Sunday, November 05, 2006

High Tech twists Tradition

Whooot!! High tech meets Colonial American needlework. Using felting needles in the Embellisher (home needle punch machine) has uses beyond felting. When working in penny rug style - wool on wool applique - using tongues, circles and appliques, the barbed needles allow tacking of one shape onto the next or onto the base. This means non-skid appliques, less pinning, less struggle and no need for temporary glue. Combine this with die cut tongues, circles and appliques and zowie one gains speed, enhances precision, and is environmentally friendly. Yipee! That also translates to great pricing, thus less cost to buyer. At least that is my view; one of my goals is to get quality pretty stuff into other hands at good prices.

Historically, penny rugs are one of the few totally USA developed Needlecrafts. Depending on the source, penny rugs are said to date back to US Colonial or Civil War times. Fulled scraps from garments and blankets that were no longer in big enough pieces to remodel into garments were cut in circles (the penny of the time being the pattern piece- about size of a quarter now-a-days) and tongues the longer piece rounded at one end and squared at the other. The shapes were placed on a linen or homespun base fabric and stitched with blanket stitch. Traditional colors are muted and faded - i.e. US Civil War Era had much uniform olive drab, blue and gray. Though called rugs, most were actually table covers or bed covers, the term rug sure has changed over the years. Penny Rugs resurged at various points in history - in the Art Deco era, in the late 1970s, and again, especially here in the US midwest over the last 10 years. Most are no longer historically or traditionally correct. However, the wool on wool relatively simple style remains pleasing.

Combining new and old really please me. Maintaining the tradition, keeping it alive, yet employing today's technology - adding a new twist to classic techniques/styles. Because most of the things I make are wearable, the penny rug style gets adapted into hats, scarves, brooches. Other stuff such as this headband and cup cuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool! about 6 months ago, I did a bit of internet reading on penny rugs. The first thing I thought was "wow, now we could needle felt the shapes together and then it would be so much easier (and maybe more portable) to "stitch" the pieces together" too bad I don't really do much more than think it :)