Posts tagged rag rug

here’s what i know about makin’ a rag rug

So now I’ve made a rag rug, and before we leave this subject (and all those tshirts) behind for a good while, I want to share what I learned with you all. Okay,…maybe I just want to show you another picture….

rag rug with jackdog

Overview:  I made my rug out of tshirts I cut up into yarn. I then used a size 11 crochet hook, chained about 8 stitches and connected them in a circle. After that I just continuously worked my way around with a single crochet into each stitch.

When it started to bow up like this:
rag rug needs stitches

I added more a few more stitches in here and there.

When it started to curl up like this:
rag rug too many stitches

I went back and took a few stitches out.  It should lay flat.

I wanted my rug to be an oval, so I purposefully added more stitches on the ends and less on the sides. Here are some things I learned are important in your rug making adventure:

1. Make sure you have a lot of material. You’ll need more than you think you will. I’m guessing that I put at least 75 shirts into my rug. It turned out to be about 5 1/2 feet long by 4 feet wide.

2. Make your strips uniform. Because I worked on my rug at random times (while watching The Wire (with which I am now obsessed)) my tshirt yarn ended up being somewhat un-uniform. This poses a problem because the thick yarn pulls too hard on the thin yarn. See here:

rag rug

See how the pink strip is pulling the blue/gray strip? This makes the rug unstable. I didn’t realize this until I was well into the rug, so I dealt with it by going back and tying little strips around those unstable parts like this:

rag rug repaired

To be honest, this alternating thick and thin yarn bugged me too because I like symmetry and the rug was already so irregular with the mix of colors. The different size yarn, to me, makes it look all the more uneven and unplanned. But, if you like that sort of thing, then, by all means, mix it all up! (I’m looking at you Meg!)

3. The rug is totally malleable. Even when you think you’re finished, you can stretch and pull and manipulate its shape. This may seem obvious to you, but I was disappointed with how round my rug had become when I was almost finished. Luckily I was able to pull on the ends and smoosh in the sides and create the oval shape I wanted. But that being said,…

4. Go in with a plan. A circle would be really easy. An oval isn’t difficult, it just takes more planning, so if that’s what you want, make sure you’re working towards that goal. (In rug making, as in life.)

I wish I had something else to share with you, but really it’s easy. You can’t really screw it up. If you do feel as though you’ve messed up, you just take your stitches out and re-do it.

Now, we are finished with tshirts and rugs. For the time being. Actually, there are a number of ways to make rag rugs – crocheting is just one of them. You can tie, braid, sew, etc. You can use sheets, actual rags, old clothes, etc. Hmmm…maybe next year.

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tshirt rug: a retrospective

I finally finished my expletive tshirt rug!

tshirt rug complete

I was pretty tired of it when all was said and done. After I tied down the last stitch, I grunted my way up from the floor, took a look and harumphed out of the room. I peeked back in a few hours later and I was in love! I think this is why I craft – the feeling of accomplishing something. I didn’t know what I was doing (or why I was doing it for that matter) when I started my rug. But after hours of labor and thought and attempting, undoing, and retrying, I’ve finally accomplished something. Maybe it’s a rug, but it’s a Something.

Let’s have a look back at the evolution of the ole tshirt rug. It was only yesterday that you were a mere idea in my mind…

This is hilarious now, but here are the tshirt yarn balls I started with. I really thought I would make a rug out of these….

tshirt yarn

…and then we got this tiny thing.

tshirt rug 1

Actually, I was really proud of it at that point. I wish I could have kept up with the color scheme, but I didn’t have enough shirts. That’s when I started scouring all my resources for free tshirts.

tshirt rug 2

Progress! Feelin’ good! Oh wait, how big is it really?
tshirt rug 2 with jack

I really didn’t have use for a tshirt doormat, so I kept going.

tshirt rug 3

Hey, we’re gettin’ somewhere. This was when poor Jackdog decided it was his new bed, which made it difficult to work on. He’s a big guy. So I gave in and bought somewhere around 30 tshirts. Whatever size rug I was going to end up with after that would be it!
tshirt yarn balls

Now you see why those first 8 balls are so laughable? So, long-story-long, I’m finished! I’m finished! And it’s nice. (I’m a bit surprised.)

tshirt rug 4

tshirt rug complete with jack

If you’re interested, look back in a couple of days and I’ll post about all the things I learned. If you’re not interested, look back anyway just to be nice to me. Thanks, friend.

So that’s it! I’m finished! What the heck do I do with myself now?

