Okay, everybody got their glass of wine? I just downed half a bottle trying to get this all written in a halfway understandable manner. I promise you making the foundation row of the rug and getting started on the first couple of rounds will be the hardest part of the whole process. So if you can hang in with me through this, the rest will seem easy.
To start your rug, you'll need to make a chain that will be the basic foundation of the rug. To know how long a chain to make, you need to decide what size you want your finished rug to be. (My demonstration rug is going to be another one about 2' x 3' so we'll work with those measurements.) Simply subtract the width (in this case 24") from the length (36") which leaves 12". Twelve inches will be the length of the chain I will make to start my rug.
Start the chain by making a slip knot about 6" from the end of your fabric.
Here's a close-up of the slip knot on the hook. Make sure your hook is pointing away from the tail and toward the bulk of your strip you're going to be crocheting with.
Then make a chain about 12" long. It took me 26 chains to reach the 12" mark.
This close-up of the chain shows that it looks almost like a flat braid with loops on both sides. For the first time up and down this chain, you will be putting your hook through those loops one at a time and picking up the strip of fabric to make your single crochets. Stay with me, you'll see what I mean.
You have your chain made to the correct length so now we're going to turn and single crochet into each of the loops going all the way down one side of the chain. To do this, with the chain on the left, turn and make a single crochet in the second chain stitch from the hook.
Right in there.
Put your hook through that loop and make your first single crochet.
Continue making a single crochet in each foundation chain on this first side of the foundation row . . .
. . . until you get to the next to the last chain stitch which is the one the pencil is sticking through above.
Starting with this next to the last chain stitch, make 2 single crochet stitches in that stitch and then 2 single crochet stitches in the next stitch which should be at the very end of your foundation row. You will be working close to your slip knot stitch, but don't worry about it, just make sure the slip knot and tail stays to the BACK of your work.
This increase you just made will make your first curve around an end.
Above is a closer look at the curve.
Taking a peek at the back of this curve, you will see your slip knot and tail which probably won't look very smooth or neat. Don't worry about that now. If the lump-bump doesn't straighten itself out, we'll beat it into submission later.
With your foundation row again on your left, continue down the other side making a single crochet stitch in each foundation chain stitch.
When you get to the other end, find three stitches that will be used to make another curve. The center one should be as much at the very middle end of your foundation row as you can find. Above the pencil lead is on the first or right hand stitch. My thumb nail is on the third or left hand stitch. The middle stitch is the closest one to the very end of the foundation row in between the right and left stitch and will count as the second stitch.
Make 2 single crochet stitches in the first (right hand) loop, then 2 in the loop on the very end (middle stitch), then 2 in the loop on the left.
You'll now be ready to start down another long side.
This time around, the only difference will now be that you are inserting your hook into the top loop of a single crochet stitch rather than a chain stitch (of your chain foundation row). This will now continue throughout the rug.
As you go down this row, your rug may start to curl up but don't worry, as we keep building on each side it will get it straightened out and I promise it will lie flat.
You now have a nice curve at each end of the rug and will be making a certain amount of increases around these curves so your rug will lie flat. I know this sounds scary (and I will illustrate more increases in the next tutorial) but you will be making a judgment call as to how many increases and where they should be made on the curve as you go along. When I made my first rug, I obsessed endlessly that I was either making too many increases and my rug would have a wavy edge or not enough and it would end up being a large, cupped bowl. If you just occasionally lay your rug down on a flat surface and give it a little patting, tugging and smoothing out, it's pretty easy to tell where to put the increases and how many.
Since I want this rug of mine to be scrappy and colorful, my fabric strips aren't long enough to go very far. Already I've run out of the yellow fabric I started with so I need to stop and add another strip in order to continue.
Open up the end of the strip you're currently using and do the same with the strip you're going to be adding. Put the right sides of the fabrics together.
Join them with a 1/4" seam.
Having done that you're ready to continue on crocheting.
Here you can see (sorry for the blurry picture) a few inches I've already crocheted with the newly added strip.
I think we've all had enough instruction (and wine) for this go-round (and this post is certainly long enough) so I'll end this installment of our tutorial.
Until next time!