I have promised you folks for awhile now a tutorial on how to make penny rugs, so I thought that I had better get to it!
I am going to post just the basics, for more detailed intructions I will send you to the master of circular penny rugs (and who I learned from)....Colleen at Penny Rugs and More. Her tutorial is so clear, with great step by step pictures, that you would be a fool to ignore her wonderful instructions. I love going in circles making tons of three stack pennies, and Colleen's site has been so helpful to me.
I am going to give you instructions for the little flower runner that I had for my giveaway last week.
I use recycled, fulled wool, usually from thrift store army type blankets, since they are readily available to me. I can buy a large 100% wool blanket for 1 or 2 dollars here in Ontario. For some of you living in hotter climates, I know that you wouldn't be able to get access to such a thing, but you can use 'new' wool, or cut up clothes from the thrift store. The price we pay for having so much cheap wool available to us here is due to the fact that we will be having 6 months of winter shortly....and you won't:(
Just a little tip on buying wool and bringing it into the house; make sure that the first place your wool goes to after bringing it home is in to the washer! I wash ALL of the wool I get, in a hot wash, with just a we bit of liquid laundry soap, and then pop it into the dryer with an old towel. The towel helps to collect some of the wool bits that will be everywhere. I also make sure to clean out the lint collector about every 5 to 10 minutes, as the wool collected could cause a fire if the lint gets overfilled in that little thingy. Once dry, you can safely store your wool wherever you like without fear of moths getting in. One tip, save the wool balls and bits to use as filler when making dolls or make-do's.
Blanket Stitch tutorial:
The Blanket Stitch
When doing this stitch on the edge of a garment or piece of fabric, you’ll execute in the same fashion, starting on the backside of the fabric. Take the needle and go down through the hem vertically (at A), turn your fabric over and go down at B (diagonal to A) and through the hem vertically, like you did at A.
Make sure that your thread is looped behind/underneath the needle as you pull the thread taut.
Continue until you reach the end, planting your stitch when you’re done.
The other stitch used in this penny rug is the Stem Stitch
The Stem Stitch Tutorial
This is another great outlining stitch, particularly when you need to stitch a stem (ha) or a rope or string. It’s very easy and can be done quickly.
First you make a stitch (doesn’t matter if you’re moving up or down, or side to side, just bring it up at A and down at B). Then you’ll bring it up (point C) directly above or beside where you put point B in and bring it down in the middle and to the side of your first stitch for point D. This is almost like the back split stitch, except you’re not splitting the stitch, you’re pushing the stitch a little to the side and planting your stitch.
I got these instructions from a wonderful site called Crafty Daisy
Making this floral penny runner:
My instructions are only a guide. Do not worry about an exact replica. Just have fun with this. Your stitches may not be perfectly spaced or your circles may be a bit off, but it adds to the primitive look.
Now for this penny rug I cut a piece of wool about 23" by 10" and set it aside. I cut a slightly larger piece of flannel for the backing (you can use whatever material you like for the backing).I then cut up 4 green 2" circles which you will cut in half for the leaves, and 6 2" circles for the flowers. I then cut 6 1" circles for the centre of the flowers.
I use a chenille number 22 needle for my stitching, (you can also use a #20 or #24) and number 10 crochet cotton in black for my stitching. There are no rules, you can use DMC thread, fine wool, whatever pleases you. I can buy #10 crochet cotton for a very reasonable price here, and keep a ton of white, natural and black in my craft room.
When you have all over your pennies cut out, arrange them on your piece of wool as close to the picture above as possible. I pin mine in place so that I don't lose my pennies!
Remove one of the one inch pennies and blanket stitch it to the larger penny. Don’t worry about these stitches showing through as they will be hidden later. Try and make your stitches relatively even in distance apart, and size. It does take some practice, and it will become easier once you get going. In making primitive penny rugs, I find that the little inconsistencies in stitch length make it all that more endearing.
Place the blanket stitched penny back on to the wool background. Move on to the next penny. I am not giving exact instructions for placement here, each runner should be different, so just eyeball your placement.
When all of the pennies have been stitched and pinned back on to the wool backing, its time to stitch them to the background. They are stitched on using the blanket stitch as well. Stitch the green half pennies to the backing as well, remembering that they will be leaves, so place them where you are going to stitch the stem stitch later on for your stem. Finally, when they leaves are stitched in place, you can now stitch the stem using a running or stem stitch and the black crochet cotton.
When completed, pin the cotton flannel backing to the underside of the wool piece, with wrong sides together. Sew together using the blanket stitch, don’t worry about the edges being a bit rough, that’s all part of the primitive look. I usually hide my thread edges inside the piece, just weaving it in and out about.
Your finished now!! If you would like a more ‘aged’ or ‘prim’ look to this piece, you can daub the wool with a dampened tea bag.
If for some reason you need to clean this, just use a damp cloth and gently wipe clean.