So, you've checked out our directions for beginners and are looking for a few more tips? Well, here we go! Starting a CIRCLE versus an OVAL rug:
Better example of working around the ends:
Finishing your rug:
Thanks so much for putting these instructions online. I injured my foot last week and am off work for at least two weeks. I was wondering how the rugs were made and now I know….thanks to you!
Your videos are awesome…..I might even try to teach this to my students when I get back to work!
I’ll try to send you a picture of my finished rug and I plan on sending your link to my friends.
Yay for rag rugs, boo for bodily injuries!
Thank you for your comment, Terri (on Vancouver Island, my home town!!).
Hi! Thank you so much for your instructions! I have been searching everywhere and yours are the clearest on the web! I just have one question…but starts to curl t the edges and it becomes more a hat. How do you keep it down? I feel like I don’t have as many loops to go through once it gets bigger. Are we suppose to add loops/knots? Thanks again!
emilee, did you get an answer? I'm also new at doing this and I'm having the same problem. Has anyone given you help?
Yes you should add loops, called increasing. But only increase when your loops that you''re going into appear stretched out, or with too big of a hole.
I am by no means an expert, but a friend and I tried our hand at these rugs, using these vidoes. My friend made a 'bowl' and i made a 'rug'....lol. We figured out that hers went bowl-style because she tied the knots and kind of pulled them up and onto the top of the rug, while i pulled my knots to the side of the rug. Does that make sense?
by increase do you mean just add more knots in the hole?
Got a bowl shaped rug?
I haven't tried making one of these rugs yet - I plan to ASAP! But I crochet. If I want to crochet a flat round shape this is how I would convert the instructions (I think) for this rug.
I would start with 3 or 4 stitches or knots, then when I switched directions I would put TWO knots in each hole until I had gone all the way around to my starting place (filling 6 or 8 holes, and making 12 or 16 knots).
On the next round I would put TWO knots in EVERY OTHER hole so you would make about 18 or 24 total knots for that round. The 3rd round you would put TWO knots every third hole, the 4th round two knots every fourth hole, etc.
To make it OVAL, you would calculate the number of starting knots by subtracting [how long you want your rug] by [how wide you want your rug].
If you want your rug to be 24" x 36" you would make you starting row of knots (36-24=12) 12" long.
Then you would do TWO knots in one hole (called an increase) only on the ENDS OF THE RUG and not on the long sides of it.
I've never done an oval in crochet so I don't know the math for it, but it should be very similar:
increase every other knot in the 2nd time around, increase every 3rd knot in the third time around, etc. except ONLY on the curved ends of the oval, not the along the straight sides.
As I said, I haven't tried to make a toothbrush rug yet, so there may be some dynamic I don't know about, but this is the technique used to make circles in crocheting and I would think it would work here also.
As I said before, I LOVE these videos - they are so well done!
Did you ever make this rug according to your instructions? Was wondering how it turned out...it sounds reasonable to me. I am getting ready to start one and wanted to how your instructions worked out. Thanks!
I too had the same problem. Also added as I went around. But ironing it worked great. It pressed it down flat.
To combat the "hat" shape, you need to add two stiches in a hole every few holes. I make a lot of oval rag rugs and just add a few extra stitches at the rounded parts on each end.
Also, if the rug is just slightly curling, you can get it to flatten by soaking it with water, putting it between two towels and weighting it down to flatten. The problem will be that you will have to do this each time you wash the rug.
Who learned this art from my grandmother, over 40 years ago!
I love your videos. Thank you. Have started my first rug. I’m trying to make an oval rug. It started out as an oval but as I’ve continued it has gotten more round than oval.
Also the stitches are getting longer. Can you please explain about the “doubles”? What exactly are they and when to use them? Do they keep the 2 problems I mentioned from happening (i.e. longer stitches & oval becoming rounded)?
Thank you for any help you can provide!
Awesome instructions! I’m excited to try!
Thanks so much for the easy instructions. I’ve wanted to learn how to do these rugs and thought I needed a crochet class first. I will give it a try.
