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An Introduction to Rag Rugs (Paperback)

Creative Recycling

Photographic Books Colour Books Arts and Crafts White Owl

By Jenni Stuart-Anderson
Imprint: White Owl
Series: Crafts
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 120 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526780607
Published: 22nd October 2021

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Making is good for you. Exploring crafts can be relaxing and therapeutic : the projects in this book are accessible to anyone who is inspired to recycle old clothes and textiles into unique, decorative, useful projects.

Our forbears improvised tools to recycle their worn clothes - mostly dark suiting or mill waste if they lived near a mill. Usually they made mats for their cold floors or as draft excluders across doors. Nowadays you can choose from so many more colours and textures - painting with rags!

Try one project or more. You will be able to use the techniques to design and make your own one-off items for your home or as hand-made gifts.

The techniques here are traditional and simple - you will be surprised at how drab fabrics become transformed. Simple designs work best and you can even improvise as you work. If a fabric runs out, then use another - I call that organic design! Hooking is the best technique for pictorial detail and different techniques could be combined for original wall art.

Historically, rugs were made by several people sitting round a horizontal frame with the children cutting the pieces of rag which were prodded into the hessian (burlap) backing to make a shaggy mat. There is a prodded project (for purists) but you can also achieve the same effect without a frame by progging, which can be done on table or thigh (carefully).

Warning – this craft can be addictive!

With all the talk re sustainability I was very interested in this and then when I read it it gave me great inspiration and reminded me of stuff my grandparents had taught me.

Will be using this book for years, some great hints and tips.

NetGalley, Caroline Wright

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a very comprehensive book on making rag rugs - something that is becoming more and more sensible these days, with all the waste that is made with discarded clothing. Many people are now turning to upcycle and recycle to save the waste and to make something by hand as a hobby.
Although I work with fabric and design most of m life, I have never tried using rags to make rugs with - even though rag rugs go back a long way.
This book starts with some history, moves onto designing, tools, material, and technique and projects. We than come to the actual workings of getting the material on a backing with the recycle fabric. - this includes Prodding/progging, Hooking/punching, Knitting/knotting, Coiling/plating/binding/braiding. And finally you have a rug of your making, design and using material that may end up in landfill. The final chapter is Finish and Cleaning - all in all I found this book very informative, its a book that I am going to explore much more and hopefully make a rag rug with my old clothes.

NetGalley, Leyla Johnson

This is a charming introduction to making rag rugs. Stuart-Anderson starts with the history of textiles, and includes memories from British women whose family members made their own rugs. She covers a variety of techniques, with small projects like table mats for practice. This is a hobby with a high threshold for equipment and supplies, as you need frames and needles and tools and a wide array of fabrics to get started, but looks fun and rewarding. Will appeal to readers interested in handmade items, repurposing household objects, women's history, etc.

NetGalley, Erin Gordenier

I enjoyed this little overview on rag-rug making. There's a variety of different techniques presented within Stuart-Anderson's book, and the overall instructions and ideas don't seem overly complicated.

NetGalley, Des Miranda

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For many of us, being able to buy and consume more or less at will has led to a society which consumes and disposes to an unsustainable degree. Crafting, making, recycling, and reusing materials are more important than ever and especially given the stresses of a consumer driven society, important to mental health and well-being as well.

This book is a nice primer with lots of different techniques and includes an intriguingly in-depth capsule history of fibrecrafts through the ages (starting with prehistory and down to the 20th century). The following technique chapters include general instructions for projects, but not specific step-by-step tutorials. The techniques and illustrated projects are arranged thematically in chapters: prodding & progging, hooking & punching, knitting & knotting, coiling binding plaiting & braiding, finishing & cleaning, and a stunning gallery of works for inspiration. The author has included appendices which contain useful resource lists & suppliers (mostly in the UK but also useful for readers in other locations), a bibliography, and a cross-referenced index.

This would be a superlative choice for library or maker's groups, crafters and fibre artists, or for the home studio. Although there are no specific step-by-step tutorials, there's ample info here for readers to understand and complete projects utilising many different techniques.

Five stars. Well written, accessible, beautifully illustrated, and comprehensive.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

An introduction to rag rugs is a fantastic book that not only teaches you and guides you to make your own rag rugs, but it gives you the history of the rag rugs from past to present day. This was so interesting to read about and I loved seeing all the rag rugs shown in this book. People are so very talented in making these rugs which are not just useful but are also pieces of art.
The book shows different techniques, tools, ideas and ways of making your own rag rugs.

NetGalley, Natalie Horman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rug making is a craft I have always wanted to try and as a result of reading this book will be able to try my hand at this fabulous hobby. Not only is the book full of instruction on the different techniques, with photographs and illustrations to help beginners, the author also includes a brief history of textiles and rug making. There are lots of photographs of beautifully made rugs for inspiration, not only for beginners but advanced crafters as well. Recommended for anyone keen to learn a new and useful craft.

NetGalley, E Rutherford

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book! It was, an incredibly fascinating look at the origins and different styles of rag rugs. The author explains many different traditional styles of making the rugs and eventually moves into her personal methods. There are dozens of pictures of previously made rugs as well as fun stories of what people remember when rag rugs first started being made. Wonderful book I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to either learn or simply explore the history of rag rugs.

NetGalley, Richelle Rodarte

This is an interesting how-to book on the history of rag rugs and how to design and create a rag rug for yourself. Amazing things were used in history to create rag rugs, creating a smooth rug to a floppy shag rug, to the braided and sewn rag rugs that I think of when someone mentions a rag rug.

Earlier peoples used fibers from plants to weave and braid and sew to give them a work of functional beauty in their lives.

Above all, it takes creative talent, time, and extreme effort to create a lasting, beautiful work of art, called a rag rug.

NetGalley, Sally Mander

I really enjoyed the book. It was very thorough and detailed. If you are a crafter this is a must have. Whether it's a new craft to you (like me) or old.

NetGalley, Laura Fayle

This is a nice explanation of all sorts of different rag rugs and best practices on how to make them. The photos and drawings explain a lot. I am inspired to make my own rug.

NetGalley, Amanda Karsh

What a great book! I have to say that this is a great idea for everyone to try and is a great use for clothing and fabric that isn’t suitable to pass on for someone else to use, because it has a stain or a tear perhaps.
I’m definitely going to get the basics to give this a go myself as you can get them for less that £10 online.
I would definitely recommend this book and it would make a great gift too.

NetGalley, Pauline Knox

I really liked that this book went through a history of sorts, showing us pictures of rag rugs from the past. I had no idea what to expect from this book, as the only kind of rag rug I knew about was the braided ones. So I was very surprised to see the pictures of elaborate patterns and pictures that some people have made! I do like that the author showed that this can be as creative as you want it to be. Someone who is good at art can make a stunning rug, while someone who isn't as artistic (like me) can do something simpler.

NetGalley, Katie Sauer

A good overview of the different ways to use rags and fabric to make rugs. The opening chapters cover the history of fabric and of using rags. Following this are chapters on methods, materials, and on specific techniques. Included throughout are inspiring pictures of work by the author. Each chapter on a technique includes a starter project.

NetGalley, Janet Perry

About Jenni Stuart-Anderson

Jenni Stuart-Anderson worked in tourism, PR and architectural design. As a new mum, at home, she discovered rag rug making and got hooked. She has shared these vintage fabric recycling techniques since 1986 and believes in sourcing locally and walking lightly on the planet. Rag Rug Making was her first book, followed by More Rag Rugs & Recycled Textile Projects, aiming to keep the traditional craft alive by bringing it into the 21st  century.

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