rag knitting

Many years ago I accompanied my mother to a farm auction. Amongst the sale items, I found a couple balls of colorful rag yarn. As the auction went on in the background, I studied the “yarn” balls until I figured out how the strips were attached to each other. The balls are fun to make and display, even if you never knit anything with your “yarn”.

After you’ve cut up your rags for knitting, download the patterns for the rag bath mat and the doily rug.

How to cut rags for knitting:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1You can use any kind of fabric for this, even t-shirts or bedsheets. In this example I’m using plain muslin bed sheets from IKEA ($1.99 for a twin size). To make strips for a #19 needle, cut slits about 1 1/2″ apart across the bottom. For Really Big knitting on a #35 needles, cut them 3″ apart across the bottom.

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Rip from each slit so you have a pile of strips like this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Now cut slits in each end about 1” long like this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1So now you have strips with slits in the end.

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Feed the end of one strip through the slit in the next strip:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Make sure that as you form a ball, you always poke the end of the strip attached to the ball through the slit first! Like this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Now take the other end of the strip (not attached to the ball) and feed it through the remaining slit, like this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Now carefully pull on the strip you just fed through the slit…keep pulling and you’ll get this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Pull a little more until they are snug like this:

Plastic Bag Knitting 1Ta-da! Keep doing that and you’ll end up with a big ball of rag yarn:

If you need to rip more “yarn” to add to your WIP, work backwards from your working yarn. If you try to attach a new ball of yarn to existing WIP, you will have no free end to pull through the slit, so you’ll have to tie a knot.  It’s not the end of the world, but for a completely knot-free piece it’s something to think about…


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