History and Background
No penny rugs are not necessarily cheap nor do they sport images of pennies on them. Nor do they belong on the floor of your home. So what are these mysterious items? These are colorful appliques made out of scraps of preshrunk felt wool. The felted wool is cut into basic shapes which is layered one upon another to form simple pictures such as flowers or animals. This art is believed to have been invented in the eighteen hundreds. Although, it may not be one of the more popular arts, it certainly remains alive today. Today, penny rugs are most often sold as crafts, which people put together by themselves.
So why the name penny? Simple. Often pennies were used to trace perfect circles for the rugs. And why the name rug? Well these are a type of rug. But they are simply to precious and involve to much time and effort to simply be thrown around on the floor. Instead they are saved for wall hanging decorations as well as table coverings.
Penny rugs begin as an activity and a way to fill one's idle time. Was completed a penny rugs main purpose is as a home decoration.
How to Make a Penny Rug
You can either buy a ready made kit or prepare your own kit. If you are buying a ready made kit skip to step 4. If not read on…
Find or draw a pattern for your penny rug. If you are drawing a pattern, be sure that the shapes are simple and the overall picture is not too complicated
But supplies. Supplies include wool, thread, and any other accessories such as buttons or sequins which will enhance your penny rug. If you can find felted wool that will make life much easier and you can skip to step 4. If not step 3 is vital.
Turn regular wool into felted wool. For softer wool you can wash each color separately in a hot cycle. For harder woven wool, it is better to boil each color in a pot of water. Then ring excess water out of either of them and put in dryer until perfectly dry. Clean lint out often while drying, as the process forms a substantial amount of lint.
Trace each individual shape onto a paper. Include overlaps when necessary. (i.e. If smaller circle on top of bigger circle - cut out hole large circle. Do not cut out middle. The middle will be formed simply by pasting the smaller circle on the larger one.) Be sure to leave on large piece of felt for the background.
Pin separate pattern pieces to material and use precision to cut out shapes. Remember the edges are seen and the neater it's cut out the nicer the finished product will be.
First attach small overlapping shapes by pinning them together and then blanket stitching them in a contrasting color of thread. Blanket stitches are large stitches that come into the fabric near the edge and then go around the edge and back under.
When all the smaller shapes are formed pin them to the background and sew them using blanket stitches.
If necessary straighten edges of background and blanket stitch the edges (just for the appearance.
Your penny rug is complete. Hang it on the wall or place it on a table as a decoration.
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