Thursday, 20 August 2009

Crochet Rag Rug

At last it’s finished – yippee!

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Yes the ‘anti-clockwise’ rag rug is now complete. I am truly delighted with the outcome – it’s colourful, chaotic and recycled. It’s practical, shabby chic and authentic. Measuring a somewhat ridiculous 82” (7ft 10) or approx. 2100mm, it was a lot of work and a heck of a lot of fabric.

I think it was Michelle Shocked who wrote that ‘the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go’. I think I would say the secret to a rag rug is knowing when it’s time to stop. As the rug grow which it does very quickly the weight also increases rapidly. Trying to wield the rug and work on it, on your lap, when it gets to five foot becomes increasingly difficult.

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Making a rag rug is not difficult however cutting up all the necessary fabrics is very time consuming. Being that inpatience is my virtue I continually found myself getting into the rhythm of crocheting only to then have to stop and cut for an hour or two. This was the most frustrating part – aside from sourcing recycled fabrics.

There are so many aspects of rag rugs that I love. They are of course steeped in history and tradition. I also feel that there is a timeless quality to the finished rug – something that will last for years and years to come.

Further information about the history and traditions of rag rugs can be found easily on the internet. Good examples are http://www.rugmakershomestead.om/ and http://www.rugscapes.com/. I would also recommend http://www.weaversfriend.com/ but I love the craft of weaving as well.

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This is a picture of the rag rug on day one demonstrating the flexibility of the fabrics. It wasn’t long before the weight of the fabric no longer allowed such movement and flexibility.

When making the rag rug the tension should be navigated by the hands. If you are already a keen or relatively experienced crocheter then this will come naturally. You will intuitively know when you need to make increases to keep the rag growing and flat. You will also come to know which fabrics are needed at which point. I used all types of fabrics in this rug from 100% cotton through to stretchy jersey and complete synthetics. There is an ebb and a flow between the fabrics.

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When a fabric feels too stretchy or in someway weak then you compensate for this by joining a strong rigid fabric on the next round. The whole infrastructure of the rug then becomes synergistic and interdependent. It’s a very interesting process and one that I’m sure many fellow crafters will relish.

The same process occurs between the balance of colours too and this will be wholly dependent upon the makers sense of colour and the requirements of the finished rag rug. Within my own rug I wanted reds and pinks to dominate and to a certain extent they do. Towards the end of this process we redecorated and the colour scheme of the room it is going in, changed. So at the home run I tried to introduce pale blues and greens.

170-7021_IMG Of course necessity, being the mother of all invention, may dictate your colour scheme. If the only fabrics you have are all very pale then ultimately the rag rug once complete will be predominantly pale. There are no end of possibilities in the design process of rag rugs. For example if you have a definite colour scheme in mind then pre-dye all your fabrics before cutting. I am certain this would bring about some interesting colour combinations.

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Whilst working on my rag rug I have amassed an array of ideas that I am going to apply to future rugs and will of course post the results of my work as and when complete. Here you will see that my crochet rag rug is circular and I chose that shape for a particular reason. However a variety of other shapes would be much more practical in terms of workability.

You may remember I did a love heart rug for a shower room which was much more workable for two reasons. Firstly it was a much smaller project and secondly it was easier to handle on my lap because it was very light.

168-6875_IMG The foundations of my heart rag rug which worked up in just a couple of hours.

168-6881_IMG Growing very rapidly.

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Voila, done within the day.

Another good source of information on the construction and process of making rag rugs is the low-impact living initiative website where you can find a variety of useful books.

www.lowimpact,org/acatalog/books_rugs_and_floorcoverings.html/

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My rug was worked on a 10mm crochet hook with fabric approx 1” wide depending upon it’s properties – stretch, thickness and rigidity. I completed 75 rounds of crochet and estimate that the actual crocheting process took about 18-20hours. As for the fabric preparation I wouldn’t dare to think.

I hope that you may be inspired and enthused enough to have a go at making your own rag rug. I intend to make either an oval crochet rag rug next or a runner so watch this space.

Until next time have a great day.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your rugs are beautiful and very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your gifts. I've enjoyed reading your site and will put it under my favorites. Please keep sharing your art.

The Sunroom said...

Thank you so much for your generous comments and kind feedback.

Anonymous said...

I like the rug it is inspiring

The Sunroom said...

Thank you for looking and thank you for appreciating. I'm glad you fin the rug inspirational.

Anonymous said...

Wow, for my own home, as well as a wonderful idea in a cottage industry I'm starting, this is amazing & beautiful! (and quick it sounds like!) Thank you for posting it.

iGoddess' evil shoe-loving twin said...

WOW!!

I just found your blog from Crochet Pattern Central (the rugs section, naturally, lol) and have to say that your work is absolutely amazing and inspiring! I've been thinking about making rag rugs for a long time now, but it was always a little intimidating.

Your tone is so natural and simple that it has given me the motivation to try! =)

Thanks again!

~delena

Tigrrl said...

All I can say is wow, what gorgeous rugs! Thank you also for all the great tips. I'm planning to repurpose some old white cotton sheets by dyeing them, and had planned to try to learn to make a braided rug, but crocheting seems much simpler, faster, and sturdier. Thanks again!