How to Make an Amish Not Rug

An Amish knot rug is basically a rag rug made by working buttonhole stitches, or "Amish knots" over a core strip of fabric or heavy cord. There seems to be a great deal of uncertainty about the origin of the name, since the technique does not belong to the considerable collection of handicrafts that the Amish bring to the world. The finished product may also be called a toothbrush rug, as there is historical evidence that crafters cut an "eye" into old wooden toothbrushes to use as their "needle" for making knots and weaving the rug. Today, you can make an Amish knot rug with scraps or from coordinated fabric you select at the store and a needle made from a Popsicle stick.

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Amish Knot Rug
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"Needle"

Prepare to weave your rug. Cut or tear the fabric in 2-inch strips; you can use fabric of one pattern, or you can mix and match. Make a Popsicle stick "needle." Use a craft knife or keyhole saw to cut a slit in the stick; you will thread your fabric through this "eye" when you weave.

Step 2

Select a strip of fabric to be the core fiber; you will work your Amish knots, or buttonhole knots, around this core. Attach a strip of working fabric to your core strip at one short end. You can sew them together or knot them together. Thread the working strip through the eye of your Popsicle stick needle.

Step 3

Make the first knot (these directions work well for right-handed weavers). Put tension on your core fiber; you can hold it in your right hand, press it between your knees or pin it to a cushion. (When you have worked on this for a time, you’ll find what works best for you). Pull the working strip away from the core to the left; make a loop around your little finger or thumb and pass the working strip over the top of your core. You should see a backwards “D” shape. Run the needle under the core strip and up through the loop. Clean up the knot; don’t pull it too tight because you’ll be working new stitches for rounds in the loops.

Step 4

Make six knots and coil your work. Work the next knot through the loop of your very first knot. Start it exactly the same way as the first knots, and before you run your needle under the core strip, run it through the loop on the first knot.

Step 5

Continue adding fabric strips and working until the rug is the size you want.