A year ago or so, I was wandering around the Knitting and Stitching when I came across a stand that was selling lots of lovely yarns and silks. I was having a bit of rummage around when I came across a solitary hank of blanket yarn. It wasn’t really a material that I’d considered rag rugging with (probably because I hadn’t come across it before), but I was drawn in by its gorgeous texture, softness and quality. The stand only had one hank left, so I bought it for a little experimentation. I forgot about it for a few weeks (as happens after a big show like the Knitting and Stitching Show), but when I finally got around to rag rugging with it, I was in love from the very first row. Here’s that first blanket yarn cushion in all it’s glory…
The Original Blanket Yarn Cushion:
The problem was, after I’d run out of that original hank of blanket yarn, I didn’t know where I could get my hands on more of it. I waited until the next Knitting and Stitching Show to see whether I could get it there, but annoyingly there wasn’t a single ball or hank anywhere to be found. So, in traditional Elspeth fashion, I decided to go out in search of it myself.. and finally I’ve found a good supply of it!!! I’ve now got my hands on my first order of 100% wool blanket yarn, which I’d love to share with you all 🙂
So, what makes this Blanket Yarn so great?
1) It’s 100% wool, so it’s not only super soft, but also excellent quality. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with, and any rug or cushion made in blanket yarn will last for generations.
2) Fabric yarn comes pre-cut into strips, which saves on cutting time. We recommend cutting the strips in half for ease of use and to make them go further, but that takes considerably less time than breaking down any item of clothing into strips.
3) It looks gorgeous when rag rugged. The texture and depth of the fabric is just lovely (I’ve never made anything that hasn’t looked great in this yarn!)
4) It’s sustainable. Our blanket yarn is made from offcuts from blanket production in Yorkshire, so you can rest assured that every ball you use is recycling.
5) It goes far. Blanket yarn is thick, which means that it covers the hessian much quicker than most fabrics. This means that you can rag rug further apart and your rag rug creation will be done in no time.
So, where can I buy it and what’s the deal?
Below is where you can buy the different blanket yarns:
Blanket Yarn Pinks:
Buy individual balls here: https://raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-pink
Blanket Yarn Blues:
Buy individual balls here: https://raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-blue
Blanket Yarn Reds / Oranges / Yellows:
Buy individual balls here: https://www.raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-reds-oranges-yellows
Blanket Yarn Greens:
Buy individual balls here: https://raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-greens
Blanket Yarn Neutrals:
Buy individual balls here: https://raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-neutrals
Blanket Yarn Multicoloured:
Buy individual balls here: https://raggedlife.com/collections/shop/products/blanket-yarn-mixed-colours
So, that’s where you can buy the fabric yarn, but you may still have a few questions…
Frequently Asked Blanket Yarn Questions:
Before reading on, you may want to watch our Rag Rugging with Blanket Yarn video on YouTube, which answers many of your FAQs 🙂
Can I do both the loopy and shaggy rag rug techniques with this blanket yarn?
- Yes, of course! You can see a few examples throughout this blog post, but here are work-in-progress and finished photos of both techniques:
Loopy Rag Rugging with Blanket Yarn:
And here is the same cushion when it was finished:
Shaggy Rag Rugging with Blanket Yarn:
Below are a few photos of our first shaggy rag rug made using a selection of neutral and blue-coloured blanket yarns (think Scandi chic!). Firstly, a work-in-progress photo:
And here you can see what it looked like when it was finished:
And below is a rug that my mum, Victoria, made using a mixture of blanket yarn and other materials. You can see more photos on the rug specific blog post here.
And below is another blended blanket yarn rag rug made using a mixture of tartan blanket yarn, denim and shirts… You can see more photos and read a bit more about the rug below here.
Are the rag rugging techniques different when you use blanket yarn?
- No, not at all. You use the same loopy and shaggy techniques of rag rugging as you would with any other fabric. The only slight difference is that the blanket yarn is thicker so you will need to rag rug a bit further apart than normal to compensate for the thickness. The plus side of this is that it, therefore, takes a lot less time to fill the hessian using blanket yarn than it does using mixed fabrics. Here is comparison of how many rows it took to make two equal sized 100 x 60cm shaggy rugs – one in blanket yarn and one in mixed fabrics:
As well as the rows being more spaced apart, the spacing between one strip and the next in each row was also wider with the blanket yarn rug, which saves time and fabric:
How much blanket yarn do I need to make a cushion/ rug?
