Sunday 30 August 2015

Learning a new craft - rag rug making

The purpose of my visit to Dawn's - apart from seeing her again of course! - was to have a tutorial in rag rug making.  There were distractions, however, lots of them!  All those craft books (and I thought I had a lot!)  This one by Jane Hall I absolutely fell in love with (and have subsequently ordered from Amazon without a jot of conscience!)

I enjoy embroidery (I am far better sewing by hand than on a sewing machine, where I am rather a duffer!)  I looked at this butterfly, and thought, I can do that.

Look at this gorgeous Red Admiral.  He is perched on some lovely gauzy leaves (with thin wire supports forming the stems and bracing the leaf structure).

Then we moved onto several books by quilter Pauline Ineson.  I loved the detail, and the beautiful 3-D flowers, which I suppose fall almost into the category of stumpwork.  (Again, something I've always wanted to try).

These Foxgloves also had me thinking - I can do that . . .  I think a full-blown quilt like the one she had made might be a project too far (I know me and my glorious plans!) but these would look gorgeous on a little clutch bag, or perhaps a cushion designed for show rather than practical use.

Here is an example of Dawn's work in progress where she worked on a cushion cover from a design in another of Pauline Ineson's books.  One of her books details the most amazing quilt in How to Create an Heirloom Quilt.  Stunning.

Another of Dawn's talents is paper folding.  This swan is just superb.  Dawn was telling me how they had a huge scaled-up version in her shop window for several years.  I have to say, something I have never tried, but what a lovely creation.

She kindly loaned me this book on rag rug making (I am about to order my own copy, having found it on Abebooks FAR cheaper than on Amazon or Fleabay).  I think my dear departed friend Annie must have had this aas I recognize a couple of the projects in things that Annie made over the years.

You can mix techniques in a mat too.  Here are all three ways of rag rug making in one piece: the plaited design (which I have played about in a very half-hearted way in the past) plus proggy and proddy methods.  My mat is going to be the shaggy (proggy) type.

However, I also have several peglooms (a couple of big ones came from Annie's) so if I have any spare time I could always make a little woven rag mat.

I love these bag designs on the left, especially the cat and the shaggy flowers.

What has really inspired me is the flowers in this butterfly-topped rug.  I would love to do something like that.  Big aspirations - little time though!

Anyway, I gave Dawn an IOU for a spare bodger she had, and have borrowed her cutting guage until K makes me one (though he is currently assembling my grain ark so I will have to ask nicely so Dawn can have hers back).  Here is a pile of cuttings I have assembled during the last two afternoons.
It makes my back ache to stand so long, so I have to do some and them have a break.  Like so many crafts, preparation is the bit that takes the longest time.  I'll do a work in progress on this anyway.  It will just be a simple mixed colours rug, no design yet, until I get the hang of things.

Many thanks to Dawn for her help and inspiration - she's a lady of MANY talents.  If I had a craft cabin like hers, I would set up home in it I think!!!


  1. Now stumpwork is something I can show you on a future visit, your rug is going to be lovely, such fresh colours there is no rush for the cutting gauge I have enough projects on the go without starting another rug, I havent peeped in the book you let me borrow I am waiting until the grandchildren return home :-)

  2. A glorious pile of colour, I wouldn't mind a lesson in stumpwork those Foxgloves are great. My rag cutting was put on hold while Fran was here, now I have to catch up in the house and garden before I make another start, Looking forward to seeing the rug as it progresses.

  3. There was a lady at a lovely making rag rugs and said me and Tracey could have a go - but by the time we got back up, she'd gone. I'm thinking it might be my next 'thing' to try!

  4. Rachel - I hope you get to have a go at rag rugs soon. I think once you have the general idea, the basic process is simple. Obviously making it to a pattern would be more complicated but I look forward to trying.

    Pam - having cut all these bits up I don't really have a room where I have any of those colours apart from the shower room! but they were what I had to hand and I like them anyway. We missed you being there, but I agree it would be lovely to have a stumpwork lesson.

    Dawn - I love the green and the lilac together. I've started reading Place of Stone and really enjoy it. I have, ahem, ordered the rag rug book as I found it on Abebooks for a fraction of what it's offered for on Amazon or Ebay, as well as the Jane Hall book. I've added Floral Dimensions to my Christmas list!

  5. So much inspiration there! I would like to have a go at a pegloom rug. I have made one rag rug and have saved up lots of old material for more, just a case of finding the time.

  6. So many beautiful books, love the butterflies, they look so real.
    I make hooked rugs, I have one I need to finish this Winter.
    Fondly Michelle

  7. Dawn is obviously a really talented lady! I've always liked rag rugs though never been tempted to try and make one. I'll be interested to see how long it takes you and whether you find it easy to do.

  8. The butterfly books looks wonderful and the swan is magnificent - Dawn is so talented. My mother taught me to embroider years ago but I doubt I can remember anything she told me otherwise I would be buying the first book! The rug making looks interesting :)

  9. Agree with RR above the swan is amazing and the butterfly embroidery is beautiful.

  10. That paper swan is absolutely amazing - what precision.

  11. Pat - I was equally amazed. Dawn is very skilfull.

    Suzie - Lots of inspiration, although I don't think I am an Origami person.

    R. Robin - the butterflies in that book were a delight. Dawn has so many talents and I have wasted so many years faffing about I have decided!

    Rowan - I think rag rugs are very "you" from what I know of you, and not that difficult to do. The hardest part is all the preparation of materials. Dawn has a lot of skills at her fingertips.