Penny Rugs

October 2010 meeting

  Penny rugs we were in the process of making

About ten people took part in this workshop but none of us knew quite what to expect! Jan Haines opened her bags of felt, scissors and pincushions and showed us samples of what we could make. Most interestingly she also told
us the history of these unusual articles.

From 1790 to 1850 in Nantucket homemakers were very thrifty and had to make do and mend. When clothing had worn out during the year they used to make “medallion” sized pieces – which were about three times bigger than our penny – of good material to patch. From this they then developed the idea of also making useful items like rugs, pincushions, table mats and shoe cleaners.

We each decided which item to make. Jan gave us some card shapes for cutting the felt. Some of us made table mats, others made pincushions  or wall hangings. I decided to make a candle mat. I had to cuts 7 pieces of felt in a small size, then another 7 in a slightly larger size. I had to blanket-stitch the small to the large and then take a large piece of felt on which all 7 pennies would fit. I now had to stitch them all to the large mat and then cut around the pennies to make a

Mine was probably one of the easier designs but I know from experience how bad I am at finishing things if I take them home unfinished. I confess I still didn’t finish it until I was speaking to Sigi at home and she told me that she had finished hers. This spurred me on and I got stuck in straightaway.  I have to say it turned out very well and I showed it at a craft show in our village hall.

Thank you so much Jan. I know everyone enjoyed the day, judging by all the chat and laughter.    
Pam Chatfield