How to Make an Old Fashioned Rag Rug: Part 2

Author Photo
By Renee-Lucie Benoit

I’m going to share with you something other teachers don’t share. My first effort. I should say “I meant to do that.” But I didn’t. It was very good because it taught me a lot. The more you do this the better you get. Just like anything.

Anna and I are having fun.

This is to show you no one is ever good at the beginning. I keep this first rug as a reminder of my humble and humorous beginnings.

Note: Part One neglected to state the recommended size of the crochet hook for this project. It’s 10 to 11 mm; metal (aluminum or steel), but if you can’t find metal, plastic is OK.

Part Two: Making the Actual Rug

Start to make the first loop by winding the long end of the fabric around your fingers over and under. Pinch the short end of the fabric between your thumb and pointer finger leaving a couple inches dangling.

The strip winds around your fingers.

Then (and this is important) slide your hook underneath the strip of fabric that is between your thumb and forefinger.

Your hook goes underneath the strip – always.

Now pull out a small loop while twisting it at its base. Pinch it between your thumb and forefinger.

Your first loop.

Now you’re going to chain stitch. I was so clumsy at first, but now I have the hang of it. And since I am basically all thumbs I know you will, too.

Chaining is a single crochet over and over.

Continue chaining until you have 18 stitches.

The finished 18 chains.

Now you’re ready to go around the end with a double crochet loop to start the second row.

Up until now you’ve been making one loop and pulling your strip through to make a chain. Now you’re going to pick up two stitches to give the corner some slack. You have to pick up two stitches at the turns because you need to create slack in the corners. Otherwise the corners will start to “cup” and the rug will not lay flat. If you take a couple stitches and it looks like some cupping is happening, pull out a stitch or two and add some doubles. What I’ve just described here is all you need to know about stitches for this project. Basically you make single stitches on the straight and double stitches when you round the ends.

Start singing, “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes!”

Make one double crochet (two loops).

Pick up your next loop from the second side.

Pull your next loop through.

Start single crocheting the second row.

Keep single crocheting until the end of the second row.

You can add a different color by using the hobo knot to attach the ends together.

I have found that the shape of my finished rug is determined to a degree by the shape of my first 3 rows. That’s why I have made such a big deal about the first 3 rows. The remainder of the rug is simply repetition of the first 3 rows. If you see an obvious bend or distortion taking shape in the first 3 rows it might be best to start over again.

Remember: Always stick your hook underneath the fabric strip, hook and pull in through the hole.

Warning: Don’t make too many double loops on the corners. It is possible to get a wavy result from too many double loops. How many extra loops you make is determined – to a degree – by the thickness of the fabric and how tight the turn is. I have found one double loop (another way of saying double crochet) on every other one is right for my sheet fabric. You might need to add more or less.

How do you know when to start adding a stitch? When the bend in the previous inside row lines up with where you are.


Simply single crochet back towards the way you came on every other hole until it is used up.

Here’s something that will make you happy: the process is forgiving. This is a handmade rug. It’s not supposed to be flawless. That is part of the charm.

In Memoriam
Anna Irene Dearing b. June 14, 1927 in Saticoy, California, d. November 25, 2015 in Elk Creek, California Anna was a pillar of our small community for 40 years and a light to my life. She was “Mom” to everyone and my special teacher. Not only was she skilled in making rag rugs but she was also a master quilter and cook. She loved to dance and sing and every time I hear “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain”, I’ll be thinking of Anna. I’m lucky to have known her and I’m happy I was able to share her with all of you. Blessings. – rb