The Country Craft of Rugmaking

The Country Craft of Rugmaking

By Mary Emma Allen

Another country craft often pursued in winter, rugmaking brings fond memories of sitting in GrandmotherÂ’s kitchen with the woodstove throwing warmth, and creating, with her help, a crocheted throw rug for my room.

"To warm your feet when you step out of bed on the cold floor," she remarked.

My husbandÂ’s grandmother also made rugs, of the hooked variety with artistic patterns of flowers and geometrics. She cut wool and dyed it to make her colorful rugs.

My grandmother cut strips of cotton fabric and sewed them together to make long stings rolled into balls. Then with a large wooden crochet hook, she created her rugs.

Rugmaking An Art

Rugmaking in America has become an art over the years, but the first floor coverings were scarce and devised solely for utilitarian purposes. There have been a variety of methods used for making rugs in America and no one is quite sure which is the oldest. Among these are braiding, weaving, knitting, crocheting, and hooking.

The main materials on hand for these first rugs were rags and worn-out clothing...when they could be spared. With those rough materials, the pioneer homemakers let their creativeness come forth and even the simplest rugs might be objects of beauty.

The faded old fabrics were colored with dyes made from bark and berries, to give new brightness to the rugs thus created.

Rugmaking Continues Today

Rugmaking in America continues as women create these works of art for their homes. Our American spirit of individualism still survives as people take time from their busy days to make these unique items of beauty to brighten their homes with something a bit different from those found in any other home.

Rugmaking of any type (braiding, hooking, crocheting, knitting or weaving) is a fascinating hobby and art. As you make objects of beauty for your home, youÂ’ll be creating works of art, as our grandmothers did, that will be lasting traditions in the years to come.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen often writes about country crafts and cooking. She's been writing her "Country Kitchen" newspaper column for more than 30 years and soon will compile some of these into a book. Visit her Website or e-mail Mary Emma at


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