Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Make A Rag Rug

I love recycling when I can.  I especially love to be able to upcycle discarded or unused items into something that is pretty or useful in my home.  So enter into the world of rag rug making with me!

I love thrift shopping and often find pretty fabrics, sheets, clothing  and such.  Sometimes the fabrics are still in very good condition or even new condition.   The cost of fabric at the fabric store for new fabric is getting out of sight, especially when the purpose is for rug making.  So why not take advantage of re-using and repurposing fabrics, sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, curtains or old clothing into something practical and useful?

How to Make a Rag Rug

I thought I would welcome you into the world of rag rug making with something very simple.  This rag rug is crocheted using a large hook (I used a size M hook) and strips of fabric that are upcycled from found fabrics.

First, look thru what you have at home in your linen closet.  Look for unused sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, curtains, or whatever kind of fabrics you can find that you no longer have need of.  If you need more fabrics  go shopping! Yay! I especially l-o-v-e bargain shopping!!!! It's all about the thrill of the hunt, right folks?

So, keep your eyes open for fabrics that you can incorporate into your rugs.  Ashamedly, I have to admit that I have a more than ample supply of fabrics that I can recycle into rugs.  But if you are a rug maker it is nice to find fabrics that coordinate with one another, right?  Yes! But, if you can not find coordinating fabrics I have seen many beautiful rugs that are just all different colors of fabric.  Strip by strip they all incorporate into a nice rug! It all works!

Now you have some fabric.  So start tearing your fabric into strips.  First snip down about two inches long across the  width of the fabric about every two or three inches.  I usually tear the strips about a couple of inches wide. The wider the strips, the larger the hook you will use.  Yes, I tear my fabric strips.  I then pull off  as many of the strings that I can.  I don't stress over what I can not pull off.  As the rug is being made, washed and used everything just works out.  Ok?  So.....don't stress! It will be beautiful!

You can also cut your fabric strips with scissors or a rotary cutter.  Not my way of doing things but if you are that kind of a gal then go that route.  All of that tearing up of the fabric is actually kind of fun and very stress relieving! Do this job outside!  Lots of fiber dust comes off when you are tearing those fabric strips.  For that reason  I recommend that you wear a dust mask.  And especially make sure to wear a dust mask if you have any respiratory issues.  Protect those lungs!

Fabric strips for rag rug making

After I tear my fabric into strips I fold my fabric strips and put them into neat little piles and store them in see thru  zip lock bags.  That way when I am ready to begin my rug making I have already accomplished that part of the process and can go to my stash and grab out the fabrics that I want to use. 

There are several ways to join your fabric strips.  You can hand or machine sew them together.  Or you can use the "fold, snip, and attach" method, as I refer to it!  Do not make this harder than it is.  It is really very, very simple.  Ok?  When you are ready to add a new strip of fabric follow these steps:  Take your time..... and just follow these directions step by step! Don't make it harder than it is!  I apologize that I can't add a photo for this step, but I only have two hands!

First, as you are crocheting along and near the end of your WORKING fabric strip, fold the end of the fabric down about an inch and with a pair of sharp, pointed scissors just take a little snip into that fold (only big enough that when unfolded back out that your next strip of fabric will fit into the hole that you just cut).

Next, choose a fabric strip that you want to connect to your working fabric strip.  We will call this the NEW strip.  Do the same thing.  Fold the end of the fabric strip down about an inch and cut a little snip into the fold of the NEW fabric strip about the same size as the cut that you made into your working strip.  Easy enough, right?

Place your NEW strip that you are adding ON TOP of your WORKING strip aligning the little hole snips in the fabric. 

OK..... now pick up the tail end of your NEW strip and from the bottom or underneath the two strips being held together just insert the tail end  of the NEW strip into the holes cut in the two strips that you are holding together on top of one another.

Pull the tail end that you just fed thru the cut all the way thru until your strips are joined.  Tug gently on the strips and that will join the WORKING strip to the NEW STRIP.  Viola!! You have now added your two strips together without sewing!  

The above rag rug was made in a square(ish) shape.  You can make them round, oval, rectangular and more.  For simplicity we are making this one square(ish). 

This rag rug was made using only a chain stitch (which made the foundation row) and single crochet stitches.  Both of these stitches are very simple.  If you do not know how to do a chain stitch or a single crochet stitch I am going to refer you to the wonderful world of YouTube.  Simply type into the YouTube search bar "crochet chain stitch" and "single crochet stitch" and you will find many tutorials of how to do these simple stitches.



Fabric Strips
A crochet hook that is the appropriate size for your strips
( I used a size M or 9 MM hook)
(The wider your strips are the larger hook you will need)
Yarn rug needle with a big eye

Foundation: Chain 41 stitches

Row 1:  Single crochet into the first chain stitch and into each chain stitch to the end of the row. Chain 1. Turn.

Row 2:  Chain into the first single crochet and into each single crochet to the end of the row. Chain one. Turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you have made the rug as long as you want it to be. 

Bind off   (YouTube videos will show you how)  OR you can first single crochet around the entire rug for as many rounds as you would like in order to give your rug a more finished look)  To accomplish neat corners simply single crochet three stitches into your corner stitches to allow for a smooth transition in the corners.  Then bind off if you choose to crochet around the entire rug.
With a large eye yarn needle, weave in any ends.


Handmade Rag Rug

That's it!!
Crocheted Rag Rug
I hope that this tutorial on how to make a rag rug is helpful for you to be able to make your own rag rugs!

Are you excited and ready to make a rug?  I hope you will come back to tell me all about it and to  show me your creations!!

Happy rag rug making!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Paper Crafts: Make Handmade Embellished Gift Tags

I love quick little craft projects and handmade gift tags are just that!  

And I love that little bits and pieces can be turned into something useful and pretty.

Scraps of lace, trims, old buttons, photos or artwork,

stamped or vintage images, watercolors, paints, inks, and so much more 
can all be incorporated into little art projects and handmade gift tags!

The next time that you have a wee bit of time, grab your craft box, pick some pretty papers,
 baubles, bits, trims, stamps or whatever you have on hand and create something beautiful!