Thick plain or old welsh blankets make soft but hardwearing mats that are perfect for bedside or bathroom. This project takes a bit of time
to make, but the finished effect is so pleasing, I think it is well worth the effort. Some old woollen blankets come in beautifully subtle natural shades that you can use for your mat, or you could design a pattern using a few colours and dry your cut pieces of wool in the bright and brilliant shades of your own design – wool takes colour very well.
The blanket you use to make your mat must be of a fairly tight weave. A hot machine wash will tighten up and slightly felt a blanket, if required.
Either natural wool fleece or polyester stuffing can be used and you can vary the size of each pebble or keep things uniform.
TO MAKE UNDYED RUGS
Cut the required number of circles from your blanket
to create the dimension that you are after, as directed
in step 2, then follow the sequence from step 4.
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Plan a pattern for your rug by colouring squares on graph
paper, using one square to represent one pebble. Simple
yet effective designs to go for are spiral patterns for circular
rugs, flowers or lines. To give you an idea of final size,
each pebble will measure around 3–4cm across. Count the
total number of pebbles you will need.
You could cut your circles freehand or, alternatively, use
a template. To make the template, draw around a circular
object with a 6–8cm diameter on a piece of card, then cut
out the template. Lay the template on your fabric and chalk
around the circumference as many times as you need to
give you the number of circles you need. Now cut out the
circles following your guide lines.
As you generally use a weight of dye for a weight of fabric,
it is most efficient to dye cut circles. Refer to your plan to
establish the number of pebbles you need of each colour.
There are many types of dye available, from natural dyes
that produce a surprisingly varied palette to easy-touse
synthetic dyes in every shade. Follow the packet
instructions of the dye that you choose, remember
to wear gloves and a suitable apron and to rinse out
the fabric several times after you have dyed it. Lay out
the dyed circles to dry.
Begin the stuffing process. Using good strong thread,
sew a line of running stitch around the outside edge of
each circle, working roughly 5-10mm in from the edge,
then pull the thread to draw in the circle. Stuff the pouch
created with lots of stuffing, then draw in the thread until
you have closed the circle and created a little pebble.
Stitch across the opening with plenty of stitches and
tie off to secure. Now repeat the process until you have
all the pebbles you need.
Attach the pebbles to one another by sewing right through
the two pebbles you are attaching using a long needle and
strong thread, then through all the adjacent pebbles in
turn. Keep going until you have created your whole mat,
referring to your design if and when necessary.