Rag rugs: More help needed

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You are all kind. Thanks to everyone for suggestions. After reading them I decided it just might be too time consuming to try and fold the rag strips. If I choose to allow the cut edges of my strip to fray.. 1. HOW DO I HOLD THE STRIP WHEN CROCHETING? Do I fold the strips in half? Do I just try and crochet without folding and let my hook srunch the strip as I go??? 2. Should I make the strips about 1/2" wide??? 3. Do I just crochet one strip at a time-- or double strips?? 4. How do I get nice color combinations??? Change color of strip every two yards? More, Less?? Thank you!!!! Enjoyed all the comments to my other question. I agree that wool would be best but in this day and age I would never come up with enough wool rags! Can't afford to buy it? Thanks.

-- Renee at Briar Creek (fakeaddy@nomail.com), November 01, 2001


Never made a rag rug, but I do know alot about bargins! If you have a Goodwill Thrift Store near you, all items with a certain color tag are $1 on Sunday. Church and other thrift shops are also a bargin/fabric hunters dream! Good luck with your rug.

-- Kathy (karen2@bestweb.net), November 01, 2001.

Hi Renee, I tear my cotton strips in inch strips, using one strip at a time. I change color strips to meet the eye. Sometimes I'll change strips every round, other times I'll use one color for several rounds, just depends on how the rug looks when it's in progress. Relax and enjoy crochething the rug. *smile*

If you have thrift shops in your area, get acquainted with the people who work there. I've purchased all my wool supplies for rugs at thrift shops at very good prices. Many times wool clothing items will have moth holes in them and won't sell at the stores. Moth holes aren't a problem in the rag rugs.

-- Grannytoo (jacres40@hotmail.com), November 01, 2001.

When I crocheted a rag rug I just let the strip kind of twist as I went. The frayed edges didn't unravel much after the first washing. As far as attaching new ends, I just worked the ends in as I went. I was using strips torn from shirts so the colors changed pretty frequently. It looked fine when I was done.

-- Patricia Ramsey (WOOLSPIN@AOL.COM), November 01, 2001.

I have used all sorts of things to make rag rugs. I love the denim ones for the boys and for in front of the front door. When they ravel out a bit, it looks even cuter. I use the biggest crochet hook that I can get and cut the strips into one inch wide strips. Then I cut a slit in each end. Lay one end on top of the other end and pull the long end through both slits. Give a little yank and they are attached. You can work these knots in and never notice much where they are. Specially if you put them on the back. Remember that awful double knit stuff...well, it makes the sturdiest rugs! It washes great and doesn't lose it's color like cotton or wool will. It will also not ravel. You can always get it for really cheap at Walmart too. $1 for a yard of 60 inch width. I promise, you can't tell that it is double knit when it is in the rug. I have also used cotton scraps and if the cotton is very thin material you will have to cut it in 1 to 1 1/2 inch widths to make up for the thinness. About folding the strips....I just wing it. If you want the darker color then fold it slightly as you go. If you don't mind a variation from the back to the front of the material then just wing it. Color combinations are whatever you think looks nice. I have one that I made when I was in grade school with my Grandma. We got the scraps from the dumpster behind the clothing company! Zillions of double knit scraps.( It was in the late 60's early 70's) I still use that rug after it has been washed a hundred times. Looks fine.

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), November 02, 2001.

Renee, How about doing a toothbrush rug it is somewhat like a croched one only you use the handle of an old toothbrush cut off and pointed and thread the strip through the existing hole in the handle. I'll try to find my instructions this weekend when I get home. Sally

-- sally stanton (mallardhen67@hotmail.com), November 02, 2001.

Renee, Another fun and very functional rug is made like a rag rug, but out of plastic strips. Bread bags work well, bags the newspaper comes in, or even stripped up large plastic bags. Some interesting colors and they last forever, work well on the pourch, kids room, kitchen. :)tang

-- tang (tang@mtaonline.net), November 02, 2001.

I haven't crocheted in quite a few years but am seriously thinking about crocheting a rag rug. So, what about instructions... what is a good suggestion for how often to increase on a round rug? Does anyone have any instructions to post? What about oblong (increase on the ends?) or heart shaped? Square would be easy but for those just learning, instructions would be helpful. I thought that if anyone had any written instructions it would make the post very helpful to others and for the archive.

-- JoAnn in SD (jonehls@excite.com), November 02, 2001.

Here is a website that has lots of free crochet patterns, including one for an oval rag rug:


Have fun!

