Knit-Weaving and Rag Rug Knitting Machine Experiments

I’ve been meaning to try out the knit-weave capabilities of my knitting machine for quite some time now, and a ‘Virtual SOAR’ workshop prompted me to make the time to do it.  Also, there has been some chatter in the Ravelry KM group about making rag rugs, which is another thing I’d like to do…..with an eye to using the equipment I already own instead of adding a large loom to my home.  (Yes, I know it is a rabbit hole and I’ll end up getting a floor loom eventually.)  Anyway, here’s how things went:

I first pulled out some rug yarn and tried out some knit-weave patterns.  I started with  (on the right) two strands of the white as main yarn and one strand of blue as the weaving thread.  After a couple of rows it became obvious I needed more of the weaving yarn, so I switched to two strands of blue also.  To the left of the white stripey area, I took out one of the white strands to try it with a lighter backing.  Here’s the raw sample, and some close up shots.
Pre-felted knit-weave sampler
Per-felting knit-weave
Pre-felting knit-weave

Overall, I was not happy with the patterns that included longer floats, as once the main backing was off the machine, it cinched up and made the floats all loose.  More experimenting needs to be done with various sizes of backing and weaving yarns to find the right balance.

Since this is a feltable wool yarn, I proceeded with light felting.  This did improve the results significantly, and would render the longer float designs usable in garments or tote bags.
After felting knit-weave sampler
After felting knit-weave Double blue, single white

Now on to rag rugs.  There’s a tutorial online about how to use knit weaving to make rag rugs on the knitting machine.  She suggests using 1/4″ strips of felted wool….basically like thick yarn.   I quickly discovered why, since you cannot control what is happening under the carriage, the strip can get caught up in the needles and create dropped stitches.
Knit Weave fabric weaving fail

See how the top strip didn’t get woven in?  I also didn’t care for the diamond pattern across the fabric, and it didn’t seem like it would be very sturdy.  Here’s the back of the piece….you can see how the stitches dropped, and would be very difficult to recover.  I didn’t care for this backing, either.
Back of knit weaving attempt

So, another suggestion in the KM group was to tuck the fabric in between the two beds when using a ribbing pattern to ‘capture’ the strip.  All righty…..here’s that in 1×1 rib:
Rag weaving using 1x1 ribbing

While this is easy to do (push all needles out to at least C before passing the carriage), it leaves you looking at a lot of your knitting yarn.  It is nice and sturdy AND reversible, so if you don’t mind the lines of knitting and matched your yarn up to the fabric it can be a good option.  If you are careful, you can really get a nice tension on this to make a firm rug.

What I really wanted is something that looks a little more woven, however.  So I frogged this piece and tried again.  Same 1×1 rib, except after tucking the fabric in and knitting a row, I used my double eyed bodkin and swapped the stitches….all the top bed to the bottom, the bottom to the top.
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine

And then I tried the ’twill’ look….only putting every 4th stitch on the ribbing bed, then after each pass I put that stitch back onto the main bed and moved the next stitch to the right down on the ribber bed.
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine

And here’s the result:
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine
As you can see, the 1×1 switch section is very sturdy and reversible.
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine.

The twill section (below) has a different look to each side. I felt that the skipped stitches were too far apart for proper rug sturdiness. I did this on a bulky, so perhaps the faux twill would work better on a standard machine. With less clearance between the beds, the strips would need to be less bulky, leading to a thinner rug.
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine.
Rag Rug Weaving on Knitting Machine.

While this method of tucking between bed and manually switching stitches between the ribber and main bed on each pass can be tedious, it is simple enough to do, and the result is decent.  This method is not disaster prone like the knit weave option.   It is obviously not a good solution for production work, but would suffice for making the odd rug from recycled clothing, or a nice absorbant bath rug by using sock loopers or towels cut into strips.

About ThePaintedTiger

I'm an Indie dyer of yarn and fiber. I love all the colors, but especially green and brown.....and purple, and blue.....
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3 Responses to Knit-Weaving and Rag Rug Knitting Machine Experiments

  1. Brenda says:

    Just stumbled on this and I think that first 1×1 with 5/2 or 8/2 perl cotton would make awesome placemats and trivets!

  2. Beryl Irene says:

    I know your site was a couple of years ago but I have just found it. I have been making cushion covers with knit weave on a Brother manual with punch card 1 and 4. Punch card 1 locked gives a nice look for chair upholstery with cream 2 or 3 ply main and aran and chunky and dk weaving threads. Good way to use up hand knitting yarns too. Many thanks for your tutorial. Beryl

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