Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rag Knit Rug

Now that I have a newly painted floor in the craft room, I found that the room is pretty painfully echoey. So, I decided, a throw rug was in order. I started online looking for a rug in the 4 ft x 6ft range and learned that even the cheapest rugs this size seem to run about $80. If you don't want it to be hideous, you're looking at closer for $120. At Target. What the heck? Why are rugs to expensive?

So, naturally, I tried to come up with a way to DIY a rug. After many hours of searching, I decided that knitting one was probably my best bet, but that I would need some good chunky yarn. After a little number crunching of yardage and cost, I realized that even using the cheapest cheap acrylic yarn, I was going to be around $80 in yard to make a rug. Blast! That's why they're so expensive. Also, I don't particularly want a crappy acrylic rug.

With a little more research I realized that a rug could be knit from fabric, and fabric can be dyed any color you like it. Perhaps you've never seen this Rit Dye color chart. Prepare to have your mind blown. So, I picked up 2 double bed sized flat sheets at the Salvation Army ($4), 4 yards of 90" wide white muslin (on sale $17) and two bottles of Rit Dye ($7; scarlet and tangerine), and went home to get to work.

First, I ran the washer with all of my fabric, and also some ugly curtains that the last owners left to get them good and wet. Remember these guys?
Then, using a hot cycle, I added both containers of dye, the curtains, and the muslin, and ran them through an extra long wash cycle (30 min) and a cold rinse cycle. Then, for the third cycle, I threw in the bedsheets as well, to get some color (but less) on them as well.

I ended up with some coral muslin, some bright pink sheets, and some sort of rust colored curtains. Perhaps not my best dye job. But, it'll do.

Then, working the cut length of the fabric, I tore the muslin and the sheets into approximately 1 1/4" strips using this zig-zag method to make it all one long strip. Once I had done all three pieces, I had these enormous balls of "yarn" (they're the size of bowling balls) to work with.
The largest needles in my collection were a set of big plastic size 35s. I did a quick gage and found that 10 stitches in stockinettte measured 9". So, deciding that 45" would be ample, I cast on 50 and started knitting.

About 8 hours later, I had a 45" x 60" rug. I considered adding a strip of white at the end to make it longer, but got lazy and bound off. I think it will be perfect for a little knitting nook in the craft room. It makes the room little warmer, much less echoey, and only cost about $30, including matching curtains.

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