Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Choosing Shirts for a Tarn Rug

When the shirts you cut for tarn are assorted in fabric content and thickness, your finished item can come out kind of wonky after machine washing and drying. That's because the fabrics draw up differently. In a square or rectangular piece, like the Tarnation Rectangle Rug, it can be a problem, while in a round rug, oval rug, or mesh piece like The Ultimate Recycled Market Bag, it's not even noticeable.

When your rug comes out of the wash looking like the picture above, just give it a few yanks with your hands grasping the row-ends, and the stitches will even themselves up.

But the real solution is in being choosy about which shirts you select for the rug:

1. In the best of all worlds, you would have 5-10 shirts in your closet that were all made by the same manufacturer in the same fabric in complementary colors.

2. In the second-best world, your shirts would still have labels in them stating that they have the same fabric content, and the thickness of the material feels about equal... again in colors that work well together.

3. If you have barely enough shirts, and you're dying to make a rug, just go for it. The rug will still look great, and you can yank it back into shape after washing.

It also helps to follow these suggestions:

4. Make your foundation chain run down the long side of the rug (like in the Tarnation Rectangle Rug pattern, and not like the rug pictured above). Long rows hold their shape better in the wash.

5. Use your thickest fabric with the highest cotton content for the middle rows, and the thinner blends for the beginning and ending rows. As you can see in the rug pictured above, the middle black stripe is the weak link. That's because the stronger rows above and below pull on the black stitches in the wash. If those weaker stitches were on the ends, they wouldn't get jerked around so much.

6. Consider saving your mismatched-fabric shirts for a mesh bag or an oval or round rug. (Here's an oval version of the Tarnation Rug: Tarnation Oval Rug.)

You can find more tips for working with tarn here:
Saving Your Hands and Arms When Using Tarn
How to Make Tarn
Making the Print Show
Allover Print Tarn
Mending a Tarn Rug

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