Making a Rag Rug

“Hooked on Rag Rugging” – the story of a rug in production: 

I find it positively rewarding and compulsive to turn a pile of old clothes…

Pile of Clothes

…into a beautiful and useful item for the home.

Rag Rug Sideboard

It can be a real challenge to stay motivated when making a rag rug as they take so many hours to finish… The umming and ahhing over the design, choosing of the fabrics (both the colour and design), cutting up of the fabric and weaving it all into the hessian – it all adds up to one hell of a project! It’s partly a physical challenge, but also a creative one.

Some of you reading this may have bought a Rag Rug Starter Kit (Ragged Life Rag Rug Starter Kit), latch hook or gauge so today I’m writing about the journey of a particular “spring” rug which was started AGES ago. It’s been a real labour of love as I keep picking it up when I have a spurt of creativity then forgetting about it for a week or two.

The hessian was given to me by a friend, bought from Boyes in the North of England.  She washed it to get rid of the hairy bits on the hessian but this made the holes smaller and harder to rag rug into. Fortunately though, the two long edges of the hessian didn’t need hemming as they were the selvedge which gave me one less job to do in the preparation part of the project. The hemming of the hessian is definitely my least favourite part of any rag rug project so this was a godsend. Particularly as this was one of the larger rugs I’ve ever done.

I didn’t have a specific design in mind when I first began the rug but instead had a place in mind for it. A lovely spot between the front door and stairs in a gorgeous cottage in the Lake District. These flagstone floors were made to have rag rugs on them.

At first I thought I’d do the complete rug in horizontal stripes but soon got bored so changed the direction of the stripes, making them slightly wider at the same time.

Work in Progress Rag Rug

My cat Fidget making a guest appearance!

I mainly used family members’ clothes but supplemented my fabric supply with purchases from the charity shop. When you’re making a piece like this you always find yourself lusting after the clothing your friends are wearing – “that’s just the right colour of green and I need more green…”

Months and months went by and as always I went through stages of liking or disliking how the rug was turning out. So finally I set myself two weeks to finish the final quarter and the excitement of finding the right colours and mixing them in was just enough for that final push. For those of you making your own rugs, stopping and losing heart or impetus, just wait until you are in the mood again, take stock, change bits if necessary (very easy)  and believe that after all the work you have put in, it will be worth it.  Whatever you think the end product will be, it will be your own creation, a one-off and will be beautiful. 🙂

Striped Green Rag Rug

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