Guest Author - Iris ten Holder
It's fun to shop around for new yarns and materials and get new ideas.
Take the opportunity when you see something new and unusual to experiment and adapt a design.
Some yarns may not be advertised for knitting. For example, those who do macramé will be familiar with burlap or jute cord, but as knitter one may be a bit wary of using such coarse and hard material. I advise you to take the plunge. Even though the material is unyielding, and takes extra effort, the result is worth it.
Jute is the fabric used in burlap. It can come in many sizes and twists. It is often in natural colors, but is also died. I happened to come across a deep golden burlap yarn, wound in skeins. The yarn was the size of thick wool, the wool I might use for knitted rugs. I decided to be adventurous and give it a try.
It was obvious that this was a different kettle of fish. There was just the one color, so my usual playing with shading, contrast or other color choices would not apply. This was going to be a one-color rug. I realized I would have to do something different to make it a bit more interesting. I made small change, and started knitting.
Generally my knit rugs employ just the knitting stitch and not the purl stitch, the one usually worked on the return needle, which causes the typical v shaped stitches to be on one side, leaving a smooth surface, while the other side has a bubbly effect. When one uses the knitting stitch on both sides, the result is a coarse rib on both sides as on each side v stitches and rib stitches alternate.
Thus I decided to use some purl stitches in the design and create a band around the outside of the rug as part of the knitting. So, this is not an extra band; it is woven or knitted into the rug.
This is done by making purl stitches at the back of the work - the return needle - starting at the eighth stitch before the end of the needle, purling four stitches and ending with knitting the last four stitches. The effect is that a band that seems to run alongside the edge of the rug.
When making the rug, this did not look all that exciting; the edge wanted to curl and show bubbles. I had to wait until the end when I would wash the rug to see what the final result would be.
The reward was rather amazing. As soon as the rug was wet, the surface straightened out and lay beautifully flat, showing this decorative flat band running round the edge. The effect is that the four outer stitches make the border, and the next four stitches make up the band.