Uncle Bobs Tips: Rug Guide

Rag Rugs

Rag rugs: The possibilities are endless. In fact, there are as many ways of making rag rugs as there are rags! Constructed from bits and pieces of material that is torn or cut into long strips, anyone can make a rag rug. While rag rugs are typically made by crocheting strips of fabric into a large circle, crocheting isn't the only means for making rag rugs. Rag rugs can also be woven, braided, or knotted into a desired shape and design.

Rag rugs can be fashioned from a wide array of fabrics such as wool, cotton, burlap, canvas, silk or rayon. You can recycle old clothing into rag rugs or you may want to especially buy yards of fabric to make rag rugs. Rag rugs are a brilliant way of using up old t-shirts, pants, dresses and more or less any old clothing. Try making rag rugs from sheets, curtains and tablecloths too. You can use just about any material that you can cut into strips to make rag rugs, as long as you think the material can withstand the wear and tear a rug will receive.

While rag rugs are all the rage among crafters today, rag rugs have a long history of furnishing floors. As early as the latter part of the 18th century, rag rugs were being crocheted with fabric strips cut from old clothing. It is believed that the concept for rag rugs came to the Western world by way of European immigrants. Since many of these families were poor, using strips of old clothes and worn out blankets was a resourceful way to add warmth and decor to their homes. At the turn of the century and during the Depression, rag rugs peaked in popularity. While rag rug making fell out of favor in deference to the decadence to more affluent times, making rag rugs has recently experienced a comeback.

Rag rugs are extremely resilient and can last for years. Rag rugs are reversible, completely washable, environmentally friendly, and can be placed practically anywhere! Allow rag rugs to collect all the dust and dirt in your high traffic areas, in or out of doors.

Today, you can even add fashion to your floors with rag rags! No longer a merely practical item, there are many artistic people creating rag rugs with elaborate designs and rag rags in a range of fashionable colors and specialty shapes. You can purchase rag rugs to match and color-coordinate almost any d×™cor, have rag rugs custom-made to your personal taste, or make your own rag rugs with help from many online resources and rag rug pattern books.

While the oval rag rug is the most popular crocheted shape, rag rugs can be rectangle, square, round, or be found in a variety of specialty patterns and sizes. Try warming your home or bedside with a welcoming heart-shaped rag rug, or reach for the moon with a half-moon rug rag.

Here is some information on crocheting your own rag rug:

For basic rag rugs, knowledge of the single crochet stitch is sufficient, while knowing how to increase and decrease will be helpful for making many shaped rag rugs. Once you know how to do basic crochet stitches, you are ready to prepare your fabric.

Rag rug strips are used in various widths from 1/4 to 1 inch, depending on the type of rug and the sturdiness desired. When choosing the fabric you'll use for your rag rug, keep in mind that softer fabric and narrower strips are easier to crochet with.

To make strips for a rag rug, you can either tear or cut the fabric. Some crafters advise that tearing causes too much stress on the fabric. You can join the fabric strips by either "overlapping the fabric tails about 6-8 inches", "sewing the ends together", or by cutting slits and threading one end through the other.

Some people prefer to fold the raw edges while other like the raw edge look. When you finish your rag rug, however, tuck in all loose ends and sew them down to ensure that they don't come loose.


While rag rugs can be made from a variety of fabrics, it's best not to mix the type of fabrics you're using to make any one rug because the shrinkage of material varies between fabrics such as wools, cottons and silks.

If you want a fine, soft rug, choose soft fabrics. Hard fabrics will result in a coarser rug.

If you are worried about ruining any fabric before you are ready, try practicing with yarn first or use fabric scraps.

Besides your old clothing, rummage sales or the bargain bins at your local fabric shop are great sources for rag rug materials. If you can't find the exact shade you are looking for, try dying your fabric the color desired.

There are plenty of free patterns available on the Internet for making rag rugs. Here is one resource to get you started: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/lv_floors_ceilings/article/0,2041,DIY_14112_2269669,00.html

Make rug history today by creating a unique heirloom that is sure to add warmth and fond memories to your family's home for years to come: Make a rag rug!

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