Rag Rug

A couple of years ago, my Aunty approached me to do a demonstration at her local museum which she runs. She asked if I could demonstrate a crochet rag rug, which my mum had actually made.

Now, I had not made a rug before, but said yes anyways.

So I spent some time figuring it out, and then writing some instructions, and today, I’m going to share those instructions with you.

Rag rugs are a great way to transform old, worn textiles into something that is both practical and beautiful. You can crochet your own from materials you have on hand.

Last week we looked at ways of making yarn. Now it’s time to crochet!

I will give you a run down on how to crochet an oval rug. You could make it any shape you desire of course! But the oval is a good place to start. With the oval rug, you increase on the ends and maintain the sides. the longer the starting chain, the longer and skinnier your rug will be. The shorter your starting chain, the shorter and fatter your rug will be. Be prepared to wander from these instructions. It is hard to give instructions on how to make a rag rug, as variances in yarn can change the way the crochet material acts.

When choosing a hook, find a nice big one. The size of your hook could depend on a couple of factors. The width and thickness of your yarn, and your tension – how tight or loose you crochet. I am using an 11.5mm, I find a 10mm to be a nice size too. Test out a couple of hooks and see what works best for you, your yarn and your tension.

You will need to know how to work a chain and a single crochet. I abbreviate these through out the instructions to – chain (ch) and single crochet (sc)

To begin, make a chain (ch). I find 12 ch to be a nice number. The last two ch equals 1 sc, giving you 10 stitches to work with.

Work a single crochet (sc) into the second chain from the hook. Continue to sc into each ch until you reach the last ch.

In the last ch do 3 sc to increase. Continue around with 1 sc in each chain until you reach the last ch to increase.

On the sides of the rug you will continue with 1 sc into each. Only at the ends will you increase.

For the second round of increases sc into each of the stitches on the previous row. When you get to the 3 sc increases on each end, do 2 sc into each. Continue to 1 sc into each sc on the sides.

Continue in this manner, 1 sc along the sides and increases at the ends. For each round your increases will get further apart. For example, on the third round you will do 2 sc into one, then 1 sc into one, 2 sc etc. Then on the fourth row increase the sc between increases to 2, so you have 2 sc in once, 1 sc into one, 1 sc into one, 2 sc into one etc. The 5th row you will have 3 sc between increases and son on and so forth until your rug reaches the desired size. You may need to play with where your increases fall and experiment with what works best for your yarn.

This diagram gives you an idea of how to begin a rag rug, and the first few rows of increases at each end.

The finished mat! I added a scalloped edge!

Trouble shooting

Your rug may start to go wobbly or maybe even start turning up like a basket. If it goes wobbly, it means you have too many increases and need to do less increases. If it starts turning up like a basket, it means you have too few increases and you will need to put a few more increases in.

If, when you finish, your rug won’t lay flat, you can try blocking it. To do this you will need to lay it out on something that can get a bit damp. I have a piece of acoustic board which I cover in towels, and I can pin directly into. A plastic sheet on some carpet will work the same as well. Lay your rug out and pin down. Moisten the rug with water. Move your hands over the cloth and press down on any places in need of smoothing out. Stretch, pin and shape as necessary. Allow to dry, then unpin.

Another project in progress. This one became a cat bed. I stopped increasing for the last few rows to allow edges to form. I have made baskets and bags in this way too.

I love working with scrappy yarn, it gives so much texture. There are many different things you could make besides a rug. What else can you think of?

Have a creative week!
<3 Cate

Making Yarn for Crochet Rag Rugs

When I worked retail in a craft store I was often confronted with the question “What yarn can I crochet with?” In which I responded “Any of them” and then the reply came “No, I don’t want a knitting yarn, I want something to crochet with” *sigh* I pointed them in the direction of ‘crochet cotton’. They didn’t know they were talking to the girl who has tried to crochet things most people couldn’t comprehend, things like plastic bottles, copper wire, her favorite t shirt…

I want to share with you some instructions for a crochet rag rug I wrote a couple of years ago now, but I thought I’d break it down into two parts. Today I want to show you some ways to turn textiles you have laying around the house into yarn, which I consider nice yarn for these rag rugs.

scissors laid looking like its cutting into fabric which unravels into yarn and a crochet hook lays looking likes its crocheting
cutting t-shirt yarn to crochet

Making Yarn for rag rugs

Rag yarn can be made from various textiles, including old clothes, bed linen and off cuts from craft fabrics. The best I have found to work with are old cotton t-shirts, bed sheets and all the long strips leftover from quilting projects.

