Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What has been under my fingers?

 The start of a penny rug has been under my fingers these past 2 days. A friend of mine told me about this frugal and useful thing that you can do with old wool scraps and peices of old wool coats and pants and dresses. During the Civil War and even before the civil war women made these penny rugs out of scraps as useful items for their families. They recieved their name Penny rug because they would use pennies as templates to cut out the wool circles. They also were penny penching projects that took little money and were useful.
 They used these rugs as decorative table runners and cloths as well as cushions for chairs and also as floor rugs. I read one account online of a women making a new rug usually once a year to go in front of the front door in their home. This way they could wipe their feet before entering the home. They were also used as mats to put on the table underneath your candle stick holder or lantern so that wax would drip onto the penny rug instead of your lovely table. Mine will be decorative as well as useful at civil war events and at home to put hot dishes on top of, or a lantern, or just look pretty.
 My penny rug is made out of circles of old wool from many garments we have made over the 3 years we have done reenacting and also from modern wool projects. I barely even dented the wool scrap bag and I have a wool penny table runner. :)
 I am currently doing a blanket stitch around each circle on each penny. This will take a few more evenings and then I will attach them to an old peice of canvas for the backing. Its been documented they used old feed sacks or canvas or any other old peice of material for the back. They did not waste precious wool for the backing because it was precious and would only be used for things to be seen on the penny rugs.
I got all my documentation and information from the following sources.Early Style Penny Rugs and   Penny Rug crafts history of the penny rug and A Story book life blog and  few other places I could not remember. There were no actual pictures of antique penny rugs, just pictures of reproductions that I could find. But I am sure that many ladies would have done any design they had enough wool for or fit there fancy. So I cannot say my design is 100% accurate for the 1860s time period.

Well I am off to do more blanket stitching on my penny rug to finish it in time for saturdays reenactment as a sample of what these would look like while I demonstrate how to make one. Thanks to Mrs. Wilcox for sharing with me this wonderful craft!

In Christ,


Sarah Jane said...

Oh my that is so cute! What a fun and pretty project, as well as a thrifty way to not waste even the smallest wool scraps! This is so timely for me since today I went through all my wool scraps and cut out squares for a wool quilt i am making for David for a reenactment he is going to next March. I didn't know what to do with the pieces of wool that were too small to cut into the 6" squares I was cutting for the quilt. Now I know EXACTLY what they will be useful for! Thank you for sharing this!

Lola said...

That is a neat design! Very interesting :o)

Ana Smith said...

How pretty. I remember enjoying making braided rugs when I was young. This looks like another great project! :-)

Ana Smith said...

I remember making braided rugs when I was young. This looks like another enjoyable project that looks great! :-)