Monday, June 25, 2012

Rug Story

So I was at this sale on Saturday, and I noticed that some of the items had handwritten notes on them. Not everything, just a few items. The sale was for an elderly lady moving into an assisted living place and having to downsize her belongings. Guess she couldn’t be there to tell the stories of her favorites, so she wrote them down.

I noticed a rolled up rag rug with one of the notes. Fell in love with the bright blues and greens and the thickness of it, so I bought it. When I got home, I read the note.


In case the handwriting is unclear, it reads:

Made by hand – By an 80-year-old granny – Bellingham, Washington – in the middle 50’s – She would shop at thrift shops – looking for old wool skirts, shirts, & whatever else she could find – cut them into strips & strips – all 1 - 1 1/2 inches – always the same. MILES & MILES of wool strips -

It was her way of keeping her hands busy – out of trouble (?) & earn some extra dollars to add to her meager social security check. She found out my favorite colors and put them together for me. 2012.

See, this is what keeps me garaging and out of stores, even thrift stores. It’s the story that’s attached.

Besides, if I ever found a rug this great in a store it would cost a gazillion dollars. See, the Bellingham granny back in the Fifties didn’t just sew strips together. She had a sewing machine with a pleating attachment (which I know about because I have one on my elderly Singer 201), and she pleated all those miles and miles of strips before she sewed them together in a spiral to make her round rug. The pleats add body to the cloth so the strips can stand on edge. This thing is amazing underfoot. I’ve got it in front of the kitchen sink right now, and it’s like standing on one of those pricey gel mats, only better. As soon as you step on it, your knees feel better! And she searched for quality wool that hasn’t raveled or faded in all these years.


So the little old Fifties rug has a new home in our Fifties house, where it will be appreciated and loved – and its story will go on.

And besides – it’s a pet magnet!




  1. How sweet of her to take the time to tell the story behind it. It's a lovely rug. The colors are beautiful.

    This story pulled at my heart strings....we are in the process of moving my Mom into a senior apartment. Everything I pack has a memory attached to it.

  2. Watch out everytime I bring home a new rug, my pet /dog wants to eat it! Apparently they are great chew toys

  3. What a neat rug and what a lovely story!

  4. What an amazing find! I hook rugs so I buy wool and cut it into stips strips strips.

  5. A sweet story, and a sweet photo! Jamie, maybe you could attach some notes to your mom's things, so the stories stay with them!

  6. What a great treasure you found in that rug; the note is icing on the cake. Even more special that you can recognize the quality of the workmanship and appreciate it!

  7. Sharon,
    I know your are a retired librarian. I just had to do a little readers advisory to go with this post. Have you read Killer Stuff by Sharon Fiffer? Her character is a picker and she loves the stories behind her stuff. So much so that she can't part with some of it. It really struck a chord with me since I'm a junker and a librarian. I would much rather have something with a story and life behind it than something new (and cheaply made). I love your blog!


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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