Tuesday, February 11, 2014

***Tuesday's Tip***

If winter and snow is getting you down here is a fun & useful thing to do with all the cold and snow, rug cleaning!  This winter, here in Maine, has provided perfect conditions, light fluffy snow and COLD.  I first learned of this technique from a Swedish hand weaving book many years ago.  I have since found out that is a good old Yankee tradition as well.  This is great way to clean rugs without chemicals that are harmful to the environment and also, strip wool of their natural oils.  Rug cleaning this way is a lot less messy than chemicals too plus, it is free & fun!

So here is what you will need: Dirty Rugs

A nice clean patch of fluffy snow on a below freezing day

And a broom

I start with the rugs upside down if they have a up & a down. I give them a good shake then lay them in the snow.  Take your broom and give them all a good beating (if you have kids this can be a fun task for them!).  Flip the rugs and then repeat. You may need to find fresh snow if a lot of dirt comes out.   I then leave them out for a few hour to air.  Because it is so cold they will not be very damp at all.  When I bring them in I do hang them on my inside close line until they are completely dry before replacing them.

Now a bit of each Rug's story.  These are all handmade rugs by me!

These 2 rugs are handwoven with my own handspun yarn.  The weave is a 6-shaft diamond twill reverse treadling weft face.  I made them about 4 years ago.  This was the first time I used handspun in a rug.  I love them...just wish I could find more time to weave!

This big red lovely is hand woven too.  This was a super easy weave because I used Pendleton Wool Selvage for the weft.  It wove up quick and is about 12 years old!  Very durable rug!  Wish I could get my fiber stash used up so I could "justify" buying some more selvages!

I am standing on this blue beauty right now as I type.  This is actually a latch hook rug.  No loom necessary!  It is made from fleece locks that I dyed before hooking.  Maybe some day I will blog about this technique.  It is fun and easy!  Now scroll down for a lovely Rug Poem!

Rag Rug

It has arrived—the long rag rug
    multiply folded. On top, one alien hair.
       I put my face to the folds and smell despair
            palpable as salt air
       in all those rooms and houses, small and smug—
enclosures I passed through on my way where?

Whoever did the weaving appears old
    in my mind’s eye. I can’t make out her face,
       can only conjure up the faintest trace
            of an abstracted grace,
       clack of the loom. Does she know they’ll be sold
these precious things, in some unheard-of place?

I perch her on a hill, precariously
    beyond the reach of waves’ daily boom.
       Sun blazes overhead, but her dim room
            (no bigger than the loom)
       is proof against the violence of the sky
From it I further spin what I once called my home:

Endless horizons fading into haze,
    the mornings dawn came up so rosy clear;
       snails in the garden, sheep bells everywhere,
            the brightness of the air,
       terraces, valleys organizing space
and time’s cessation. So this package here

I’m now unwrapping, in New York, today
    (rugs like rainbows, woven with a grace
       my strands of language barely can express;
            dishrags of dailiness
       dispersed and recombined and freshly gay)
comes to me imbued with images,

slowly and faithfully across the water,
    across the world. It represents a time
       I myself snipped and recombined as rhyme
            as soon as I went home,
       if that is where I am. These rugs recover
the sense of stepping twice into a single river.


  1. Great post, Deborah! I never knew that cleaning rugs is advisable while the white, fully snow is covering our lawns. I believe it’s freezing out there, but it’s a rare chance to clean the rugs with the snow, right? I might try this technique next time. Thanks for the share! :)

    Nora Taylor

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! This technique works great and is gentle. Works really well for pile rugs. Good enough for old Swedes & Yankees good enough for me