Over the years, I have filed the idea away in my head of making a rag rug. The project I really wanted to try was a Martha Stewart bath mat made from braided towels. I have had that project on my mental list for years now. However, the thing that held me back from wanting to actually MAKE a braided rag rug was the whole sewing issue. I really didn’t want to sit there and hand-sew all the braids together into a rug.
Enter the huge crochet hook!
I had a Craftster swap partner who mentioned she would like to receive a kitchen rag rug, and so I made her a small crocheted rug in about two hours. I ripped up some stash fabric I had (that was too junky to actually use to sew anything – why was it in my stash?) and a vintage sheet I recently picked up at the thrift store. The rug went together so fast that I started another one. It’s the perfect activity to do while watching TV.
I ripped up strips from stash fabric (easy to rip), sheets (easy also), old curtains (easy), and clothing (not as easy!). Basically, if the item to be ripped up is in flat and straight pieces, it’s pretty easy to turn into fabric strips.
To rip a flat sheet, I undo any hems, then cut a one-inch notch in the fabric about one inch in from the hem. Rip all the way to the other side of the sheet, but don’t rip to the very edge. Leave a quarter-inch bit unripped, and then cut a notch about one inch in and continue ripping. In this way, you will get one long strip of fabric. Roll ripped fabric into balls like yarn.
How much yarn will I get from a sheet? Assuming your strips are exactly one inch in width, a queen sized flat sheet will yield approximately 255 yards of yarn. (The math: a queen flat sheet is 90×102 inches. 90 times 102 strips in one-inch widths = 9180 inches. Divide by 12 to get 765 feet of yarn. Divide by 3 to get 255 yards. Tell me if I did my math wrong!)
Right now, the rug is getting big (about 5 feet x 5 feet) and one queen sized flat sheet ripped up into approx. 1” strips made four rows of crochet.
To join ripped pieces, you can just tie the ends together in a square knot (if you don’t mind the nubs in your finished rug), or just twist them together when you are crocheting to create a more seamless join.
To rip something like clothing, you have to be more creative, and it involves more cutting and less ripping. It also doesn’t yield much “yarn”. Something that is relatively long and flat, like pants or maybe a bathrobe or big nightshirt might be worth working on.
More experienced crocheters might have better info about this, but I just started by making a chain of 12, then single crocheting 2 in from the edge. I sc’d to the end, and then did about 4 scs in the last stitch (to go around the corner). Continue sc-ing. Do 2 scs in one stitch when you get near the corners. I kind of just randomly add stitches – about 6-10 per trip around the rug. Like I said, I’m sure there is a much more perfect way to do this, but it’s working for me.
When I get done with my big rug (I call it “a monstrosity”), I’m going to block it by laying it on the floor and covering it with damp towels overnight. We’ll see how well that works!