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Tufting 💪🏼 🧶
Shoulder muscles needed
Tufting is a method of textile manufacturing in which loops or pile yarns are inserted into a fabric to create patterns or textures. The process involves using a tufting machine, which in my case looked sort of like a large staple gun, which typically has multiple needles that push the yarn through the base material, creating loops on one side and cut pile on the other. I attended a one-day class to dabble in tufting, which was somewhat pricey, but I don’t think I could have secured the supplies to try this on my own.
Tufting is hundreds of years old and can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Early tufted textiles were often made by hand, using techniques like hand-knotting or hand-sewing. Tufting has become highly automated, allowing for mass production and the creation of diverse designs and textures but this modern way of tufting is definitely different than my tufting experience. I can’t imagine how much faster an industrial tufting machine would have been able to create my little rug which took about 6 hours.
Would I dabble in tufting again? Probably not. The class was expensive and my small rug took many hours standing and holding a heavy tufting machine. Doing this for the first time, I made many preventable mistakes that I wish I had been warned about before I started my project. Some of those mistakes could be fixed by the staff and others not so much. Also, in this one-day class, we were able to tuft our rugs but not complete the final steps which included cutting out our rugs and gluing on the backing. If this class was held for a few hours over several weeks, perhaps we could have participated in the entire process. For now, I’ll be happy to have had the experience and created this little rug.
Weaving (because it’s another very old technique to create something useful from wool)
Domestika has an online class (although you are still going to need to find a tufting gun somewhere)
Tuft-Love has kits (a bit pricey for just dabbling)
Instructables has a great tutorial. This site also mentions punch needles for tufting which are another (and much less expensive option).
Etsy has a lot of punch needle kits (many are for projects much smaller than a rug so this would be a good place to start).