- It’s hard to give an exact answer to this question, as how far your blanket yarn goes depends on a number of variables (which of the rag rug techniques you’re doing, how high you are making your loops or how long you cut your strips, how far apart you’re spacing your rag rugging etc…), but we did a small test and our standard 40 x 40cm cushion cover took 312g of Pink Magenta blanket yarn to fully rag rug in the loopy technique:
Blanket Yarn Calculations – Loopy Rag Rugging:
Based on those numbers, it would take approximately 1,170 grams (1.17kg) of blanket yarn to cover one of our standard 100 x 60cm rugs hessian in loopy rag rugging.
Blanket Yarn Calculations – Shaggy Rag Rugging:
Our first 100 x 60cm shaggy rag rug took 2.3kg of blanket yarn to complete. Below you can see a break down of exactly how much of each of the Ragged Life blanket yarns we used:
Based on those numbers, it would take approximately 614 grams of blanket yarn to cover one of our standard 40 x 40cm cushion hessian in shaggy rag rugging (although this is just an estimate until we can make one for the first time).
Can I start rag rugging straight away or is there anything I have to do with the blanket yarn first to prepare?
Although the blanket yarn comes pre-cut into strips, the widths of the strips vary and most are a little bit too wide to comfortably rag rug with. Before starting, we recommend that you sometimes cut your strips in half to make them narrower and easier to pull through the hessian. This will also make your yarn go further 🙂
As blanket yarn is made from the offcuts of blanket production, there are woollen strands that join the woollen strips of fabric together (you can see the strands in the photo below). These strands occur roughly every 120cm along each strip of blanket yarn. At first, I used to cut them out as I went along, but now I actually incorporate them into my designs, so it’s down to personal preference whether you use them or not.
If I buy a ball of blanket yarn which has patches of other colour in it, will I be able to see the different colours when I start rag rugging?
One of the nicest things about blanket yarn is that you don’t need to do anything intricate design-wise because the patterns within the yarn do a lot of the work for you. Both of the below clutch bags were rag rugged using tartan fabric yarn, for example, and you can see how they become a blend of the different colours in the plaid. This variation in colour means that you can rag rug a cushion cover or rug entirely in one fabric if you want to and it will look interesting and complex.
Do you think the quality will be better/ will my cushion/ rug… last better using this instead of using old clothing or other fabrics?
Absolutely! Even though I use absolutely any fabrics in my rag rug projects (yes, I truly mean anything), there’s no doubt in my mind that the better the quality of fabrics that you put in a rug, the longer it is likely to last. As all of our blanket yarns are 100% wool, they’ll be extremely hard-wearing in a rug or cushion.
Is the finish different to using clothing/ other fabrics?
Yes, blanket yarn gives a much softer and plusher finish. It feels much thicker than most fabrics, which makes it soft and springy 🙂 It’s hard to show clearly exactly how cosy rag rugged blanket yarn is, but don’t you just want to sink your hands into this rag rugging:
Do you recommend rag rugging projects with blanket yarn? E.g. if I wanted to make a basket trim or flower rather than a cushion or rug?
There’s no reason why you couldn’t use blanket yarn for absolutely any rag rug project, but design-wise I think it looks best in larger projects (wreath size and upwards). It’s hard to be dainty with blanket yarn (as it’s so thick and cosy), so it would be difficult to create a light floaty look with it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend blanket yarn for the rag rug bouquets and rag rug basket trims, for example.
Blanket Yarn Video:
Fancy hearing a bit more about Blanket Yarn? Check out my Rag Rugging with Blanket Yarn video on YouTube, where I talk through a bit more what it is, where it comes from and how to work with this glorious material 🙂
If you’d like to be the first to hear about new rag rug products or to see our new creations first, why not join our Rag Rug Community on Facebook for advice, resources and gorgeous rag rug photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RagRugCommunity/
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