Friday, August 30, 2013

Rag Balls

via Living On A Dime
Do you remember Rag Balls?
I didn't either, until I was reminded. I'm not sure if that's because they were well before my time, or because my memory isn't so good sometimes.

Long time ago, when possessions were few and far between, nothing went to waste, ever.  So if your clothing or linens wore out, you didn't just throw the item away. You cut the fabric up into squares for quilts, or in some cases tore it into strips to make braided rag rugs for your home's bare, cold floors.

via Art For Housewives
 When they tore these strips of material, they would roll them up into balls and usually put them in a basket or wooden box until they used them to braid or crochet rugs, pot holders, and whatever else they did with them.

I didn't remember about rag balls until I searched the internets for ideas about up-cycling a worn out bedsheet. Even once reminded about them I'm not sure where I ever knew them from previously. I don't recollect any of my Grandmothers having Rag Balls in their sewing stashes.

via Gettysburg Homestead
I never was much of a sheet connoisseur, usually I'd just buy whatever cheap sheet set Walmart or the Dollar General had. I didn't understand why they didn't feel good, like my Grannie's sheets, why they felt icky, rough, and got hard little balls all over them ("pilling").

Eventually I started hearing about "Egyptian Cotton" and "thread count", and there was that old adage', "You get what you pay for".
So, one day I sprang for a nice, high dollar, some high count 100% Cotton sheets.

Granted, they were soft, and didn't "pill", but they still weren't my favorite and sure didn't seem worth the over $80.00 I paid for them. To add injury to insult, these being the most expensive sheets I've ever bought are the only sheets I've ever had actually wear a hole in them.

It was a lot smaller worn place until one night I turned over and put my foot through it. Ri-i-i-i-p.

I've since learned that vintage no-iron Percale - 50% cotton/50% Polyester - is my sheet of preference.

Anyway, so I had this worn out sheet and I didn't want to just throw it away, but neither did I want to cut it up for dust rags. I have plenty of dust rags already. I don't even dust.
Some suggestions were to donate it to the Animal Shelter, which I would have been glad to do, but the nearest Animal Shelters are 45 minutes away and I didn't want to drive so far to donate one, torn sheet.

Then I saw about braided and crocheted rag rugs - neither of which I think I can do - and then, voila', Rag Balls.

It was a fitted sheet, so I cut the elastic off from around the edge (Yes, you might be a Fire Wife if all your own scissors are too dull and you grab your husband's Trauma shears to do craft projects, lol).

Then I ripped open the corner seams. With the corners opened up, when the sheet was laid flat, the two sides were shorter than the rest of the sheet, so I cut them.

I ended up with three sections of sheet.

Snip about an inch to inch-and-half from the edge, making sure you're going with the grain of the fabric.

Tear the fabric with your hands until you get to about an inch from the other end. Go an inch to an inch-and-a-half over and snip and tear back down to an inch from the other end.

When you get done you should have something that looks like a zig-zag. I kept mine neat(ish) and laid out to try to show what I'm talking about, but after this one I just cut and piled it up, like in the Art for Housewives, pink Rag Ball above.

When I first start rolling the first one, I was diligently attempting to keep my strip all flat and nice, but it's impossible. The strip starts to starts spiral and you try so hard to flatten it, and you keep dropping the ball and it unrolls and your stomach starts feeling queasy, so, yeah, it's supposed to be like "yarn" anyway, right. Just wrap the thing, then worry about flattening the last yard or so around the ball.

These are the balls I made, different sizes. They look like Mummy balls to me, lol.

Here they are in a basket.

I will probably try to sell them, or give them away, since I can't really use them, and I'm just not feeling the whole "primitive decoration" vibe with these.

No comments:

Post a Comment