Back, inner layer burlap, stitching

Fifty years of family wear and tear on a rug leads to an aged look. Treasuring the handwork of artisans for another generation means bringing the rug off the floor by carefully mounting with materials and techniques so the utilitarian piece can hang as art on the wall.

The rug is heavy, made of a ticking layer, burlap then overlapping of heavy weight clothing as the motifs developed to cover 71″ x 43″. The outer edge is completed with wide hand-cut strips of construction weight clothing looped about 1/2″ high and stitched onto the backing with utility weight cotton thread.

McDonald sisters medley of color
back stitches create a pattern

A support stretcher frame two inches wider and longer than the rug was built using 1″ x 1 1/2″ poplar with a center support to carry the weight. Then a sheet of acid free fome core was glued to the frame. Black poplin (pre-washed) was stretched around and stapled creating a clean base which will show about an inch around when the rug is mounted.

Using #10 crochet thread, a leather thimble to help push, and pliers to pull the needle through the many layers, I randomly stitched, anchoring the rug. The difficult part was reaching the middle. I propped the frame on a chair back and supported the piece on our work table. Stitched one full side, moved around to the other, and then stood the piece up pushing the needle carefully selecting a space between layers to come up. Moved to the front, pulled the thread through, and back down about half an inch away snuggling and hiding the white thread. I carefully stitched along the inner edge of the frame resulting in only 1/2″ of the rug unattached.

D-rings were placed for the opportunity to hang either horizontally or vertically. The piece was hung for a few weeks to check nothing was pulling away because of gravity and then the large piece was loaded into the car and delivered four hours away. The first response was “I did not realize how large it would be!”. A flat rug seems so much larger when ready to hang on a wall.

Rug mounted in my studio