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Friday 25 October 2013

Learning how to make a rag rug with The Amazings

Being a craftaholic I've had the pleasures and pain of trying and testing out many crafts over the years, but one I've been eager to master for a while is the art of rag-rug making. It's the ultimate textile recycling craft, is affordable, as creative as you want to make it, and doesn't require owning unwieldy equipment like a sewing machine.
Over the summer I was given the opportunity to learn this  skill under the guidance of Jenni Stuart-Anderson a master rugger based in Herefordshire with over 25 years experience in the craft. I travelled down to her quaint cottage with a film crew from The Amazings to film an instructional video about how to make a rag-rug, which you can  watch online now....but more on that later!
Some of Jenni's beautiful designs
The Amazings? 
Their passion is enabling elders to share their skills i.e all those incredible retired people who know lots of incredible things; making sure they are not forgotten about, giving them a platform in which to showcase what they do, and know. 
The method has changed over the last couple of years (read up on the story here), but in their current incarnation they film on-line tutorials led by these talented over 50s which anyone around the world can watch and learn from, for a small fee, some of which goes directly to that awesome elder who stars in it. 
I was invited to collaborate withe The Amazings to help make one of these tutorials. It started with meeting rag rugger extraordinaire Jenni in London at The Amazings offices to get to know a bit about each other. Two weeks later I headed over to Jenni's home to film the class, and of course learn how to make a rag-rug.
It was a glorious sunny couple of days so we filmed in her garden. 
The motif I chose to make was based on the eye of a peacock feather and all the fabrics I used to make it were from my exisiting fabric scrap. I also used ribbons and yarn.
Rugs can be made from any materials apart from towels as these fray - but cottons, fleece, jumpers, bedsheets are all ideal.
Jenni showed me two techniques which require different tools, progging where you use fabric cut into equal size strips and hooking where you loop a continous strip of fabric into the hessian backing.
Our online masterclass Make A Colourful & Cosy Rag Rug is available to buy to watch now. It costs £20 and lasts 73 minutes. It's split into 11 bite-size chapters to make learning the craft easier. Once you've paid up you're enrolled forever - so you have a resource you can keep going back to and watch at your leisure. Take it from me, rag rugging is an incredible craft but even I have forgotten the technique a couple of times, so watching the video back has been very useful now I'm making another rug as a housewarming gift.
Jenni with her rugs at the Knitting & Stitch Show earlier this month
Just think about where else £20 could go, it's far cheaper than any class you could physically go to and what's more, this is a craft that has very little expenses. You can buy the tools direct from Jenni (or other craft stockists) and then all you need is some hessian (a tote shopper or coffee sack is good), old clothes/fabrics and a pair of scissors.  
My finished peacock rug
And if rag-rugging doesn't appeal there are loads more online tutorials you can buy instead like machine embroidery, needle-felting and quilting
ALL classes (including mine) have a free trailer you can view before buying so check them out too!)
Happy rugging xx

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