I have this fantasy of belonging to a men’s rug-making collective called “Man-Made Rugs: rugs for men, by men” or maybe just “Man-Made Rugs”. I haven’t the faintest clue how you’d do something like that but I think it could be fun.
I have never heard of such a group so I think it is up to you to start one. I, too, enjoy knitting utilitarian objects. Coming from a cold climate, mittens, hats, socks, and sweaters are on the top of my list. However, when in Mexico my thoughts do turn to rugs on the cold tile floors for beside the bed. Any suggestions??
There are a lot of ideas out there, Ron. “The Knitted Rug” by Donna Druchunas kind of opened my eyes. She’s got a cable-bordered area rug in there that is elegant enough for the foyer of the finest mansion to a homey, furry, felted number in a two-color diamond design that would both look and feel great in the bedroom next to one’s bed. This book has a number of techniques specific to rug making (like how to knit a shag rug, for example). (I wonder what they call a shag rug in England.)
Besides that book, which I think is a great place to start, there are just a lot of ideas out there in the ether. Navajo rugs, medieval tapestries, Roman floor mosaics, Persian rugs, ethnic folk designs from around the world. I’m not sure how easily those could be converted to a knitted product but I think it could be fun finding out.
As a rank beginner, one of the things I know next to nothing about is fiber. Some recent comments about pills have definitely given me pause. It sure would be a drag to do all the work of making a great rug only to have it break out in pills after a few months. I’m definitely going to research that before I start the knit-along rug in April.
I looked at Tom's book this past Monday Night Knit meeting...and I ordered it...there was an interesting technique of knitting loops, and one where you lay strands of "pile" into the knitting as you knit...
I can visualize Navajo rug designs transposed to knitting- it would be brilliant! As to the yarn- there are yarns specifically designed for rugs; try googling "rug yarn" and see what you come up with. You might also consider spinning your own. There are breeds of sheep such as Lincoln, Leicster, Cotswold (to name just three) whose fleece is long, lusterous and course and ideally suited for rugs. These fleeces are readily available online from many sources. You might take a look at rhlindsaywool.com.
Thanks, Albert. The idea of making Navajo-style rugs and blankets really excites me too. Bill told me about a rug yarn company in Harmony, Maine. It’s called Bartlett Yarns. He showed me a skein the other night at Monday Night Knit. He said their price is very good for what it is they offer. It was beautiful yarn.
I love Bartlett's; they've been operating for almost 200 years.