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Finger-crocheted rag rug from old t-shirts

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!

Comments

  1. Hi Liz,

    First, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment about mealworm farming...you should do it!

    I love this post! I do crochet, have since I was about 7 years old (my goodness that is almost half a century ago!). I have always wanted to make a rag rug but never did. But now that I have read this post I am going to give it a try. My husband does not like to throw out old T-shirts when they are no longer wearable...unless he wants the ripped up look of the 80's, lol. He wont wear them...he just wont let me get rid of them. So now I know what to do with all of those old rags of shirts! I am going to make a rug!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love to crochet. I've made rag rugs before, though I used a huge plastic crochet hook for mine. But certainly finger crochet works just as well. I originally learned to crochet a chain using my fingers (with yarn) and it's perfectly effective, though you won't be able to do more complicated patterns without a hook.
    If you're interested, I made a short "how to crochet - with pictures" blog for some distant friends a few years back. It looks like some of the pictures are no longer displaying correctly, but it still might provide you with some easy to access instructions if you want:
    http://crochet101withpictures.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-do-you-need.html
    We were doing a memorial afghan, and some of the participants had never crocheted before. If I do say so myself, they found this blog sufficient to create usable squares for our afghan. I hope it helps you also.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this. I am still learning to crochet myself. I am using yarn and a hook though. I'm only on my 3 project and it is taking me forever! But I do like it and it is going well. I am just slow. Kudos to you for learning a new skill. hanks for sharing!

    Please join us again Thursday at:
    http://summersacres.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-homeacre-hop-25.html

    ~Ann

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've never heard of finger crochet before, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cool project! Thanks so much for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again today at:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/06/the-homeacre-hop-25-exciting-news.html

    Stop by and say hi to our new co-host!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have been crocheting granny squares but had not thought of doing a floor rug. At the moment I am knitting a scarf and a few more dish cloths.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the comments everyone, love sharing the craftiness :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice post! I love this. I am still learning to crochet myself. I am using yarn and a hook though. I'm only on my 3 project and it is taking me forever! But I do like it and it is going well. I am just slow. Kudos to you for learning a new skill. hanks for sharing!

    hipsoul

    ReplyDelete
  9. I absolutely love your Finger Crochet Rag Rug design. I have been searching for finger crochet with recycled yarn designers to showcase and found you. You made it look so much fun to make. Excellent job!! I would love to feature you as the newest recycled designer and add the picture of your design on Recycled Into Yarn (http://www.recycledn2yarn.com) and link the free pattern back to your website.

    Recycled Into Yarn is a ‘one stop shop’ website I created offering links to free crochet and knit recycled yarn patterns and tutorials. The picture of the free pattern is displayed and linked back to the designers website/blog/ravelry site for the sole purpose of driving traffic to the designer’s site. I designed my website to recognize the talents of so many talented recycled yarn designers. Please email me back at recycledn2yarn@gmail.com if you have any objections.

    I’m sure you won’t have any objections but wanted to make sure it’s okay to add the picture of your free pattern on Recycled Into Yarn.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks, Teresa

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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