My No-Penny Penny Rug

Last fall the Sunshine Rug Hookers had a workshop with Bea Grant, It was on combining a penny rug with hooking.

” In the 1800s, women would use scraps of wool or wool felt from old clothing and hats to create designs for mats or rugs. They would make circles using coins as a template. Each piece was then stitched in blanket stitch fashion. Sometimes, the mats or rugs were backed with old burlap bags or feed sacks. And to make the piece lie flat, a penny was stitched under one of the circles to weigh it down. Coins were so valuable then, that in today’s world, if you are fortunate to find an antique piece containing one, you would have a very rare piece. Nineteenth century women were very creative and not wasteful.”


There were two patterns to choose from for the workshop, one with a rabbit (or was it a chicken?) and one was a  cornucopia. I can’t remember which animal, because people choosing that pattern altered it so eventually there were quite a few different animals in evidence. I chose the cornucopia. The idea was to applique the flowers, leaves, and cornucopia, do pennies around the border, and hook the rest. 

I started by cutting out the cornucopia and leaves. I watched while others were cutting out literally nearly 100 pennies which were to be blanket stitched and stacked around the border. They were beautiful, but I enjoy hooking much more than sewing, so I scrapped the idea of pennies altogether.  The cornucopia and leaves are applique, the rest is hooked in #7.

The top and bottom borders are done in ‘hit and miss’ using the scraps from the leaves and flowers. The side borders are done in recycled wool from a men’s Harris tweed jacket I picked up at ‘Good Will’.

The finishing is done in what Bea called a ‘show binding’.  It was new to me, and is meant for a rug which will not be on the floor. It is edged with strips of the background wool which have the raw edges folded under then it is sewn down front and back, with mitered corners.

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