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The object of the exercise is to produce something from stuff that would otherwise be thrown away (or, composted in this house ), with minimal expenditure. Like most things these days, you can buy kits, etc, but for me that removes the whole ethos of the thing, so I prefer knuckling down and getting back to basics, for economy and overall satsifaction with a thrifty job well done.
Materials and equipment are minimal; for this one, I use a crochet hook, but you can buy special hooks for rar rugging if you like. You need a good piece of hessian, clean and a good size, with even weave; some are close-woven, some coarser. For finer woven, use finer fabrics, for coarser, use thicker ones.
Fabric - this is where everything can be used up. The really thrifty way is to use a good mix of anything and everything, in stripes or blocks; you can be more arty if you like, and draw a pattern on the hessian with permanent marker or similar, but keep it bold and simple for maximum effect.
Here we go:
This is the hessian I am using for this rug; it's part of a sack, but if you can't get hold of sacks, you can buy it by the metre from craft shops, etc.
Cut your chosen fabrics into strips, about 2 cm wide or so for this one; make them as long as you can, but any length will do, and they don't alll have to be the same length. Separate them according to colour if you like, or you could just pick one out at random. They don't need to be hemmed or anything, just use as they are.
Start a good bit in from the edge, so yu have a good bit to turn to the back when finished to enaten the rug. Take the first strip in your left hand (reverse instructions if left-handed) and hold it under the hessian, where you want to start. Push the hook through from the front to the place where the strip of fabric is held:
Pick up the strip with the hook like this:
Pull it through the hessian, forming a loop on top of the hessian like this:
Remove the hook, leave a small gap - count two or three threeads on the hessian - then push the hook through to the back again, and pick up the next piece of fabric, loop it around the hook and pull through, so that the second loop is close up and firm to the first one. Try and get as firm as possible, while still allowing the whole to be flexible - the closeness of the loops will prevent the loops being pulled out when finsihed, so don't worry about that aspect of it.
Keep hooking through, looping over and bringing it back to the front until the strip is near the end; leave the end free at the back to be tidied up later. Choose another strip, put to the back of the hessian, and off you go again with that one.
This one is made in stripes, going across the width of the hessian. It's going to produce a nice firm rug when done; if you run out of fabric, just put it away until you acquire some more. Good sources are jumble sales, etc, and family cast offs. A mix of fibres is OK; a rug in wools will be hard wearing and repel dirt, cotton ones hardwearing and come in good colours. You can use synthetics, but my personal preference is for natural fabrics.
When you have finished the hookng, neaten the back by clipping off the ends of the fabrics strips close to the rug, but not too close. Turn over the edges and hem them down neatly, and your rug is complete.
This is the back of mine at the moment:
This is how it's looking, although I've done a bit more since:
It's one of thos projects that you can add to as you go along; I find that it's better than doing it all at once, as you can be adaptable as to how it will turn out according to what materials you have available, get given, etc.
One variation is to use shorter lengths, eg 2 inches or so, and have both ends brought through to the front. This gives a shaggy effect.
To clean them, peg them on the washing line and give them agood beating every so often and shake once a week outdoors.
Traditionally, when new, a ragrug was put at the hearth in the kitchen; when worn and a new one was made, it was demoted to the back door, then to the dog's bed, then thrown out or composted.