Currently viable crafts

 

Rag rugging

 

The making of rugs using old fabrics pulled through a backing fabric and knotted in place. The type of rug produced is known by various names, including ‘rag’, ‘thrift’, ‘proddie’, ‘peggie’, ‘hooky’, ‘proggy’, ‘clippy’ and ‘bodgy’ rug.

 

Status Currently viable
Craft category Textiles
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income) 1-5
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

The tradition of making ‘rag’ or ‘thrift’ rugs became widespread during the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. However by the 1920s the craft was dying out as it was associated with hard times. The necessity for thrift during World War II brought a brief revival and interest in the craft grew again in the 1980s. It is currently practised by many amateurs who enjoy making things.

 

Techniques

  • Progging: Small rectangles of recycled fabric are poked or pulled through a hessian backing to create a shaggy texture for rugs and other projects. This technique appears to have originated the UK, but as it was done by the poor, it is not well documented.
  • Hooking: pulling a thin strip of fabric, or yarn, into loops through a hessian backing to cover the surface. This technique is suitable for detailed and pictorial rugs/hangings and is popular in USA, Canada, Australia as well as the UK.
  • Plaiting (braiding): strips of fabric can be stitched into spirals and other shapes to make reversible rugs. Also popular in USA, Canada and now such rugs are imported from India.

There are other techniques involving strips of recycled fabric such as crocheting, knitting and weaving.

 

Local forms

Progged rugs were often made from mill waste in parts of the UK where there were mills. In other parts of the country old clothes were used. Originally the backing was hessian food sacks. In different parts of the UK the rugs had many different names: proggies, proddies, poke mats, peg mats and clootie mats.

 

Sub-crafts

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

 

Other information

 

References

  • Stuart-Anderson, Jenni, (2011) More Rag Rugs & Recycled Textile Projects (available from author)
  • M.F. Hemeon Collection (MERL 74/131 and MERL Archives D79/31), Museum of English Rural Life