Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile artist specialising in crochet and felt based in Wigan in the North-West of England.

On my blog, you can find my day-to-day craft adventures and tutorials.

You can find details of my work for sale and workshops on my website - www.thegingerbreadbunny.co.uk

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Rag Rugging

Textiles photo courtesy of jeni rodger via Flickr
This week I started an evening class.  I have been searching for an arty course at night school for ages and, at the start of September I was most excited to find that a local high school was offering a 10 week textiles course. Squeal!  So I enrolled and this week saw the start of the course (last week was all about the paperwork!)  Each week I plan to share what I have learnt and any work I produce.

As part of the course I have to choose a theme and keep a sketchbook to inspire my final project, which I have yet to decide on.  After much thought I have chosen trees as I just love them.

This week we learnt about the traditional British craft of rag rugging.  Rag rugging is the process of using strips of fabric, usually old clothes or oddments of fabric, to make a rug using a variety of techniques. 

In Victorian times rugs would be made from old clothing, usually out of necessity to reuse what they had.  These would move around the house until finally they had fallen to bits.  This is why there are very few examples of old rag rugs today although evidence has been found of rag rugs being made and used in Celtic and Viking homes.  It was in America, most recently, that rag rugging was recognised as an art form and now the techniques are used to create not only rugs but cushions and even jewellery. 

There are many different techniques used to rag rug, many being specific to certain parts of England, but generally these are either hooked and prodded.  The hooked technique uses a long strip of fabric and a hook, for example a crochet hook, to hook the fabric through the holes of your base fabric creating a lumpy, bobbly texture.  The prodded technique involves using much smaller pieces of fabric and then poking them through the holes, creating a shaggy texture to the rug.  In the north of England proddy tools where often made form an old dolly peg with one leg sharpened.

Pages from my sketch book.

I think rag rugs are beautiful and Kirsty's Homemade Home TV series inspired me to try out rag rugging using the proddy method.  However, I didn't really like the technique or the effect that I got when I tried it and so abandonded it.  Learning the hooky method has re-inspired me to get rag rugging again- I love it (probably because it is very similar to crochet!)  

My sample for my course is a very simple tree made using 4 different fabrics, to see what effects they would create, and using both the proddy and the hooky techniques.  I am really pleased with the final result. 

My rag rug tree

I am so pleased that I enrolled on the course and am enjoying it so much.  Next week is applique and I can't wait!


  1. Wow Sarah you are a fast worker! Your rag rug is fantastic! So much texture and colour in one piece...Tree-mendous idea for your subject matter too.
    A Northern relative of mine had rag rugs all over their farm house and I loved them.
    Your sketch book looks exciting.
    Looking forward to seeing many more tree-riffic creations inspired by your course.
    Ali xx

  2. Thanks Ali! It is only an A4 sample. I think being able to crochet helped me to get it finished quickly! I don't think I have the patience to do a whole rug but I fancy making a brooch and maybe a small wall hanging using bits of my wedding dress!

  3. This is lovely and I love that you have the whole process recorded. Colours are great.