Rag rugs can be made by weaving together fabric strips. These craft projects provide a simple way to recycle old fabric scraps, bed sheets, tablecloths or curtains. Fabric strips are woven together in a method similar to crocheting, though it's not necessary to know how to crochet before beginning this craft. Many artisans create their own rag rug tool by modifying a simple toothbrush. The simplest project to begin with is a circular rag rug, according to the Rag Rug Café website. As your skill level improves, you may wish to tackle an oval, square or rectangle shaped rug. Skilled artisans also create rugs with unique shapes such as hearts and diamonds.
Cut fabric into one-inch wide strips. Each strip should be about three to six feet long. Fold the top of one slit over about an inch and cut a small slit into the fabric. Repeat at the bottom of the fabric strip. Do this for all of the strips.
Cut the bristled head off the end of a toothbrush. Use an electric grinder to grind the end into a sharp point. Drill a hole through the opposite end large enough to thread through a one-inch wide strip of fabric. This toothbrush tool will aid in the rug making process.
Hold two fabric strips side by side, vertically. Take the right-hand strip and poke it through the slit on the top of the left-hand strip. Take the right-hand strip and pull it through the slit about one to two inches. Thread the right-hand strip through the slit at the bottom of the same (right-hand) strip. Pull tightly to form a small knot joining the strips together. This is also the method a rug maker will use to add a new strip when the fabric starts to become too short.
Bend the two strips at the centre knot so they are side by side once again. Push a safety pin through the knot and secure it to a surface such as a pillow, comforter or cushion. Thread the bottom of the left- hand strip through the hole in the toothbrush tool. Secure with a knot.
Take the left-hand strip and loop it over the right-hand strip. Bring the bottom of the left-hand strip (with the tool) under the right-hand strip. Pull upwards to form a knot. Leave the knot slightly loose to make it easier to create the second row. Repeat three more times to form a chain of four knots.
Turn the fabric strips around so that the left-hand strip is on the outside, facing the opposite direction of the four knots made in Step 5. The right-hand strip will be closest to the knots made previously. Take the left-hand strip and bring it over the right-hand strip to form a loop. Push the pointed end of the toothbrush tool through the hole in the top knot made in Step 5. Continue to thread the left-hand strip through the knot and under the right-hand strip. Pull tightly to create a knot next to the knot formed in Step 5.
Repeat the process described in Step 6. With each new stitch, poke the toothbrush tool through the hole just below the hole used in the previous stitch. After the second row has been completed on all four knots, turn the project around. Complete the stitches on the back side of the original knots. This should form a small circle. At this point it's best to remove the safety pin, as it probably hinders more than helps.
Continue to repeat the basic knot stitch in a circular motion around the rug. With each new row, the rug will continue to become wider. Add fabric using the process described in Step 3 whenever necessary. When the rug is large enough, tie the fabric strip in a tight, secure knot and trim off excess fabric.
Be sure to keep knots somewhat loose, making it easier to push the toothbrush tool through the knots with each new row. Choose a flat, inexpensive toothbrush. Ones with grips and grooves on the handles do not work well. Virtually any type of fabric will work well for this project, although very stretchy fabrics may be difficult to work with.
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to keep knots somewhat loose, making it easier to push the toothbrush tool through the knots with each new row. Choose a flat, inexpensive toothbrush. Ones with grips and grooves on the handles do not work well. Virtually any type of fabric will work well for this project, although very stretchy fabrics may be difficult to work with.