Cutting a Rug

The pattern

Hardly a pattern: Knit 30 — do 8 rows, then switch colors.

I Need a Rug

I recently became an expat in the UK — which means a whole lot of rediscovering things which used to be simple: how does a plug work? why does no one own a dryer? is this why we learned metric in school?

It also means that I am starting with a blank house. (Or “flat”). I am determined to keep my obnoxious midwestern accent and am calling it “the subway.” I am not returning to the US sounding like a study abroad student who is full of obvious insights and funny phrases.

Those of you who know me, know I like trading in sleep for swearing at inanimate objects at all hours of the night. I make my living estimating software, but ask me how long it will take something in the real world and I am all of a sudden a wild optimist. (See “foolish”). Sure to form, I thought I could knit myself an area rug during my week nights.

Etsy, the Downfall of Reason

The whole project started after looking for rugs on Etsy (where many a naive crafter meets their over ambitious waterloo). People were selling over sized knit rugs, but all for more than I could afford. As I looked for less costly alternatives, I kept returning to the knit rugs. So cozy. So homey. Just the type of thing to sprawl on with a cup of tea and a book.  It was going to connect me to Dickens, Bronte, and J.K. Rowling. It would anchor me to the very soul of Britain! I needed a knit rug!

It was in Spain (actually a guy in Spain on Esty) that I found my answer. He sold the rugs, but he also sold the yarn and needles. For a few short nights, I could have my rug at half the price. 3 inches a loop, or 30 stitches across, I would have it done in 3-4 hours, tops!

So I placed my order for 80lbs of yarn and two needles and waited…

Perspective

I had everything shipped to my new office, because no one is at home to sign for packages — another thing I will miss about LA and drop off delivery. Being in London also means no car. I am about a 20 minute walk from work, which is heavenly.

Heavenly unless you are carrying 80lbs of yarn and two giant needles the size of baseball bats strapped to your back. Worse than the trudging were the looks of confusion and concern from people wondering what the needles were for. Was I some sort of hooligan? A vampire hunter? A cosplayer for “The Littles”?

Arriving home winded, I started to realize what I was in for.

The Knitting

The yarn is actually great fun. It took a while to figure out how to work with it without ripping it apart. It is closer to loose roving than to yarn. One good tug and you now have two pieces.

It is also hell bent to shed. It took a good part of a week to knit the damned thing, and then twice as long to hunt down all the errant rug droppings and lint roll them up.

Once I got into the rhythm, it took about 2-3 hours for each stripe — so much for my 30 stitches x 8 rows at 30sec a stitch (2hrs). I started off fast, but as the rug grew so did the bulk. The 80 lbs quickly jumped from skein to needled, and soon I was waving 10, then 40, then 60 lbs of yarn with each stitch.

The whole rug slumped when you tried to pick it up or maneuver it. It was like trying to cajole an 80 lbs cat to get off of your lap. (And it left just as much fur). By the end, I was taking stretch breaks after each set of 20-30 stitches. The last night though, I powered through 3.5 hours of the heaviest stitching.

I was so close and couldn’t bear the thought of having to return to it again the next day.

Now that it is done, I suppose I should sit down and enjoy a good book — but I really need some curtains… and a table cloth…

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