The Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes in the spectacular Yorkshire Dales is hosting some rag rug making courses.
Heather Ritchie is an experienced, friendly craft tutor who encourages her students to experiment and be creative with colours and textures. This up cycling of unwanted clothes and fabrics started life amongst the poor, particularly in mill areas, who needed cheap ways to keep the cold out. Now it is becoming popular again as we yearn to learn crafts that keep the hands busy but still our minds - a useful creative meditation.
Heather’s rug-making days are an insight in to her background and her life, she makes rugs that tell a story - like 'Guiding Light' a young child leading her blind father by the hand. She talks of her work with Rug Aid in Africa teaching blind people so they can become more independent and so families can afford medicine for simple eye problems like conjunctivitis.
Rag rug making is a skill that demands little in the way of expensive tools or materials, particularly for the beginner whilst learning the basics. Rug making courses teach about 'proddy' and 'hooky ' and advise on ways to cut strips of cloth safely and quickly and how to create simple but stylish effects. If you don't want to make a whole rug you can choose a Christmas wreath, coasters, panels for bags - anything where texture and colour combine to create something useful and unique.
Rag rug making can recycle all sorts of materials and it's an economical and relatively easy craft to learn. If you get hooked then practice and a creative flair will be all you need to make beautiful, individual and very useful items. The drive across the Yorkshire Dales to get to Hawes is stunning and a rag rug making course is a wonderful day out if you are holidaying nearby.