Did you know that you can crochet with strips of fabric instead of yarn or crochet thread? This technique is sometimes called either “fabric crochet” or “rag crochet.” While in many way’s it’s similar to crocheting with yarn or thread, there are also some significant differences.
The most important difference I’ve found so far: most of the time, you’ll have to make your own rag balls before you can begin crocheting. (It’s also possible that you could find rag balls for sale at Etsy or a similar venue.)
If you want to crochet large projects such as rag rugs, it helps to have a gigantic stash of fabrics and materials to draw from, particularly items such as used sheets, used linens, piles of old t-shirts, etc.
Being a textile designer, I have plenty of fabric stashed away. If you don’t, there are some different approaches you could take in getting started with this technique.
One possible approach would be to start with a really small project such as this easy fabric crochet necklace, which doesn’t require much yardage. This is a fantastic starter project for learning the rag crochet technique.
Another possibility would be to build your fabric stash so you have an abundance of materials to work with. You could ask friends and family to hand over their old clothes and t-shirts that no longer fit, or are stained, faded or worn out. These are excellent sources of material for rag crochet. You could also visit thrift shops to search for, and purchase, these items at below-retail prices.
Once you have a sizeable fabric stash to use, I hope you’ll dive into these patterns and ideas, and use all that fabric creatively — making spectacular rag crochet projects in the process.
Important Caution: Rag crochet can also be harder on the hands, so for that reason, I recommend taking extreme care when you are crocheting with fabrics. Please, please pay attention to how your hands feel, and stop crocheting at the first hint of stress or hand fatigue.
If you’d like to learn more about rag crochet, you’re invited to check out the following pages on the Internet:
Free Rag Crochet Patterns and Instructions
- This overview of rag crochet includes free instructions, free patterns, historical information about the technique, and more. (Knittingandcrochet.net.)
- Click here to discover a free rag bag pattern. (Knittingandcrochet.net.)
- Rag Rugs (About.com Crochet)