I'm thinking about making rag rugs. I've been trying to find a rag rug loom. However, I can crochet and thought maybe this is the way to go. If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate your comments. I live in Phoenix, AZ. It's hard to find books on rag rug making at craft stores and nobody seems to have looms. I purchased a size Q crochet needle and started ripping strips of towels and so forth. It's really tedious. Is there a store that sells rag rug balls or if you can make any suggestions at all that will make this process easier, I'd appreciate it.
Update: I answered this reader's question before I designed this rag rug, which was crocheted using Stripz fabric strips. The "unknowns" I wrote about below have now been cleared up thanks to that experience.
My Original Response to the Question:
Thanks for the email. I am glad you got in touch.
Yes, you're correct -- crocheting a rag rug is definitely the way to go! I used to own a loom, and warping the thing was such a pain that I never once did a rag rug on it. Can you believe it? I barely ever used it at all, and I love weaving.
Free Patterns and Tutorials for Crocheting Rag Rugs
Have you seen our list of free crochet rag rug patterns and tutorials? Those are a great starting point.
The hook size you need will vary depending on the pattern. Some patterns calls for a size J or K hook, but I'm thinking I might want to try using a P or Q hook if I were going to crochet a rag rug. You might need to adjust the width of your strips a bit to make it work; just try a few swatches first before embarking on a complete rug.
Fabric Strips for Crocheting Rag Projects
I know what you mean about it being tedious to process all your fabrics for crocheting with. I did think of one way around that. I do not know how well it will work out, but I am looking into using what's called "noodles" and / or "jelly rolls" to crochet with. These are rolls of fabrics that are pre-cut for quilting, but when I saw them I thought they'd be fun to try with crochet.
I bought a couple of rolls of a brand called "Stripz" from Walmart a few months ago. Joann had some too, for those of you who prefer Joann.
I haven't worked my ideas into fully developed patterns yet. So far I have made one very small sample with the Stripz fabric. I wasn't happy with how it turned out, but I have some ideas that I think will work for fixing it. We will see how that goes. I am optimistic that it will work, but not 100% sure yet.
The drawback is that these rolls of fabric are relatively expensive. Most of the fabric rolls that I've seen so far are filled with gorgeous colors and eye-candy prints; quilters can justify the costs easily because they are so pretty, but the prints mostly get lost when you crochet with them.
I am not sure how much you are looking to spend on materials for your rag rugs, or how big you want your rugs to be. A large rug would cost a pretty good chunk of change, I'm thinking.
Due to the costs involved, I purchased the Stripz thinking I would use them to make smaller projects. I'd very much like to make a rag basket that could be used as a gift basket. I'd also like to try making a handbag with them, maybe. I might fill in a little by cutting up some clothes I don't wear any more, although it will certainly be tedious.
At any rate, when / if I come up with patterns using these ideas, I will post them on this web site for you to use. If you subscribe to my crochet newsletter, you will receive weekly emails notifying you when new patterns are posted. If you don't already subscribe to the newsletter, consider yourself invited to sign up; I think you will really enjoy it. (If you already subscribe -- thanks!)
Phoenix Public Libraries
RE books about making rag rugs, hopefully the rag rug tutorials will give you the info you need, but books are always good to have on hand as well. Have you tried heading over to the library to see if they have any helpful books about making rag rugs? Judy Hedding, your Guide to Phoenix, has a wealth of information available about public libraries in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area.
I hope you will find these resources helpful. Hope your rag rugs will turn out gorgeous!