Saturday, November 3, 2012

Knitting rugs

Although I have owned a book containing patterns for hand-knitted rugs for several years, I've never knitted one until now.  This admission isn't surprising.  What is surprising is that I'd consider knitting a rug, much less knit one in about a week.  I wouldn't have considered it, but it wasn't my idea.  Even K commented that a hand-knitted rug didn't seem very practical, too stretchy, to likely to slip around, not very durable.

However, when I was asked to crochet a rug for the baby's room, my initial thought was of the book of rug patterns.  I prefer knitting to crochet now and find it easier on my hands.  After leafing through the book, I realized that I had rug materials already--churro wool, the staple of Navajo rugs--lots of it in several natural-dyed colors.  I'd bought this yarn in Taos years ago, when all I knew was crochet.  I wanted this unusal wool that came from the sheep I'd seen on the Indian reservation.  Making my best guess in selecting a pattern, I crocheted a bunch of squares, planning an afghan.  As I learned more about different types of wool,  I realized that churro wool was too rough for an afghan.  I'd abandoned the project and kept the squares for a pillow cover.  A quick count assured me that I had enough squares for both the pillow cover and the border of a rug.  All that remained was to knit the center with the extra yarn.

A little fussy joining of squares, a quick knit of the center--garter stitch on large needles--and poof! there was a hand-knitted rug.  I picked up stitches on the sides of the squares and joined the edges with a 3-needle bind off.  The center was knitted following the pattern for the Bright Stripes Throw in the book, Closely Knit.  The squares are from a pillow pattern in an old granny square magazine I've had for decades.  Sorry I can't give a better reference, but I'm sure it is no longer readily available.  After it was all joined, I added a small border to even the edges, steamed it flat and it was done.

By coincidence, the colors are similar to the ones I used for the baby blanket.  It's nice that they are plant-based, giving a quasi-organic blessing to the rug.  I hope it will be well-received when I bring it to them next week.  I've walked on it and find it the perfect combination, both soft and sturdy feeling.

All that leads me to view hand-knit rugs more favorably now.  They knit up quite quickly and are comfortable underfoot.  Not that I'll be knitting another anytime soon.

There's that pillow cover I need to finish.