Crocheted Sisal Rug

With the simplest crochet stitches, a wonderfully textured room-size or area rug can be made with natural sisal rope. The rug is especially suited to a beach house, recreation room, porch, or patio as it resists soil and its open construction lets sand sift through.

You will need two-ply sisal rope (3/16 inch in diameter), available at craft and hardware stores in spools or reels weighing up to 50 pounds. The 10-by-10-foot rug pictured used two and a quarter 50-pound spools and spliced ends twice.

A guide in purchasing rope is to allow one to one and a quarter pounds of rope for each square foot of rug. How much you will actually use depends on how tightly you crochet. Crochet a foot-square sample, and weigh it to check the amount of rope you used. When you need to splice rope from a new spool, untwist a few inches of each rope end; trim one ply (strand) of each a few inches, and twist the two longer plies together. Bind the twist with buttonhole cord for a smooth joint (figure B).

The wood crochet hook used to make the rug shown is Swiss. It is sketched in figure C, together with two American wood hooks available at most needlework shops. American hooks can be modified to work efficiently with the sisal material. Sandpaper them to a smooth, narrow shape resembling the
Swiss hook. A deepened groove, narrow head, and very smooth surface help the stitches go quickly. A plastic hook, size Q, can also be used. It is smooth and has a fairly open groove. The hook and cotton gloves to protect your hands from rope abrasion are all the equipment you need for this project. To avoid turning over the entire rug for each row, spread the work over a table, and move from one side of the table to the other.

Decide on the size of the finished rug. It can be square or rectangular.
To begin, make a row of chain stitches measuring about 2 inches more than the rug’s short side, or width. This allows for bulk in the following rows.

First row: Ch 1 to turn, and sc into one side of each st in the ch.
Pattern row: Ch 1 to turn, and sc into one side of each sc in preceding row. Repeat pattern until the rug is the desired size.
Last row: Sl st into one side of each sc in preceding row.
Edging: Ch 1 to turn corner, and sc into each turning ch along rug length. Across starting end, sl st into each ch. Ch 1 to turn corner, and sc into each turning ch along opposite length.

This is a detail of the sisal rug – Three of the simplest crochet stitches make it: the foudation is chain stitch; single crochet forms the body, slip stitch finishes the ends. No blocking or shaping is required.

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