Yarn & Needles
This is an overview of the tools and materials used for making knitted rugs. We will go into more detail about many of these items in the coming weeks as we work on specific projects together.
You’ll have two choices of a rug to make in the coming lessons: a beginnner verion and an intermediate version. Both can be made with the same yarns. You’ll need at minimum 3 colors.
Worsted Weight yarn used double or tripls such as Lion Brand Lion Cotton or Cascade 220 / Cascade 220 Superwash. An excellent acrylic-wool blend option is Mary Maxim Northland Worsted.
Solids: 236yd/212m per ball.
Multi: 189 yd/170m perball.
In total, you’ll need about this much yarn. Remember to double or triple the amount if you plan to use multiple strands of worsted-weight yarn.
• Color A, about 132 yd/121 m
• Color B, about 264 yd/242 m
• Color C, about 264 yd/242 m
Needles between US size 9 and 10 1⁄2 (5.5 and 6.5mm) needles. Needles can be straights, circulars, or double-points. You may want to try different size needles to see what you like using with the bulky yarn. Gauge is not so important for fit in this project (obviously) but you want to have a fabric that is firm but not so tight that it hurts your hands to knit.
More About Yarn
Rugs can be knit with sturdy rug yarn, something soft like Brown Sheep Burly Spun, or a novelty yarn such as chenille for a plush bath mat. Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick-n-Quick is also a nice softer choice, perfect for a child’s nap rug, and very inexpensive. A single strand of a bulky yarn will create a very thick felted rug.
Some of these yarns are singles (one strand of lightly twisted fiber),
some are multiple plies (several strands twisted together),
and others are made with interesting techniques that are only suited for very thick yarns.
Today mega-bulky yarn and even unspun wool roving is sometimes used for arm knitting, too. This is better for scarves or afghans, because the stitches are too loose to make a sturdy rug.
Two or three strands of thinner yarns can be combined to create very thick rugs. You can combine several strands of the same color, or use different colors to create a tweed effect. Combining a solid color with a variegated colorway mutes the color changes and helps eliminate pooling.
Knitted rugs can also be made from fabric strips. These can be bought pre-cut or made from cutting up purchased fabric, or old clothes.
Traditionally, old cotton shirts and dresses were cut up and made into rag rugs when the clothing was too worn to be repaired.
The most popular recycled fabric material today is t-shirt fabric.
Rag rugs–and rugs made of multiple strands of yarn held together–can be made with “normal” size needles or on dowels.
More About Needles
You can use straight, double pointed, or circular needles to make rugs made from long narrow strips.
• Size 9 (5.5mm) to 11 (8mm) are best for rugs made with super-bulky yarn, a double strand of bulky yarn, or for rugs that will be felted.
• Very large needles, size 15 or 17 (10 to 12.75mm)) are suitable for rugs knit with a double-strand of super-bulky yarn.
• Size 8 (5mm) and smaller are good for making rugs at a very tight gauge; however, you may find that working at such a tight gauge puts too much stress on your hands.
• Giant needles are great for working with fabric strips or 10-20 strands of yarn held together for “big knitting.” These rugs are incredibly thick and durable. You have to sit on the floor to knit these, and move the yarn—not the needles—to make each stitch.
Experiment with needle sizes that are comfortable and create a sturdy fabric for knitting rugs.