Dawn asked about the rag rug in my previous post, luckily I took photos as I was making it. I attended a workshop last year run by the lovely and talented Diane Cox where she taught me how to make this rug, my first rag rug. I have tried to explain how to make them as simply as possible, and hopefully the photos help.
You need some hessian, a hook (not the latch kind) and old fabric cut into strips of approx. 1/2" wide depending on the type of the fabric, if you are struggling to pull them through cut them a bit narrower. If they feel loose, cut them wider. The length of the strips depend on what you are cutting them from, but 12 to 18 inches is a good length. It can be any fabric, I used old t.shirt fabric as my cotton goes into quilts. The grey is my old dressing gown which shrank in the wardrobe!
Decide on the size of the rug and draw the border onto the hessian, leaving about 6 inches all the way around so you can fold it under for a hem when your rug is finished. I then zigzag machined all around about an inch from the edge to stop it fraying.
You can then draw the pattern, I used chalk initially until I was happy with the design, then went over it with a marker pen.
There are rug frames to use for hooking which are expensive, so I used a large embroidery hoop I had already. The frame keeps a tension on the hessian and therefore easier to pull the fabric through. You can see the hook used in the photo. I started with the outline, black stands out well, then filled it in with colour. But work it whichever way is best depending on your pattern.
The strips always start and end on the top, but you hold the strips under the hessian. You push the hook down through the hessian and pull up a loop of fabric, then repeat a few threads along, keeping the loops the same height. Snip off the longer bits of fabric at the beginning and end of the strips so they are even with the loops. You can see the ends in the photo before they are snipped off. When starting, pull the strip up through the same hole as you finished so there are two strips to hold it tighter.
The loops in the circles are all facing the same way because I liked it that way, but when you cover large areas, like the grey, it is best to make them a bit random, rather than all in rows. Keep moving the frame around to work on each bit. The loops stay in place as they are close together. It will be a very hard wearing rug which can be washed over and over. When it is finished, fold the edges under twice so they don't fray and hand stitch.
I loved making this rug, it is a brilliant way to use up old clothes which may not be good enough to take to the charity shops. It also keeps them out of landfill which is better for the environment. As in my quilts, I can recognise bits of fabric from favourite old clothes. The hessian is cheap to buy, and once you have the hook, they last forever, so a frugal hobby as well. Making rugs is a very old craft and one that it would be lovely to keep going.
Do you have any favourite crafts that have been passed down through the generations?