I’m so excited! Thanks so much for your instructions. Years ago I had a friend that taught me the basics for braided rag rugs and I started one but never finished it. I was thinking about trying again, so I was looking for instructions on the net when I ran across the toothbrush rugs and I knew I that was the rug for me. For my house I need rectangle rugs. Do you think you will ever do instructions for them?
If you want a rectangular rug. Do your increases only in the corners. Do not increase on the straight sides.
just got in from the International Quilt Show in Houston, saw wonderful rag rugs and wanted to learn how but didn’t want to pay $35 for the dvd. Your instructions were great, clear and easy to follow…can’t wait to start one. Thanks!
You did an INCREDIBLE job explaining this. I love love the rug that someone posted on here. Very beautiful. I certainly have enough fabric to start making this. It’s always easy be inspired by someone, especially when you can tell that they enjoy what they’re doing.
I love your video and the rugs. It looks so easy, but when I get past a certain point my rug turns into a basket. Am I doing something wrong?
can macrame cord be used to make a rug like this or crochet yarn? yours is beautiful but i enjoy working with macrame and crochet yarn .
Do you know of any tips to make the rugs lay flat?
can the cloth strips be purchased any where already cut?
I noticed you added another piece of cloth to only the left strand of the original two strands. Do you keep feeding the left piece, and never the right? Does the right strand stay as it is until the end of the rug? I’m confused.
I see that nobody answered your question. You have to 'feed' both the right and the left strands.....I find that the left strand has to be 'fed' more often because that's the one that you are making the knots with, while the right strand is just staying straight and the knots are tied around it. But you will quickly come to the end of both strands, and will need to attach another strip to each one. I hope that makes sense!
Hi - I just wanted to thank you for putting these brilliantly clear pages and clips up,it’s really clear and helpful.
I’ve just started rug making after a lifetime of wanting to (my grandparents used to make rag rugs in the winter when I was a little girl, sitting in front of the stove, with it between them, working from each end, turning it from time to time to even out the tension and the patterns). I went on a course a couple of months back and since that I’ve made my first proddy rug, just finished my first hooked one and while searching for information about rug making generally came across your site - I’m now off to get the man in my life to make me a tool while I raid my growing fabric collection!!
Hope you have a great Christmas.
With all best wishes and thanks,
Thank you so much for your wonderful instructions! My husband helped me make the t!ool from a coat hanger and it works well. My question is this:
I started out with an oval shaped rug but it has been curling up and looks like a bowl! Should I add stitches (loops) in places like crocheting?
Another thank you for your outstanding instructions. I really appreciate your taking the time to make the video and post it. These are the best instructions I’ve found — I’m starting my first rug tonight. Thanks again!
Oh my gosh, I have searched and called sewing and quilting shop, looking for directions on how to make these rugs. Great directions, your videos are great. Yo are a GOD send……I was even willing to pay for a class to learn this. Most people didn’t know what a toothbrush rug was. After watching this, I got up and grabed a few long left over strips from a quilt I’m working on….and so it begens. Thank you so much….Sharon
Thank you so much for your instructions for making a toothbrush rug. A woman I know promised to show me how one time, but never got around to it. With your illustrations I think I have the idea and will certainly try it.
Thanks so much for posting the videos and posting instructions! I searched all day yesterday before finding your page.
They are very well done and easy to understand, now I just have to find some old sheets to tear up! I’m going to hit the thrift stores tomorrow for cheap material!
Thank you sooooo much, this is great. But I started one and it turned into a hat instead of a rug. Please tell me what I am doing wrong. I have tried twice now.
I’m having trouble with the videos, they keep stopping. Any help?
I just tested them and they're working great!
Just curious I just learned how to do this and on a lot of the sites like the one I will attach say something aout blocking the rug with wet towels. Do you know what that means? Thank you! Heres the link
When hooked rugs are finished, we block them too. Basically I take a dish towel and wet it under the faucet. Wring out excess, then lay it over the surface of my hooked rug. I use an iron with WOOL setting.*because the rug is made from wool* Place the iron above the wet cloth and it will generate a lot of steam that goes into the rug. I don't press down hard, because that can mash the loops.
When I've covered all of one side, the rug gets turned over and the same treatment on the back. With wool rugs it really makes the loops look better, and can help shape the rug.
