Sunday, 6 September 2015

Go Large


I've been having fun experimenting with rag yarn lately and I'm finding it quite addictive. 

It all began when I was looking for a small rug to put by Angus's bed to cover up a really bad mark on his carpet which annoyed me every time I looked at it. I bought two balls of Boodles yarn from Hobbycraft, found my 10 mm hook, and off I went, crocheting what is basically a massive doily.

It's very addictive. A bit hard on the arms at times, but the rug worked up so fast! My only complaint was that one of my balls of Boodles yarn must've been a bit of a dud - the thickness varied hugely throughout the ball, from so thin I thought it might break to so thick I could hardly wrap it around my fingers, which is why the outer edge of the rug below is so inconsistent and wiggly.


You can imagine how this annoyed me. My tension issues are in my shoulders, not my crochet! But the rug does the job well, cost about £10 and is gorgeously soft and squishy underfoot. You have to watch how tightly you crochet as this yarn does have a lot of elastic in it and my rug was turning into a very large bowl at one point. But once you remember to crochet really, really loosely, the whole shape of the thing is transformed. 

Of course then Bella wanted a rug too, and so we bought more yarn and made another. This time, all the other balls I bought were lovely to use, consistent in width and with only a few joins. I think joins in rag yarn are inevitable due to the nature of the fabric, but can easily be hidden in the work.



The colours were her choice and she has named it her Watermelon Rug. I struggle to name things I've made. I should give her the job.



While faffing around taking photos of the rug, I happened to put it in our bedroom so I could get a clear downward photo in good light. I rather like a rug there, I think. It breaks up that expanse of cream carpet.


I dragged in this black and white one from Angus's room, just to be sure, and yes I do definitely like a rug there. 


My plan is to crochet a round one, like the ones above, but larger. I think I'll use cream or white and grey, with some darker pinks and blues to bring out the other colours in the room. 

The pattern is the Small Rug from Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. I know I've mentioned this book a few times before but I really feel like it's made me rediscover my love of crochet, particularly in the things I make for the home. I've found that some of the patterns don't translate from the author's native Finnish that clearly but luckily the step by step photos are excellent and I can usually figure the pattern out by reading the photos rather than the words. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has that book and what they think if it.

*

Rugs aside, life continues on as normal here. I was completely wiped out on Friday night after only four days back at work, but a weekend of cooking and gardening has restored me. Bella and Angus are happy to be back at school and overall the transition has gone well for all of us. We're all readjusting - the kids to their daily school reading and weekly homework, me to cramming in supermarket shops and housework in little hour-long pockets of time here and there  - and the weekends between now and Christmas are filling up at an alarming pace. This school term can feel like a race to the holidays and I don't want it to be a race. It's not a busy contest. I want to go slow, go gently. Please remind me of this in three months time when I'll no doubt be in the midst of some kind of self-inflicted, hand-made festive meltdown. 


39 comments:

Jennifer said...

I love your rugs! My daughter recently made a hula-hoop rug with her grandmother. Have you seen those? You basically tie strips of fabric across a hula hoop, then weave other strips through them, then you tie up all the ends and take it off the hoop. It's cute. I wish she'd chosen colors other than royal blue and bright yellow because they don't match her room at all, but it sits on the floor at the foot of her bed and she likes to sit on to read or play. I think the rectangular rug looks great on your bedroom floor. Go for it. :)

Anonymous said...

The crocheted rugs are a fab idea. We have wood floors throughout our house and I do like the cosiness a rug can bring. Yours look so pretty. Good luck with your school/home/work routine. Its so easy to get too busy!

VeggieMummy said...

I love your crocheted rugs, especially the 'watermelon' one - great name too! I do love a nice rug - unfortunately, so does Hamish our house rabbit, so mine all seem to be a little nibbled around the edges! Glad the transition back into term time routine has gone smoothly. Have a great week. xx

Claire/Just a little less said...

Such a beautiful solution, Gillian. Taking the term at a slow, organised pace seems like a good plan. Have a good week xo

Ingrid Orens said...

