The Penny Rug emerged as a folk art tradition in the mid-19th. century, one of the many products of resourceful American homemakers.
At a time when little went to waste, every left-over scrap of fabric — from other crafts, as well as worn-out clothing — was kept, and put to use. Tiny, oddly-shaped tidbits of cloth could often only be formed into circles, with the aid of a handy penny or other coin as a guide.
More and more concentric circles of wool or felted wool would be embroidered in repeating patterns onto a piece of burlap-backed wool to compose the classic Penny Rug design. Of course, other shapes such as diamonds and stars made their way into the mix.
So admired was the Penny Rug that, in some cases, they were used as table runners or wall hangings, though the term “rug” was still applied. Now, as in the past, the same Penny Rug piece could be laid on the floor or hung on the wall without being out of place. At Relaxed Cottage Living, our assortment of Penny Rugs — all handmade in the authentic style — are appropriately dispersed throughout multiple categories. That’s why we’ve assembled them all in the Penny Rug Collection as well.
Or, if you’re the handy type, you can read a how-to on crafting your own folk art classic at Penny Rugs and More.