The following is an excerpt from Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule (Trumpeter, an imprint of Shambhala Publications , 2009).
Though the popularity of making rag rugs has ebbed and flowed through the centuries, the tradition has stayed alive. Rooted deep in handcrafting for family life, rag rugs carry the essence and the history of repurposing as a necessity as well as an art. Rag rugs can be made in a number of different ways. If you’re lucky, you might have the greatest learning source of all in a living relative who can teach you the skill. My Great Aunt Maddie was a rag rug maker, and with her passing, my family was left with a plethora of rag rugs that she made over the past century. All of them were created from clothing and other household items that she also made.
When I added one of Aunt Maddie’s rugs to my home, I was inspired to create the same myself and carefully studied her rugs to discern the method she used. Making rag rugs has turned into a wonderful way for me to extend the life of some fabrics and clothing my family loves, keep our home cozy and warm, and connect to our past.
Time to finish: A Season
Finished size: As desired
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Many different fabrics work well for rag rugs. However, to have a uniform thickness, it’s helpful to use similarly weighted fabrics. Standard-weight cotton clothing works fine, as well as heavier wool, denim, corduroy and chamois. (This rag rug is made from midweight cotton clothing — shirts, pants, rags and dish towels.)
Fabric (discarded clothing of the same fabric weight)
Heavy-duty needle (with a blunt tip and a large eye)
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