This month, my face and one of my rag rugs is gracing the pages of Issue 103 of Mollie Makes magazine – yay!
For those of you who haven’t come across the magazine before, it’s one of my favourites for modern craft inspiration. Every issue is chock-full of colourful and contemporary designs from modern makers, like my friends Emma Jewell Crafts and Lucy from Peas and Needles. I guess that’s why I was so chuffed when they got in touch to ask me to make a rag rug for The Sustainable Issue.
Not only would I featured in one of my favourite magazines, but I’d also be flying the flag for sustainable living – what more could I ask for! Well, here is the Mollie Makes issue that I’m in and below is a little bit of the background and story behind the rug, in case anyone is interested. I hope you like the rug (I’m currently making a much bigger version, so watch this space) and that you feel inspired to make your own berber rag rug 🙂
The Rag Rug Design:
The Mollie Makes team were pretty happy to just give me a simple brief then leave me to things. The brief I got was to create a colourful berber-style rag rug. So that’s what I set out to make. Firstly, I chose the size of the rug. I went for an 100 x 60cm rag rug, which would be a nice size for by the bed or in front of a chest of drawers. I actually used a piece of our Ragged Life Medium Sized Rug Hessian as I knew it was a practical size for around the house.
Next, I browsed photos of berber rugs and came up with a few rough designs…
Although there were a few options, the classic diamond design in the centre won out, as I thought it would be the most fun for bringing colour into the design and improvising as I went along. To keep the crispness of design, I needed to use a rag rug technique that would keep the definition of the design, which ruled out shaggy rag rugging, where everything becomes a bit blurred. That left loopy rag rugging and short shaggy rag rugging. I decided to go with short shaggy rag rugging as it would keep the shaggy texture of the original berber rag rugs.
Next, I moved onto the colours. Whenever a design has a background, it always helps to choose the background colour first as it will generally have the most impact (even if subtly). Berber rug designs tend to have fairly neutral backgrounds, so I went with an off white / light cream background. White can look a little stark.
And below are the colours I chose for my diamonds. I went for bright and beautiful jewell colours that would really stand out against the cream background. I also made sure to include a variety of different textures (everything from fleece and knitted jumpers, to netting and chiffon) to make the rug look more diverse.
With the design and fabrics nailed down, all I need to do was the fabric prep and the making of the rug itself. Below are a few work in progress photos then photos of the final rug.
I was so enthusiastic about the commission that I cracked it out in only four days! I guess that just goes to show how addictive it can get 🙂
Work in Progress Berber Rag Rug Photos:
I decided to start with the two central diamonds and work outwards, so prepped the fabric for the outside edge of one of the central diamonds first…
Then the rag rugging began… I started with the edge of the two central diamonds and worked my way inwards. It was easier to keep motivated when taking one diamond at a time.
Once all the diamonds were done, I moved onto the cream background. I decided to rag rug one side of the diamonds first so that I could work the hessian in rows, but could have easily built it up another way. I prepped all my off white background fabrics and mixed them together in a bag to make sure that I didn’t get clusters of exactly the same cream concentrated in one area. This helped to make the design more symmetrical without losing the random nature of the design. This also meant that if I felt I was running short of fabric I could always add in another garment to the mix whilst keeping the variety.
After completing the first edge in white, I moved onto the second edge and then finally the middle…
And now, onto a few photos I took of the finished berber rag rug before it was sent to Mollie Makes…
The Final Mollie Makes Berber Rag Rug:
So, that was the story behind the making of my berber rag rug in Issue 103 of Mollie Makes Magazine. If you want to see the rag rug as photographed by the professionals at Mollie Makes then you can pick up a copy in various shops across the UK (and apparently the USA too!) I hope you found it inspiring and stay tuned to see the 200 x 140cm version 🙂
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As always, thanks for reading.