A crochet rag rug has a special place in the hearts of people who love country style in their home. These rugs were created in grandmother's day to utilize scraps of fabric and worn out clothing. The cloth was cut into strips, sewn together, and then rolled into a ball. When there was enough material, it would be crocheted into colorful rag rugs. This project was something that every frugal homemaker did.
Recycle Those Clothes
While the same need to be frugal may not be the reason most crafters make crochet rugs today, it is a great way to keep fabric out of the landfill. Crochet rag rugs are a great, eco-friendly recycling project.
You can use the fabric to make tote bags, placemats, and other items as well. Once you learn the basics, the rest is a matter of your imagination.
Turn the Fabric into Yarn
The first thing that needs to be done is to choose your fabrics. Look for old, torn clothing that can't be used anymore. If you find that you don't have enough fabric around the house, check garage sales and thrift shops. You can also ask friends for the clothes that they would otherwise throw away. Sheets are another great source of fabric for this project. In fact, any type of cotton or poly-cotton blend will work. Wash the fabric and iron if necessary.
Using a rotary cutter is easiest. Scissors will work if you don't have a cutter. Cut the fabric into strips that are 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. Some people rip the fabrics, but this can cause pulling that could affect the finished product.
When all of the fabric has been turned into strips, begin to sew them together at the ends. With right sides facing each other, place the ends at a 90 degree angle and sew from corner to corner. Use a ¼ inch seam allowance. This creates a bias seam.
Turn the raw edges into the middle of the strip. Some people do this as they are rolling the ball into yarn and others press the edges to set them. Whichever way you prefer is fine. Once all the fabric is prepared it is time to crochet your rug.
Crochet Rag Rug Instructions
You will need to use at least a size J hook. Depending on the size of your fabric, you may need an even bigger hook.
Have a needle and thread and scissors close by. When you get to the end of one ball of fabric attach the next at a 90 degree angle by hand sewing a seam like the machine sewn seams that you made originally.
Begin to Crochet
As with all crochet you will begin by making a chain. The size of the chain will depend on how big you want the finished rug to be. For a large rug of approximately 36 inches, you will want to begin with a 12 inch chain. For smaller rugs, a 6 inch chain will be fine.Some people crochet over twine to make the rug sturdier. Since the entire rug is worked in single crochet, this is easily done.
Skip one chain and make three single crochet in the next stitch. Work in the back loop only of the foundation chain and make one single crochet in each stitch down one side of the chain. Make three single crochet in the end and then single crochet down the other side of the chain.
Rounds are not joined and do not need to be marked. Make two single crochets in each of the three end crochets, and one single crochet in each of the crochets on the sides. Continue rounds in the same way for the next three or four rows.
After this, you will need to add increases to the ends. Since each fabric is different, it is hard to say how many increases will be needed to allow the rug to lie flat. Be sure to evenly space your increases and only make them at the ends.
When the crochet rag rug is the size you want, finish off by slip stitching into the next three stitches and pull the fabric tail through several stitches in the back of the rug. Tack down with thread.
Taking Care of Your Handcrafted Rug
The rugs are very sturdy. They can be machine washed, but are very heavy when wet. They dry best in the sun rather than in a dryer. Other than washing, shake the rugs out regularly to keep the grit and dirt out of the fibers. These particles can cause wear and weaken the rug. Vacuum the rug as necessary.
Some of the rugs that are found in thrift and antique shops have been in use for nearly a century and are still going strong. With care, your crochet rug should last for a very long time.