Historically, circular rugs were woven on a wagon wheel. You can also use a bicycle wheel, hula hoop or other round frame. Virginia gave directions on how she used a hula hoop for making her wagon wheel rug.
Materials and Supplies for Wagon Wheel Rug
There are four main sections of the rug requiring different lengths of cloth:
the main spokes, the fan strips, the inner hub, and the warp.
You need 6 strips cut 2 1/4″ x 50″ using preferably a solid color. If you buy material for them,
a 36″ x 20″ piece of cloth could be cut into 16 strips each 2 1/4″ wide, all sewn together, and then cut into 50″ lengths.
A 45″ x 15″ piece of cloth could be cut into 20 strips each 2 1/4″ wide and sewn together and cut into 50″ lengths.
If you sew the strips together first, sew them together on a slant rather than straight across. Once you have the lengths cut, do a double fold on the strips turning both edges toward the center and then folding again so that you have strips about 1″ wide.
The Fan Strips
There are 12 “fans” in the rug design, each containing 9 strips of cloth of decreasing length. Since the rug cannot be made to exact measurements, the following are approximate lengths. A different color or pattern of cloth for each strip will give the rug a unique design each time. Since there are 12 fans, you need 12 strips of each strip listed.
Strip 1: 1 1/2″ x 45″ A 36″ x 23″ piece can be cut into 24 strips each 1 1/2″ wide, sewn together, and cut into 45″ lengths. A 45″ x 18″ piece can be cut into 30 strips and sewn together.
Strip 2: 1 1/2″ x 42″ A 36″ x 21″ can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 42″ lengths. A 45″ x 17″ piece can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut into 42″ lengths.
Strip 3: 1 1/2″ x 39″ A 36″ x 20″ piece of cloth can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 39″ lengths. A 45″ x 16″ can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together and cut.
Strip 4: 1 1/2″ x 36″ A 36″ x 18″ piece can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together and cut into 36″ lengths. A 45″ x 15″ piece can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
Strip 5: 1 1/2″ x 33″ A 36″ x 17″ piece can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 33″ lengths. A 45″ x 14″ piece can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
Strip 6: 1 1/2″ x 30″ A 36″ x 15″ piece of cloth can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 30″ lengths. A 45″ x 12″ can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
Strip 7: 1 1/2″ x 27″ A 36″ x 14″ piece of cloth can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 27″ lengths. A 45″ x 11″ can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
Strip 8: 1 1/2″ x 24″ A 36″ x 12″ piece of cloth can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 24″ lengths. A 45″ X 10″ piece can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
Strip 9: 1 1/2″ x 21″ A 36″ x 11″ piece of cloth can be cut into 24 strips, sewn together, and cut into 21″ lengths. A 45″ x 9″ piece can be cut into 30 strips, sewn together, and cut.
For each fan strip, and remember that there are 9 for each fan, double fold the edges under and sew into 1/2″ – 3/4″ strips. Remember that if you use different colors and patterns for each strip a unique design will result.
The Inner Hub
The inner hub is made of one strip of cloth 1 1/2″ x 48″ that IS NOT SEWN. It will be hand folded. It also needs to be one color, if possible.
The warp is the long piece of material that weaves the spokes and the fan strips together. The warp, rather than starting with a very long piece, is more easily handled in 36″ strips each 1 1/2″ wide. The number of 36″ strips will vary slightly depending on the type of cloth used and how tightly it’s woven, but to start out, cut at least 5 strips 1 1/2″ x 36″. More can be easily provided later. The warp will be hand folded and NOT sewn.
- A regular width hula hoop—-not the small size
- Or a bicycle tire
- Needle and thread to match the hub fabric and the warp
Wagonwheel Rug Directions
Round 1: Two solid strips of material must be pinned to the hoop to form a cross. Measure from one point of the cross to the next to ensure exact distance. Overlap the ends at least 4 inches to provide a fringe for the rug when it is complete. Fold over the warp so that the raw edges do not show and sew around one of the crossed spokes in the middle. Weave over and under the other 3 spokes. NOTE: In order to weave, 2 spokes will have to be crossed over or under consecutively on each round. I suggest that you use different spokes each round.
Round 2: Before you return to the original spoke, you are ready to add the additional main spokes that match in color the original crossed spokes. Pin the end of 2 spoke to the hoop, fold it over by the hub, and return the other end to the hoop. Remember to overlap the edges 4 inches. Weave 2 spokes over or under together and continue weaving around the circle. You should now have 23 spokes on the hoop. Measure one more time to make sure that the spokes are evenly spaced around the hoop.
Round 3: Weave around the circle again using the same hub warp.
Rounds 4 and 5: Add an additional strip to the rug next to the spokes following the same process as in Round 2. Continue using the hub warp for two rounds.
All additional rounds: Change warp color. This makes the hub stand out from the remainder of the rug. Add a new colored strip and weave around 2 rounds per strip. Continue adding strips until the “v” or “fan” created between the original spokes is filled in.
When all the strips have been used (the number of strips will depend upon how wide they are), the rug is ready to be unpinned from the hoop. Carefully sew around the outside warp two times. Measure all the fringed strips and cut them to an even length. If washable materials have been used, the rug can be hand washed or machine washed on delicate.
Rug Weaving Books
The Braided Rug Book: Creating Your Own American Folk Art
The classic guide to an enduring American craft – Beginners will learn about wools and other materials, how to care for finished rugs, and how to recognize a quality rug.
UK: Braided Rug Book