Rag rugs were first made from necessity by people who could not afford to buy rugs but needed something to put on the floor for warmth and comfort. Sometimes they were made by people who simply did not have access to ready made rugs or new fabrics such as the early American settlers.Old clothes and household textiles would be used to make them. The very early ones were quite plain and simple but women being what they are, soon used them as an outlet for their creativity and they became more decorative. A new rug would be proudly displayed in the parlour then as it became worn would be moved to the kitchen and after that the hall or dog's bed. Because they were so well used very few early rugs remain.
When rugs and carpets began to be made by machine and were readily available quite cheaply rag rugs went out of favour. In Britain they enjoyed a brief revival during the second world war when things were scarce then again were seldom made.
However during recent years they have become more popular again. People appreciate the fact that some thing can be recycled and given a new lease of life and lots of people enjoy making things for their home. They have now been elevated to an art form. If in doubt check out a lady from Canada called Deanne Fitzpatrick - she is one of my heroines!
I was taught to make rag rugs by my Mother when I was a teenager. I had been unwell with glandular fever and as I began to recover wanted something to do so we made a rug together. She was taught by her mother before her.
There are different methods of making rugs from recycled materials and they all give different results. The ones I am familiar with are listed below
The photographs show details of two of the rugs I have made. The one at the top was hooked and the one at the bottom was progged. Later in the week we will look at the different techniques in more detail and I will give instructions on how to make them. A different type of rug each day.