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Recycled wool blanket rag rug

Round rag rug crocheted from recycled wool blanket strips

unusual problems and what caused them to happen in the first place

  I thought that this rug would be a breeze to make.  I have experience from making several round crocheted rugs in the past, but this project did not go smoothly.  I ran into problems that were new to me.  The issues were not fixed when I followed the conventional advice.  My rug had ruffled edges, but not because I had increased too many Stitches. I had to frog significant portions of the exceptionally large Wool rug several times, I ripped out days' worth of work before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. I knew for certain that I was not increasing too many times per round.   If you are struggling with a crochet rug that does not lay flat, read on.  I will share exactly how I flattened a stubbornly wavy rug that was ruffling for uncommon reasons.  Along with that information, I will share everything else you need to know to make this heirloom quality, upcycled wool, large round rug
  My goal when making this rug was to make an exceptionally large round rug that would cover the majority of the floorspace in my living room.  I have been a prolific rug maker and my house is full of them.  Too full.   It was starting to look a little bit crazy having several small- medium sized rugs of clashing colors in each room of my apartment.   
  I had managed to accomplish my original goal when I started making rugs, I had covered most of my hardwood flooring, muffling the sounds of my apartment from my downstairs neighbors.  
  In my haste to carpet the apartment and fueled by my zeal for my new hobby, I did not put much though into how the rugs would look when grouped together on my floors.   
  My creative enthusiasm has left my place looking a bit cluttered and chaotic.  I have plain and simple taste when it comes to my home furnishings.  I prefer things to be simple and clean.  I prefer empty space to excessive decor items.   I think the crocheted rugs that I have been making are statement pieces.  They should be the focal point of a room.  They should pull the rest of my simple furnishings together.  That is the idea. 
 It only works that way if there is one rug in each room.  More is a cacophony of color and texture that is the opposite of peaceful and relaxing to me. 
This enormous round rug was the first in my new plan to replace all the many smaller sized rugs and let one rug shine in my living room.   
This living room rug needed to be enormous.  I wanted it to be at least twelve feet across.  Between 8 and 12 feet was the goal.   Previously, all the round rugs that I made were about 2-5 feet in diameter.   Making those smaller sized rugs was easier and, in some ways, more enjoyable than creating this extra-large design.
​ Despite the challenges that this rug making process presented, I am happy to say thar I did accomplish what I set out to do.  I crocheted a rug that is nine feet wide.    My living room finally looks the way I wanted it to look.  


 I previously wrote about this rug in my post about mistakes Ive made making rugs.   I had made too many increases and had to frog it because my rug was so wavy and ruffled on the side.  

​ I was not too upset about ripping out my work because I really disliked what I had done with the colors. It looked so unbalanced and tacky to me.  

  I was glad for an excuse to start fresh.  I really did like the soft grey and the blue. The material I had was high quality.  This rug had a lot of potential.  It just needed a fresh start,

​ I frogged it down to the light grey in the very center and began crocheting again.  This time with a more deliberate plan for my color placement,

  I did not like the way it was wishy washy. I decided that either completely random haphazard style would be fine or having stripes 

would be good.  This looked like a decision could not be made as to whether it was a striped rug or a haphazard rug.
These edges were so bad. This was one of the first versions of the rug that I froged to fix my ruffling sides
The rug as it was when I wrote the previous post about having to frog my rus
This was the first time that I restarted my work on this rug, but unfortunately, it was not the last.  

  I have learned a lot while crocheting this extra-large round rug.   I will share the unusual problems that I encountered during this process.  I ended up doing a significant amount of research in my struggle to fix the problems with my rug.  I will share what I discovered and how I was able to finally get my rug to lay flat and round, like I had hoped it would.
Customary wisdom was no help when I was trying to get this circle to lay flat
​Usually, when a crocheted circle  will not lay flat,
the rug either has too many or too few increases.    If I have ruffling on my edges, I can go back to frog my piece and redo my work using fewer increases and have my problem solved.

I redid the middle section of my round rug a few times, but I could not eliminate the waves on the edges.

After extensive combing of google and my own hands on experimentation, I figured out what my problem was

.  About halfway through my rug, I purchased a new hook, and I was excited to use it, so I did.  On a rug that was halfway finished.  The first sections of the rug were made using a 6.0 mm hook.   The second half I used a 7.0mm hook.   I should have known better, but I did not even realize at the time that I was making a mistake. The bigger stitches that my new, larger hook made, were too large for the rounds following the smaller stitches.  They were crowding the space and because of that crowding, created ruffles.

   Unfortunately changing hooks was not my only faux pas.  I unknowingly changed stitches as well.  I started this rug and then I put it down for a few months.  During that time, I crocheted many things in between.  I forgot that I had done the part in half double crochets.

