Sunday, January 15, 2012

Receiving Blanket Rag Rug

In my last blog I shared how I picked up a new hobby and was teaching myself to crochet.  I started off small with a simple scarf and a simple stitch.  But I quickly became hooked on finding new things I wanted to learn to crochet.  I stumbled across a few rag rug tutorials on the Internet and decided that would be my next project.  It seems the t-shirt rag rugs are quite the fad these days, but I came up with another and more sentimental idea. I decided to use our son's old receiving blankets to make the rag rug.  Our son is 4 years old, but I've saved nearly everything from both our kids, and this seemed like a much better way to keep the blankets than in a tote in a closet!

Here's a picture of the stack of blankets I started with.  I ended up only using 8 of them.  A couple were in too bad of shape they probably shouldn't have been saved in the first place.  Once you've decided on your "material" of choice, next comes the most time consuming part of the project:  turning it into "yarn" to crochet with.

Each of the tutorials I read explained different ways of doing this part, but they didn't work out so well for me.  The first blanket I started off by marking off lines on the blanket every inch and made all of my cuts before I began tearing.  Not all of the tears ended up where they were supposed to, so I scrapped that method.  I found the easiest way to do it was to simply make a small cut about an inch in from the edge of the fabric and tear a line down to the other end, stopping about an inch from the edge.  Then you make another cut on the edge about an inch over from where your tear was and repeat the process.  You end up with one long piece of "yarn" by making these zigzagged cuts.

Once you finish the tearing (which is quite the stress reliever by the way!), roll it up into a ball to make for easy tangle free crochet when you get started on your rug.  All the tutorials I read recommended preparing all of your balls of yarn in advance, but I did each one as I was ready for it.  I didn't know how big the rug would actually get, or how big I really wanted it to be, and I also didn't want to cut up any blankets I wasn't going to use.  So I did one at a time.  Here's what one blanket looks like as a ball.

When you are ready to start, you'll probably want a pattern to follow.  I looked and looked and basically discovered that most people don't use a pattern to make rag rugs.  For a beginner who's not really sure what they're doing, I suppose that's good and bad.  I did finally figure out how to get started with the round rug by  chaining 6 and then making a slip stitch to connect the chain.  If you already know how to crochet that will make sense to you.  If not, watch a couple "how to crochet for beginners" videos on YouTube.  Everything I know about crochet know, I learned from there (and a little trial and error on my own).  Then do 2 single crochets in each stitch of the chain.  From there you just single crochet in each stitch and keep going around and around the circle.  Every so often, add an extra single crochet in a stitch to increase the size.  Keep it loose or else it gets hard to work with.  And if the edges start to pull up, you should be adding more extra stitches to increase the rounds.  If the rug starts to wrinkle and doesn't lie flat, you are probably increasing too often.  It's all just see how it feels as you go.  This picture below is the first blanket finished.

 Three blankets done.  The second two blankets I used were identical.  Joining the blankets is probably the trickiest part once you actually start making the rug.  Knotting them together can leave a bump that won't be that comfortable to stand or sit on.  I found this tutorial,, that has a great tip on how to connect each ball of yarn, so that's what I did!  If there are any little ends or corners that stick up just push them to the back of the rug.

Four blankets done.  It was just under 2 feet across at this point.  I'm still amazed at how easy this turned out to be and how quickly it grows!  At this point I was no longer working on it in my lap.  I laid it on the floor in front of the couch and sat on it while I crocheted.  It is really soft, but then again it is made from well worn cotton and flannel receiving blankets!!

And here is the finished rug.  After 8 blankets, and a couple scraps to help finish the blue all the way around the edge, it came in at 34 inches in diameter.  And fits perfectly in front of the kids' bookcase in the playroom.  

I'm planning to figure out how to make the rectangular version next because I'm in need of some rugs for the kitchen.  When I do, I'll be sure to post all about it here!

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