Monday, 13 August 2012

Update on my mother's rug

Progress has been slow not because the work is difficult but because I would rather be watching the Olympics than in my bedroom rag rugging. I never imagined I would write that!
Looking at the rug this way up, the worked area measures 87cm along the left-hand edge and 67cm along the bottom edge. The ends of fabric strips hanging out are nothing to worry about - they will all be trimmed back later. You can see quite a difference in tidyness between the left-hand part which has been already trimmed and the more recently worked area to the right.

Friday, 8 June 2012

It just keeps getting wavier

Those last pictures were terrible! I took them in the evening under electric light. Never again!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Wavy Cynthia rug so far

Loving my speed shuttle. It is a living thing.
The canvas, too, becomes alive after a few square inches have been hooked; a tension is developed which was not there before.
These pix show back and front. A lot of ends to be trimmed.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

starting Cynthia rug

My mother wanted pinks/terracottas/earth tones. I stripped up 28 garments in a mixture of appropriate tones including the light blue she wanted. The result I am getting is bright, bright, bright - I am worried that she won't like it - it's too bright for her. Should I add in more brown (which I was keeping for borderlines) or what?

Notice however how easy it is to manage the stitches with the speed shuttle when natural light comes through from the back of the canvas. Bright or not, this was one happy hour spent listening to Radio 3 and painting in fabric.

Finally, the speed shuttle

At last, after many weeks of calculating, stripping and prevaricating, I actually started work on the speed shuttle rug I have been planning for my mother.
We have had a bit of trouble finding a place where I can prop the frame up securely enough to work on it. I tried several options in the living room; Dan and I experimented with step ladders and easels in the kitchen; finally I took it to my bedroom and discovered that the ugly plastic crates I keep teaching stuff in have a kind of lip on the edge. They are also so full of teaching crap that they are really heavy. Lean the frame against my window - natural light from behind the canvas is great! And the lip on the edge of the box holds it up.
That orange square check thing is a seat pad from one of our dining chairs which fell apart. Dan fished it out and has given it to me as my Official Rag Rugging Kneeler Pad. So that's why we never threw it away!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

I am stripping in the back garden today...

And yesterday I visited the Denham Roundabout Saturday car boot sale for the first time. Came home with a shopping trolley groaning with a rainbow of garments, and the whole trip cost £20 including fuel.
I have set up a piece of canvas on my large frame and am embarking on a rug for my mum in wavy lines, earth tones of pink, coral, terracotta, brown and fawn.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

JWMT rug done: Next project!

A lovely feeling: my father's blue/grey/heather proddy rug is turned, bound and stitched, rolled, wrapped, tied and ready for delivery. Now for the next project - a hooked rug using the speed shuttle and frame.
I am making this rug for my mother who will be 88 in April.
I am choosing earth tones of brown, fawn, pink and a tiny bit of grey here and there. The picture shows a stash of 20 different items of clothing gathered in from family, friends and freecyclers.

Monday, 19 March 2012

JWMT rug finished (in effect)

Except for the obligatory trimming, turning, basting and sewing of webbing, my father's rug is finished! It was a lot quicker than I had expected. I began it in early December, put it to one side to finish up Edith's rug and picked it up again just a few weeks ago.
It used:
Some lightweight girl's jeans; a pair of cotton blue twill trousers; parts of a couple of old duvet covers; a child's purple trousers; a child's mauve cotton smock; two pairs of black cotton jersey leggings; something else in sweatshirt fabric I can't identify; some grey trousers; some grey leggings; a blue jersey cotton pillowcase (can't remember if I used the whole pillowcase or not); some stiff lavender coloured linen fabric from the kind donation by
I started running out of stuff at the weekend and had to go to a charity shop last Sunday to find 3 large men's teeshirts in purple, grey and black to finish it off. (Can't believe how hard it is to find an old teeshirt for less than £4 in Chiswick.) I have a good little bag of bits left over from that expedition.
Close up of my father's bedside rug. To recap what a proddy rug is: the effect is made of hundreds of little rectangles of cotton fabric (woven and knit) pulled through the holes in a piece of hessian. It is very nice to walk on, springy and fresh and idea for a bedside rug.

The finished size is 91cm x 67 cm which is 6,097 square centimetres or 0.6 of a square metre.
Finished rug seen on a kingsize bed

There is something intensely satisfying about making something like this and I have totally enjoyed the experience from start to finish. Strangely, it just isn't anything like as boring as you might think. Something about handling the fabric, or about putting your hand into a bag and coming up with a different piece each time...

This is what the back of the rug looks like. You can see now how the bits of fabric have been pulled through one hessian hole and out through another with a rugging bodger. Once you have discovered bodgers, you find them everywhere.
Try not to point out how the lines are not very straight, please.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Note to self

In future use woollens for proddy and cotton jersey for hooky. No contest. Having said that, father's proddy rug in grey, blue, black, purple, lilac cottons is doing well.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Edith's rug all backed and ready to go to Oxford

After ironing interlining to the back of the rug I turned, pinned then tacked the edge allowance.
I pinned another piece of canvas to the back and cut it to a bit smaller than the rug.
I laid the rug out flat, wrong side up, and sprayed it with spray rubber solution glue. Then I quickly rolled out the backing piece and smoothed it across the whole back - a tense moment.
I pinned then whip-stitched tough petersham binding (sold as carpet binding) around the edge.
Then I showed the rest of the family the fruits of my three months labour and they all said, Yeah, right.
Oh well, onto the next one!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Trying to complete Edith's "flame" rug has been quite depressing as I learned that I'd done it ALL WRONG. Apparently I should have left all the ENDS AT THE FRONT OF THE RUG and not at the back. If you have ends hanging out at the back, they make lumps and after being walked on for a bit your rug will acquire holes, I was told.
So I had to turn all the ends to the front, which was boring and difficult. The only thing spurring me on was the knowledge that I would NOT have to do this again, as I intend not to make the same mistake twice.
Anyway at last I finished that part of the task, and set to the task of actually backing the rug.
I started by applying iron-on interlining (another hint from one of the Hooked in London ladies) to the back, cutting it to fit the rugged area.
Then I realised that I had rugged so close to the edge of my canvas that I hadn't left much turn-in fabric, one corner being particularly bad. So far I've turned the turn-in allowance all round and pinned then tacked it down (see picture)
Next I'm going to cut a piece of canvas a tiny bit smaller than the rug, and GLUE it to the back with my smart spray-on fabric glue.
Then I will sew tough binding all round the edge, up to the edge of the rug on the back.
That should hold it all together pretty well, I think. Gulp.