This past week or two, I’ve seen multiple references on the internet to floor quilts. I started thinking about some of the rugs I’ve made (or tried to make). My sister crochets rugs out of strips of cotton. I’ve tried that. My crocheted rugs have mountains and valleys. Ruffled might be a way to describe them. They are truly hazardous. They lay there on the floor just waiting to trip someone. I’ve tried making them a couple of times but I’ve wound up undoing what I’ve done. I am clumsy enough without the rugs trying to hurt me.
I made my first successful floor cloth in the mid 1980s. It’s long since worn out but I still remember it vividly. I used a light blue solid fabric about 3’x 5’ for the backing, hemmed the edges and stitched on rectangles of cloth. The rectangles were all different colors and patterns of woven cotton about 3” x 5”. I stitched them two at a time in straight rows about 2 inches apart. It was fun and funky but most people didn’t get that it was supposed to be on the floor. Almost all of our guests would walk around the rug. I remember one friend coming to visit, picking it up and placing it on the coffee table. I still smile when I think of that. The backing fabric wasn’t heavy enough. It was in shreds within a year or two.
The next rugs I made were lots more successful. I used heavyweight twill for the backs and polyester double-knit fabric for the front. I cut the fabric in strips 2”x 4½” and then folded the strip in thirds so the strips were about 2/3” x 4½”. I stitched them with a short and narrow zigzag to the backing by butting them against one another and stitching across the center of the strip (so both ends are free). I put them in rows about 2” apart. These rugs have lots of texture. I made several of them. They are great. The double-knit rugs don’t fray or fade and don’t squish down when we walk on them. The rugs made with double-knits wash and dry easily and quickly. And they seem to wear forever. I made these in the mid-‘90s and they are still going strong.
I made one rug using cotton woven fabric and did the same fold-in-thirds-and-stitch-down technique. I didn’t like that rug. The cotton flattened and faded badly in no time. It’s gone.
I kept experimenting with the idea and made a rug using the seams of worn-out jeans. I used the same length for the strips and I stitched across them in the rows about 2” apart. I love this rug. I made it bigger than the double-knit rugs. It’s probably 4’x 6’ and that is part of what I like: the larger size. But it can only be washed in a commercial washing machine. And I just hang it to dry. It took forever to save enough seams to make a rug. I used a size 16 needle to go through all those layers of denim.
I do remember that this denim rug “shed” a lot the first year or so because of all the raw edges. I’d take it out to shake it and there would be a blizzard of denim fuzz. But I still like it and I’m saving seams for another jeans rug.
The next rug I made was charm squares sewn together and stitched onto a good section of a worn out blanket with decorative stitches over the seam lines. There is no 3rd layer. The blanket clings to the carpet so it stays put nicely. I turned under the edges and stitched them in place rather than binding it.
I also make locker-hooked rugs to use up some of my scraps from quiltmaking. They’re sturdy and colorful and they wash well.
But now I’m thinking since I have quilts on nearly every available wall space, I’m going to either start to hang quilts on the ceiling or put them on the floor as rugs. I’m afraid no one would notice them on the ceiling so it’s going to be the floor.
Here are some of my thoughts about floor quilts.
- The closer the rug will be to the outside door, the more I’ll have to think about the color and the pattern being able to hide dirt that gets tracked in.
- Reversible is a good thing.
- Heavy quilting will probably help floor quilts to wear better.
- Size determines whether I have to take it to a commercial washing machine.
- Any style will work. Traditional/modern or some of each. My decorating leans toward traditional but I enjoy whimsy so I think anything goes.
Have you made any floor quilts? Are there any hints you’d like to share?
My homes both have carpeting in most areas so I don’t have to worry about the rugs sliding around. If you have hard-wood floors, you’ll want to apply something to make it non-skid.
A side note. I was going to make a quilt this past weekend for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). A few months ago I emailed back and forth with Ami Simms, the organization’s founder, while writing a story about AAQI for the June/July issue of Quilters Newsletter. I think her idea is wonderful and I can see that it has made a difference. I really wanted to do something because it’s such a great cause. The deadline for registering a quilt is this Thursday, August 1st. The quilt dimension requirements are very small (9” x 12” maximum). Unfortunately, I simply let other things get in the way and I don’t have a quilt done. Susan, our art director, did make one and reminded us of the deadline. So I’m going to work on my quilt tonight.
I thought perhaps you’d like to make one and wanted to mention it, even though it’s last minute. Here’s the website for more information: Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative.