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Old 10-12-2011, 07:54 AM   #1
Marielle
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Default Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)

Okay, while I'm in the mood I figured I'd get a head start on putting some info out there for anyone interested. In order for everyone to participate you can pick one of many options but I'll focus on one and then provide resources/answers to questions for the rest:

1. Toothbrush rug which is woven with a toothbrush needle and the thumb using strips of fabric.
2. Crochet done both in yarn or fabric strips usually with a bulkier hook
3. Knit, again in yarn or fabric strips but on bulkier needles. This one is the toughest on the hands since the stitches remain and are manipulated on the needles while crochet or toothbrush version only the working stitch is on the tool. But it's possible.

You can definitely use yarn (I've done 2 strands of cotton held together for a crochet rug), fabric strips (both wovens and knits) but you can also use plarn (plastic yarn). Most people are familiar with reusing grocery bags but that can be a bit limiting in color scheme. You can find flagging tape at the hardware store (the kind used for surveys, it's just a roll of thin plastic strip that isn't sticky). Plarn is great for outdoor rugs or anything that needs a scrubby factor.

I was looking for inspiration recently so I finally joined pinterest to have a board going for rag rugs. Mostly because people imagine ducks, roosters and all manner of slightly outdated country decor when they think of rag rugs. I was looking for brighter and maybe more mod versions. Here it is:

http://pinterest.com/marielle448/rag...ll-variations/

I'll come back sometime later this week (maybe today but not sure) to post the method for the toothbrush rugs and add instructions, etc.
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Last edited by Marielle; 10-13-2011 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

ducks are the first thing that come to mind when I think of rag rugs.

Going to check out your pinterest. I'd like a rug in my kitchen. . . I may be back.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

oooh, I loved the last one I made, but it stalled out at the very end because it was a tad too small and I couldn't find the right color to finish it.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

No worries K - My mom did her stint with the dusty blue/beige duck decor too. I think it was required in the 90s or something. I'm positive our daughters will look back in horror at this generation's propensity for bright, white, modern or the chocolate+anycolor decor. We'll be the new 50s/60s.

Amber, I can sympathize. I think I've had a bit of a stall with each rag rug I've made (I've got 2 full size and 2 minis). I also think that a more instant gratification project with this method would be a table top trivet or some coasters too. I'm definitely considering a bowl too on the horizon. This time around I'm interested in a rectangle and maybe a tshirt incarnation for the bathroom. Our bathroom rugs get washed so often (little boys 'nuff said) that those rubber backed ones just don't last long enough. I put a separate liner under my rag rugs (just rubbery shelf liner stuff) which means I can chuck the rug in the wash that much more without worries. I think DH would love a cushy tshirty rug for his shower step out area (and the toothbrush method makes THE cushiest, thickest, iron wearing rugs ever).
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Last edited by Marielle; 10-13-2011 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

I'm cautiously interested....
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

I'm very interested. I would love to make something that we could use in the living room (from scraps we have) and not worry about anything happening to it. I bought a big crochet hook to do something like this, but that's as far as I have gotten.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

I'm in desperate need of another project.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

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Old 10-13-2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

SWS - LOL. Glad I could provide some evil distraction.

Okay onto part 2.

I'll be focusing on the toothbrush rug method but aside from the way the stitch is formed the rest of the tips also apply to crochet and to some extent a knit rug as well. Here's some history/info on the method as I learned it. http://thelibrary.org/lochist/period...weet/sp81g.htm And here's another site that came up recently with some more info and videos. http://www.ragrugcafe.com/ Also, this guy is an enthusiast and like the first link to the Missouri library site uses a method that doesn't involve a "runner" piece of fabric. http://toothbrushrugs.blogspot.com/ He has some videos on youtube but I find them a bit hard to see so I'll post a couple of videos myself in the next posts. Most toothbrush rugs today involve carrying one strip of fabric as the "runner" and another one as the working strip. The stitch is formed around the runner with the working strip. That drives me crazy so the other method with just a working strip is my preferred method.

The tool:

1. You'll need to locate a toothbrush needle. You can buy one at Aunt Philly's http://www.auntphillys.com/html/needle.html or I've seen some on etsy.

2. If you're too impatient like I was you can make your own needle using a toothbrush with a hole in the handle. Here's a tutorial for making your own out of a toothbrush or a spatula. http://www.hookyarnandneedles.com/oldstuff/Rndl For reference, my aunt philly toothbrush needle is 4.25" long, 0.50" wide, 1/8" thick and the hole is 1/4" in diameter on the inside.

