Finger-crocheted rag rug from old t-shirts

Jun 21 2013 0 Comments Tags: craft, waste

Recently I've noticed lots of posts on rag rugs, or maybe they just caught my attention because we need new bath mats, I had read a few quickly, it looked easy enough, so when I saw fill a bag for $1 at the op-shop I decided to choose some t-shirts to make myself a rug.  When I went back to look at the rug instructions, I was amazed to find all the different techniques, I found at least five different ways to make a rug:
I decided that I would probably need a few new bath mats, so would have opportunities to try each method at some time in the future.  For now, I want to learn crochet, and this seems like a good way to start, with nice big thick "yarn"!

nearly finished rag rug
I have also noticed that you can buy pre-cut fabric for making rag rugs.  To me this defeats the purpose, and it seems a real shame to use new fabric to make something that's going to go on the floor!  I think rag rugs are great for:
  • using up genuine rags (and I cheated a bit, but at least they were used op-shop t-shirts)
  • making something useful and needed around the home
  • learning/practising a craft using thicker than normal yarn
This is one way to reuse material - as in the permaculture principle "produce no waste".  If all the material is cotton, it can go in the compost when its completely worn out (unfortunately, I'm sure most of mine is synthetic).

Anyway, one of the ladies at our permaculture group very patiently taught me to crochet wool a few weeks ago and I practiced a bit, but I couldn't get the hang of it, so I started cutting up the worst of the t-shirts into strips (some of them were in embarrassingly good condition and I thought I'd better wear them a bit first!). I cut the strips pretty roughly, about 1 cm wide, with chunky bits as I changed direction.  Then I just started crocheting with my fingers.  It was really much easier than using a hook and I got quite quick.  I really like crochet compared to knitting, its quicker and mistakes are easier to fix.

here's how to cut one long strip from an odd shape of fabric

I had a few false starts at the rug because I didn't know I had to do a chain at the start of each row, so my first attempt at a square turned into a triangle as each row got shorter and shorter!  Its very easy to unpick crocheted fabric though, so I just pulled it apart and started again until I figured out what I wanted to do.

Here's how I figure crochet (trebles), starting with a normal chain.... (note that I'm right handed)

at the end of each row make a chain of three

put right index finger through last loop in chain and wind yard over finger

push finger into the front of the second stitch of the previous row

pull yard through the stitch to make another loop and wind over again

pull left-most loop through nearest two loops and then wind over again

pull left-most loop through remaining 2 loops and repeat from step 2 until the end, turn and start again at step 1

I hope that helps, its very hard to photograph with one hand while crocheting with the other hand!  Do you crochet?  Have you tried finger-crochet?  Have you made a rag-rug?  I think I'm ready to try wool crochet now, but I have some more fabric "yarn", so I might try a round one next!


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