Chunky denim

I was scuffling about in Miz Lizzie yesterday. As you do…

It struck me that her pale vinyl flooring  was easy to keep clean but a bit hard under foot. A rug was needed. Having handed over large quantities of the Husband’s hard-earned cash to buy her, I didn’t want to go and spend yet more money on a non-essential rug, so obviously, I’d have to make one. What did I have that would be the right colour, and how was I going to make it?

Something I have in large quantities is the Husband’s worn out work clothes, especially the blue denim jeans. They go down at the heels and wear away on the seat and inseam. But there’s nothing much wrong with the legs, or the pockets. Light began to dawn…

One big pair of scissors and one worn out pair of jeans later, I’m here:

denim-crochetI can’t crochet properly. But I can make a chain and then simply hook backwards and forwards along it. I’m using the largest hook I could find, an N or 10mm. The strips are roughly 10-12mm wide – very roughly! I just started cutting at the bottom of the leg and spiraled my way up by eye, no measuring or fancy ruler work. What you see here is one leg crocheted and the other cut into a continuous strip. It’s hard work; the denim is very tough and the seams resist being hooked through, but it does make a gorgeously chunky texture, and my arms are getting a workout.

It’ll make a nice, textural, washable bedside rug in the perfect colour. And that’s another pair of jeans I don’t have to throw away. Recycling in action 🙂

I’ll show you what I’m doing with the pockets another time.

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45 thoughts on “Chunky denim

  1. dayphoto says:

    You always come up with the best ideas!

  2. Rugs are a great idea for the van. Ours had carpet around the bed but there was one inside the door that did double duty at the sink.

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s no carpet in Lizzie, so rugs are going to be needed, and I’ll probably want something fairly rugged in the kitchen. Not sure my hands are up to crocheting a bigger rug than this small one, especially in denim, but maybe lighter fabric…

  3. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    love to see the end product !!

  4. lucyannluna says:

    At least it should grow fast & less waste. Fantastic

  5. kathyreeves says:

    What a great looking rag rug you will have!

  6. I’ve always loved the idea of rag rugs. How clever to put your husband’s old jeans to work! Would you like me to mail you a Q?

    • katechiconi says:

      I definitely would – see my reply to your other comment! Denim is tough to work with, but it does make a tough product too! I’m now also thinking about using old plastic bags to make an outdoor crochet rug – the yarn would be a lot thinner and less stiff, so I think I could make it quite quickly.

      • Several years ago a woman won a $2,000 stipend for her idea of knitting or crocheting recycled plastic bags into waterproof mats for people living on the streets. Isn’t that the best story? They are much harder to come by now (that’s a good thing) as we have plastic bag bans in most communities. You can buy them for trash and other home use disposal, but the shops no longer give them out for free, and you have to pay a dime for paper. It’s saving money, reducing plastic and improving the health of all the polluted streams. I’ve been bringing my own bags to the store for thirty five years, buy you would be amazed at the fuss some people made at the idea of having to give up the bags.

      • katechiconi says:

        You can still get plastic here, but I rarely have them, as I carry 4 large reinforced insulated bags and two nylon fold-up bags to the supermarket whenever I buy groceries. The only time I get a bag is if I buy something that’s too large for what I brought with me. I’m currently experimenting with crocheting plarn myself, to make an outdoor mat for a future camping trip 🙂

      • I’ve spent a few hours today volunteering at one of the flooded parks, and I have to say, the plastic is the worst. Bits of plastic bags clung to trees, larger plastic buckets and bottles are washed up and trapped along the fence leading to the park, and still more plastic remains floating on the creek.

        Kate, I posted the crochet hooks last week, so depending on travel time, they should be arriving soon.

      • katechiconi says:

        Thank you so much, it’s very kind of you. Can I send you something in return?

  7. Smart use of old jeans!! Very resourceful:)!

  8. Lynda says:

    I always enjoy your ideas, Kate. I have a two foot stack of Bob’s old faded jeans I’m looking at as I write. Crochet? NO, because you’re right about it being hard work. Perhaps a lap or picnic quilt? You’ve got me thinking on it now.

  9. tialys says:

    Last time I was in ‘crochet mode’ a few years ago I made a similar rug but used strips cut mostly from soft furnishing fabrics. I got fed up with it after a while so it is just big enough to go in my upstairs loo but I do like the effect. I would imagine it is much harder work with denim but I can already tell it’s going to look really good.

    • katechiconi says:

      The denim really is hard work, but I love the chunkiness of the result. I’m not going to make this one very large, about the size of a stingy bathmat. However, it has given me a taste for this easy kind of crochet, and I’ll be digging around in my scraps for long strips to knot together. Maybe a round one next time…. I’ve also seen some interesting ‘outdoor’ mats made from plastic shopping bags cut into strips. Now that sounds like a good way to use up all those nasty things.

      • magpiesue says:

        In our area there’s a group of ladies who are making people-size mats for the homeless out of plastic bags. It gets them up off the ground and keeps them warmer and drier than they would be otherwise. Of course our climate is a bit cooler and wetter than yours typically….

      • katechiconi says:

        I’d like to make something for an area mat outside the ‘van, under the awning. But I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough bags for anything that size. Time for an experiment!

  10. Kathy D says:

    Beautiful! I just finished the top of a denim quilt for my nephew and his wife – oh my is it ever heavy. I pieced it on my Feather Weight and she went through it without breaking a sweat. It’s queen size and I’m dreading moving this heavy monster to quilt it. I also have a friend that crochets rugs out of old sheets ( from the thrift store), they’re pretty but do take a long time to dry after being washed. Looking forward to seeing Miz Lizzie

    • katechiconi says:

      This very simple crochet is about all I’m good for, but it’s fun, so I think there’ll probably be another one being made after I’ve finished this denim monster, but maybe in lighter fabric. Just finished up the second ‘leg’ of yarn, time to go and dig out another old pair of jeans!

  11. magpiesue says:

    Another brilliant, resourceful solution! I hope you don’t raise any blisters in the process though!

    • katechiconi says:

      No blisters, but my shoulder is fully aware of my recent activities! Good job I have to take a break and take the scissors to the next pair of jeans… Next time, it’ll be scrap quilting fabric, much softer and more cooperative!

  12. mlmcspadden says:

    What a great idea to use the jeans up.

  13. rutigt says:

    That´s a tuff job! 5 years ago I started knitting a scrap rug (inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg). It´s not finished yet 🙂 The youths at church was also inspired (by me), so they knitted a hammock from fabric scraps.

    • katechiconi says:

      It is hard work, but the hook is so large, and the ‘yarn’ so thick that it goes fast. And the mat will be quite small, only as big as the number of jeans I have available!

  14. Debbierose says:

    Stunning Kate, I saw one recently on face book, and thought, great re-purposing of old jeans, sturdy and will wash well.

  15. Great idea!! Take care of those quilting hands. 🙂 Wonderful looking rug already.

  16. I can’t imagine how your hands are managing but the newly incarnating jeans rug looks wonderful!

    Strangest way I’ve repurposed jeans is using them (lots of them) as weed control. Worked wonders.

    • katechiconi says:

      In the battle of rug vs hands, it’s hands 1, rug 1.5. I stopped short of where I had intended, defeated by the sheer bloody-mindedness of the denim. I now have a very small but very sturdy rug, and the last of the yarn I turned into a heat pad/trivet for the kettle or frying pan.
      I think using old jeans as weed control sounds like an excellent idea!

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