Thank you so much for your encouragement with my rug last week. It was one of those projects that when I thought to do it, I knew I had to - I keep imagining myself lying on this rug with a pillow and a book, soaking in the sun from that big window. So, all the trouble I was having with it was really getting me down. Taking a little trip away last weekend was the perfect thing - a little rest from it and I came back with a renewed determination to conquer it and make it into a circle, just as I had pictured. I knew that I had just been winding those outer rows too tight - so how to get them a little looser without creating puckers and ruffles?
I did start with this tutorial from Moda, but there wasn't much instruction here on how to make sure your rug would lay flat. I found a couple of tips online at various sites, but most of them were for hand sewing. At first, I had hand sewn the rug, laying flat on the floor, and had more problems than when I tried machine sewing. I was also much happier with the stability and strength of the rug with the machine stitching. So, I set my machine on the widest zig zag and lengthened the stitch a bit and off I went.
What I ended up doing was force feeding the free braid a bit with my right hand while my left hand held the already wound rug. I would just make sure there was a little more free braid going through the feed dogs than the wound braid it was attaching too. At first it wasn't too hard to tell if the rug was laying flat - if was flat on my sewing table (my machine sits flush with the level of my table that is a hand-me-down from my aunt that was then rigged by my grandpa to fit my machine) then I knew the rug was laying flat. When it got a little bigger is when I ran into trouble the first time.
So, after I'd ripped it apart again (for the third time), I just used my force feeding technique and checked every few rows to make sure that it was still OK. And voila - a flat circle! I am so pleased. The rug is about 47" in diameter right now - it's getting a bit cumbersome to work with, but I want to make it at least 60", so I'll keep going.
I should probably mention that my machine does have a built in walking foot that I almost always have on. If you have one, I think it would probably be beneficial to use it. If you don't have one, it would probably be a little more work to feed the layers through, but I'm hoping that it would still work - let me know if you try it.