3. If you google toothbrush needle you can also find some people selling wood versions if that's your preference. Here's one on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/WOODEN-TOOTH...-/280431187273

4. A final option is the desperate but quick one. I did not want to wait the first time I made a rug so I used a plastic yarn needle. It was thinner than a toothbrush needle but the eye big enough to slip the fabric in and the one I used had a bent tip. It wasn't any harder to use than the toothbrush needle, just a bit different. The longer one in this pic is exactly like the one I used: http://halcyonyarn.com/products/Equipment/70002150.html


The materials. This being a rag rug you can definitely use rags (old clothes, sheets, yardage you don't particularly like as a whole). Wovens are the original fabric used, typically old sheets or clothes. I would stick with something similar to quilter's cottons since they are not too heavy, nor too light. I've seen jeans used but for your first project I would say they're a bit too heavy. You can also use knit fabric, typically tshirts, or jersey sheets or even yardage if you want to get fancy. However, I would advise against mixing different types of fabric. Either do wovens OR knits but not both. Knits, once cut into strips will stretch a bit to a thinner strip as you manipulate them into the stitch and it could get kind of funky looking between a thicker stitch with wovens and a bit thinner stitch with knits.

My first toothbrush rug was an oval about 2 1/2 feet long and shy of 2 feet wide. IIRC it took about 7ish yards of 44" wide fabric. These things will eat up fabric so don't be surprised if you need more at the end, and then more, and then more. Also I found that fabric with no wrong side worked great but even if you get prints or something that does have a white side to it it ends up looking fine or you can sort of keep an eye on the way the fabric is facing as you weave to keep the majority of the right side facing out. I'm not too picky about that.

If you're crocheting a good option is also kitchen cotton. The rug in front of my kitchen sink is a scrap kitchen cotton rug. I think I used a K hook, carried two strands of cotton yarn and done in single crochet as an oval. I had a bunch of bright scraps of yarn that I carried along with a huge cone of white/yellow ombre adding the brighter remnants as another color finished. I won't lie, I ran out of remnants and had to buy more yarn to finish the rug (it's about 3 1/2 " long and about 18" wide) but it was fun to have something mindless to do in front of the TV. You can also crochet with fabric strips but I would recommend a larger hook, either an N, P or Q depending on your fabric and gauge.

Back to the fabric. ALWAYS prewash your fabric. Don't skimp on this. With old shirts, or sheets this isn't an issue but if you're buying new tshirts, fabric or other items then prewash to avoid the heartache of bleeding colors and/or a fabric feeling very different once the starch has washed off. I'm very lazy but not when it comes to prewashing.

Once your fabric has been washed and dried you need to cut strips. If you're crocheting a rag rug you'll prefer to have as much of a continuous strip as possible. Here is a good method for turning a chunk of fabric into a continous strip. http://www.craftstylish.com/item/472...et-with-fabric and here's another way of getting continous yarn when cutting up a tshirt. http://www.craftpassion.com/2009/05/...hirt-yarn.html

For the toothbrush method you'll need manageable strips so not continous. I usually cut 2" wide strips and while you can go precise and use a mat+rotary cutters+ruler precision isn't necessary. The one I made my daughter I just eyeballed the strips and cut them as needed on my lap with shears. Not exact by any means. Cut as you go or cut all at first, whatever works for you.

Next I'll show you how to make your "start" and then begin the rug itself. I hope to shoot some video too but if you can't wait the rag rug cafe and the blog posted earlier are a good start too. I realize this is quite a bit of info. It may seem overwhelming but this is typical for me. I hem, haw, research, research some more and then finally I make. I can't just jump in and actually make mistakes (although I still do). No, I have to overdo the planning stages. Thanks for putting up with me.

Oh and if you want to geek out on something cool, look at this method of turning fabric into something more like yarn.

http://mademoisellechaos.blogspot.co...ic-scraps.html
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong

Cool. Our current flannel bedsheets have a hole in them, and more coming...and DH made me buy new ones. So, I am going to make a bathroom rug out of them. Crochet. Thanks for the idea Marielle!! You're da best.

---------- Post added at 06:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:18 PM ----------

Checked out the zig-zag method of cutting up fabric for crocheting...WOW that needle she has is GINORMOUS!!! I have a big one, but it's definitely not THAT big! It's like a horse tooth!
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)

I was just wondering what to do with my old sheets! Perfect! Now when will I find the time...
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)

I will not start a new project. I will not start a new project. I will not....

Oooh! How cool would it be to make a rag rug?!

I will not start a new project.....

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Old 10-16-2011, 06:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)



This is interesting to me, but alas, no time! Maybe next summer.
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)

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Old 10-17-2011, 06:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rag Rug Craftalong (part 2 posted)

no worries about not being able to do it now or having tons of time to finish. we can all share progress pics and those who want to try it later on can as well. I'm heading out the door soon but hope to have some fabric prepping by today to get started.

Eta: also went sleuthing for a more reliable fabric estimator than my memory and found something that estimates about 12 yards for a 3x2 foot oval rug.
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