Tartan rag rugs: Tartan is the new black…

We’ve been saving beautiful, woollen selvedge offcuts from the Yorkshire mills for a couple of years now and still the novelty of picking up yet another batch of soft and cuddly yarn hasn’t worn off yet. I think it’s because it’s exciting not knowing what different colours and patterns we’ll get each time we visit. Plus, it helps that the blanket yarn is so beautifully soft that you just want to make a cosy nest out of it!

Although there is a good amount of uncertainty in terms of what we’ll find, every time we visit the mills, we always come back with a beautiful selection of tartan blanket yarns like the ones below…

These tartans are generally the offcuts from the production of cashmere and super soft scarves for premium brands (I won’t name which in case they cut off our supply!), which is why they are some of the best-feeling blanket yarns we stock.

Up until now, we haven’t really used much tartan in any of our rag rug creations. I only used three different tartans in my denim, shirt and blanket yarn rug and a couple in the small loopy purses below…

So, now that we’re in the midst of winter, it felt like the right time to experiment with a few more tartans and see how they rag rugged up. We knew that these yarns would make the softest, warmest rug in existence, but how would they blend? Below is how we got on…

Our Handmade Tartan Rag Rugs:

Victoria’s Tartan on Tartan Rag Rug:

My mum is always particularly ambitious with her designs and this rug was no exception. I hemmed a 100 x 130cm piece of hessian, which she decided to mark up in an intricate tartan design. That’s to say, she wanted to create a tartan design rug with interwoven stripes forming a tartan pattern between the blanket yarn and white t-shirts.

As the design was fairly intricate, Victoria needed to use either the short shaggy or loopy technique of rag rugging to make sure the pattern wasn’t lost. She decided to go with the short shaggy technique, as it would make the finished rug particularly cosy and squishy.

Below is what the rug looked like when Victoria had marked it out. She started by sketching out the design in pencil then went over it in marker pen. It was quite hard to do as Sooty and Sweep kept muscling in….

And these are some of the tartan blanket yarns Victoria chose to make the project. Her thinking was that using tartans with a bold main colour would help them to stand out against each other and create the lines of the “tartan” pattern. This was particularly interesting as we’d be able to see exactly how each tartan blanket yarn looked worked up and stood out against the white.

After Victoria was half way through doing the tartan, it became harder and harder to see where she was going, as some of the tartan stripes would pass over certain stripes and others under. She ended up having to cross hatch different sections to make things clearer. Here are a few photos as she built up the tartan rag rug…

But, here’s what the final rug looked like with all the white in and, as you can see, it really came together…

We particularly liked how well the red and green tartans stood out, but best of all was the feel of the rug. I think it’s our softest one yet.

So… buoyed by Victoria’s success, I decided to design a rug myself and see what would happen if we blended lots of these tartan blanket yarns together. Here’s how that rug turned out…

Elspeth’s Berber-Style Tartan Rag Rug:

Once I’d seen how well my mum’s tartan rag rug turned out, I felt pretty confident understanding how the individual tartan blanket yarns would look, but I was less sure what would happen if you mixed them together in a random way. So, I decided to create a very simple rug design, where three mixed tartans would form the dark background of the rug, and features would be picked out in a plain white.

It wasn’t the most complex design I’ve ever made, and here’s how it turned out…

I was actually amazed by how good the blanket yarns looked when mixed together. The mixed blanket yarns created an optical illusion of sorts. When you look at the rug as a whole, you think the background is plain, which made the white stand out well. However, the closer you look, the more interest springs out at you.

This style of rug would wear very well given the dark background and was an absolute doddle to make.

In conclusion

I do hope you found this blog post interesting. We were so chuffed with how lovely the tartan blanket yarns rag rugged up and how soft they were to work with.

If you’d like to get your hands on some tartan blanket yarn then head to the “All Colours” listing on the Ragged Life Shop here. We stock blue, green, grey and red-based tartans as well as complete mixes. Feel free to put any requests in the “Notes to Seller” box when you check out and we’ll do our best to pull together any custom mixes you’d like.

Buy tartan blanket yarn here.

Or, let us know what you think of the rugs by commenting below or messaging us on the Ragged Life Facebook page. We love hearing from you.

Thanks for staying tuned and happy rag rugging!

Elspeth x

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Stephanie Gaston
Stephanie Gaston
3 months ago

The tartan rugs are absolutely beautiful.

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