Our Winter Warmer Cosy Rag Rug

The Story Behind the Rag Rug:

As with many crafters, I’m heavily influenced by the seasons and weather. When it’s warm and sunny outside (like Summer 2018, which was a scorcher), my designs tend to be light, bright and fresh. Whereas, in winter, my rag rugs are much more likely to be thick, lush and cosy. As I look outside, there’s a beautiful blue sky, but you can tell that there’s a bite in the air. Chiffons and jersey can wait, January and February are all about hygge, snuggling down and making it through to Spring. Now’s the time to make a cosy rag rug!

Rag Rug Letters in the Snow made using upcycled textile waste craft

Does anyone else get chills thinking about the Beast from the East last year?

How do you make a cosy rag rug?

Rag Rug Technique: 

One of the first decisions to make when starting a new rag rug project is, “which rag rug technique should I choose?” Which do I think will work best, loopy rag rugging? Shaggy rag rugging? Or maybe short shaggy rag rugging? Well, generally the thicker the pile of the rag rugging, the cosier it will feel, which is why I chose the traditional shaggy rag rug technique for this particular rug. It feels absolutely amazing when you sink your feet into a thick shaggy rag rug. I wasn’t planning to do a particularly complex design, so it also wouldn’t matter that the shaggy rag rug technique creates a somewhat blurry appearance. If I were doing a more complex design then short shaggy rag rugging is a good compromise between plushness and clarity of design.

Cosy Blanket Yarn Proggy Rug

Shaggy rag rugging makes you want to stroke it.

Fabric Usage:

To create the cosiest rug possible, the fabrics you use are equally as important as the technique itself. Over the years, I’ve rag rugged with pretty much every fabric known to mankind and I’ve grown to understand that different fabrics create very different looks and feels. You can understand a bit more about fabric usage in rag rugging by watching my Fabric Usage video on YouTube.

When you are looking to create a plush, cosy rag rug, you need to use thicker, heartier materials, as opposed to light floaty fabrics (like chiffon, lace and voile).

Our cosy rag rug was made using a very simple mix of tartan blanket yarn (the offcuts from blanket production in the mills in Yorkshire), denim and white shirts. Few fabrics evoke winter more for me!

Tartan Blanket Yarn, Denim and White shirts for a rag rug

These were some of the fabrics that went into the rag rug.

I chose 4 different tartan blanket yarns, as I was intrigued to see how they would rag rug up. As well as the ones above, I also chose a dark one to provide contrast in the design…

Dark tartan blanket yarn for making rag rugs 100% wool

When I pick up the blanket yarn from the mills, it’s all tangled up, so first I need to wind it up into nice, neat balls.

Blanket yarn is one of the simplest and easiest fabrics to rag rug with as it is pre-cut into strips, but it’s also one of the best fabrics I know for making projects thicker and softer. It’s officially my miracle material.

I don’t regularly work with old jeans, but I decided to include denim in the rag rug as it makes me think of winter. It’s nice to use a variety of different shades of denim for a more interesting look. If you’re working with denim then cut your strips narrower than normal to ensure that they can be pulled through the hessian with ease.

Ragged Life Rag Rug Scissors cutting through lots of layers of denim

We managed to cut through lots more layers of the denim when using our Ragged Life Rag Rug Scissors.

The white in the rug probably seems like a bit of an odd choice for a cosy winter rug, but I generally like to include neutral colours like white, cream, grey, navy or black in striped rag rugs as they help to lift the piece and bring out the best in the surrounding colours and fabrics.

Right, that’s enough explanation for one single rug. Here’s how it turned out…

Our Winter Warmer Cosy Rag Rug:

Winter warmer rag rug from Ragged Life in blues, reds, tartan and blankets

Soooo cosy!

Denim rag rug made with tartan blanket yarn

The thick bands of white help to make the rug look less heavy.

Thick and comfy rag rug with shoes and plant

It wouldn’t be a classic Elspeth rag rug photoshoot without you getting to see my footwear for the day 🙂

Ragged Life Shaggy Rag Rug

And again…

Handmade proggy rag rug

Cosy rag rug

And as usual, here are a few more up close photos where you can really see the fabrics that went into the shaggy rag rug…

Denim, tartan and white shaggy rag rug in stripes made of old jeans

Here you can see a nice big block of the denim.

Wintry warm cosy rag rug in blues and blanket yarn in the shaggy rag rug technique

I particularly like how the red tartan blanket yarn pops amongst the darker, more sombre colours.

Stripes of white, grey, blue and red fabric for rag rugs

The colours blend together quite a lot with the shaggy technique of rag rugging.

Soft and cosy handmade winter rag rug made using old clothing.

The blanket yarn in the rag rug gives it a wonderful, soft and plush feel.

British traditional hessian rag rug made using old woollen blankets, jeans and shirts

Winter warmer rag rug.

Shaggy rag rug texture

Shaggy rag rug texture

denim striped rag rug in proggy technique

You’d actually be surprised how soft the denim feels once it’s in the rag rug.

Now the lighting wasn’t great when I took these photos, so do forgive me, but I couldn’t help but share some photos of the rug in front of my parents’ log burning stove. This is definitely its spiritual home.

log burning stove with striped cosy rag rug with live fire

Now doesn’t this conjure up a wonderful cosy image…

Fireplace with handmade stripey Rag Rug

I think it’s about time we take down our rag rug stockings actually 🙂

Well, that’s our first rag rug of 2019. I hope you liked the end result and if you’d like to get your hands on some beautiful blanket yarn to make one of your own then you can find our full collection on the Ragged Life Shop.


If you’d like to be the first to see my latest projects, why not join our Rag Rug Community on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/RagRugCommunity/or join our fortnightly newsletter here.


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As always, thanks for reading.

Elspeth x

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[…] 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 […]


[…] 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. […]

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