I think all those thick fabric yarns have that same problem : not consistent in thickness.. I have struggled with it as well in the past, and although I like the result (and the speed at which that crochet work advances :-)), I gave up working with it. Also because it is oh so painful on the wrists to crochet !
But your carpets are lovely ! Especially the watermelon one !!

Librarian said...

Bella's rug really looks like a watermelon!
If it were my bedroom, I would prefer the unbroken expanse of cream carpet, but that's just me and my "thing" for large empty spaces and surfaces. I am sure your new rug will look great there.
My first week back at work left me unexpectedly tired, too, even though I have no children and had 3 out of 5 week nights to myself. Now I've come back from a weekend at a friend's place with the first annoying symptoms of a cold. Hopefully, I can fence it in before it gets too bad - I really don't feel like a repeat of what I had in May.

KirstenLN said...

I just checked the book - in Danish it's called "Modern Finnish Crochet" ;-) I might ask my library to get it for me - as I'm not fond of crocheting on big hooks I have to see what else she has to offer before buying the book.

Both rugs look great! And yes, a rug would be lovely in your bedroom :-)
Glad to hear you all had a good start to the new school year. We try to keep every third weekend blanc in the calendar allowing us all to relax. Often it ends up being every sixth weekend but these are cherished!

Sarah said...

I love the pink and green watermelon colours and have just bought some cotton yarn in similar colours to crochet covers for a pair of battered wooden stools (inspired by you Gillian!) which have seen better days but provide useful extra seating in the kitchen. I'm with you on rugs too, I love them, especially the 'layered' look they add to a room. Keep well and pace yourself!

Sol said...

Love it. I would never have thought of a round rug... I adore it in the grey!

Amy at love made my home said...

The rugs are fantastic! I love the Bella named hers, I am big on naming my projects too! I hope that the term ahead will not be as busy as you think it might be, and don't worry about that handmade Christmas meltdown, I will be right there with you having one of my own! xx

Emm.A said...

I want to crochet a rug with t-shirt yarn for ages now, and somehow I never get around to do it! Might really give it a try, now that I've seen yours. They look great!

Lilian L said...

Love the rug! I tried using t-shirt yarn a while back but my poor hands! I got too sore and so I stopped. Maybe the trick is to do it in stages with rest periods in between but I find that SO hard to do...I just want it finished.

CJ said...

Brilliant rugs, well done you. I shall look forward to seeing the one you make for your room. I hope life doesn't get too busy. Term times always seem to get manic towards the ends. I read Ali Edwards' blog sometimes, and she always says something like, "Don't make it harder than it needs to be", something to that effect. I often think to myself, take the simple route. Just little things, but if there's an easier option I go for it. CJ xx

Jo@awholeplotoflove said...

The rugs look good well done, they look wonderfully squidgy. I've seen that yarn but have never bought any.... yet! xx

Daisy Jones said...

I love this book and have crocheted many things from it!
That 'thing' with boodles happen to me too?
Daisy j x
Ps the rugs are even better when washed i even tumble dry mine and they tighten up a bit, an effect i love!

Christina said...

Your rugs are great, so much nicer than the bathroom rug I bought for Sam's bedroom.... I am feeling a bit bad about this actually but I couldn't bring myself to make something but my excuse is that it needed to be non slip because of the wooden floors. I know, not a good excuse.
Being back at work is hard, particularly the first week. I hope you find your inner balance during the work week, too. Glad you had a lovely weekend! Cx

Sharon - creativity and family said...

They are great, especially the watermelon rug. I have the yarn for a rug but i just haven't got around to making it yet! I hope all continues well with your job, it certainly isn't an easy term to keep relaxed!! :-) x

Jen Walshaw said...

I adore the crochet mats. I would love a grey, teal and mustard one! Your room will look fab with one.

Life With The Crew said...

What a coincidence Gillian - my blog post for today is about the circular braided rag rug that I just made, though mine ended up smaller, so it is a seat cushion. Your crocheted rugs are beautiful - I can see why your daughter just had to have one too! http://lifewiththecrew.typepad.com/my-blog/2015/09/a-pretty-pointless-project.html

Marion Ogden said...

