The Story Behind the Rag Rug:
As with many crafters, I’m heavily influenced by the seasons and weather. When it’s warm and sunny outside (like Summer 2018, which was a scorcher), my designs tend to be light, bright and fresh. Whereas, in winter, my rag rugs are much more likely to be thick, lush and cosy. As I look outside, there’s a beautiful blue sky, but you can tell that there’s a bite in the air. Chiffons and jersey can wait, January and February are all about hygge, snuggling down and making it through to Spring. Now’s the time to make a cosy rag rug!
How do you make a cosy rag rug?
Rag Rug Technique:
One of the first decisions to make when starting a new rag rug project is, “which rag rug technique should I choose?” Which do I think will work best, loopy rag rugging? Shaggy rag rugging? Or maybe short shaggy rag rugging? Well, generally the thicker the pile of the rag rugging, the cosier it will feel, which is why I chose the traditional shaggy rag rug technique for this particular rug. It feels absolutely amazing when you sink your feet into a thick shaggy rag rug. I wasn’t planning to do a particularly complex design, so it also wouldn’t matter that the shaggy rag rug technique creates a somewhat blurry appearance. If I were doing a more complex design then short shaggy rag rugging is a good compromise between plushness and clarity of design.
To create the cosiest rug possible, the fabrics you use are equally as important as the technique itself. Over the years, I’ve rag rugged with pretty much every fabric known to mankind and I’ve grown to understand that different fabrics create very different looks and feels. You can understand a bit more about fabric usage in rag rugging by watching my Fabric Usage video on YouTube.
When you are looking to create a plush, cosy rag rug, you need to use thicker, heartier materials, as opposed to light floaty fabrics (like chiffon, lace and voile).
Our cosy rag rug was made using a very simple mix of tartan blanket yarn (the offcuts from blanket production in the mills in Yorkshire), denim and white shirts. Few fabrics evoke winter more for me!
I chose 4 different tartan blanket yarns, as I was intrigued to see how they would rag rug up. As well as the ones above, I also chose a dark one to provide contrast in the design…
Blanket yarn is one of the simplest and easiest fabrics to rag rug with as it is pre-cut into strips, but it’s also one of the best fabrics I know for making projects thicker and softer. It’s officially my miracle material.
I don’t regularly work with old jeans, but I decided to include denim in the rag rug as it makes me think of winter. It’s nice to use a variety of different shades of denim for a more interesting look. If you’re working with denim then cut your strips narrower than normal to ensure that they can be pulled through the hessian with ease.
The white in the rug probably seems like a bit of an odd choice for a cosy winter rug, but I generally like to include neutral colours like white, cream, grey, navy or black in striped rag rugs as they help to lift the piece and bring out the best in the surrounding colours and fabrics.
Right, that’s enough explanation for one single rug. Here’s how it turned out…
Our Winter Warmer Cosy Rag Rug:
And as usual, here are a few more up close photos where you can really see the fabrics that went into the shaggy rag rug…
Now the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos, so do forgive me, but I couldn’t help but share some photos of the rug in front of my parents’ log burning stove. This is definitely its spiritual home.
Well, that’s our first rag rug of 2019. I hope you liked the end result and if you’d like to get your hands on some beautiful blanket yarn to make one of your own then you can find our full collection on the Ragged Life Shop.
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As always, thanks for reading.