Here we go! I’m so excited to kick off this series of finger-knitting projects. For the first project, B proffered his largest ball of finger-knitting for us all to try weaving a rug! This project is super-fun and easy to do.
The rug was made on a hula hoop loom, using an old t-shirt for the warp and a massively huge ball of finger knitting for the weft. I based this project on an incredible t-shirt hula hoop rug I saw on the Disney Family Fun site, where they used strips of t-shirts for the weft. I’ve been wanting to try it with finger-knitting ever since. B had completed most of this ball at school during read aloud time so I had no idea what I would find in there. What a joy to see the ball unwind and uncover its hidden textures and colors. I haven’t done a lot of weaving in my day, but I must say, I think it is very satisfying. Something about the way it builds on itself snugly and the way it revealed its character with each new stretch of finger-knitting inordinately pleased me.
My son’s ball started with four-finger finger-knitting(click here for a how-to) and switched mid-ball to single-finger finger-knitting. Both kinds of finger-knitting use the same process, though in the latter, the knitting is done on one finger instead of four. As a result, the strands in his ball became finer at times. The ball was amazingly varied, ranging in the kind of finger knitting, as well as yarn thicknesses, from super thin to super thick and everything in between. I was worried about how the variability would affect the end-product, but I love the rug for that very reason. I think that this project is forgiving overall to the quality and consistency of the finger knitting.
I have to say that although this project was easy for the kids to work on, I think the size of it was a bit overwhelming. It was a HUGE ball of finger-knitting, which was hard to handle for their little hands. They tired of doing it after 5 to 10 times around the circle. I think this project would work better if you did it bit by bit.
My suggestion is to sit down and do a little bit of finger knitting, finish it off, ball it up and add it to a basket. When you’re ready to do some weaving, add a strand or two of finger-knitting to the rug. This would help a couple of ways: 1) the ball wouldn’t be so unwieldy to work with, and 2) you would “finish” weaving a strand in one sitting-very satisfying. Then, put away the rug until you have some more finger-knitting to add.
I’ve been going nutty with finger-knitting. Coming up with these projects has me just as obsessed as the kids. Be sure to check out the gallery of projects by clicking here or on the button below.
Here is the DIY for the hula hoop rug:
A large ball of finger-knitting (or, this can be done in stages as you complete littler strands of finger-knitting)
An old t-shirt (I used a women’s large)
Hula hoop (this one is 28″) You can’t make a rug much larger than 19″ on this size. I’m sure it would work on a bigger hula hoop as well.
Cut the t-shirt into 10 strips, approximately 1 1/4″ wide across the body of the t-shirt, under the arms.
Pull the strips across the hula-hoop in a spoke pattern, going progressively in between the spokes you’ve already added.
After adding the 10 strips stretched across the hula-hoop into 20 spokes, you’re ready to start.
You need to create an odd number of spokes to make the weaving pattern (over/under) work. Do this by pushing two of the spokes together. Even out the spacing on rest of the spokes across the hula hoop.
Tie one end of the finger knitting to one of the spokes. I started with the one that is doubled up, so I wouldn’t forget.
Right now treat each loop as one spoke. Start weaving by going over a spoke and under a spoke, around and around the circle.
If you have an extra large ball of finger-knitting, you’ll have to squeeze the ball in between the spokes and re-space them afterwards. Every time you get back to the double spoke, check to make sure you haven’t missed any, you should be doing the opposite (over or under) of what you did on the last round.
You want to pull the finger-knitting so that its snug, but don’t pull it tight or it will make the rug gap and pucker.
Repeat this pattern around and around until the rug gets to be about 7 – 9 inches across.
Now, you will start to weave such that each of the current spokes will be divided into two spokes. For the spoke that was double, pull it apart such that you treat one as having individual spokes like the rest of the warp spokes. For the other spoke, have the two parts of the loop remain together so that you maintain an odd number of spokes. I tied a piece of string around the one I wanted to keep together, so I would remember each time I came around the circle again.
You can see in the photo below that I am going over and under each individual spoke. The ball is still big, but not for long! The smaller the ball got, the easier it was to work with.
The kids found it easiest to do the weaving with the hula hoop on a table. They enjoyed the weaving, but for only about 15 minutes at a time.
They quickly got a hang of pulling the ball over and under the warp spokes and noticed quickly if something got off.
We found it easiest to do a bunch of weaving (over/under) in a row, as below, and then to pull the finger-knitting taut (not too tight!), such that it fits snugly against the circle.
I think the ball of finger-knitting was made for this hula-hoop, because it fit just perfectly. We wove until the ball was gone! Generally, you want to stop about 4 inches before the edge of the hula hoop.
Now comes the fun part. Cut and tie each spoke individually.
You want the ties to be fairly tight because if the rug starts to loosen, it will start to curl into a bowl.
Continue to cut and tie each spoke as you go around.
When you get to the double spoke, cut it, and then . . .
. . .take one of the pieces of the double spoke and re-weave it over and under some of the finger knitting strands next to it, and then tie.
Voila! Finis. It’s slightly counter-intuitive, but if the rug is curling. Push the weft (finger-knitting) in towards the center of the rug and re-tighten the ties. This way the circumference of the circle is smaller and the strips of finger knitting won’t be pulling as much. You can leave the rug with the ties loose as below. I think this makes a striking center piece.
Or, to hide the ties, as in the first photo in this post, I chose the “right” side of the rug, by choosing the side I thought looked the nicest. I flipped the rug to the “wrong” side, and wove each piece of the tie into the back of the rug.
The back of the rug looks like this with the ties woven in:
The front of the rug looked like this:
I decided I like it most on our wall.
B says he’d like to move it into his room soon. Hmm . . . I’ll have to give that some thought.