Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rag Rug #1: A how-to, of sorts

I did it! I finished one of the rag rugs! This one is for Gabriel. It is the second rag rug I started, and I finished it first because it was close to me when I decided to work on a rag rug. (It was in my desk drawer in the basement, where I was hanging out with the kids; the other two were in my bedroom, on the second floor.) This is also the only rug that has a real story behind it.

The only piece of the blanket not completely faded

Once upon a time, when my siblings and I were little, my mom gave my sister and me a blanket each. These were not just any blankets - these were Bambi Blankets that had belonged to my mom's sisters when they were little (basically when the dinosaurs were around :P). Anyway, this blanket went through a lot with me:
  • I took it camping, and on sleep overs.
  • It was a perfect addition to any fort.
  • In high school, a friend's girlfriend once asked if she could buy it from me for $50 because her sister's name was Bambi, and her birthday was coming up. I considered, as $50 was a lot of money for a girl without a job, but couldn't part with it.
  • Bambi lived on my bed in college, but made every trip home with me.
Basically, Bambi and I were inseparable. Until Gabriel was born. Then, somehow, it became his blanket. At first, this was not a big deal, since he slept in my bed from the day we came home from the hospital to the day I went back to work when he was six weeks old. And, honestly, he more or less slept in the same bed with me until he was six months old. I tried that whole crib thing, but he nursed until he was nine months old, and I was good at getting him to nurse him, but not so good at putting him back. Bambi briefly returned to my possession when he started sleeping full time in his own crib, but that was short lived. Soon Gabriel started pulling Bambi off my bed and rolling up on the floor in it.

When we moved from Michigan to Kentucky when Gabriel was 18 months old, the battle was lost forever. Bambi was officially his blanket. Unfortunately, Bambi had been through a lot. Battle wounds and aging signs were showing. The plain blue backing fabric was wearing through in places, the outer seam was coming apart, and the tacking was coming undone. I couldn't get Bambi away from Gabriel enough to keep up with the breakdown - no one plays more roughly with their blankets than toddlers. On the morning Gabriel woke up crying because he had somehow crawled through the ever-growing hole in the back fabric and couldn't get himself out, I knew it was time. I washed Bambi, folded it, and put it away until some way of preserving it hit me.  A week or so later, I pulled out the first rag rug I had started. Immediate ah-ha moment: I would make Bambi into a rug for Gabriel! And so I set aside the first rag rug, and started on Gabriel's. 

I used the same method for making Gabriel's as I had for the first - the toothbrush method. I followed a tutorial that is completely brilliant - it shows you everything you need to know (as far as I can tell, anyway). I decided to go with the toothbrush method because I wanted to learn a new technique. I used a blunt tapestry needle, and both the front and back fabrics of the Bambi blanket, alternating fabrics for the outside color and using only the plain blue fabric for the inner color. I made pretty good progress, but then we moved from a small apartment to our townhouse, I worked on the rug a little, and then it was put away in the bottom drawer of my desk, and there it languished for eight months. Until yesterday, when I pulled it out. I started in with my tapestry needle, but... I decided I wanted to add some interest to the last several rounds. So I switched over to a crochet hook (size K). I kept the inner strand throughout the crocheted rounds, except for the last one. I crocheted until I ran completely out of fabric. Now there is only the swatch pictured at the top of this post, and the rag rug.



The shape isn't perfect, but I think it turned out pretty well. And Gabriel has been laying all over it with cars and jelly beans, so I think he approves :)

Finished size: approximately 27"x21"

ETA: Mara thinks the rag rug makes an excellent blanket

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