Knitted and woven fabrics give you different effects. Knitted fabric, with a light tug, will roll in on itself and give you a nice round yarn to work with. Once crochet, it has a nice clean, contemporary look about it. Woven fabric on the other hand, stays flat and has an inherent fray to the edges. This produces a rustic look. Both are beautiful in their own right. And both equal in their ease of use.

Once you have created your yarn, I reccomend rolling it into a big ball. This will stop it from tangling up. Now, I’ve always hand rolled my balls, but recently I’ve seen Gypsy Weaver Studio working with rag yarn using a ball winder, and I think this is a fabulous idea!

When cutting your yarn, it is ideal to have a width of 1.5 – 2 inches. A rough estimate is all that is needed as any discrepencies will dissappear in the crochet stitches.

To cut continuous yarn from a t-shirt, cut straight across the top just below the arms. starting at the bottom, cut in a spiral to the top.

Cut t-shirts in a spiral

To cut continuous yarn from a sheet or large piece of fabric you have two options.

The first option is to round off the corners and cut in a spiral until you get to the middle.

cutting fabric in spirals

The other option is to start on one edge and cut strips twice as wide as you want your finished strips to be, making sure you stop about 2cm from the edge. Then, from the other edge, cut straight down the middle of those strips, again, making sure you stop before you get to the edge. I use this technique a lot, especially when dealing with fabric off cuts that are a tad too big and need to be cut down.

Cut from each side, making sure not to cut right through!

Now, I personally work with a lot of patchwork off cuts (mostly because people are always giving mum scraps!) and that means working with a lot of smaller lengths, so of course you are going to have to join them! You can just knot them, and use them as a feature! Marion has successfully done this with a rag rug and made the knots sit on the top of the rug for a kind of “pile” look. But it that’s not what your going for you will need a some what invisible way to join them. You could sew them together. I’m too lazy for that and use a slip knot technique.
Cut slits in the ends of the pieces you want to join. Slip the end of one of your strips through the slit of the other, then through the slit of itself. gently pull until the join rests neatly within itself.

Joining ends with a slip knot

Cutting can be hard on your hands. As can crocheting with bulky yarns. Make sure you give yourself plenty of breaks and listen to your body!

By all means, this is not the only ways to make yarn! And of course these are not the only things you can make yarn from! Please share your tips and tricks and the craziest things you have made yarn from πŸ™‚

I’ll be back next week with a brief over view on how I made a rag rug!

Have a creative week!
<3 Cate

Secret Santas

Secret Santa’s revealed!

This year both Guy and myself were invited to join in a “Secret Santa” in our respective workplaces. I can not remember the last time I participated in one, so I had a little fun with it!

The rules were pretty much the same for both of us, except mine had an additional rule. We were both given a name. We both had a $20 limit. And they both were to be gifted this week. The additional rule for mine was that whatever we bought had to start with the recipients initial – either first or last name initials.

So Guys was easy, and he had an idea straight away. His recipient was obsessed with sausage dogs! And so he requested I make him a sausage dog.

For mine, I had to find something that started with “C”. Easy. Tooooooooooooo easy! Sooooo many ideas! I could have gone with something cute like a cat, or clever like a cactus, instead I went for something a little crazy – A Crochet Christmas Camel! It is a secret Santa after all! They are meant to be a little out of the ordinary! (I may have taken the “has to start with their intial” thing a little too far hahaha)

As for the $20 limit? The materials were way under that, and I’m not adding up the time it took me to make them :). That’s just one of the joys of being able to create stuff. Your time is the real gift! And I think that is one of the most precious gifts you can give!

Have a creative week

<3 Cate

The Half Granny Square Scarf

I’m onΒ  a mad crochet spree at the moment. It keeps my hands busy whilst my mind wanders.