-- Cheryl in KS (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), November 02, 2001.

Cheryl a friend found this web site for me: Rag Rug Basics: http://crochet.about.com/library/weekly/aa092599.htm

THANK YOU EVERYONE! I am a Goodwill Shopper…. But never thought about asking for the wool skirts, suits or trousers that they are going to throw away. I just knew that they would be to expensive to buy off the rack. (We have a very BIG Goodwill… also expensive for a thrift store). I’m beginning to wonder if my cotton rug will be a waste of time.

I bet the denim rugs are nice.. and durable.

Tang.. do you just knot all the bread bags together?

TOOTHBRUSH rugs sound interesting. I found this site: http://www.hgtv.com/HGTV/project/0,1158,CRHO_project_20870,FF.html

Interesting: ‘vintage’ instructions on rag rugs: http://www.netw.com/~rafter4/oldrugs.htm

I also thought of SPOOL KNITTING a rug… but I don’t want to have to sew all the chain together.

Blessings, Renee

-- Renee at Briar Creek (fakeaddy@nomail.com), November 02, 2001.

I have seen the toothbrush rugs, but what are the spool rugs? I love new stuff for the Winter blahs! Sounds like it could be interesting!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), November 02, 2001.

Forgot to say....the cotton rug would NOT be a waste of time. They are pretty when they are finished! I have several! It is just a matter of what you are going to do with it. They can be sturdy too. I use my cotton ones in front of the tub and by the sink. They wash up very well and dry in less time than the others do.

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), November 02, 2001.

Spool Knitting: Popular with kids. Go here and scroll down the page. The whole process is explained: http://home.indy.net/~rlafara/bobstuff/spool.htm My Grandma showed me how to do this using an old empty wooden spool and short nails with small heads. Unfortunately, all I ever did was knit a long rope. (They were very pretty, though, hee, hee!) I never made anything with mine but the 'rope'. I know that some people use this method to make rugs. I learned on forum a few years back that an object called a 'Corker" is manufactured to use for the spool knitting of larger items with rug yarn or rags. They are available at craft stores. I bought one this year at Hobby Lobby called a 'Super Knitter'. It cost $6.95 and was on sale near the rug yarn. Spool Knitting is sometimes called French Knitting. Thanks for all your help!

-- Renee at Briar Creek (fakeaddy@nomail.com), November 02, 2001.

All this talk about rag rugs and I thought it was going to include the braided rag rugs but seemed more geared towards the crocheted ones. Since I don't crochet (and cannot now due to mangled/broken/twisted wrist and hand) that would be out for me . . . but I can still braid!!!

(And I do have those little tools for "folding" the material . . . they are in a box somewhere around here . . . if I could just remember where?!?!!)

-- wolfie (wolfiequinn@hotmail.com), December 28, 2001.

braided rag rugs are easier for arthritis sufferers - even helps keep you hands limber -IF you do not over-do.

I found instructions in the centerfold of Mother Earth News probably in the late 70s. Have since lost it.

I use the seams of old cotton clothes. I make rugs from 3 widths.

hems and seams from shirts go in one pile. jean seams in another. shirt buttonhole facings [what are they called?] and wide hems in another.

4 braids are used so you choose your colors for each strand.

Don't know if I can explain in writing - I've taught quite a few in person. One friend had piles of strips left from her grandmother but could not sew them together the way her grandma taught her. the strips make beautiful rugs. I may try it that way if I ever run out of seams.

If anyone is interested I'll try to explain on a day when I have more time and my fingers are rested.

-- carol (kanogisdi@yahoo.com), December 30, 2001.

Hello, with all this talk about rag rugs, I was wondering if anyone has done the Toothbrush rugs, and has a half moon pattern to share? With some practice, I think I could probably make a round or oval one, but what about the half moon? Please direct any replies through email. Thanks.


-- Lara (craftl0v3r@aol.com), April 04, 2002.

I have done "toothbrush rugs" since the early 90's. Look up the site for- Aunt philly's tooth brush rugs. they have lots of patterns for this kind of rug an baskets. I have used cotten,flannel, denem and just finished one using the plastic sleeves that the news paper is delivered in. Just cut it 2 knuckels wide and go to work. I have some old woolen fabric that i want to use in one. i tore it in to stripes 3 fingers wide and will baste it folded in to it's self, because it revels like crazy. I hate throwing things away when i can remake it in to something that I can use.

-- cindy in mo (redhenfarm@yahoo.com), April 05, 2002.

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