Quilt Fabric, Meet Knitting Needles
I was an avid quilter for years. My furnishings include a very large trunk filled with my quilts and an equal volume has been given as gifts, traded for other handiwork, or sold outright. I recently eliminated about 20 yards of lovely quilt fabric from my stash, but still have acres of fabric. I loved scrap quilting, so have collected prints by color. If 6 different black prints are good in a quilt, 20 is better, right? I can’t bring myself to let go of these carefully selected collections of fabric. Yet.
Even with this amazing array of fabrics, I don’t see myself creating any quilts in the foreseeable future.
New Work Space!
In the first week of June, I was notified that I will be teaching in a classroom setting again next school year. I’ll be a first grade teacher, as I was for my first 8 years in this school district. I’ll be in a different classroom, though. This classroom is smaller than my last, but it has a door that opens onto the playing field, with a ceiling-to-floor window beside the door. It also has two windows, and one of the window opens. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has 4 skylights that I can open and close. My previous classroom had neither windows nor skylights, and the only door opened to the hallway. The office I worked in last year was also a dark space.
My new space inspires me to craft and create. The first project I dreamed up was the refurbishing of an old desk. That project had to wait for a few weeks while the summer cleaning of the school was taking place. This project, a rug made of some quilt fabric, was something I could work on at home without interrupting work at the school.
Preparing to Knit a Rug of Quilt Fabric
I searched online to see what size strips of fabric were being used, how to join them, and what size needles to use. I found this blog post that gave me such details, but didn’t tell me how much fabric to cut into strips. My estimations of fabric amount were based on the size of my skeins of yarn, 100 grams.
I started by selecting fabrics and cutting 1 inch strips. I cut about 200 strips, some full width selvage to selvage, some shorter. When I had this first bunch of strips cut, and started putting them together into continuous ribbon. I used my sewing machine, overlapping ends about 3/4 inch and sewing an X. My method was to select 10 strips, all different, and join them. After I joined and neatly rolled those 10 I’d select another 10 and join them to the roll. When I had 50 strips joined, I started a new roll. Later, I weighed the rolls and they were around 150 grams.
I predicted that I would need about 800 grams to make a rug 20 x 30 inches. Again, this was pretty much a guess. When I had 4 rolls done, around 600 grams, I selected a few more fabrics and cut another 100 strips. I added strips to each roll until it weighed 200 grams. Finally, I was ready to start knitting.
For 1 inch fabric, the blog I read suggested size 15 needles. I used Clover’s Takumi, 36 inch circular so the weight of the rug in progress wouldn’t be hanging on the needles. The ones I got from Amazon have a little sticker on the package that says “old tip” and the tips are nicely rounded.
Actual Knitting Begins
Knitting with quilt fabric is muscle-ly work. The fabric has little stretch compared to yard. At first I was letting the fabric ribbon twist with every stitch. When I got my rhythm going, I didn’t let it twist at all. I pinch-folded the ribbon in half using my left hand and held it with the fold toward me and the edges toward my fingernail. Each stitch partially folded the ribbon again and then released it. The ribbon twisted a little as it came off the roll. When it became too twisty for me I turned the roll over and let the ribbon twist the other direction.
As I came to the end of each roll of ribbon, I attached to the next roll and kept going. When I was nearly finished with the 4th roll, I measured and decided to sew up some more ribbon, as the piece was only 26 inches long.
To get a rug that measures 19 x 29 I cast on 44 stitches and knit about 112 rows in garter stitch. My finished piece weighs 882 grams. The two images above show my cast-on row, far too loose. After finishing the rest of the rug I opened up the beginning loop of the cast-on row and backed out the fabric, effectively tightening up the stitches.