by Miranda Demarest
Ready for some step-by-step crocheted rag rug instructions and photos? Follow along with this tutorial!
Put on your bed and use them for a few years. When they need to be replaced, use them to make a rug! (Please don't use new material for a rag rug. If you don't already have old flannel sheets to use, you can go to the thrift store to find some. But don't add to the problem of overconsumption and overuse of resources by buying new. You are the kind of person who wants to be a part of the solution, right?)
Any kind of material can be used. You only want to be sure the entire rug is made of the same type of material. Old t-shirts would make a nice soft rug. Old wool suits would make a very strong, long lasting rug. Regular sheets can work, too, though they won't be as soft and thick under your feet as flannel. So, go find some used fabric then get ready to follow these rag rug instructions!
Make the strips as wide as you think would make a strong yarn. One inch for wool, 2 inches for t-shirt fabric, somewhere in between for cotton flannel. You can usually snip the fabric at the edges and tear it the rest of the way. Using old sheets is good because the material is so large that it makes nice long strips of fabric (which makes Step Five easier). Make the cuts at the short edge of the fabric, so that the strips are longer than if you made the cuts at the long edge. The less joining you have to do, the faster this comes together.
Oh, and if you have cats, you might want to keep them out of the room while you do this work! They will want to help, but tend to have a different idea of what makes great rag rug instructions.
What colors are you working with? Do you want to create a pattern? Do you want a random effect? Do you want a design that allows for adding on as you find more fabric to use?
All these factors should be accounted for before you make the yarn from your fabric. For these rag rug instructions, I had two colors of sheets: white and sage green. I was making the rug for my bathroom, and I wanted to have a light teal color in the rug, so I dyed the yarn with Rit dye. I wanted all the colors, not just the teal and the darker green (that the teal dye would turn the sage green), so I only dipped the big skein of yarn into the dye bath halfway. It created a nice fade between the colors. You could dye the fabric before you rip it, if you don't want anything as fancy as what I have done. You can also join strips of different colors in a pattern or totally random.
If you aren't picky, just use the fabric you have and see what happens. If you have a certain space you'd like to use the rug and need it to be the right size, you'll need to be sure you have enough fabric. A good way to do this is to crochet a test swatch with the finished yarn, measure it, weigh it, and calculate the weight you would need for the size rug you want.
For example, you would like to make a rug that is a rectangle 3 feet wide by 5 feet long. That gives you 15 square feet. Make a test swatch of 1 foot by 1 foot square, then weigh that swatch. Let's say it weighed 5 oz. So 1 sqft weighed 5 oz and you need 15 sqft, so 5x15=75. You'd need to be sure your finished amount of yarn weighed at least 75oz. The importance of this really gets clear if you are going to dye the yarn as I did for my rug. For these rag rug instructions, I needed to have all the yarn I had dyed in the same way, so it would look uniform in the finished rug. (If you find you need more yarn, be sure to step back to step 3 for any additional dying or pattern adjustments.)
Once you know what you are going for and know that you have enough fabric to make it, you can join the strips together. You have two options here: you can tie them or sew them. What I did for these rag rug instructions was use a nifty technique that interlocks the strips. Basically, you are turning a piece of fabric into a loop, by cutting a small slit at the end and then joining two loops together, just like you would join two rubber bands together.
(Check out this GIF image to see a visual of how I joined my fabric strips.)
Part of joining the strips together is doing it in the way that will give you the look you want. You can add on as you crochet or you can make all the yarn in advance. It just depends on what you want. I had to make all my yarn up first for these rag rug instructions, since I wanted my dyed yarn to look evenly random. If I had wanted simple stripes on a rectangle rug, I could have just added on as I crocheted, changing colors at the edges as needed.
If you're pretty proficient at crochet, great, you don't need to read any these rag rug instructions any further. Just follow a half double crochet and have fun! If not, I'll tell you some of the basics, but you might want to practice a bit on regular yarn or watch some videos on YouTube first.
Get yourself a large crochet hook. A size N (10 mm) would be good. The stitch I used for these rag rug instructions is called a half double crochet. I like this stitch because it is not too tight or bulky and it works up fast. You start your rug with a chain stitch as long as you want the rug to be wide.
If you want an oval as I have made, you need to do a calculation. If you want an oval rug 30 inches wide and 60 inches long, your beginning chain has to be 30 inches long (60-30=30). A rug 24 inches wide by 40 inches long would need a 16 inch long chain (40-24=16). Got it?
After you create a chain the size you need for the start of your rug, you start the half double crochet stitches. Let's go over how to do this stitch, before I tell you a few more tips on the construction of the rug shape.
Follow the rag rug instructions that go along with the the image below:
Rag rug instructions for making an oval: Start with the chain of the length you need and then turn crochet to the beginning of the chain and back up the other side, going around and around. In order for this to lay flat you have to add a stitch or two at the curved ends as needed. You do this by going through the same hole twice. I did an extra stitch at each end when the rug was small, and found I needed more as the rug got bigger (to keep it flat). I spaced these extra stitches out across the curved area. You will also find that making the stitches loose at the curved ends is helpful to keep it flat, also.
Rag rug instructions for making a rectangle or square Start with a chain the length you want the rug to be wide. Crochet back and forth across that length until the rug is as long as you want it to be. Make sure to add a single chain stitch to the end of your rows before you turn back so that your edges are straight.
Weave in any loose yarn ends. Then go lay down your new rug and enjoy!
Following simple rag rug instructions is a great way to "upcycle" and reduce consumption.
When you're ready for a few more steps check out the articles below.
Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!
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