(This images are not ours, they were found online)
Our rag rugs are called Jarapas or, in the Canary Islands, Trapera (Trapo = Rag). A Trapera is a handwoven rug made of strips from cotton fabric. They are from Arabic origin, where they are used not only as rugs, but also as blankets, beach carpets, even curtains – being made of cotton and not wool, they preserve the freshness of the houses during the long months of our desertic summer. They are colourful, lightweight, durable, washable and incredibly soft. Searching online, I found they were a collector’s item outside Spain, and once again, I (sadly) confirmed that even in the Canary Islands, this hand craft has almost disappeared completely.
We have many wonderful friends that have donated old clothes/curtains/sheets/etc for my doll making and sewing – they are so wonderful that our fabric stash is starting to overwhelm the house LOL! T-shirts and stretchy cotton fabrics are not used much for anything, so we decided to find a way to recycle it and give the fabrics a new life – and then we thought of Traperas.
We built this loom simply using a painting’s frame (another donation) and nails. A strong thread is used (we use a thread used in sewing jeans – does anyone know the name in English?) and strips are simply threaded in a “brick” pattern and knotted on the sides – see pics for details. It is a very delicate and time consuming process, but I have to say I enjoyed it to bits: in many ways it is like building a painting. Placing it in the easel was a good idea, as I can change the height for more comfortable working.
Here’s our first finished piece, a Yule gift for Fernando’s father. It measures 58 x 25 cms (that’s 29 x 12,5 inches) without the side fringes – enough to make a nice bedside rug. We started with the tradititional style, but we are working on ideas to add thick wool handspun threads among the stripes for extra loveliness. You will find them in the shop very soon – wouldn’t this make an awesome outdoor altar mat???