After over a year of development, our Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool is finally here and this is what it looks like in all its glory:
In this blog post we thought we would share with a little about the tool, the story behind it and why we’re so darn pleased that we’ve finally cracked it. We’ll also be sharing step by step photos on how to use it in case you feel inspired to make a shaggy rag rug after reading this post. So here it goes…
What is the Rag Rug Spring Tool and what is it for?
The Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool is our favourite tool to use to make beautiful shaggy rag rugs (also known as proggy rugs, proddy rugs, peggy rugs and clippy mats depending on where you’re from the country) quickly and easily. Below are a few examples of some of our Ragged Life shaggy rag rugs:
What’s more, you can also use the shaggy rag rug technique to make a whole number of other rag rug projects, for example, rag rug wreaths, rag rug frames, basket trims and more…
So, back to the Spring Tool…
What is the story behind the Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool?
Rag rugging has existed in the U.K. since Victorian times and possibly even earlier. Lots of different tools were used for rag rugging (and still are to this day) but one of the master toolmakers of the time was Brown’s who made the tool below:
Brown’s spent over fifty years producing and perfecting this tool (you can see modifications that were made to the tool when you look at editions from different years) but sadly stopped production more than twenty years ago (we don’t know why).
So, back to the present day, we’d been rag rugging with a latch hook for quite a while before we came across the Brown’s tool. We weren’t entirely sure how it was used but decided to give it a go and see how it felt. Well, we were 100% converted – how could such a tool exist and us (who are absolutely hooked on rag rugging) not have used it and embraced it? Now, the Rag Rug Spring Tool is one of our absolute favourite tools and we were determined to bring it back. This is why…
What makes the Rag Rug Spring Tool so great?
- It makes shaggy rag rugging quicker than ever before. With the Spring Tool, you can shaggy rag rug each piece with one action (as opposed to two motions with the latch hook). This makes rag rugging with the spring tool up to 50% quicker than other methods. Believe me, you’ll be happy to save the time if you’ve ever embarked on a large rug!
- It makes shaggy rag rugging easier than ever before. With the Spring Tool, you can work entirely from the top of the hessian (as opposed to holding your fabric underneath the hessian with the latch hook or working entirely from the back with the prodder). This makes it easy to see exactly what you’re doing, particularly when you’ve already rag rugged a section, which means that you can design and execute with confidence.
- This design was perfected over decades which means that it doesn’t have any of the problems of modern rag rug tools (which I sometimes think haven’t even been tested by a rag rugger!). The slim, pointed end slides easily into the hessian without damaging the weave, keeping your hessian in tip top condition (other rag rug tools we’ve tried are bulky and create large holes in the hessian).
And what makes our Ragged Life Spring Tool so great?
We absolutely adore rag rugging so spent over a year making sure that the tool that we made, based on the vintage design, was as brilliant as the original. We made sure that:
- We used only the best quality materials to make a tool that would stand the test of time.
- We tested the prototypes again and again and again to work out any problems early on.
- We only made changes to the original design when we were 100% certain that they would make the tool even better.
So, that was a bit of a longer monologue about the tool than I was planning (I hope it shows how passionate I am about it), but that doesn’t really matter unless you know how to use it so here it goes:
Parts of the Rag Rug Spring Tool:
Just so you know which parts of the tool I’m referring to in the instructions below, here’s a couple of handy images:
How to Use the Rag Rug Spring Tool:
What you will need:
- Rag Rug Spring Tool
- Rag Rug Gauge (optional)
- Rag Rug Fabric Scissors
- Hemmed Rag Rug Hessian / Burlap (the weave is incredibly important)
- Rags (any old clothing or fabric can be used but we recommend using easy fabrics like jersey or cotton to begin with)
Step 1: Cut your fabric into short strips for shaggy rag rugging using the Ragged Life Rag Rug Fabric Scissors and Ragged Life Rag Rug Gauge. A tutorial on how this is done can be found on our YouTube channel here. Your strips should be approximately 1.5cm wide and 7cm long, and all roughly the same size.
Step 2: From the top of the hessian, weave the pointed end of the tool down into a hole in the hessian and up through a hole two holes away. You should now have two strands of the hessian on top of the lever of the tool.
Tip: When I say, two holes away, I mean following the weave of the hessian horizontally or vertically, not diagonally. This will make rag rugging easier.
Step 4: Place the short end of the rag between the lever and the barrel and release the spring lever to clench the rag.
Step 5: Holding the hessian still with one hand, pull the Spring Tool back through the hessian (I find that it helps to wiggle it a bit) so that half of the rag is on one side of the strands of hessian and half is on the other. That’s your first piece of rag rugging!
Step 6: Leaving approximately two or three holes between each rag and the next, repeat steps 2 to 5 to continue the method. You can use the spring tool to press the rag rugging you’ve done out of the way while you rag rug your next piece.
Although that seems to be quite a lot of writing to explain the rag rugging of just one rag, I hope you’ll trust me when I say that it’s actually easy peasy and once you get the hang of it you’ll be flying! Before you know it, you’ll have a made a rug like the one below 🙂
Where can I buy the Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool?
Liked my explanation and think the Rag Rug Spring Tool might be for you? Well, you can buy the tool individually on our online shop here or buy it as part of our Easy Peasy Rag Rug Kit, which includes all the tools and instructions to make a 100 x 60cm shaggy rag rug (coming soon).
Still have questions or just fancy saying “hi”, you can get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org – it’s always nice to hear from you!
Looking for more rag rug inspiration? Why not connect with us on social media at:
Happy rag rugging everyone!