Transform cane webbing into colorful mats

  • By Jonetta Rose Coffin / Special to The Herald
  • Saturday, April 8, 2006 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Sometimes, while browsing through craft or home supply stores, we come across items that are meant to serve a specific purpose, but turn into entirely different creations in our head.

Such was the case when we came across some wonderful cane webbing, meant for refurbishing cane chairs or tables, and immediately saw it as a giant piece of needlework canvas.

With colorful yarns woven through the holes, we pictured table or floor mats, or even retro cane beach bags.

We purchased one piece of large weave and one of fine; both cost $10, plus or minus a few cents.

For our yarn, we chose a chunky blue and purple blend for the large weave, and a homespun in earthy colors for the fine weave.


* Cane webbing

* Yarn

* Tapestry or long plastic weaving needle

* Scissors

To make the fine-weave mat, we used a combination of our rather rusty needlepoint skills along with simply weaving strands of yarn through the holes and knotting them together on the underside.

We decided to try the weaving and knotting technique because we had to use such long pieces of yarn to work the needlepoint stitches that they became cumbersome.

Both methods worked well with the finer yarn, as the knots on the underside weren’t too bulky, but the coarser weave and thicker yarn was a different story. The knots were so big that the mat didn’t lie as flat as we wanted, so we kept the woven strands to a minimum and went almost entirely with needlepoint stitches.

We pretty much made up the pattern of stitches for each mat as we went along.

For the earth-toned fine weave mat, we wove 16 lengths of yarn on each fringed-end (alternating the over-under weave pattern every other row) toward the center of the mat and knotted the ends of every two rows on the back side.

In the center, we made an eight-stitch by eight-stitch block of cross stitches – using a needlepoint stitch – in the very middle of the webbing; then wove lengths of yarn the opposite direction from the ends of the mat to finish the center portion.

Rather than try to describe the cross stitch procedure here without an illustration, we’ll refer you to either a needlepoint book or online instructions. You can check out online instructions at, or do your own search for a different site.

To make the blue coarse-weave mat, we wove six rows of yarn from each fringed end toward the center, made two rows of cross stitches the same direction as the six straight rows, then one row of cross stitches (eight stitches) in the opposite direction in the center of the mat, joining the two sets of cross stitches going the other way.

We then made four blocks of straight stitches, eight stitches each way, running in opposite directions on either side of the center row of cross stitches.

To finish the unfringed edges of the cane webbing, we used the same yarn used for the weaving/needlepoint and a blanket stitch. We had to fill in some bald spaces where the cane showed through the blanket stitch, and you’ll probably need to be prepared to do the same for your mat.

If you like, you can back the mat with felt, fleece or another fabric, either by gluing or by tacking it to the cane webbing at strategic points around the edges. This isn’t necessary. The yarn knots won’t scratch your furniture, and the mats do lie fairly flat even with the chunkier yarn – but if you don’t like seeing the knots or backside of the needlepoint, it’s a way of covering the offensive features.

To present your mat as a gift, roll it loosely into a tube and tie three or four pieces of matching yarn into bows around the tube. This makes quite a nice looking “package” without gift wrap.

You can even buy an extra piece of cane webbing and cut it to make matching coasters if you like.

Also, if you prefer to buy your cane webbing unfringed and by the foot, do an Internet search for cane webbing and you’ll find a wide selection of sites that sell the webbing in that manner.

Contact Jonetta Coffin at

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