Rug ruminations

Rug very nearly finished

Rug very nearly finished

When we started this blog and renovation the one thing that kept coming up was what can we use to put on top of our lovely, but cold, Tas oak polished floors. The answer is rugs. The problem was that we could not find good, natural, eco rugs at a price that we could afford.

That was until one weekend in New Norfolk when we were performing Punch and Judy shows at a festival the way forward presented itself. Our neighbouring stall consisted of three very friendly Alpacas and there owner Tracey from Olmec Alpacas. She was selling quilt batting made from her own Alpaca fleece along with coloured rovings ( fleece that has been carded and is ready for spinning). The rovings had been dyed with organic, natural dyes. Mandy bought a kit for needle felting .(No we had not heard of it either!)

A very simple process where by punching the rovings in with a barbed needle they become enmeshed with the fibres of the batting, thus felting together. Very simple to do!! Mandy embellished a felt hat that she already had and got great feedback from people. Then we learnt that you could purchase a thicker batting at a very reasonable price. EUREKA moment, lets make our own rugs, Local produced Alpaca fleece 100%, organic dyed rovings, it all fits the billf or our green renovation. So thats what we decided to do. We ordered a few meters of the thicker quilt batting and more coloured rovings. Whilst waiting for this to arrive as the manufacturer in Victoria was holding things up a little we researched on the internet to see if you could obtain a mechanical means to needle felt as the areas we had to do were fairly large. There were machines by Bernina at around $500 or so. A bit expensive as it was only like a sewing machine but with a group of barbed needles. BUT wait in the good ol’ USA you could buy an attachment for a sewing machine for around $50.00 US from Feltcrafts.com

It duly arrived and we went to the Deloraine tip shop and bought an old Singer for $5.00 ripped the guts out, made a bigger table for it and Voila! a mechanical needle felter

Mandy using converted sewing machine

Mandy using converted sewing machine

Needle adapter on sewing machine

Needle adapter on sewing machine

We tried it out on a small piece and it worked beautifully. Now for the large rug. We had designed a motif for the house which we intend to use throughout and we blew  it up and tranferred the design on o the felt. Mandy used a hand needle felter to fix the rovings and then onto the machine. It worked fine but you have to roll up the rug to fit it under the arm. Also the needles tended to break and they are quite expensive at $2.00 each. If you break all six on the adpator that is $12.00 a time.

Back to the drawing board. I was moving a foam mattress inside when it came to me. You use foam under the felt for the needles to go into. You need something that will go up and down mechanically. I had an old jigsaw power tool that still worked but the blade holder was worn out. It had a variable speed control which might help. All I had to do was figure out how to adapt the needle holder to fit onto the jigsaw. Turned out to be so easy, remove the jigsaw blade holder, slip on the needle adapter and tighten the screw. Too easy.

The Jigfelter !!

The Jigfelter !!

Using the Jigfelter

Using the Jigfelter

It really worked well. The rug was spread out on the foam mattress and Mandy fixed the rovings on with the hand needle felter like before and then we went over it with the jigfelter. Brilliant. The rovings really felted well but it kept on breaking needles. Another trip on the internet and we found a supplier of all things needlefelting Highland Felting & Fibre Supplies, they had heavier duty needles at an affordable price. Fixed those into the jigfelter and hey presto no broken needles and it is all working brilliantly. Almost finished and we have found a supply of eco rug underlay for nonslip made from pure latex to put underneath it.
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2 thoughts on “Rug ruminations

  1. Just read your blog now,, its truly amazing.got some valuable info of rug renovation.hope we will get more info from your blog.♥

  2. If you are looking for a way to make any room in your home more attractive, then you may want to invest in some oval rugs. You can use an oval rug in the living room, dining room, bedroom or outside, even if you get the type of carpet.

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