We have one more crafter to share with you from our visit to the Harvest Festival. As we wandered around the booths at Silver Dollar City, some beautiful and unique rugs caught our attention.
This particular one was 65 years old, well used, and still in great shape!
Laura White demonstrated a rug making technique called Pleache’t (pronounced to rhyme with crochet- technique combines pleats with crochet) using a needle developed in the early 1900’s by her grandmother, Laura Elizabeth Johnston. Her grandmother sold the needles at fairs. She even created wall to wall “carpeting” in her living room, dining room, hallway and stairs with her rug making technique. Laura White’s late sister, Shirley Wood, introduced this rug making technique to the craft world, and now Laura is carrying on the family tradition by teaching others how to Pleache’t.
The rugs are made by first cutting strips of wool or wool blends and cotton on the bias. The width of the strips determines the thickness of the finished rug. Laura finds old garments at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, and occasional fabric store from which to cut her strips. She recycles old material into new heirloom rugs. The Rugbee Rug Needle is pointed on one end and has a crochet hook on the other. The strips are looped back and forth onto the pointed end of the needle. Using a string called carpet warp (which is what weavers use on a loom) she joins the strips together with crochet stitches. There is no sewing involved in making these rugs.
The color design of the finished rug is determined by the cut edges of the wool strips, not the actual pattern of the fabric surface. She says that sometimes the ugliest fabric makes the prettiest rugs. Rugs can be made in round, oval or rectangle shapes. If you want to start small, you can make soft chair pads. The rugs last a long time even with lots of use. “The more you use them the prettier they get.” (Shirley Wood)
Laura sells the Rugbee Rug Needles along with an instructional video and book. You can even have her come teach a class on rug making to your group. She is scheduling classes now for 2015. You can contact her for more information at her Facebook page, Rugbee Rugneedle. Doesn’t making a rug sound like a great winter project as you cozy up next to the fire with a cup of coffee?
UPDATE: July 2016- Laura now has a website from which you can order materials and instructions: pleachet.com