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Rags to Riches

Saturday 26 February - Saturday 30 April 2011

Follow the story of the rag rug, from a simple domestic necessity to a contemporary craft with increasing popularity worldwide!

The tradition of making rugs from rags probably arrived in Britain with Viking traders.  Although the north of England became its traditional heartland, rag rugs were made in most parts of Britain, including the highlands of Scotland and the Shetland Isles.  The oldest surviving rag rug in Britain is believed to be made of uniforms worn at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Known by a variety of names, including tab or peg rugs in Yorkshire and clootie basses in north east Scotland, the rugs were made using simple tools and basic techniques.  A hook for pulling the strip of material through canvas, and spare bits of cloth and wool were all that was required. The designs were usually simple too, recognising their functional nature as domestic floor covering.