#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things G

Grandma Gwen’s Rugs

This exercise of  claiming favorite things has been interesting. I’m suddenly aware of how many of my favorites have to do with farm/country style life and the accompanying values. Today’s topic continues along that line as it shows creativity, thriftiness, simplicity and usefulness.

This newest round rug is a favorite… but then so are all the others.

Grandma Gwen is my mom but I got used to calling her that when my kids came along. She has always been good at sewing and making things because that was what country lifestyle required. Over the years she has become famous in the family for knitting, crocheting and now making crochet rugs – rugging! This craft was one of the ways that large pieces of cloth, like sheets and curtains, were turned into a needed floor covering when they were showing signs of age.

Grandma Gwen finds her cloth in various thrift shops and garage sales, sometimes for free and occasionally at a price, if it’s a desired color. She groups the fabrics in color families that are pleasing to her, or ones that she knows will go with a particular décor. She tears the cloth into strips about 2 inches wide and stores them in plastic grocery bags.

She starts by folding the raw edges of a strip into the center and folding again so they don’t show. As the strip is prepared like this, she winds it around her finger like a spool. Then she starts crocheting a chain the length of the center of her rug. She turns the work and does single crochet back along the strip. At the ends she adds stitches as the rug grows in size.

Almost always, there is a rug in progress and they become gifts for children, grandchildren and friends. I love them, and lucky me, I have lots of them. They not only add color and character to the rooms they are in but they also feel like a gentle massage underfoot. Many family members have taken classes from her on how to make their own rugs because they are so beautiful, fun and useful.

19 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things G

  1. Love those rugs, always wanted to make one. I did some knitting for a while but then turned to crocheting – made lots of blankets for my children – in fact just picked it up again making a blanket to my boss who is pregnant. It is also very relaxing.

  2. I can see why you value them so highly — special treasures scattered across the floor.

    Lori’s passed-around rug story is great, too. What a legacy!

  3. How lucky you are to have these gifts and to have a mother who enjoys making them. Handcrafts should not be allowed to die, I’m glad your family appreciates this enough to take lessons on how to make these one of a kind rugs.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy AtoZing!

  4. My grandmother used to make rag rugs. I saved her book that she worked from, and some tools — large needles, heavy thread, clamps — that she used to. This brought back a lot of memories. Thank you for posting.

    • There are different methods of making rag rugs. With crochet, mom only uses a large crochet hook and an ordinary sewing needle to connect the strips. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. These are lovely! I’m a big fan of braided rugs. We always had them when I lived at Whispering Chimneys, the farm where I spent my early childhood. I am a particular fan of the wool ones…but they must have been an itchy experience to create!

    • And wool would be hard to find in quantity and length (there weren’t many wool sheets around I don’t suppose). Having long continuous strips makes it so much faster. Whispering Chimneys, what a great name – bet it’s a memorable place. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  6. My Mom made many of these too…The most notable one was a room sized rug that was under my dinning room table for years. When we moved to Alaska I gave it to my sister Mary, who used it for years…then it was passed down to my sister Sandy who enjoyed it for many years as well. Oh, if it could talk ! When it started to become worn we would stitch the loose ends together. After all us girls using it and our families growing up it was time to retire it. So my sister Sandy donated it to a museum in Canby, Oregon where they had it set up in a room typical of an old farm house . Where it will remain for the rest of it’s days…I love it! So thankful for Moms who knew how to do a lot with so little…

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