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i’m still makin’ stuff!

Actually, not so much. I’ve got a couple problems. (I meant craft related problems guys, geez.) First of all, I’m a little burned out. I was really motivated when I had just moved into my apartment, but now I feel pretty settled. Actually, I think the place is looking pretty cute. But all that makin’ stuff has left me out of ideas. 

Segundo problemo is I am workin’ on some things, but they’re Christmas gifts so I can’t go postin’ them on the internets. I’m sure something weird and crafty will come to me soon.

Anyway, today I did make some stuff. Rather, I cooked some stuff. Slllooowwwwlllyyyy. Apparently I am a slow, messy cook, and I can only do one thing at a time. This all came to light tonight. In fact, I still have something in the oven that I’m angrily checking every 5 minutes in hopes that it’s done and I can go to bed. So I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be a dinner-party-hostess-lady, but I make a swell guest! (just sayin)

Tomorrow afternoon I’m heading over to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. So of course I did that thing that you’re never supposed to do because I’m that kind of person: I cooked three things that I’ve never cooked before.

1. Sausage/Cheese Balls. I accidentally made what felt like a billion because the cute meat dude at Sprouts threw some extra on top of what I ordered. I’ll invite you all to our wedding!


2. Baked Macaroni & Cheese. I just can’t show you this picture because I’m a terrible photographer and it looks really unappetizing (in the picture, not in real life) and I’m hoping the three people that are reading this will eat it tomorrow.

3. Gingerbread – partly because I love the way it smells, mostly because my grandma loves it.

gingerbread
If you’re thinking it would look fabulous with some powdered sugar on top, then I’m with you! Tomorrow, friends.

BY THE WAY, my never ending rag rug that I will never finish is coming along:

tshirt rug
Poor Jack thinks this is his bed now since I make him take pictures on it. Poor kid, I’m always having to teach him about disappointments.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you all surround yourselves with those that you love and give some of your time to those that love you.

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weekend recap: chicken IN waffles

I did it! I cooked the chicken and no one got violently ill. High-fives all around.

First of all I learned that you’re supposed to put egg in your frying batter. Whoops. The egg (apparently) keeps your deliciously flavored fried goodness from falling off your chicken.

if you look closely you can see yummy chicken with yummy batter falling off...

My sister wanted to try the chicken-and-waffles-on-a-stick, which was fun, but did unfortunately dry the chicken out.

When we got tired of workin’ so hard to put chicken on sticks we cut up the remaining chicken pieces, threw them on the waffle iron and poured the remaining batter on top. It actually turned out GREAT.

Oh, and as for that whole dipping thing, well my sister’s friend suggested simply putting red pepper flakes in our maple syrup. It was sweet, spicy and perfect.


I didn’t know it at the time, but I also made my new favorite thing in the whole world:  beet salad (recipe from The Neurotic Artisan). If you like beets, try this. If you don’t like beets, well try it anyway, maybe, if you don’t mind. It was delicious that night and then even more so the next day.

When I wasn’t cookin’ and movin’ stuff and elbowin’ folks out of my way at Wal-Mart when I knew better than to go there, I continued working on my rag rug.

By the way, it’s not supposed to look like this:

Or this:

But, the good news is that I’m figuring it out….and I’m almost finished!

I hope you all had productive and relaxing weekends.

And to those of you back in school….enjoy it while it lasts!

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i’m makin a rag rug

….and I’m not done yet. But I wanted to give y’all a preview, if you don’t mind, so I can explain what’s going on with it. It’s got a ways to go.

Here’s where we stand at the moment:

But now look at it with my shoes on top for size perspective:

I think we’re just getting started.

Things I’m proud of:

1) Progress. I’ve been wanting to do this a long time and I think it looks pretty fairly decently okay.

2) Colors. I like the mix of greens.

Things I don’t like:

1) Size. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought. I worked on it for a good while and proudly laid it on the floor only to discover that it’s basically an oversized trivet at the moment. I’ve also already used up almost all the tshirt yarn I made.

2) Colors. I don’t like that strip of light green that doesn’t make it the whole way around the outside. If I end up making the rug significantly bigger then maybe that one line won’t be a big deal, but for me (right now)  it makes the whole thing look a bit more rinky dink than it should.

So far I’ve really honed one particular skill while working on this rug – patience. When I complete it I will share with you the things I learn which you might actually find helpful. I can tell you from my short experience thus far that it’s pretty simple (if you’ve already got that patience thing down) and you can do it too!

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