Our New Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool

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:

Wooden and metal rag rug making tool for making shaggy rag rugs

Ooh la la, that is one lovely looking spring tool…

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:

Ragged Life Pink Striped Rag Rug in front of chest of drawers

Our simple Posey pink rag rug.

Ragged Life Rainbow Striped Rag Rug

This rainbow rag rug is on the cover of our book “Rag Rugs, Pillows & More” – it’s a good way of using up odds and ends…

Sicilian Inspired Rag Rug

Or you can do slightly more complex designs like this one which you can see more photos of here.

Blue & yellow Shaggy rag rugging

And here is what a rug looks like when it’s partially shaggy rag rugged… More photos of my Pacific Island rug are here.

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…

Ragged Life Rag Rug Green and Red Christmas Wreaths on a Sleigh

Rag rug Christmas wreaths always look so effective!

Ragged Life Multicoloured Rag Rug Chalkboard Frame

Our jolly Ragged Life rag rug chalkboard

Rag Rug Basket Trim

Even small shaggy rag rug projects look incredibly effective…

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 Patent Rag Rug Tool

This is one of the Brown’s patent tools I own.

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?

A Vintage Rag Rug Tool and a New Rag rugger side by side on a table with fabric and hessian

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

New Ragged Life rag rug spring tool in packaging with rag rug hessian and rags

We’re truly in love with our new Spring Tool.

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:

  1. We used only the best quality materials to make a tool that would stand the test of time.
  2. We tested the prototypes again and again and again to work out any problems early on.
  3. 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:

Parts of the Rag Rug Spring Tool labelled

Instructions for how to use the Rag Rug Spring Tool

How to Use the Rag Rug Spring Tool:

What you will need:

Ragged Life Rug Tools

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.

Cutting old clothing up using the rag rug gauge

Cutting fabric for rag rugs using rag rug scissors and a wooden gauge

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.

Rag Rug Bodger in hessian with hand showing how to make a shaggy rag rug

Rag Rug Spring Tool Closed inside the hessian

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. 

How not to Rag Rug with a rag rug spring tool

Step 3: Squeeze the wooden handle and spring handle together to raise the lever at the end of the tool.Instructions showing how to shaggy rag rug using a rag rug spring tool

A Ragged Life Rag Rug Spring Tool Lever Open in Hessian

Step 4: Place the short end of the rag between the lever and the barrel and release the spring lever to clench the rag.

Rag Rugging with a Metal and Wooden Handle Spring Tool

Shaggy Rag Rugging with Pastel Fabric

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!

Rag Rugging a Strip of Fabric using the rag rug spring tool

Beginning of a rag rug with one piece of fabric in

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.

Two pieces of rag rugging in the hessian base with a rag rug spring tool

How a rag rug starts with only a few pieces of fabric in the hessian

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 🙂

White Spotty Ragged Life Rag Rug with Pink Yellow Green and Orange Dots

Our Cosmic Rag Rug

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 Super Shaggy 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 elspeth@raggedlife.com – it’s always nice to hear from you!

Looking for more rag rug inspiration? Why not connect with us on social media at:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raggedlife/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raggedliferagrugs/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/raggedlife/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/raggedlife

Ragged Life Rag Rug Inspiration on Instagram

We’ve got lots of beautiful rag rug designs for you to take inspiration from on our social media channels.

Happy rag rugging everyone!

Elspeth x

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