Finding enough material to make a light, medium or dark background can be tricky so try tossing some material into your dye pot. If you haven’t dyed yet and gone to heaven on a bundle of colour well now it the time!
How to measure amount of material you require.
Lay out your Hessian pattern on a table and lay pieces of material over the background area, it may overlap parts of your pattern but that is fine. Repeat layering until you have
6 layers high of material this will give you an approximate amount required, I usually throw in a bit extra.
Find cream/beige/light colours wool sweaters/skirts throw in checks, stripes and patterns it doesn’t matter if they are not the same colours in fact it will make it more exciting to have different shades.
To measure an approximate yard lay the material side by side on the table until it measure around 36” x 60” ish!
To make a light coloured background put ¼ teaspoon of dye into a jug add a drop of boiling water and mix then top up to 1 cup = 240 mls with hot or cold water.
Fill your pan 2/3rds full of water turn up to medium heat add the dye and yard of the pre- soaked material give it a good stir and bring to a simmer stirring a few times. Once the water starts to clear throw in either a glug of vinegar (it smells) or a teaspoon of citric acid (no smell). When the water has completed cleared rinse the material and dry. This gives you a yard of material all colour related and ready to hook. The dye colour will marry all your wool together well. The material will come out blotchy that is perfect.
If you want your colour darker repeat the above steps until you reach your required colour.
If you are dyeing blanket you may want to put 1 teaspoon of dye in the jug as thick blanket gobbles up the dye
I always loved this story that was sent to me by Bette Collins for The Rugmaker and thought it was well worth sharing again
Memories of a Welsh Rug Maker
June Morgan. Blaenau Ffestiniog
I have enjoyed rug making ever since I helped my mother make a rug using cast off clothes back in the 1940’s. I was born and brought up in Merthyr Tydfil. We had some very bad winters so rug making and Welsh wool blankets were needed to keep out the cold. My Dad sharpened half a gypsy peg to a point. A potato sack was washed. Dad’s pepper and salt jacket was cut up and also my Mother’s blue skirt. For the middle of the rug some red fabric was needed. I was a fat child, and the buttons on my dressing gown were popping so that provided the bright red diamond in the middle of the rug.
A kind neighbour, the wife of the caretaker of the County School opposite where we lived knitted socks for her sons. She gave me some odd balls of wool, and some knitting needles, so I started knitting. I used to stand outside the Welsh Wool Shop in Merthyr. I loved the smell of the wool
After the war a young couple, he was disabled, opened a wool shop at Pontmorlais. What a joy it was. Wool of the colours of the rainbow for one shilling an ounce.
Another neighbour I thought led a lovely life. She was a widow. She walked the dogs for her friends, collecting blouses, dresses and coats and made them into rag rugs and patchwork quilts. After the shortages of the war years we knitted jumpers and sweaters and made rugs from packs of rug wool. My Mother-in-Law sent to the Durham mills for thrums, mostly red, and with a Gypsy peg and yards of canvas, we covered the floors of quite a large house with wool carpets.
My Father’s family came to Dowlais from Carmarthenshire. They brought rolls of flannel from the mills at Cynwel Elfed to sell for the making of flannel shirts that the men wore in the steel works. The steel works closed long ago but there are still – thank goodness – quite a few woollen mills in Wales.
Looking through my filing cabinet for some information and I came across a letter I wrote in 1997 to every Rug Maker I knew in the UK to inform them I would be writing a Newsletter and the first issue would be September 1997.
My good friend the late Jeanne Field a wonderful Canadian Rug Maker and teacher had encouraged me to write the newsletter to link UK Rug Makers together and to let them know what was happening in the Rug Making world.
The letter read
I had a lot of replies and a lot of news to put into that first issue. There were 8 Rug Groups listed and the fee for 4 issues was £5. In those days we didn't use the Internet although I had a computer to write up the news. All the news came via snail mail and I had to type up the whole of the News. No cut and paste in those days..
