Penny rugs were originally made in the 1800s. Women gathered scraps of wool or wool felt from old clothes or hats and used coins as templates to create designs for mats and rugs. Each decorative wool “penny” was applied in a blanket-stitch fashion to a wool background. Sometimes, the pieces were backed with burlap bags or feed sacks and a penny was stitched under one of the circles to weigh it down and make it lie flat.
I have always loved the look of penny rugs and since my down time due to my recent foot surgery was turning me into quite the couch potato, I started thinking of what I could do to pass the time. My doctor’s orders were to stay off my feet so I had to come up with a project I could do by hand. So I came up with a table runner for our kitchen farmhouse table. I found a design online that I liked and just changed it up a bit. I put together several colors of felt to complement our kitchen colors and chose light colored embroidery thread for the blanket stitches to make them show up against the colors of the felt and away I went.
I cut out all the circles and then just put all the supplies in a basket and have it by my side on the couch so I can work on the individual “penny” circles while watching TV or just listening to music.
I am so pleased I thought of this, it not only got me out of my “cabin fever” frustration, but it is so satisfying to do a hand sewing project again. My penny rug project has made the days go much faster and now I only have a few days to go before I can wear a real shoe again 🙂
Here are some photos of my project so far. I know I will just love it and will always think of how it helped keep me occupied during a frustrating recovery time. More photos to come when it is finished.