Ragged Life Tool Kit Review
First off, if you’re new to Rag Rugging, or need a little reminder, here is the lovely Elspeth from Ragged Life with an intro:
After falling in love with Elspeth’s rugs and cushions at this years Stitches I just had to get my hands on a kit and have a go. Here’s how I got on. If you would like to grab your own Ragged Life kit, click here now!
When you get the starter kit from Sew Crafty you get everything you need. Hemmed hessian shaped for a cushion or a rug (I chose a rug and actually its a really good sized rug for a starter kit!); a pen to mark out patterns if thats your bag, a rag rugging hook, a wooden gauge cutting tool for the shaggy rug, instruction booklet and an instruction dvd (not in shot), and it all comes in a cute little bag! Smashing! The scissors in the photo are mine, and they are not the best. I’m saving up for Sammy’s Rose Gold Dressmaking Scissors 😉
I quickly learned that the cute little bag is super useful to keep the tools together, as well as all the rags I cut up for the next time I work on my rug.
I had a read through the booklet first and found that there are two versions of rag rugging explained in this kit. The first being the looped version, involving long strips of rags, but I chose the shaggy one, partly because I think it would look cuter for a first rug, and partly so I could use the gauge tool too!
So I think I’ve got this. Time to go through the back of the wardrobe for old bits and bobs to cut up! Yay! I was a teenage goth, that didn’t quite disappear in my 20s, so I have ALOT of black I don’t wear any more. So that shall be my base colour I think! I don’t think I’m going to try a pattern just yet, so I think just a mainly black rug, with some highlights in grey and purple might work? Lets do this!
Luckily I had some stripey stuff I was cutting up, but the instruction suggest cutting strips of a 2 to 3 cms to create the rag strips out of fabric. I started cutting along the length, but I was using really light jersey with slightly blunt scissors so this started to prove difficult. Instead I rolled up the fabric and cut all the way through. Nice and quick and easy, my favourite words!
The latch hook is unlike any craft tool I’ve ever come across but its genius! I wasn’t expecting it to look like it does at all. And I kind of thought it might be broken when I first got it out. It has a recognisable hook shape at the top, but about a down is a bit of metal on a hinge. I realised quickly it has a brilliant use. Following the instructions I grabbed a piece of rag, and pulled one end through with the hook. As I tried the hook caught on the hessian. Closing the latch over the fabric then pulling it through made the job 100% easier! The instructions mention taping down the latch if necessary, but I’m not quite sure what this means yet, I’ve not come across a reason to.
Okay so I’ve figured out the basic process. Not pictured is the following struggle:
I remembered hearing Elspeth saying at the show how forgiving rag rugging is and I guess I didn’t really know what that meant until I started making one. The instructions tell you to pop each rag next to each other in the next hole in the hessian. But I learnt pretty quickly that it might not be necessary. Depending on the thickness of the rag etc you can miss a few holes and it will still look spectacular. I tried so hard at first to be strict and neat but its really not that kind of craft. It feels so therapeutic and clever, I love it! I think if you love stuff like crochet and cross stitch you will LOVE rag rugging. Its got the same repetitive creativity, sence of acheivment and picture building about it. Here’s my first ever rug after maybe 3 evenings worth of rag rugging. What do you think?
You really don’t need to though. And its pretty easy to go back and fill in bigger holes if you find them later.
Okay things I learnt:
- Don’t stress. It’s so easy to redo anything or add later at any point.
- Don’t fill out all the way to the edge. The nature of the beast is that if you keep to within the hem, the rags fan out over it anyway. I can imagine leaving the hem empty helps with the overall integrity of the rug as well.
- Get some sharp scissors and be prepared for a mess!
- Prepare lots of rags in advance of a session.
- It probably takes the equivalent of maybe 7 tshirts to do a rug 100cm x 60cm so start hoarding now!