The rug is done! With all the channels cut, the whole thing washed and dried (in a big laundromat machine), the obnoxious plaids have melted, and the lower levels of fabric have emerged. The frayed bias edges bloomed beautifully! The only glitch is that the binding (which is the same fabric as the backing) shrank a bit, causing the rug to not lie completely flat. Annoying.
Simple stretching didn't help much, but maybe it just needs more. Need to enlist help for that. If it won't improve, I'll consider cutting off the binding (not ripping!) and rebinding. That really wouldn't be much trouble (a couple of hours).
Here's a somewhat blurry closeup. Those black speckles are the frayed bias edges of a loosely woven black-and-white gingham-like rayon. I love it! There are four layers (left: black, white, the B&W rayon, beige 1; right: beige 2 instead of the black) plus the backing. The top beige fabric is a cotton-linen blend, and oh what a wonderful sheen the frayed edges have!
Here's another spot in closeup---not quite as blurry, but partly washed out from the flash (photo conditions are very trying today). The green is a fifth layer.
With all those layers, it weighs more than a quilt, but it's still easy to pick up and lighter than a lot of other rugs the same size.
Since finishing the rug, I've been happily sewing together linen strips. This is a nice change of pace from the alligator-wrestling with the rug. You'll just have to trust me that the colors are very much nicer than they look here, if you're seeing what I'm seeing. The yellow is soft yet rich, the light green is a slightly soft lime, the dark color is actually a lighter forest green, and all the other colors are not nearly as drab as they appear here.
The overall idea is to have three long rows of sewn-together strips (current width 11"), with long strips of yellow between and as a narrowish border (I'm shooting for roughly 45" by 70"). I think I'll put some of the lime into the sashing; I have some long strips left over (I cut them too narrow), and I like the color so much, I want to use as much of this fabric as possible.
Originally, I considered a completely random order for the colors and completely random widths (up to 3"), but that idea was too scary. I didn't want a complete surprise. So I imposed a few rules: (1) yellow, lime, light green, medium green are all 3 inches wide (to showcase these colors), (2) beige, tan, dark green, off-white are all less than 3 inches and most strips are close to 1.5 (wanted to downplay these, and had only a little bit of the forest green anyway), and (3) the wide strips alternate with the narrower strips most of the time. Color placement is by whim. I'm liking the effect.
This project is supposed to be for the living room wall, but linen is so wonderful to touch that I may want it as a working quilt instead. In any case, this top is coming together so fast that I'll soon have to decide how to quilt it. I'm considering freehand hand quilting, maybe in large stitches, which I've never done before. Never done much hand quilting at all, actually, and I'd like to do more.
I just noticed that it's snowing. Again. And the forecast is for below-zero temps. Again. If you've been reading Threadlines, just ditto that for me.