Here is one crafty young lady who didn't have to ask. . .
Isn't Anna's Rag Rug Purse adorable?
Her Grandmother bought a loom from John last Christmas. . .and Anna has been Rag Rugging ever since. . .weaving the traditional rugs, while venturing out to design other crafts with them, too. . .Obviously, Anna thinks 'outside the box'. . .Maybe she's a Kindred Spirit. . .I'm not an 'inside the box' kind of person either. . .
Kindred Spirit or not, she's definitely an inspiration, isn't she?
Anna's Grandmother Nancy recently emailed me the photos. . .with a short note:
Hello Dru. I had photos of my granddaughter with the first rug she made on the loom I purchased from you last Christmas, but somehow can't locate them right now. But I did want you to see the clever purse she made on her loom. She has enjoyed that loom so so much! It was the perfect gift for our creative girl!
I was thrilled to hear from them and to know that a Delta craft is being passed on to the younger generation. . .
Sure makes all our hard work worthwhile.
Thanks so much, Anna, for sharing your purse with us!
I'm sure others will be inspired, too. . .I may just have to make one for myself!
"Of the many types of rag rugs that became popular about 1850, twined rag rugs are more durable and beautiful than most. It is possible to incorporate intricate designs that are rarely found in other types of rag rugs."
I have shown Mary Zurich's Rag Rugs several times during the last few years. . .Now, she has a WEBSITE! . . .and an ETSY SHOP. . .This lady is serious about her craft. . .as she should be! . . .I love the combinations she uses both in color and fabric choices. . .See what you think. . .
I've had numerous inquiries from other Rag Rug artists who are interested in starting a business. . .questions such as 'What do I charge?'. . .'Where do I sell?'. . .'What's popular?' The thing I've found is that 'it all depends'. . .As with any business, you have to find your niche. . .And, it's often a trial and error situation at the beginning. . .That goes for craft shows, boutiques, gift shops as well as online places of business.
I don't sell my rugs but at one time I did make a living designing, making, and selling girls clothing. . .It took a lot of disappointing shows to find the ones for me. . .Likes and tastes were so different in this one state. . .Our own Delta area was a so-so venue. . .Yet, I could travel to the Ozarks and have a sell out every time I set up. . .It was a good lesson learned that I've carried through life. . .Don't give up. . .If you like your product and would buy it, then there are those out there who will do the same. . .Life is a learning experience. . .Some of us get more learning experiences than we want, but it all evens out eventually.
As for Mary, with her talent and eye for color, we know she'll be a hit. . .
John and I wish her a long and prosperous journey with her new business.
I must admit, the last few rows of weaving a Rag Rug can be frustrating.
It slows me down. . .besides the pull on my shoulders and can cause my hands to ache.
I probably feel the pull more than most of you,
unless you have fibromyalgia and/or arthritis.
One day I was shopping yard sales and happened upon a package of vintage Bodkins.
I haven't seen these in ages. . .Do they still make them?
If so, I bet they're more than 39c on the package or the 10c I paid.
I brought them home with weaving in mind. . .
In the past I've used a large 'bobby pin'. . .so I was pretty certain this would work better.
And. . .it DOES!
There were two in the package. . .The one with the loop was a little harder to thread. . .
I used one for each strip I was weaving and zipped right through those last rows.
John has decided--when he has a little more time--that he'll try making a few of these in a size that would accommodate the wider weaving strips. . .In the meantime, check with a fabric store or Hobby Lobby or other craft store. . .I'm sure they still make Bodkins. . .I had just never thought about using them.
It took a yard sale for me to say, "Duh. . .Why didn't I think of this before?"
We have long awaited it's arrival. . .but it is well worth it.
Joe Chipman is more than a song writer/musician. . . .He's also a story teller and historian. . . .mixing narrative and lyrics that tell of the Delta when the land was first cleared and farming began. . . .
the hard times and the good. . . .the struggles and the triumphs. . . .
during the Great Depression and beyond. . . .
You'll be captivated from start to finish.
Produced by Joe Chipman and Craig Morris
Narrations by Joe Chipman with the exception of "Arkansas In Me" by Dale Blaylock and "Flood of '37" by Morris Simpson.
Lead Vocals: Craig Morris, Charlsy Bryant, Sandy Rhodes, Kenny Seratt,
Billy Joe Warren, Bo Jackson and Joe Chipman
Background Vocals: Pam Chipman, Brandon Bryand, Lori Bryant, Craig Morris,
Donna Rhodes, Brenda 'Bear' Barnett, and Sandy Rhodes.
