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Monday, February 11, 2013

Rag Rugs

Ever since I can remember I have crocheted rag rugs.  Our great grandparents made them and probably many generations before that.  Nothing went to waste.  If a piece of clothing was ripped and stained past the point of wearing, it was ripped into strips and later crocheted into rugs or other useful items.  I don't do it as much as I used to because it takes some hand strength and the larger rugs get heavy to work on.  Every once and a while, for a change of pace, I make one.  I have also knit the strips, I have braided the strips but I like crocheting them better.

The first thing you do when you want to make a rug is to choose the fabric.  Old sheets work beautifully because the strips are long and require less stitching together.  Some people just connect the strips by slitting the fabric and slip knotting the next piece.  I think sewing the strips together makes for a smoother transition and a less lumpy rug.  Just take the fabric and rip strips two to two and a half inches wide.  It doesn't matter if the edges are raggedy, you will fold in the raw edges when they are crocheted.  When you have a big pile of strips, it is time to sew the strips together.  Put the right sides together and sew.  This is the time to choose how the colors transition or just stitch together all the same color and when you want to change colors just sew on a new bundle.  We are lucky that we have sewing machines to make this process easy and quick.  It takes an amazing amount of fabric to make even a small rug, so using old sheets or fabric remnants is a better way.   Garage sales are a perfect place to pick up fabric remnants and interesting colored sheets.



Here is the basic pattern for a rug.  I got this off a free website and I hope it is accurate.  I don't use a pattern but just space out the increases so it lies flat.  I use a size Q crochet hook.


How To Crochet A Basic Oval Shape
and Oval Rag Rug Pattern


Basic Instructions for Crocheting an Oval Shape
Starting chain: Chain 22.
Rnd 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in back loop only of next 20 ch; 3 sc in last ch, turn sideways and continue along other side of the foundation ch, sc in remaining loop of ea of next 20 ch, 2 sc in first ch of this rnd, sl st to first sc. Turn.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same place as sl st, 2 sc in ea of next 2 sc, sc in ea of next 20 sc, 2 sc in ea of next 3 sc, sc in ea of next 20 sc, join with a sl st to first ch. Turn.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, 1 sc in same place as sl st, sc in ea of next 21 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc) 3 times, sc in ea of next 20 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. Turn.
Rnd 4: Ch 1, 1 sc in same place as sl st, sc in ea of next 2 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc) twice, sc in ea of next 20 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc) 3 times, 1 sc in ea of next 20 sc, join with sl st to first ch. Turn.
Rnd 5: Ch 1, 1 sc in same place as sl st, sc in ea of next 21 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc) 3 times, sc in ea of next 21 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. Turn.
Rnd 6: Ch 1, 1 sc in same place as sl st, sc in ea of next 4 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc) twice, sc in ea of next 20 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc) 3 times, 1 sc in ea of next 19 sc, join with sl st to first ch. Turn.
Rnd 7: Ch 1, 1 sc in same place as sl st, sc in ea of next 22 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc) 3 times, sc in ea of next 21 sc, (2 sc in next sc, sc in next 5 sc) twice, join with sl st to first ch. Turn.
Remaining Rnds: Continue in this manner, increasing 3 stitches around the curve on each round by placing one more stitch between each increase on each additional round (6 increases total per round).
For size rug you want: Keep adding rounds until you have the width and length you desire.
Your increases don't have to be all in the same area; the important thing is to end up with 3 increases around each curve.



With left over strips I crocheted around this basket to dress it up a little.

This next rug was made from old bluejeans.  I saved old jeans for a long time and then one day I just cut strips.  For this rug I didn't sew the strips together, I did the slip stitch method.  I wouldn't recommend this because this is the only rug that didn't hold up through repeated washings.  The slip stitch connections failed in a few places and produced holes.  I probably won't use jeans again.  The fabric is too coarse and it ravels easily.  It looked pretty though.