For the first 10 years it was called Rag Rug News then I updated the whole Newsletter and had a lot of coloured pictures and I felt the title Rag Rug was out of date so I changed the name to The Rug Maker which happily ran for another 10 years. The final two years was sent by email to cut costs and there was a decline in subscriptions for the Newsletter. The Internet took over and being able to press a button for information I decided to finish writing The Rug Maker.
It served its purpose and joined many rug makers together and then time moved on. From time to time I will add stories and information from some of the issues on this blog.
There are plenty of workshops to attend through 2019 from beginners to experienced Rug Makers
The workshops include Hooking, Proddy, Punch Hooking, Specialised classes in Design, Appliqué with Hooky and Proddy, Hints tips and techniques.
My studio is a bright light and cheerful place to work. The classes are usually limited to about 7 or 8 students.
If you would like to come for a workshop and the listed dates are not suitable please email or telephone to arrange a suitable date.
Once your class/es have been paid an information sheet and receipt will be sent.
If you have any questions on any of the workshop please email
Oxton Rug Group meet at The Rug Studio Monday 9.30 - 12.30 £6.50 per person. You are welcome to join us but please email to let me know you would like to come along. No teaching. Not suitable for beginners
2018 December 3rd 10th 17th 2019 January 7th 14th 21st 28th February 4th 11th 18th 25th March 4th 11th 18th 25th April 1st 8th 15th 29th May 13th 20th June 3rd 10th 17th 24th
Hooky and Proddy £60 per person Learn both techniques, design a rug, wall hanging or cushion. Lots of hints and tips to make rug making fun and easy. You can choose which technique you like or you can put both techniques together to make some texture. If you prefer you can purchase a pattern to work on they are listed on my website www.ragrugsuk.co.uk (order before class) this workshop is Suitable for beginners to experienced.
Dye workshop £64 per person
Learn lots of dye techniques to transform ugly duckling material into beauties!. Simple dye techniques make fabulous jewel coloured pieces that are exciting to hook, prod or punch with. Yes you can learn to dye like this wow! Fee includes some material and dyes.
Punch Hooking £60 per person
Punching is an easy technique using a punch needle yarn and/or material. Punching works up quite quickly and is suitable for making cushions, hangings or rugs. All equipment can be purchased at the workshop
Bumble Bee CottageWorkshop £60 per person
Design a piece about 8”x12”. House, Cottage, Beach Hut or a shape of your choice. The shape will be appliquéd onto hessian or linen. Basic running stitches are used as well as extra embroidery stitches and embellishments. The background is hooked and prodded plus techniques to make texture.
For more information please request the full brochure. Suitable for beginners to experienced.
September 7th - 9th Reeth Rug Retreat residential Rug School in the Yorkshire Dales near Richmond. Please request brochure January 2019
B&B available in Lowdham at Cockerbeck Cottage where Cath looks after you very well and loves having Rug Makers stay from all over the world. There is a train station at the bottom of the village about a 5 minute walk to Cockerbeck Cottage. I can pick up and drop off at the B&B or the station on the day of your workshop/s.
Lowdham is a 5 minute drive from my studio. There are other B&B's locally I send a full list with receipt once workshops are booked.
Lovely new Rug hooking frame beautifully finished. The frame has a working area of 11'"x16", tilts and swivels. Plus it folds flat for easy storage and travel. Perfect for any rug maker. £225 p&p UK £18 or can collect
If you are not sure about colours, shapes, scenery, animals, sky etc.taking photos to build up an album is very useful. the visuals give you a good idea of shapes and colours. You can also print off your pictures and use them as templates. Sky is always interesting to hook it is not always blue as you will see from the following photos I have taken
Here are some visuals of sky..very useful when you are rug making. Always worth taking photos to use in your work. We always think of sky being blue and clouds white but study all the colours in the pictures.