Wool Strips for Rug Weaving

Last weekend I attended Fort UFortUmpqua.jpgmpqua Days in Elkton, Oregon (pic source).  I enjoyed watching the period recreations (e.g., blacksmithing, dyeing, baking in big cast iron pots, etc.).  Not surprisingly, I especially liked the room at the fort used by the Elkton Fiber Group where the members demonstrated an array of fiber-related arts and crafts, including spinning, carding, and weaving.  (For more information about the Elkton Fiber Group, contact ECEC.)


Wooly Worms

Admiring a cotton rag rug in progress on a 200 year old handmade loom brought over many years ago by a Norwegian immigrant to Oregon, the weaver told me she also buys “wooly worms” – selvedge edges of Pendleton’s wool blankets – from Pendleton Woolen Mill to use as rug weft.  The mill store is in Portland so I knew I’d have to pay it a visit.

Two days later, however, I stumbled across a surprisingly good find at a local thrift shop:  two very large bags of strips of variously colored fulled wool wrapped into wheels, each strip about 2in/5cm wide, as well as 2 cones of linen thread (rug warp weight).  As I was on my bike, there was no way I could bring them home, so I paid for bags, cycled home and returned with my car.

Most of the wool strips are plain weave, though there are several tweed and a few textured:

I pulled out my scale and tape measure and did some calculations.  The 2 in/5cm fulled wool strips totaled 33 lbs/720y (14.9k/658m).  Quite a find for $20, wouldn’t you say?

My hunch is that these beautiful items belonged to a maker of braided wool rugs, as also included in one of the bags is a partially completed, beautifully braided and stitched, heart-shaped wool rag rug.  Further, there were more colors and yardage needed for a  unfinished single small wool rag rug, each roll carefully wound tight and fastened closed with a pin.

I’m always amazed by fiber-related surprises I’ve found at thrift shops!  Have you ever been surprised by fiber supplies or related accessories at thrift shops?



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9 Responses to Wool Strips for Rug Weaving

  1. gonerustic says:

    Me too – there should be more of it. I upcycle clothes with eco dyeing etc., and love thrift shops 😊


  2. I haven’t made (yet!) any rugs from old linens. Thanks for the idea!


  3. Wool on cones might have come from weavers too.


  4. It’s such an environmentally responsible thing to do … I hate waste. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. I hope to visit again! And I’m having a lot of fun weaving rugs. 🙂


  6. Trudy wilkinson says:

    We enjoyed your visit with us at the fort. Great find, looks like they will make great rugs!


  7. gonerustic says:

    What a great find! I often visit our local thrift shop – a great source for fabric and clothes for my eco dyeing 😊


  8. itwasjudith says:

    Vintage wool yarn (like 40/50+ years old) is occasionally to be found in local charity shops, I suppose the result of donations following some elder person passing away. They’re usually of amazing quality, with a proper wool feel and scent. Just yesterday I had one such lucky finds 🙂 Other times it’s wool on cone – I guess from former small knitting labs or home production.


  9. Good find. I have had some success with finding weaving books and equipment in thrift stores in regional areas in Sweden. Where I live in Australia I’m always on the lookout for fabric remnants or usable and well priced bed sheets for rag rugs.


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