get completely absorbed in their world of weaving.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A large hula hoop - the one we used here had a 32" diameter
  • 8-10 large T-shirts - I found a size 16 womens t- shirt or a mans XL worked perfectly. 
  • scissors

Here's how:

  1. Begin by cutting your weaving materials. You'll need to cut your T's across their width. Cut off the hems and discard. Then cut your T's with 1 inch strips; each creating looped fabric, cutting horizontally across the T-shirt.
  2. Now lets make the warp. The warp is the skeletal part of the weave, it's the frame which you then use your 'weft' to weave around. It's simple; take 11 of the loops cut from the fabric and stretch the first one across the hoop. Then take a second piece and stretch across perpendicular to the first, creating a cross shape. Continue until all 11 loops are stretched around the hoop.
  3. Push together two of the loops to create a single warp. This is needed to create your odd number of warps. In order to create the weave you will need the odd number to alternate each row of your weft. over, under, over under.
  4. Now lets get weaving. Take your first 'weft' (your fabric loop) and wrap it around the centre of one of the warps (fabric spokes), thread it through its end loop and pull through. 
  5. Weave over and under each warp spoke around in a circle making sure it fits quite snug. For the initial part of making this rug you'll need to use each warp loop as single warp spokes. 
  6. When you reach the end of your piece of weft loop through another piece: threading it through the last weft and then back through itself. Continue weaving over and under making each circle snug but not tight. If you weave the fabric too tight as you go it may cause lumps and curves when in fact you need it to sit flat once you've finished.
  7. When the rug has roughly 14 circles around it or is 8-10 inches across you can start using each warp (the base spokes) as individual warps. When you get to the double warp (the two you pushed together at the beginning) separate them and use one warp as two individual warps like the others and keep the other of the two as one single warp. This keeps the odd number you need to give the weave its alternate rows. To help you remember you can tie a coloured piece of fabric above the 'special' warp that is used as a single spoke. 
  8. When your rug reaches the size you want it to be but no closer to the hoop than 4 inches its time to tie off the final weave. To do this simply cut the end and tie them around their nearest warp spoke.
  9. Then cut each warp off the hoop one at a time tying the ends in their pairs against rug.
  10. You can trim them down closer to the rug to create a fringe or tuck them into the rug altogether. We left the ties quite long as we liked the tasseled look, but also because Sessi liked to use them to illustrate to everyone how she made the rug 

If you wanted to make a larger rug you could of course try finding a larger hoop to use, though I can imagine, having made lots of these rugs, how beautiful they would be sewn together to create a larger piece. There would of course be gaps where the circles don't reach the whole way round but I think the effect would be beautiful.

Sessi has asked if we can now make a tall long rectangular rug and so I think having learned the basic technique here we will embark on a new one. To make the rectangular one we will take two pieces of bamboo and wrap warps vertically from one piece of bamboo down to the other, then make our rug by weaving horizontally across the vertical warp, tying each at the side to hold it in place.

We hope you have fun making your own beautiful rugs. They make such wonderful splashes of colour to add to a childs room, or used as mats for sitting and playing. As they're easily machine washable you can take them into the garden and off to the park for picnics too, easily carried in children's own little backpacks.

The fabric for these rugs can be found in daddy's drawers - do ask permission before taking any of his clothes! Alternatively - as we did, you can raid the charity shops, then, searching for your colours will be much more fun, plus your helping a good cause too! To make sure you find the right size take a fabric tape measure with you and stretch each one you find to make sure it will go over your hula hoop.
One T-shirt gave us more than the 11 loops needed for the warp, and though we found all our t-shirts in the same size it doesn't matter too much how big each loop for weaving as long as you have the correct size for making the skeletal frame around the hoop.

Alongside our boutique we publish a series of blogs, each day bringing a new theme; our Monday Makery craft and recipe ideas can be found here, Tuesday tell's 'the story behind our collections'  , Wednesday brings you a preview and a peek into our boutique with our 'Wednesday Woo', Thursday treats us with 'the art of living' where you can pop by to discover places to go, chance upon things to do, and come across inspiration for family life, Friday is a playful portrayal of 'an A-Z of Sisters Guild',  and we've got 2 new series of blogs coming soon!

If you would like to share some ideas as a guest blogger on the Monday Makery we would be very excited to hear from you. Use the contact form on our main website here.


  1. That looks fab! I've been crocheting a rag rug, and bought lots of fabric today to make one for our living room! Your way looks more fun though!

  2. Wondering about making a PVC frame for square rugs..just a thought :)

  3. will old sheets work instead of T-shirts?

    1. I do these, you can use any material, you don't need loops, you can just make them by tying two strips together :)

  4. I love these , when I get to go see my granddaughters , we will have a great time , making these , I can't wait . thanks so much for the idea !

  5. Thanks for the great tutorial, I just featured your rug on my blog!

  6. Thanks for sharing this really nice blog about hoops,
    Polypro Hoops

  7. I am confused by the phrase "Push together two of the loops to create a single warp. This is needed to create your odd number of warps" With 11, aren't there already an odd number of warp?

    1. As each one crosses the middle it becomes 2, so therefore 11 is 22, so putting one side together of 2 bands will make 21.

  8. How old is your daughter. I'm wondering what ages you would recommend doing these in a camp setting.

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