Rag Rug Mat Project

The shaggy pile of this rag rug was made using the proddy technique, with wool and cotton recycled fabrics. Six small squares are made and then joined together in the final piece – a wonderfully tactile and functional rug that would be ideal for the bedside, doorway, or in a front of a fireplace.

This project suggests a range of colours, as well as design, but you may feel free to choose a different colours and design to make it unique and suitable to your home.

Materials you need

– six 26 cm squares of 10 oz common hessian

– cardboard templates: 20 cm square, with circle, heart and flower shapes to fit within the square.

– fine-knit recycled woollens and cottons in reds, greens, blues and purple

– ruler, felt tip pen, scissors, cutting gauge, bodger, glass-headed pins, strong thread or jute thread, sack needle

rag rug

How to make it

Using a felt-tip pen, mark each piece of hessian with a 20 cm square. Within each square, draw either a circle, heart, or a flower, using the cardboard templates. You can make two squares of each design or vary the design according to your own taste. Mark each area with the note which colour will be used.

2 Prepare the fabrics, cutting them into tabs 2 cm wide and 7.5 cm long. Following the proddy technique (see below for explanation) use the bodger to create a proddy pile on each hessian square.

rag rug

3 Continue the way, working on one square at a time and using different coloured strips to make a pleasing design, until you have completed all six squares, right to the marked edges.

rag rug

When you have worked all the squares, turn each square to the wrong side and turn a double-hem in the unworked hessian along all four sides. Fold the hem into neat mitres at the corners. Pin and handstitch using strong thread or jute thread.

Lay out the squares face down in a three-by-two rectangle and pin the hemmed edges together. Using strong thread or jute thread, sew squares together to create the complete rug.

rag rug

About the proddy technique and bodger

Cut your chosen fabric into 2 cm wide strips. For speed, you can fold the fabric over several times and cut through the layers.

Following the design, push the pointed end of the bodger down into the hessian and back up two or three threads forwards, to create a ‘double hole’.

Open the jaws of the bodger, grab a tab of fabric by its end, and pull it halfway through the  two holes. Release the tab.

Push the bodger into the last hole made, bring it out two or three threads forward, and grab the next tab of fabric.

Repeat, leaving two or three threads between each adjacent row of fabric. Set the stitches slightly further apart if you are using fluffy fabric as this will splay out, covering a greater area.

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