Firstly I have to give credit to Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. I first saw these rugs on her blog post and was totally attracted to them. My method of making them is only slightly different from hers.
She suggests using size 35 needles. I had no idea what this size is, although I just looked it up on a conversion chart and see US size 35 converts to 19mm in metric which is what we use in Canada. But at the time I just knew I needed big needles and I went with the biggest I could find, which are US size 15 or 10mm. It is interesting for me to realize now that I am using such smaller needles than she has used.
Amanda Jean suggests fabric strips from 1/2 to 1 inch. I have used scraps that I collect from our local quilt shop which often include lots of fabric strings. For the first rug I used whatever size came along, but I found that some were very difficult to knit with because of the bulk. For the second rug I have cut down any that seemed too bulky to 1 1/8 inch. Many of the strips are narrower than that, but I don’t usually go smaller than about 1/2 inch, unless they are batiks or other “colour both sides” fabrics. Something that I do that she doesn’t mention is that any strips that are printed – ie the colour shows more on the “right” side of the fabric – I fold in half as I am knitting so the colour is showing on the outside. With any that are the same both sides, such as batiks, I don’t bother with this.
The other thing that I do differently from her is that she ties her strips together. She doesn’t say what kind of knot she uses. I have been using a knot that I found somewhere on the web (that I cannot find again now – too bad, that woman had some beautiful rugs). I thought it was called a “blood knot” but I have just looked that up and found that it is a completely different knot. I found some instructions on the internet about how to make this knot, but they all suggest making up a “ball” of “yarn” to work with. I add pieces as I go, sometimes adding on several pieces at a time, and sometimes only one, depending on the length of the strip.
Here is how you make this knot.
Fold over the end of the strip that is coming from your knitting in progress.
Cut a slit in the fabric. If you want your ends to be neater, cut this slit up to 1/4 inch away from the end of the fabric. I like the knobby knots for their texture and look so I am not very careful about my cuts and they are often 1/2 to 1 inch from the end.
Do the same thing in one end of the strip that you want to join on.
Insert the end of the strip coming from your work in progress through the slit in the new fabric strip. It is important to insert the strip from your work first, as otherwise you’ll have a problem. Try it the other way and you’ll see…
Now insert the end of the new strip through the slit in the old strip.
Pull the two strips taut to make the knot.
As you can see, my knot is going to be lumpy and bumpy, just like I want it. I am going to continue eroneously calling this a bloodknot because I think it fits.
For the rugs that I made and am making, I cast on 50 stitches. That was all I could fit on the needles. The rugs are knit in garter stitch, that is using a knit stitch on every row. I used a simple cast off stitch and wove the long ends from the start and the finish through the knitted rows. My rugs 23 inches wide by 29 inches long, just the right size for by a bed or in front of the kitchen sink. They could easily be longer if one just kept knitting. To be wider one would have to have longer needles, or perhaps a circular needle.
There are various instructions on the internet for making rugs from fabric strips, old sheets, old tshirts etc. This is the way I have done it. I hope you will let me know if you try my method. I have a friend who has old wool blankets from her family’s farm who has asked if I could make a rug for her using them. I am excited to try another medium. And one day I will try using tshirts. I think they would be softer to knit with.