I have no idea about the wet towels! Never heard of that one. Perhaps it just means that that'll help it lay flat? I don't know! If you try it, keep us posted on your results, Brit.
Thanks for saying hi!
I just watched you instructions. Thanks a lot. I too just came back from a show and the lady wanted $35 for a DVD. She was not happy with me when I stated I just wanted to tool. I wish I had found your site before the show. But I have a tool and great instruction. Now I can not wait to get started. Thanks
Everyone is right about searching the web for hours to find simple clear instructions. Thanks for that. A few people have asked about 2 things, that so far you haven't answered. One is how to make your hanger tool. I teach special kids and I can't use anything really sharp. The curved end of your tool looks great - and cheap! The second question is about the rug turning into a hat. We need help on that too! I hope I see you answer these questions soon!
Hello Art Teacher!
Thanks very much for your feedback.
1. The tool: I've heard many different ideas for tools. As mentioned, I made mine out of a coathanger. It was cheap but required strong hands and some pliers. Other people have used plastic-ended spatulas (cut small, whittle one end to a dull point, drill a hole in the other end).
I really want to manufacture some nice wooden tools and sell them here on this site, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I'll keep you posted though!
2. Re: the hat problem, I am not an expert and I have this problem too! I think that there needs to be some extra stitches added around the ends. Hopefully someone else can weigh in and explain this for us!
I was told to work on a flat hard surface. That will help with the bend.
I definately work on a hard surface. I answered an older post about the 'bowl' but will answer again here because this is more recent...
I am not an expert, I only learned how to do this from these videos last year. A friend and I watched them together. She made a 'bowl' and I made a 'rug' (well, am making, it's not done yet, LOL). We figured out that she was tying the knot and pulling it so that the knot laid on top of the rug/above the last row. I was tying the knot and pulling it so that the knot laid on the side of the rug/beside the last row. Does that make sense?
I posted this on the other post, but I guess this is where I actually read the question:
I loved the videos. Thank you for taking the time to do them. On the questions of curves and corners; in crochet 4 stitches in the corner turns it nicely. On the next round, you place 4 more stitches in the middle of the previous 4 and on and on. Keep it to an even number and you can have nice sharp corners.
\| | | | | | |/
\| | | | | |/
\| | | | |/
each side would have extra 2 stitches, one on each end, thus allowing a turn and widening the piece incrementally.
I. LOVE. THIS! But...how do you add extra loops? I have tried to start a rug three times and the bowl thing keeps happening. Thanks!
Again, I'm not an expert....
But to do extra knots, I just make two knots into the one loop from the last row. So I make one knot as shown in the video, and then for the next knot I don't move to the next loop, I make the next knot into the same loop.
I am making my first rug, and had the hat thing going on, when I saw the stitches that looked to long or tight I added two knots in one loop and it has worked out, I am nearly finished and planning my next.
To keep rug flat and even ---- There's only one way I know of to keep your rug from becoming a bowl or hat and that is to add more stitches. I add more by simply making one stitch and then making a second stitch into the same loop. This will keep your piece from cupping.
If you have too many stitches, your rug edges will start to get wavy. Since you don't want this to happen either, don't add any extra stitches for a few rounds or until the rug edges start to flatten out.
thank you for posting such clear videos about how to make these! just came back from the library and found a VERY confusing book with drawings about how to do it. so grateful for your simple, kind instructions.
i'm making my tool out of a large bobby pin with the open end taped, not unlike your coat hanger thinga-ma-gig.
When the page loads up there are no videos but I can see the pics. Could someone tell me if these videos are anywhere else???
Try going to YouTube.com and typing in "rag rugs" or "toothbrush rugs". If you can't play any videos from YouTube, your computer has a virus or has lost your video drivers. Try running CleanSweap or McAfee.
thank you so very much..
That's strange, the videos are there as far as I can tell!
I can tell there is a pic or video in the place where there are suppose to be videos but they don't load. The pics of the rugs & the tools are there but none of the videos are. I would love to see them but can't.
Rag Rug Cafe 2009 - All Rights Reserved - Team Login