Tomorrow I set off for the Cotswolds. Today has been one long story of trying to do it all in just a few hours. This morning I was tidying up my lawns - and snipping away at shrubs and brambles - in case Andrew my mower man should come to give the grass its first cut of the year while I'm away. Then I had a long lunch with Jackie and Jo. Then I resumed loading up the caravan, and didn't finish doing that - or at least all I could reasonably do today - until 8.30pm.
Needless to say, the rag rug isn't quite finished. There is one more patch of 'sky' to tackle, merely two or three hours' effort needed. But I have run out of time. I will have to take it away with me on holiday. It may however not be so easy to find the two or three hours needed. If the weather is good, I will be out and about. I don't as a rule just sit in the caravan twiddling my thumbs, stumped for something to do. There is always something to do.
It's now clear to me what is involved in making a rag rug, which is really a pretty humble type of craft, involving a time commitment but no especial manual skills. In round figures, this is how my rug has worked out.
Ignoring the cost of the special tools, I spent £84 on hessian, cotton fabric in various colours, and strong linen thread. This, to produce a rug measuring 100 cm x 60 cm. An awful lot of fabric was needed. I used up 10.5 metres of cotton altogether, cut up into nearly 4,000 strips which were woven into the hessian base. It has taken me 11 days to (very nearly) complete the rug, working on and off.
I am sure that this first rag rug, though a success, and certainly attractive, is not up to any kind of commercial standard. When it's done, I will of course reveal some pictures, but I think anybody who sees them will appreciate what I mean. It's not a rug one would pay much to buy, even though those friends of mine who have seen it say that it's impressive for a first attempt. Whether or not that's true, it is for me an unexpected personal achievement, one that spurs me on to try something harder.
Supposing however I had produced a rug of obvious commercial quality, one I could offer for sale. What then would one charge, to be at least sure of covering costs and making a profit equal to the 'living wage' of £9 an hour proposed for 2020? In this case, it would be 65 hours @ £9.00 = £585, plus the cost of materials £84, making a total of £669. Well, I'm pretty certain that the very best rag rug imaginable would never command such a price. Not unless it was made by an established figure in the art and craft world, as a unique one-off.
No, there is clearly no money in rug-making! One does it for the pleasure alone.