Rag Rugging Equipment

I thought it was about time I did a little intro into the simple but essential equipment needed for rag rugging. There are really only four items you need: hessian, a hook, material & sharp scissors but I’ve covered gauges below as well as they will transform your life if you choose to do a shaggy piece.


Most people would associate hessian with potato sacks but in rag rugging it acts as a base to weave material through and hold it firm. Without it our beautiful rugs, cushions and art wouldn’t exist. Hessian varies in the looseness of its weave so make sure you know what size of hole you prefer before you buy. In general, the bigger the holes, the easier it is to work but the more likely strands of material are to come loose. We at Ragged Life prefer a medium weave hessian and although we tend to buy ours from the local market you can buy good stuff online. We’re happy to help so do get in touch if you’re not sure what type is right for you.

Rag rug hook

The trusty rag rug hook… not a lot to say about it other than it can take a while to master how to use one quickly but once you know how you’ll be speeding along. Practice makes perfect but if you ever feel like the latch (the movable section that joins to the hook) is getting in the way then you can tape it down with some cellotape to fix the problem. Although we prefer a good characterful vintage hook, you buy some good new ones on Amazon or eBay.


We love that rag rugging is so sustainable – you can weave just about any material through hessian if you cut the strips to the correct width. So save up your old clothes and make them into something beautiful. Our main tips for choosing the right materials are 1) Use old clothing to keep things environmentally-friendly and cheap  2) The thicker the material, the harder it is to weave so bear this in mind 3) Rag rugs are joyous so splash a bit of colour in there and have fun!


Although scissors may seem pretty self-explanatory, rag rugging requires a great deal of material cutting so having a great pair of scissors is a must. We use Prym dressmaking scissors in all our workshops which are perfect for the job. To keep your scissors in tip top shape, make sure you use them only for cutting material (no chives, no nothing) otherwise you risk dulling the blade.

A Gauge

A gauge is a wooden block with groove down one side used to cut long strips into smaller pieces. When doing loopy rag rugs, cutting material into smaller pieces can be quite time consuming and tedious so buying a gauge saves both time and effort.

So there ends our quick introduction to the equipment but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch at elspeth@raggedlife.com

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