It has been awhile since I’ve had anything other than lace yarn to work with, but now I am jumping over to crocheting a few more rag rugs. There are several reasons for this drastic shift in handwork –
1) Lace requires WAY too much concentration for me right now. It is so sad to work several patterns, and then see the wonky spot where you were talking to someone and messed the pattern up. Lace does NOT frog well I’ve found out!
2) Yarn is out of my budget for the moment (insert very sad frowny face here).
3) The used Vogelzang wood stove we bought and installed a few months ago has turned out to actually be a wood stove-shaped object. It appears to be manufactured out of some sort of miraculous non-heat conductive iron alloy, and even with a raging fire, I can still see my breath when I sit less than six inches away. So this winter my house is freezing cold, and the more snugly rugs we have on the floor, the happier our feet feel.
4) The torn-up sheets were seriously hogging the space in my fabric stash, and something had to be done.
I love being able to re-purpose fabric into these rugs, and they turn out to have such a nice feel and weight, and are so easy to launder when they get dirty. I am still using rugs I made eight years ago, which is a much better lifespan than the “boughten” rugs I no longer have because they have worn out. If you have no worn-out sheets in your closet, you can easily find old sheets at yard sales or thrift stores. Here’s a little tutorial on making them:
- First of all, I trim off the thicker top hem of the sheet.
2. Now I make a little cut to start the first strip of rag – the wider the strip, the thicker and more plush the rug – and the more sheet it will take up. I usually go with a 1-inch wide strip. Any thinner, and the rug seems to wear out faster. I used to use scissors to cut all the way across the sheet, but I’ve found it’s much easier (and keeps your scissor sharp!) to just make a little cut in the edge, and rip the sheet – but you must take care not to rip it all the way off at the end – leave about a 1 or 2-inch section intact, because that will become the beginning of the next strip.
3. The idea is to zig-zag down the rug to make one continuous strip of fabric. Once you have ripped all the way to 1 -2 inches before the very edge of the sheet, now you begin the next cut by snipping a snip in the edge about the same width as the first strip. You’ll likely notice that the edge is square, but don’t panic – it can be rounded off carefully with scissors before you roll it up – or if you are lazy about it like I am – after the rug is made, you can go back and give the ends a little snip to round them off.
4. Again, just like the first one, tear it all the way down to 1-2 inches before the edge, etc. Repeat until your whole sheet is rolled up in a ball like this:
5. Now you have to find the largest crochet hook you possibly can. I bought my wooden one from a lady who made rag rugs and commissioned her husband to make some hooks for her to sell. I prefer oval rugs, so I start by making a chain of 10-15 stitches, and then working around.
There’s a fancy equation of how you are supposed to add stitches when crocheting a circle, but I don’t pay any attention to it. I just work around, and add lots of stitches around the edges on the first round. Then I add them when the work starts to feel tight, and back off if it feels too loose. Occasionally I have to rip it back and start over if it becomes all wonky from too many stitches, or curls up into a sphere from not enough, but with care it is easy to tell when these disasters are about to happen and avert them.