Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crocheting a Jersey Rug

I am always enthusiastic about ways to *make* a rug myself because why? Because rugs are expensive and never come in the color or size I have in mind.

I've been crocheting one this week with great satisfaction for a completely different reason though--it's using up my cotton jersey scraps. The long, oddly-shaped, useless ones.

What do you need to do this? A rotary cutter (make sure it's sharp, not like in all those other tutorials that encourage you to use a dull blade, right?), cutting mat, and big fat crochet hook. Not even scissors, and there's no sewing. And no threads, best of all!

First, cut those strips. About an inch wide, and they can be across the grain, along the grain, or ignoring the grain. Sometimes mine aren't even straight, they curve around a big wide corner. Crazy, I know. Do not use a cutting ruler, just eyeball it. As you finish each strip, take the rotary cutter and press down on the strip about an inch from the end, so you get a little slit cut just like you see here.

They look like buttonholes. You are going to join your strips with these. Match up the two ends you want to join, and lay New Strip over the end of Old Strip. Match up those buttonholes and poke them open with your fingertip.

With your other hand, take the free end of New Strip and bring it up from the bottom through both holes. Pull gently till the little foldy join is snug and secure.

Attach all five thousand other strips. Just be sure that you loop them together like this right onto your "live" strip. In other words, don't put together a whole long chain offstage and think you'll join them to your crocheting. Because you'll have to pull the Whole Chain through that little buttonhole. Or sew or tie it on. And if you do it my way, there's no sewing *or* tying!

And crochet it!


Sarah said...

Oh wow, that's terrific! I've been wanting to crochet a rug, but hadn't seen anything about joining the ends of the various fabric strips. So many projects, so little time!

♥love and joy♫

Flepandco said...

Hi Anna - I tried doing these and I found them really hard on my hands. Maybe my crochet hook was too small. I used a plastic one and snapped it! After that I stopped for a bit. You may have inspired me to start it anew.

Kate said...

What a neat idea! I want to make my own rugs, too, because I want natural fibered rugs and I can't afford them. In my dining room I want a painted floor cloth.

Lisa said...

Oh, my goodness, Anna - you saved all your strips! wow


kath said...

I made a couple of tee shirt quilts for family members and I saved the leftover pieces to make one of these as soon as I find the time! Yours looks lovely, please post a photo when its finished!

Kimberlee said...

Wonderful, Anna! Like you, I find the most joy and satisfaction in making things from the scraps and leavings and 'useless' bits. To me that's when creativity really shines, when we make things out of 'nothing' (akin to our Creator). PS I would love to see a larger shot of the sweater scrap quilt you made!

Country Chic In North Idaho said...

Love this idea. Always looking for rug ideas. Thank you for sharing. I have put a link to this on my blog.

Jaimie said...

This looks like a different method of making a jersey rug, but I thought you'd appreciate the beauty of this:

WendyBee said...

I love this. It goes on my ToDo list. I agree with Lillian though, that this is likely to be really hard on your hands.
I made 3 recyclable shopping bags using "plarn" (plastic yarn, made by cutting plastic shopping bags into strips (loops) and joining them end-to-end. I had a nasty tendinitis from how hard it was. Put me out of commission with knitting and crocheting for several months. But, I think slowly and gently and with the elasticity of the knit fabric, this may be kinder than the plarn. Hope so.

Kim said...

So pretty!

I made one of these and I really like it. It is sturdy, and durable.

Thanks Anna,


Polly said...

you are unstoppable! I never would have thought to do this. And I probably could never do this, at least not until my children are Much Older. But it's such a neat idea. Kudos to you for using it all up like this!!!

April said...

Thank you!! I have a pile of stained t shirts that I saved incase 10,000 people came calling asking for paint shirts..... This would be a great way to recycle them. We farm, so the rugs at the door are always dirty and need to be washed almost daily. This should be a great way to make a couple of rugs.

I bet the same thing could be done with some towels that are getting thin in areas--to make bath mats with or catch the wet off boats on rainy days.....or, for the kids to make coasters with.

Anonymous said...

Question: Did you single crochet? How did you enlarge each row? Did you increase anywhere? I have tried crocheting a rug and also sewing a rug with jersey scraps and did not have success. I looked everything up on YouTube without getting the concrete directions necessary to have a 'flat' rug. Mine always looked lopsided or I could have worn it as a hat!! LOL

Thank you,

Maria Ricci

Anna said...

Darn it, Maria, I was hoping no one would ask! :)

I think I did a beginning loop of 5-6 stitches (depends on the width of your strips), and then did halfdoublecrochets. Is that where you loop the yarn once around the hook, then pull it through all three loops at once? That's what I did. And generally I ended up doing one chain between each stitch, and only working alternate stitches. Otherwise the fabric you're creating is just too dense.

But you have to stay flexible. If you're adding in too much length, back off and leave some chains out. Or skip two stitches.

Of if you're starting to draw up short, add another chain stitch or work the very next stitch. As large a scale as you're working on, it's quite forgiving. To some extent you can correct as you go. As you get out larger and larger you will need a smaller amount of increase.

Remember that if you need to add 'height", to fill in a low spot or add curve, do a double crochet; and if you need to add "length" to reach farther, add a chain stitch.

Ruth said...

Your rug looks so beautiful!I very much like the colors.My sister is making a rug rather like yours,only hers is made with regular cotton fabric scraps and it's rectangular.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I did ask, because your answer was golden! Thank you for helping me along, good teacher!!

Maria Ricci

Martha A. said...

I want to do this!!!

Charlotte (WaltzingM) said...

Do you mind if your pictures and projects get pinned to Pinterest? I am asking because I have this project pinned to one of my boards but I will delete it if you would prefer that. Thank you!


Anna said...

You're welcome to pin photos--thanks for asking!

Matushka Anna said...

Oh good! I'm glad someone asked about pinning because I was wanting to do the same thing. I have a lot of fabric scraps matched to squares cut from old t-shirts that I'm going to stitch together for "pretty" cleaning cloths (also your idea!) and have a lot of odd pieces of knit material leftover. Then I remembered this post! I checked back in because I couldn't remember how to do the join. Thank you! said...

Anna, thank you for sharing this. This "popped-up" on your post today in "also interesting" pictures.
I'm cleaning out my material, but want to make sure I save some strips for this project.

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