Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DIY giant knitted rug

my super-chunky knitted rug is finally finished

And I love it !
{even though I didn't have enough yarn 
to make it the way I originally planned}

Remember when I posted about these handmade rugs ?
Few days later, I went to the hardware store 
and got busy making my giant knitting needles

...And then I've got busy knitting.

t-shirt yarn

The yarn I used is "t-shirt yarn" I actually didn't made it out of t-shirts, but I bought it at my 
in ready-to-knit in rolls (I believe they ship to Italy only, but I'm not sure).

This heather grey is actually a polo knit, so thicker than the regular t-shirts, and you can see in the top left picture how it looks while it's flat and one it's rolled up in a ball.

This kind of yarn is made with the leftovers jersey fabric from the garment manufacturing business: the benefit of using something like that rather than cutting t-shirts are many:
* it's much cheaper (6 balls = almost 7 lbs for 21.5 Euros / about 26$);
* it's a good way to use up a material than otherwise would end up in the landfill;
* you'll have less joins, therefore the final work is neater.

I joined the different balls by overlapping about 1/4" of the yarn and stitching it together, (bottom left picture): this way the knit looks neater, without knots, and you won't be able to see the joints.

Because the yarn is so thick, rather than weave-in the ends, I cut the yarn close to the rug, and secure the ends by sewing it on the back of the rug.

knitting the rug

The make of this rug took me longer than expected... because of several factors.
First, you have to find a comfortable position to knit with these big, extra long needles.
Then, the more you knit, the more weight you're carrying around: and my shoulders were aching pretty badly (not to mention my wrists, and hands).
Last, but surely not least... plan in advance.
I made a swatch of 20 stitches x 20 rows and figured out that I wanted a big, I mean BIG 7 ft x 7 ft rug.
So I casted on 150 stitches.
And after three rows the first ball of yarn was almost gone (I had 6 balls total).
So that would have lead me to a very-very-small strip.
This was the "unravel big knitting #1".

second unraveled attempt with 60 stitches and diamonds cables pattern

So I casted on 60 stitches, ready to settle for a runner rug. 
And worked this diamonds and cables stitch (link is in italian, but has a diagram, too), and used 2-1/2 balls of yarn. 
...and having stockinette and reverse stockinette on the sides, made it into a tripping hazard, because of the size of the knit, the rolling edges weren't pretty. 
... This was the "unravel big knitting #2".

So I decide to change a bit the pattern, casting on 52 stitches.
Starting with 2:2 ribbing (4 rows), 
and work on garter stitch on both sides, while having the diamonds and cables in the middle.
To do this, I changed just a bit the stitch pattern, "cheating" on the rows where there are two diamonds and making the cables on the external sides too, cabling two of the stitches on each side that would be part of the garter stitches. 

Overall: I'm happy with my rug. 
It's laying next to the sliding doors to the deck, 
and it's a pleasure to walk barefoot on it! 
Once back to Italy... I'll attempt the bigger-er-er version ! :) 

More giant knitting found around the blogosphere:

xox, d.

keep in touch! 

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