Crafty Blogs

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Vintage Crafting

I always find living museums inspire me to craft. Getting a glimpse into the way people lived only 100 years ago always reminds me of the utility of skills like sewing, weaving and knitting. It's easy to forget that lots of popular crafts arose out of a need to make use of every scrap of material that was available. Quilters now seem to spend a small fortune on fat quarters in co-ordinating colours, but in the past quilts were a thrifty use of fabric scraps too small to be fashioned into anything else.

Another craft that makes clever use of small scraps of fabric is rag-rugging. With a section of hessian, and a collection of cotton or wool scraps you can make a soft and colourful rug. Last week I went on a day trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, a recreation of a Shropshire town during the industrial revolution complete with railway, fairground and working high street. We saw demonstrations of metal working, candle making, baking and wood working but my attention was caught by a sample rag-rug kit. All the recreation homes in the town were furnished with rag rugs and I decided it would make a lovely souvenir of the day.

The kit came in a paper bag and contained a square of hessian (about 13" square), a wooden prodding tool and a bag of cotton strips, mostly of green white and pink. I ended up supplementing the fabric scraps with some of my own to add colour and also to use up some small pieces of fabric I had spare.

The method recommended in the instructions was to 'prod' the fabric through the hessian from the back of the work rather than to hook it through from the front.It was very quick and easy to create rows of prodded strips.

To finish the rug I folded the 1" allowance back and sewed it into place. The instructions suggested using fabric glue for a no-sew option. The final result is lovely, if a little small.

The floral strips you can see this photo were offcuts from making bunting, something I'll be posting about next week.

I'd recommend the kit as a gift for anyone looking for some crafty inspiration. Now I know how easy rag-rugging is I'm determined to make a larger one for my living room, and I've certainly got a large enough collection of fabric scraps that would otherwise go to waste, so that's lucky!

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