I love your rugs, great colours. I'm planning to make something similar for the girls' room too. I've already ordered the yarn but I'm still not sure whether it will be round or oblong in shape. But I'm looking forward to getting started and I'll remember to keep my stitches loose. Thanks for the tip and I hope it's been a good start to the week for you all. X

Karisma said...

Such beautiful work! I love how you feel restored after baking and gardening. Working for the house is so satisfying, isn't it? Have a wonderful week! Aloha.

Leanne Paxton said...

Hey Gillian,
She's got a good eye, your daughter. And I love the name too. Things are hectic here at the moment. My head is very fuzzy!
Leanne xx

Jo said...

Loving the last line - sounds kind of like me! Jo x

Mereknits said...

We will all be in some sort of hand made meltdown! Love the rug, and I think yu should have her name everything!
Hugs,
Meredith

Susan Smith said...

I think the reuse of rags into yarn is a brilliant idea, but never seen any over here. Your rugs are just gorgeous and look forward to seeing the one you do for your own bedroom. Don't go into handmade meltdown, just half hour here or there can result in lots of small goodies ready for Xmas. Take care.

Lisa said...

What a very apt name for Bella's rug.
Glad to hear all has settled down nicely, that first weekend is a blessing to help get over the shock of hitting the school/work routine again.
I made a decision in August I want to enjoy each of the coming ending in -er months for what they can bring rather than just viewing it all as a countdown to December.
Lisa x

Angel Jem said...

We've made a conscious decision this year to slow down. The older children are in GCSE and A level years, so going out will be a little limited to Sunday afternoons nearby, or further afield if we leave the kids at home.
Those rugs are brilliant! I love the colours in Bella's rug.

Jane said...

The rugs look great Gillian, I love that Bella has named hers. I have the Molla Mills book, some great inspiration in there. Have a good week xx

mags said...

Lovely rugs, so different. I've always wanted to try rag rugging! Christmas term in a primary school, good luck! I am speaking to 900 Students this week, so pretty tired too. Xxx

The Creative Academic said...

A fabulous rug Gillian...loving the name too. I'm gad you're settling back into the school routine. BigR only went back to school on Monday and my week has been disjointed with leave for her birthday. I'm about to start my weekend now :) looking forward to seeing the project for your room. xx

Heldasland said...

wow, you have been very busy. They look fantastic. I agree your daughter has come up with the perfect name can I borrow her ? I find it so hard to think of names for my projects. a large rug in your room will look superb

Anne Schueler said...

I love your rugs! I have plenty of t-shirt yarn at home but somehow i can't work with it very well. Too hard on my hands :( Now that I have seen your rugs I might try again though as they look so pretty!

Take care
Anne
Crochet Between Worlds

Jacqueline said...

Great rugs, they look amazing and you'd pay so much more in somewhere like Next. When I made my pouffe and cushion earlier in the year, it was hard going on my arms so understand how you feel, but so worth it with those results!

love those cupcakes said...

Love those rugs which look perfectly at home. Bella's choice of name for hers is spot on. (I sometimes name my makes but they're unrepeatable!)

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

They are pretty funky aren't they? I'm starting to see a lot of that type of yarn around, I wondered what people used it for - now I know! I like the attraction of it being speedy I have to say. I want a rug for my craft room. I'm planning a rag rug really. Planning in the sense of I want to but I haven't done anything practical towards achieving it! But this quicker option does appeal I have to say :)

S x

Penny said...

I like the thought of something growing so quickly, and the end result is really fab and funky! I agree that life is not a 'busy contest' and it is easy to get caught on the bandwagon of too much to do all the time. I try very hard not to allow that to happen, and build in quiet time for the family as a priority. The boys do sometimes complain of being bored.....but then the youngest starts practising his guitar, and the oldest to sit at the desk in his room reading or writing, and I nod happily to myself...! X

Mitzi said...

Your rug is lovely and I am in need of something like this for the bedroom. May have to add to the wish list of things to make in the future.

Hazel said...

Perfect colours on this grey gloomy Friday Gillian! Hazel x

Gillian said...

Very interesting! I've been wanting to try the t-shirt yarn for crocheting. Must give it a go.