​ When I came back to my project with my new 7mm hook and restarted this project, using single crochet stitches instead of the half double crochets.  What I now know is that single crochets are wider than the half double crochets.  They take up more room and thus crowded together, making ruffles on the edges of my work
With the larger hook and the shorter stitches, it is no wonder that my rug would not lay flat

​I always have so many works in progress.  When I put one down, I don't usually realize that I will get diverted to something else and won't pick up that project again for several months.  It is never planned to abandon my work for a new project.  Inspiration will strike and I get excited about something else.  When I return, after my absence to the old project, I do not remember exactly what I was doing with it before.


  •  wool fabric strips: wool blankets cut into strips I used wooly worms ordered from the Pendleton factory.  You can use your family's old blankets or those you find in a thrift store.  Do not be afraid to throw the blankets in the washing machine before you cut them into strips.  If the wool is felted, that only makes for a denser rug.  This could also be made with strips cut from old wool clothing, old skirts, and coats etc.  Sweaters can be used, but they will make for a different texture in your rug since they are knits and stretchy. Make sure they are tick enough to go with your other fabrics.  You may want to try to felt sweaters before cutting them.  Fabric yardage could also be used and would be very easy to cut into strips, but wool fabric is expensive. Finding old blankets or ordering mill ends is much more affordable.  Pendleton wooly worm strips are already the perfect width to crochet with.  If you are cutting strips yourself, they need to be about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide.                                                                                                        
  • needle and thread or sewing machine: to connect your strips and make them into a yarn you can crochet with.                                                                                                                                 
  • crochet hook: size 7.0 is about right, but you can go larger or smaller according to your preference.  you are going to want to make your stitches pretty tight.  Holes in rugs should be avoided as they can cause tripping.  I usually use the smallest crochet hook that will still hook my fabric in order to keep the rug as tight as possible.                                                                               
  • scissors or rotary cutter and mat:  for making strips 


 Pendleton woolen mills sells their mill ends and scrap by the pound and that is what I used to make this rug.  Instead of throwing away the edges of their wool blankets, leftover after taking the wool blankets off their loom, they are sold to be reused for crafts.  I get the wooly worms which are about 1/4-inch-thick and about 6 feet long.   these are perfect for crocheting rugs.  Everyone knows how high quality and durable a Pendleton wool blanket is.  They make great, long lasting rugs.  This is a great option for someone who wants to recycle and not be wasteful, but who is uneasy about working with used materials.  These blanket strips are brand new; they just left the factory. Using this waste fabric for crafting keeps the material from going straight to the landfill.

I am always excited when my wool worms come in the mail. No two orders are the same. I received one box that had only two different colors of worms inside. That order needed no sorting at all. Ive received orders that took over an hour to organize, with dozens of assorted colors that needed a lot of patience to sort out. It's always a surprise.  I never know what I am going to get in my package.  I always look forward to their arrival. Unless you live in Oregon and can go to the factory store in person, you will have to place your orders over the phone, like I do. They do not accept requests for certain colors. You keep your fingers crossed in hopes that you will like what you get. My understanding is that they are reaching into bins the size of a car and pulling out handfuls to place in your box, so it is truly random

​ Unpacking the Pendelton order is not for the faint of heart. It is a mess. The amount of fluff that comes loose from the wool is enough to fill my vacuum canister multiple times


  • cut fabric into strips and sew ends together to create "yarn".  alternatively: you may sew as you go.  This method gives you more control over color
  • magic ring and single crochet six times into loop.  tighten
  • mark last stitch with a stitch marker
  • you do not need to join rounds.  continue crocheting into the next stitch. 
  • 2nd round: crochet two times into each space between the previous row's stitches (see note *)
  • When you reach the end of your round, remove stitch marker from previous row and put it into last stitch of the current row.
  • continue crocheting increase 6 times per round (see note **} repeat crocheting around the rug until it reaches the size you want
  • once it has reached the desired size.  tie off.  you are finished.
  • optional:  make a border row.  I used black, fluffy wool blanket selvedge. This is a mill end product purchased from the Pendleton factory.  they save these waste products from their blanket production to sell to crafters instead of throwing them away as was previously done. 



*Instead of crocheting into the stitches in the previous row, I crochet in between stitches. I find it easier since I try to crochet my rugs very tightly.  You can crochet between stitches or into stitches. Either way will work

**Each round you will need to increase 6 times, to keep your circle flat. It is best to try to spread these increases out evenly throughout a round, without increasing in the same spot as you did in the previous round.  When my rug starts to get past the tenth round or so, I will put a different kind of stitch marker in each increase.  It helps me keep track of how many increases I have made in one round; I remove them when I start a new round and replace them into the increases in my current round as I make them
I hope you enjoy your new rug.  It should last you for years.   Let me know if you have any questions about this process.  Do you have a fantastic way of keeping your works in progress organized?  I would love to hear about it.

This post first appeared on Reragg: No Scrap Wasted, please read the originial post: here

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Recycled wool blanket rag rug


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