Guest Author - Iris ten Holder
From simple beginnings to a sophisticated ending.
First, let's go back to the beginning of radial rug making.
Consider that it takes 12 wedge-shaped pieces to make a round rug. Think of a pizza with 12 pieces. The method we use to make the wedge shaped pieces? The method one uses will have an effect on the finished product.
Method one - casting off - carefully crafted and assembled
Cast on an even number of stitches; let's say 20, for illustration purposes. Starting at the second needle, cast off two stitches every other needle (thus: at then end of needles 2,4,6, etc.). Thus after 20 needles there are no more stitches to cast off and the piece we have made is triangular in shape. To make one round rug, we sew 12 of these pieces together with the points facing towards the center.
The advantage of this method is that the sides can be evenly matched and sewn. Careful stitching will ensure that all seams are even. This will provide some solidity and stiffness to the seams. Several stitches can be used, even decorative ones, such as the buttonhole stitch or the chain stitch. Another way is to crochet the pieces together and crochet around the rug for a finishing touch.
Method two – Picking up stitches – no sewing.
Proceed as in method one, but when all stitches have been cast off, pick them all up with the next and repeat the process 12 times. This way no sewing is necessary, except perhaps for the last joining. However, it is also possible to knitting the last row together with the first row, taking care to pick up all stitches evenly.
Method three – No casting off – continuous knitting. - no sewing.
In this method do not cast off any stitches, but leave them on the needle. Turn around, slip one stitch off the needle and knit the remainder of the stitches. Repeat this until no more stitches are left to knit. Then knit all stitches again to start the next wedge, and repeat this process. After 12 such repetitions, the rug can be formed into a circle. This method will provide a soft transition from one triangle to the next.
Method two and three will leave a hole in the center of the rug that needs to be carefully pulled together.
Now, here is the secret to avoiding the hole in the center. This is done every time at the end of the first needle of a new wedge. According to some instructions the last stitch is left on the needle. This tends to leave a bit of a hole and one long stitch. The trick here is to bind this stitch to the other stitches.
This is how it is done. At the end of the needle, bring the thread to the front and slip off the last stitch. Turn the work around, slipping the needle under the thread--which is now at the back of the work--and into the first stitch. Then bring the thread over the top to the left of both needles and slip off the stitch. You have in fact looped the thread around the last stitch without knitting the stitch. When this is consistently done every time at the end of the first needle of a wedge, the center will become filled and will appear nice and tight
Enjoy nicely filled centres on all your rugs.