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Turkey Tracks: Knitting Selvage Placemats

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December 21, 2016

Knitting Selvage Placemats

There are TWO selvages on any width of fabric.

(Fat quarters have just one.)

One selvage can be colorful with round dots to show the different dyes, cool sayings, the name of the fabric, the name of the designer, and so forth.  Indeed, fabric makers are getting quite creative with these selvages now as quilters are making all sorts of products using them, including dramatic and gorgeous quilts.

When I first started quilting over 20 years ago, we were always cautioned NOT to use the selvage as the selvage was “different” than the fabric and would not handle or wash the same way.  So, we just threw them away.

The OTHER selvage is often plain, and for years I’ve thought about what might be done with those.

I’ve tried knitting old t-shirt strips.  They are ok, but a bit thick.  I have a small rug upstairs made from t-shirt strips.  It sits under the dog bowls.

BUT, what about these OTHER selvages?

I cleaned some up, which means getting the ripping threads under control, and looped enough together to make a long, continuous strand.

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Time has shown that making LOTS of long strands is better than trying to make one large ball.  It’s easy enough to attach new ones.  I also learned to loop the long strands together and to wrap them into a loose knot so they don’t tangle and retangle with the other long strands in the bottom of my knitting bag.Here is the first placemat, completed this week:

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Not bad.  I got a big crochet hook and went around the edges with a single stitch just to refine it a big.

This lone one is very cute on my dining room table actually.  It needs some bright cloth napkins.  Aqua maybe.  Or, green.  Or red.  Whatever.

I could have also bound off the edge and turned the work, picked up stitches from the short side, and knitted there a bit.  That would have been the start of a rug I think, where I bound off and turned the work at regular intervals.  Finished panels could be joined into a bigger rug.  The Mason Dixon knitters already figured that out.   (See Kay Gardiner, Ann Shayne, MASON*DIXON KNITTING.)  (I’m sure there are earlier blog posts here on this folks.  Search on the right sidebar search button.)

But heaven knows I don’t need anymore rag rugs at the moment.  You can see earlier posts about all the rag rugs made on a primitive Appalachian hand loom–using old sheets, fabric strips, etc.

There are an astonishing number of selvages in this placemat.  I just pin the whole project to the design wall, loop new selvages over one of the knitting needles, and when I get a hunk of them, I clean them up. loop them up, and spend some time knitting them into the work.

Written by louisaenright

December 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm

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