Tim Crouch--Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Upright Bass Mandolin
Brenda 'Bear' Barnett--Electric Bass
Sandy Rhodes--Acoustic Guitar
Jeff Knowlton--Acoustic Guitar
Cover Photo by Dwight Booth--L to R: Joe Chipman, Bob Rothfus, Jeff Knowlton, John Holt, Dru Duncan and Dale Blaylock at the C. A. Smith Grocery located at the Widner-Magers Farm Historic District.
Mary has been busy again! Just look at the gorgeous Rag Rugs. . .She has used cord for her warp and has woven fantastic patterns. . .Far beyond anything I've ever done. . .
Don't you love them?
Mary also shared: "Two months after purchasing my loom and here are photos of my accomplishments. . . .I just took out my business license: Artisan Folk Rugs. Will be selling at the local Farmer's Market. . . I am pleased to find a craft that might help me make some $. In the depression my widowed grandmother make these rugs for $ to feed her 8 kids. I am still working on the website and it isn't published yet. Will let you know when it can be viewed."
Isn't that great news? . . .She goes on to share her exciting discovery for a loom stand. . . . "I have purchased an easel from Hobby Lobby. It's easy for working and a beautiful display when I am not working."
I have seen these easels myself at Hobby Lobby but never thought about using them for weaving. . . .Thanks so much, Mary, for sharing with us. . . .I'm sure Hobby Lobby will be having a run on easels now. . . .And thank you so much for sharing your Rag Rugs with us. . . .What an inspiration you are!. . . .We look forward to your website!
We have some good news. . . .Postal costs have soared lately and no one knows that better than us. . . .But, we got together with the local Post Master and figured out a new way to ship that will cut rates for some of our loom sets and will save you some money! Check out our new prices by clicking on the sidebar link to the loom you desire. . . .or, find links at the tab bar above.
And, don't forget. . . .Our Large Rag Rug Loom and the Two-in-One are interchangeable. . . .There are others who sell rag rug looms but the bars can't be interchanged. . . .Changing the bars of two of John's looms will make five different sizes of rugs!
The Large Rag Rug Loom (25" x 37")
The Two-n-One Rag Rug Loom (16" x 26" and 16" x 13")
By interchanging bars, these two looms will make three more sizes:
16" x 13"
16" x 37"
25" x 26"
A Runner. . . .
A Square. . . .
So the possibilities for weaving are:
One: 25" x 37"
Two: 16" x 26"
Three: 16" x 13"
Four: 16" x 37"
Five: 25" x 26"
Add a Mini Rag Rug Loom (6" x 8") and you have Six possibilities!
How fun is that?
Instructions are included with every order. . .
as well as instructions on how to assemble the looms.
John's Rag Rug Looms are a favorite of many. . . .
Here's just one review of the many we receive each week:
From Rita: "In the past couple of weeks I have ordered 2 of your looms. Finished 2 rugs and working on a third. I love it!!! Thank you for making such wonderful looms! They are well built and easy to use. I've crocheted for over 40 years, started knitting 15 years ago and now I'm weaving. I found sheets at the thrift shop the other day that match my son's kitchen in his new house perfectly. Housewarming present!!
Looking forward to many weaving years on your fabulous looms."
If you'd like to see a how-to weave video, you can find a link to YouTube at:
There are many more Rag Rug Weaving videos on YouTube.
At this time, John doesn't have his own DVD. . . .perhaps in the future.
We're also working on a weaving booklet that will be for sale
here at Our Old Country Store.
Let's see. . .Was that all I had to tell you?
If you find a partial refund on you Pay Pal account,
it is for over payment of shipping and handling.
We try to wait until we're sure you've received your looms
and there is no problem with them before we make
any refunds. . .Any other way can be confusing.
Hope I didn't miss any of you!
Guess that's about it for today. . . .
Happy Rag Rugging, Everyone!
People in Mississippi County, Arkansas know the wonderful talent Joe Chipman from Manila, AR has for telling stories about our Delta in his songs. He has been a local favorite for many years. . . .Born and raised on a cotton farm, he had first hand experience with the bitter sweet challenges of farming in the Delta. . . .He also loved listening to the stories of which his Grandpa and other old-timer's spoke--times that were hard but rewarding. . .Precious memories of family, home, friends, struggle, love of the land. . . .He never forgot them and now he's sharing them with us!
