Saturday, April 28, 2012

Penny Rugs

I love trying new techniques, although the penny rug is an old quilting method.  In the 1800s, starting around the time of the Civil War, thrifty homemakers would use scraps of wool or felted wool from old clothing, blankets and hats to create designs for mats or rugs. Using coins as templates, they created circles and each piece was then stitched in blanket stitch fashion. (Thus, the name "penny" rug). Sometimes, the mats or rugs were backed with old burlap bags or feed sacks. Sometimes a penny was stitched inside the mat to make it lie flat.
Penny rugs are not actual rugs for the floor, but decorative coverings for beds, tables and dressers and mantles. Sometimes they are used as wall hangings or pillows. Most designs include circles and some include images from everyday life such as cats, flowers, birds and shapes such as stars and hearts.

Amy at Bumble Bee Lane hosts primitive swaps that I enjoy participating in.  The theme for the summer was Bee Happy--bees, and flowers.  On a felt background I appliqued felt hollyhocks with a bee hive, bird and sun--a modern feeling pattern that I made using old techniques.

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