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Whatever You Do, Don’t Look Down

Dear Kay,
One of the hazards of our philosophy of covering our entire houses with knitting is that sometimes, it can be a haunting sort of thing.
For example.
Every morning I wake up, and as I brush my teeth I invariably look down and see:
The Tailgate Rag Rug, the one that appears in our book. Three years into its life, I can happily report that it has held up sturdily through a number of washings–air dried, mind you, no machine dryer for this thing–and it is a cheerful reminder of the making of our book.
It is also, however, a regular irritant, because the seams that join the four pieces of log cabin squares are done with some whipstitchy git-r-done bit of business that pretty much totally violates the rag strip integrity of the pattern.
It bugs the bejeezus out of me to see those seams. It’s every day I’m looking at them, you know.
So when I started a new Tailgate Rug a few weeks ago, a major goal was to join the strips with a more felicitous connection, one that somehow features the rag strips.
Whipstitching the pieces together with rags would look crummy. Crocheting the pieces with rags was unlikely, because the bound-off edges are too tight for the rags to fit through. A three-needle bindoff seemed to be the only way, indeed the BEST way to accomplish this. The more I knitted, the more I anticipated the glorious evening of three-needle-binding-off the pieces together.
Gah, what a process.
I picked up stitches along the edges of the two pieces I wanted to join together. This involved a fair amount of wrestling, wedging, yanking, and cursing, not to mention an ooky green plastic crochet hook and some long-ass circulars.
Once I’d picked up all the stitches, I commenced the three-needle bindoff. I used a big rag ball for the yarn that joins the two edges, and sure enough, it was looking superior to the seam of the original Tailgate Rug. However, after about six inches of this, it was abundantly clear that the new binding was going to be at least an inch taller than anything else in the rug, because I’d used doubled yarn for picking up the stitches. You can’t have a dimensional rag rug. It’s the sort of thing that can make a trip to the bathroom an orthopedic surgeon’s dream.
So I undid the whole thing and re-picked up the stitches using a single strand of yarn.
MOST disagreeable, but I will say that things always go five times faster when you’re REdoing them. The final seam looks like this:
Still a bit wonky, but not as wonky as the original Tailgate Rug. Thank you for reading this: I have almost discharged all my crabbiness about this seam.




  1. Brava!

  2. Although I fail to see the problem with the first, I can absolutely see how the second is more “rag-rug-y”. Congratulations on solving the problem!

  3. I think it’s wonderful and I may finally have to get around to making one for my bathroom. I’ve been cutting old blue jeans and khakis into strips for years now! Your rag balls are still cooler than mine though!

  4. I SO want to make one of these rugs for the kitchen of my house that we will be moving into this summer. (yea!) I’m glad, though, that I haven’t done it yet, because I’m sure I would be just a bugged about the whipstitched strips as you! I just LOVE the blue rag strips. BTW, how DO you make your own rag strips, anyone know???

  5. Absolutely SO worth it!
    And you may want to use that dimensional thing in some other project some day, too.

  6. Love the rug — do you know about the hint for 3-needle bind off that has you transfer the stitches onto smaller size needles? Before binding off, just slip big needles out, slip little needles in — gives more wiggle room for the third needle — and WHEN can we expect the new book???

  7. All frustration taken into account .. it looks fabulous!

  8. This is so beautiful! Every time you show it I think I need to make a blanket version in silk with shredded indigo sari’s. It’s a beautiful design.

  9. Looks great. And thanks Annhb, I have that sari yarn and think it would be great for this.

  10. You are going to cro-Kay around the edge, or even crochet around the edge. Right? It will be so painful but so awesome.
    Just saying.
    xo Kay

  11. visual archive sidebar brought to you by Carl Sagan. Or the Hubble telescope. freaky eggs! entire cosmos of colour!

  12. I’m just about to start mine, thanks for this Ann! You started a great relationship between me and Elmore:)

  13. That works. nicely.

  14. How exactly do you make a rag ball, I get the cutting 1″ strips of old stuff but how does it all become connected? I really wanted to make this rug out of the book but short of sewing all the strips together i was lost.

  15. Have been feeling under the weather the last few days. Entered a post last night which did not take for some reason. Just want to say how much I like your new Tailgate Rag Rug, and have been knitting one “vicariously” through your reports and pix. Thanx.
    Knit On!


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