About 30 years ago an older woman explained to me how to crochet a rug using bias strips.
I made 3 rugs at that time.
More recently I decided to try to use up some of this huge stash of quilting fabric purchased from about 1978 through 2010. I have way too much and am only saving out what I have already set aside for specific quilts or fabrics I really love.
It slipped my mind of exactly what I had done, after all these years, so I got online only to become frustrated with the methods I was finding and trying to do. I did remember that I had cut my fabric on the bias.
My problem...The strips are too wide, they are cut on the straight of grain and they suggest a large plastic crochet hook.
As we get older, our hands tend to 'wear out'. All of the hand work I do and 19 years of hand drawing rug hooking patterns has caused some serious tendonitus in my thumb joint (I never thought it would happen to ME!) Just glad it's not carpel tunnel.
Those wide strips cut on the straight of grain and that large plastic hook that doesn't slide as well as a metal hook was so painful that I threw what I had done in the trash, and I had only hooked a small circle!
So this prompted me to dig way back into my memory banks along with inspecting my older rugs that are still on the floor and holding up extremely well...after 30 years!
Here's what I consider a much easier way to crochet a rug using fabric strips....at least for me so I thought I would share.
If the strips are cut on the bias they have a little 'stretch' and will crochet significantly more easily than straight grain strips that won't 'give'.
I can use almost any piece of cotton fabric from my stash although the larger the piece the longer the strips. Fat quarters work too but a 1/4 yard cut is a bit too narrow but can still be used, you'll just end up with a lot of short strips.
My stash has been pre-washed, not sure if it really matters though...
Using a cutting mat, rotary cutter and a 24" ruler with a 45 degree line,
align the 45 degree line along the selvage (Very bottom of the picture, click on pic for a larger image). This is a single layer of fabric and it does not matter if the right side or wrong side of the fabric is facing up.
Trim away the corner and discard.
Place your ruler on that bias cut and cut a 1" wide strip.
As the bias edge gets longer with more and more cuts, fold your fabric aligning the bias edges.
Continue cutting 1" strips until you can't stand to do it any longer! It does get boring!
I cut a small pile from each color of fabric I have and then mix them up, place them in a basket and bring the whole lot to the sewing machine.
The other thing I prefer is joining my strips using a sewing machine. I can sew a strip together in a quarter of the time rather than doing the other method of joining strips which I won't show here because I don't like the lump it creates and it just makes it harder to crochet.
I know some of you do not have a sewing machine or don't sew and you can still join the strips together using the other method but you will have to look at other blogs for that information. (it's when you slit each end and then slip the new strip thru the slit and pull tight)
Onto joining by machine...
place 2 ends together...opposite so that you have 2 little dog ears showing, one on each side.
For me it does not matter if the strips are right sides together, I just join them as they come and I don't pay any attention to it because the strips will twist as you crochet anyway.
Sometimes the right sides will show and sometimes the wrong sides will show.
Chain sew...meaning do not cut the threads between joins...just let the machine sew several stitches and then feed another pair of strips under the foot (you do not need to raise the pressure foot to do this).
Keep going until you have a large pile (or you get bored)
then start snipping the thread in between.
I snip about 5 or 6 joining threads, roll the strips into a ball, repeat snipping a few and repeat rolling...
When your ball is used up, sew together another pile of strips, roll into a ball and attach it to your last strip of your rug by machine (I have used a needle and thread when I have been away from home).
I use a metal crochet hook, Size K, as it slides so easily thru the fabric compared to a plastic...I have not tried wood.
I love the vintage Boye crochet hooks most, they have a better 'hook' and it seems to grab the yarn (in this case...fabric) better than any others I have tried.
I crochet using a single crochet throughout the entire rug.
start with 3 chains, slip stitch into the first chain and from then on it's single crochet.
**You will have to increase or you'll end up with a bowl.**
To increase, make 2 single crochet in one space.
This you will have to judge on your own, there is no exact method of increasing.
I watch what my single crochet loops look like, if I'm pulling a loop way too far to my left in order to insert my hook into the next space, then I will make a 2nd single crochet in the same space before I move onto the next space.
It varies as the size of the rug changes.
I place the rug on the floor before adding a new ball and tug it a little and sort of gently force it into shape, if it won't go then you have definitely not increased enough, if it ripples you have increased way too much. Either way, you'll have to rip it out and start over so go slow and take a break...place it on a flat surface and see what it looks like.
I leave it lying flat on the floor when I'm not working on it, when I resume I find that it keeps it's shape. I then crochet a few rounds and back on a flat surface it goes...just to be sure I'm on the right track with my increases.
Amount of fabric you need?
I started with a very large pile and I have no clue how big this will get.
Once I finish this rug I will weigh it and measure the rug, that will give me a pretty good idea for future rugs...because yes!!! I can crochet this way with no pain or more damage to my hand!
Plus use up some of this ridiculous hoard of fabric for sturdy rugs.
I will add the amount of fabric and size here when the rug is finished.
As for the colors? I didn't really care what I chose, the darker blue may be a bit stronger than the rest but it gives it some interest rather than all of the colors being pretty much the same value.
After all, I want it to look old fashioned and scrappy. I hope it fades a little...maybe it will look 'vintage'!
I have another large pile of burgundy, browns and some green fabric all ready for the next rug because I can't wait to start another one...what a difference compared to total frustration with the wide non stretchy strips!!!