Sunday, 3 February 2013

For all those who asked about my rag rugs ....


First of all thank you so much to all who have taken an interest in my rag rugs and taken the time to email me.  I do appreciate your interest.

I have to apologise, I did intend to put up a tutorial - I just haven't got a 'round tuit' yet. However, I will refer you to this one - which is very clear and easy to follow.  Credit for this tutorial go to Vintage Chica.
 I'll just add a couple of tips myself though.  First, the hook.  Now I use a humungous one, not quite a broom handle, but close.  It's called a 'Q' hook.  When I first started rag work I had to get mine sent over from America, but if you Google 'Q' hooks, you will find them for sale in UK now - buy 2 !!  it doesn't matter where I keep mine, my cats will find them and use them as toys, so they frequently disappear, usually to be found some time later under the sofa or behind the bookcase, so if you have two, you can carry on working until you feel like spring cleaning.

The next size I use is a 'P' hook, I use this one for making bags or place mats or smaller items.

Now a word about fabrics, don't try to work with very thick fabics, well not initially anyway, like denim, although it can be done it will take the skin off your fingers and take away your enthusiasm for rag work as well.

If you are using the Q hook, then you should cut or tear your fabrics at least one and a half inches, if it is fine fabric, you can get away with two inches, wide strips give a lovely soft yet snuggly finished fabric, don't use narrow strips with a large hook, the result will be too 'open' unless that is what you want.

Most of you asked which stitch I use, well it depends on what I am making, for a rug I will use a hdc which makes it more time consuming to make but I feel gives a better result, but this again, is entirely up to you.  For bags or placemats I use dc's.  I have know people use treble crochet but that is too open for my taste.  Bags anyway, should be lined, like this :

Also curtain fabrics are not good, they are usually too thick as well but also don't have the design on the back, usually just plain or a 'shadow' of the front, so don't work up very well. You need a fabric which has the design clearly on both sides, preferably that has been washed many times to soften and also won't shrink any more, used sheets/duvet covers are ideal.

Don't be put off by a design you don't like, even the most unpromising fabrics work up well using this method and give a pleasing effect, I do try to avoid though (unless asked) fabrics which are mainly white or light coloured with just a spidery pattern on, this just won't show up at all.  It's the colours that are more important.
I wouldn't recommend you starting with a large project, try something smaller like a hotpad, placemats or seatpads until you get the feel of it,

Rugs are very time consuming and get very, very heavy on your lap.  Here is one I made earlier, half done, showing the huge hook I use.  I had to have regular breaks from making this, it weighed a ton !

Here it is finished, I made it to protect an antique table I have in the conservatory, from sunshine and light.  I can also use it as a rug of course.

This work is reversible and if you get the right fabrics completely machine washable.
Now for shapes, for a beginner I wouldn't recommentd starting with a square/rectangular shape, these are surprisingly difficult to keep in shape, an oval is the best, circles can be tricky too, having to keep increasing/decreasing so they lie flat.

I hope this has been helpful to you, and once again thank you for your interest.

One last thing, don't underestimate the amount of fabric needed for these projects, you will be amazed at how much is eaten up ! start small and get an idea of how much you will use before starting on a large project. Some of my larger projects have taken months to source the materials, this, together with the preparation of the strips etc., is where the time is, the actual working up is quite quick. I hope I have inspired you to 'have a go' yourselves, it really is worth it.

If you like this work but don't want to make it yourself, I will be putting some of my items up for sale in the next few days, I will make things to order, i.e. placemats to match your decor etc. if you give me a colour pallette to work from.
I used to make rugs to order for a rather 'swanky' interior design shop in South Shropshire, but was being ripped off, I was paid a pittance while the owner was making a fortune !  so no more of that !

oh yes, and make sure you have the cats permission before you start, if not they will find a way to stop you !

take care peepies ...........


  1. I love them, I have made these, years ago and you are so correct in saying the stiffer the fabric the harder they are on poor fingers, I also make a rag rug with a burlap backing where you poke strips through , tie in an a knot and keep doing that, it makes a fluffy raggy rug, my favorite, great for using up old t shirts!!

  2. Looks like fun, thanks for posting!

  3. Oh I am busting to have a go at mission is to find a fat crochet hook!

  4. Thank you for sharing your tips...I can never get it to go right when I'm crocheting with cotton strips, but I'm going to have another go now you've inspired me!

  5. Love the table top cover!

    Isn't it funny how you can take ugly prints and when they are made into strips they take on a whole new look.

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  7. Well done I love it! Certainly going to try it myself :) Thanks



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