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Rag rugs, 1988-style; they're tailored, color-coordinated.

Rag rugs, 1988-style

Uncle Archibald's knickers and other discarded clothes were once the starting point for traditional rag rugs. But for these tailored and color-coordinated rugs designed by Esther Morris of Sacramento, you raid fabric stores rather than the rag bin to choose colors and materials.

A 30- by 48-inch oval rug requires 25 to 30 yards of fabric, which you tear and fold into strips, then crochet with a large hook. The technique differs from that used in more familiar braided rugs, where thread holds the braided rows together.

To make a rug, you'll need lightweight 45-inch-wide cotton or cotton-polyester in four or five contrasting colors or patterns; also scissors, a tape measure, a size 10 1/2K crochet hook (about $1.50), a bias tape maker (optional, about $3), and a needle and thread.

Beginners may need two or three months of evenings to complete the project; skilled crocheters can assemble a rug in much less time.

To make the strips, first preshrink and dry your fabric, then clip across the width at 1 1/4-inch intervals; tear along length, following instructions on page 175. Wind strips into rolls and set aside.

As you crochet, turn raw edges of fabric strips under to resemble bias tape (you can do this by hand or use a bias tape maker); folded fabric will keep the frayed edges from showing on the finished rug.

To crochet, practice the chain-stitch (steps 1 through 3), then the single-crochet stitch (steps 4 through 6), on a spare strip of fabric until the size of your stitches and the tension are uniform. To allow stitches to pull through the hook easily, keep them loose. Left-handed crocheters can photocopy drawings onto clear acetate sheets, then flip them over to follow instructions.

Once you feel comfortable with your stitches, make a 17-inch-long chain-stitch row for the center of your oval rug; if you want a larger or smaller oval, adjust length of center row accordingly.

To create additional rows (continue working in the same direction), use the single-crochet stitch, adding "double" single stitches spaced at equal distances each time you round a corner (steps 8 and 9). Roughly, the second row requires one of these "double" stitches; the fourth row, three; and the eighth row, five. As you proceed, place rug on the floor to make sure it's lying flat. If it curves up, add more "double" stitches; if it has a ruffled look, you've added too many.

To attach new strips (if a color gives out, or if you just want to start a new one), hand-stitch on new strip, using a 1/4-inch seam.

Photo: Crocheted ovals (right), made from purchased fabric, blend with any scheme. Their creator, Esther Morris (above), finishes large rug, folding fabric strips by hand as she crochets

Photo: To make folded strips

Tear fabric into 1 1/4-inch-wide lengths; as you crochet, turn frayed edges in to meet at center (above), then bring folded edges together; strips give rug finished look

Photo: Chain-stitch-- for rug's center row

1. Start with a slip knot; insert hook through loop, then wrap hook under and over the long end of fabric strip

2. Hook strip, and pull back through loop; keep stitch loose

3. Continue for a 17-inch-long row. If you have more than 35 stitches, crocheting is too tight

Photo: Single-crochet rows

4. For rug's second row, work backward along chain-stitch row, pushing hook down through top loop of second-to-last stitch

5. Next, pull strip back through top loop to form two loops on hook (finished step is shown below)

6. Hook fabric strip and pull it back through the two loops to create a single loop

7. Continue down chain-stitch row, repeating steps 4, 5, and 6, until you reach the end of the row

Photo: Rounding the corners

8. To go around corner, make two single-crochet stitches (we show starting the second) through same loop at end of second row (extra stitch helps rug lie flat). For third row, make a single-crochet stitch in each loop of second row

9. As rug becomes larger, add more "double" single-crochet stitches around curves; arrows mark places in eighth row for "double" stitches
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1988
Words:700
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