We are honored to offer Joe's first album on sale as a CD titled, Taming Mississippi County: Hard Times In Northeast Arkansas. He has written original songs such as: "Hard Times", "Cotton Pickin' Time in the Delta", "Roll on Mississippi", "80 Rows of Cotton" that tell the history of early 20th century life on the Delta. Joe has such a talent for producing a mix of original songs and narration that bring back memories of cotton farming as it once was
If you're from Mississippi County or love cotton farms or folk music, you'll want this CD. It's a wonderful mix of Delta history. It's our story in song. . . .
Taming Mississippi County:
Hard Times in Northeast Arkansas
plus $3.99 Media Mail Shipping
Watch for Joe's newest album to be released soon!
If you'd like to read more about the photo shoot for the album cover,
I received the loom and have finished my first project.
One word of advice for those of you who think the screw holes are too small. Try rubbing the threads of the screws over a bar of soap before inserting them into the holes. The soap makes the screws slippery and they glide right in."
I thought I'd pass on this great tip for the loom assembly and also note that it is necessary to make the screw holes small so that once assembled the loom won't get out of square. John does put together every loom he sends out, to be sure the holes are correct. I do realize it's hard for some of us, which is why Mary's tip is SUPER! I'll be the first to use it!
I'm a little late getting this link to you. . . .Debra emailed me last week. . . .She had finished her first Rag Rug! . . . and has revealed it on her blog: Frugal Little Bungalow. . . .Isn't it fantastic? . . .Love the colors. . . .I've experimented with various patterns myself but I think the simple stripe is my favorite--and much quicker to weave.
To read all about Debra's Rag Rug and view more photos, hop on over there and visit with her. . . .She has a special treat for you, too. . . .A link to a video series on Weaving Rag Rugs. . . .Don't miss that. . . .The instructions John sends with the loom will teach the basics but a video will explain the technique so much better. . . .I like visual aids, too.
Thanks so much, Debra, for sharing your first Rag Rug with us. . . .and the video link, too. . . .And, thanks from John and me for the Shout Out! . . .We do appreciate you!
"In my mother’s day, women used to take the collar off a frayed shirt, turn it around, and stitch it back on. When that side wore out, they often used the fabric to make something else—a quilt, or in this case, an apron. Patterned fabrics from one shirt can be used to edge an apron cut from another. It’s easy to make attractive complementary combinations to create a vintage-style apron like the one above."
I've seen many apron patterns utilizing men's shirts
in the last few months, but I vote Mary Jane's the best.
I have a confession. . . .I'm sure many of you have already guessed. . . .We've been on vacation for two weeks. . . .which is why no one has heard from me and emails haven't been answered. . . .It's also the reason Our Old Country Store has been closed for so long!
We had worked so hard during 2013, we decided to treat ourselves with a trip back to Virginia for Christmas. . . .
And, what a trip it was!
We started with a week long stay at Colonial Williamsburg. . . .and my very first stop was the Weaving Shop. . . .This was a new addition since our days of working at CW. . . .I could not wait to get a glimpse of those big looms. . . .
I know so little about weaving on a large loom and was very fascinated with it. . . .They had two pieces in progress. . . .one a patterned coverlet. . . .the other was a plain weave wool and linen. . . .The young lady was spinning wool that day but graciously took the time to explain the weaving process on these large looms. . . .It was fascinating. . . .but I figure I'll stick with the Rag Rug Looms. . . .I certainly gained an appreciation for how simple and quick we're able to weave a rug!
Since we live on a cotton farm, I also found it so interesting that they wove very little cotton fabric in the 18th century until after the Revolutionary War. . . .Cotton fabric was imported and was of a finer grade than any that the Colonial Women could weave. . . .It was only after the war they began to experiment with cotton that was locally grown.
I'm so glad Colonial Williamsburg has added weaving to their demonstrations of 18th century crafts. . . .If you are ever in the area and enjoy weaving, be sure and stop in for a visit. . . .The interpreters are knowledgeable and they are very gracious to answer even the very basic questions. . . .It was a wonderful experience. . . .
So, now, we're back to work. . . .Our Old Country Store is open again for Rag Rug Loom orders. . . .I have a few new items to sell, too. . . .from Virginia. . . .They'll be coming up soon. . . .as I work my way through catch-up. . . .and emails. . . .2014 is here and time for new things, new ideas, new crafts. . . .Be sure to watch for them!
Hope all of you are safe and warm (in this chilling winter weather) and enjoying the New Year!
We enjoyed our trip. . . .but it's good to be back. . . .