The half granny square scarf has become a staple – around my neck – and on my hook –Β  since my Mum showed me how to make it a few years back. I’m always wearing one in winter! And I’ve nearly finished a cotton one for those cool summer evenings!

Even though I’m terrible at reading and writing crochet patterns, I think this one is so simple, I can show you how it’s done! And lets face it, if you’ve ever crochet, you’ve probably tried your hand at granny squares, and this is just like that, except missing half the square!

I have written the following assuming you have a little bit of crochet knowledge. Choose a hook that suits your yarn.

You start off like any other granny square – Make a slip knot and then chain 3. Then make a slip stitch into the first chain to form a circle.

form a slip knot

Chain 3

Slip stitch into first chain to form a circle

Chain 3, then make 3 treble into the middle of the circle.

Chain 3

Then 3 treble into middle of circle

Chain 2, then another 3 treble.

Chain 2

Then 3 treble into centre of circle

Chain 1, then 1 treble.

 

Chain 3. Turn.

Chain 3

3 treble into first gap. Chain 1.

Treble into first gap

Chain 1

3 treble into next gap, 2 chain, 3 treble. (This is the point of the scarf. This is the only place you do 2 chain. Always do 2 chain at this point)

3 treble

chain 2

3 treble into the same gap.

chain 1, 3 treble into next gap

Then chain 1, 1 treble into same gap. (This will be how you turn at the end of every row)

chain 1, 1 treble into same gap.

Chain 3 and turn.

Chain 3 and turn.

From here it is pretty straight forward. 3 treble into each gap, with a chain in between. Making sure when you get to the point you do 2 chain so you can fit two sets of three treble. And when you get to the end of a row you add an extra set of treble.

Here’s a rough drawing of how the stitches should work out…

half granny square scarf simple structure

Like I mentioned before, I wear these scarves constantly throughout winter! I wear them with the point at the front (kinda like cowboy style), but have been known to wrap it around my shoulders depending on how cold I am!

This is me wearing the very first scarf I made (photo taken a couple of years back whilst I was trying to master the timer on the camera!)

This is the scarf I wore all winter of 2018. I made it from “Moda Vera Bouvardia” which is one of my favourite yarns to make these scarves from as it is warm, soft and comes in pretty multi colours!

These next two are for sale, so message me if you would like to own one!

Another one made from “Moda Vera Bouvadia” The colours are so stunning!

A cotton/acrylic one! Lovely for summer evenings!

Have a creative week <3

Unicorns!

Sooo some time ago now (a couple of years), I crocheted a unicorn for myself…

The first of a unicorn making obsession πŸ™‚

Then I made a little one for my niece, then she asked me to make her a bigger one… and then it snowballed… and now I’m here.

My niece and an army of unicorns. From left – The first unicorn I made, “Rainbow Rosie” made from hand spun yarns – the second one I made for her, a fabric unicorn made by my sister from a very crude pattern I drew her, and HayJay – the little unicorn I made her from hand spun yarns. (Yes she is spoilt!)

I’ve spent the last two days slowly refining my technique in making the unicorns. You see, I am terrible at reading patterns, which, in turn, means I have no idea how to write a crochet pattern. Every time I pick up my hook to make another one, I’m basically re-writing the pattern in my head. Which means every single unicorn is unique, and they take me forever to make whilst I work out what to do next.

Unicorn body parts littered my bed whilst I worked on technique of bringing unicorns to life!

I now have a more streamlined “pattern” in my head, which is giving me great results so far! I have been able to scale the size up and down by just using thicker/thinner yarn with bigger/smaller hooks!

I have been playing with different combinations of yarn, some with sparkles, some without! This is my favorite bit! And the reason why I have started four unicorns in two days and only finished one!

One finished, three started! different yarns give different effects! Love experimenting!

I have one order so far. And I’ll be trying to put some up for sale (see my Facebook page in the coming days/weeks)

And as my pattern gets more refined, I’ll have a go at writing it down so I can share it with you!

I’m going back to experiment with unicorns some more!

Have a creative week πŸ™‚