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Antique Penny Rug
Photograph of antique Penny Rug courtesy of F. O. Bailey Antiques

One form of appliqued table rug that became very popular during the mid to late 19th century was the "penny rug", so called because of the small circular patches of wool used to create geometric and pictorial scenes. Sometimes referred to as "coin", "button" or "money" rugs, farm people used these common household items to trace around as makeshift templates. Soon creative stitchers developed images of flowers, urns, birds, and familiar animals in their penny rug appliqués. Each penny rug was further embellished by the use of simple embroidery stitches to hold each patch in place, and to add expressive detail.

Why Penny Rugs?

I have been rug hooking for over 25 years, and I teach frequent one day workshops and classes covering "Folk Art Rug Hooking" (an introductory class), "Hooking Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh" "Designing Hooked Rugs" and "Dyeing for Special Effects". I am always trying to come up with creative new ways to use my wool collection, and Penny Rugs are a natural outgrowth of hooking. VIVA LA LAINE* (*Long Live Wool in my faux Francais)! Lots of hookers enjoy making Penny borders around their small hooked pieces, too!

Penny Rug Made in Kennebunk, Maine

Rug created by a nice gentleman from Kennebunk
who I hope will send me his name!

How are J. Conner Penny Rug kits sold?

My kits are sold as Pattern only sets ($10) or Complete kits including all materials ($25-$75 depending on size).

Pattern Only Sets contain my hand drawn templates from my Universal Folk Art Penny Rug Series, for creating the project shown on the front illustration. The package contains easy directions and a shopping list for all the materials and supplies needed to complete the project, PLUS alternate design suggestions for the reuse of the pattern templates.

Complete Kits include all of the above, AND prewashed and hand dyed wools, ironed and fused with interfacing, ready to trace and cut. Complete, step-by-step illustrated directions and templates from THE UNIVERSAL FOLK ART PENNY RUG SERIES. Pearl Cotton thread and embroidery needle, stitch chart and coordinating cotton flannel lining or backing fabric... PLUS alternate design suggestions for the reuse of the pattern templates. All you will need is good sharp scissors, pencil and steam iron.

You can order by phone, email, fax, or regular mail....or visit one of the craft shows listed on my calendar. Wholesale inquiries welcome.

Appliqueing a Penny Rug

What's different about J. Conner Penny Rug Kits?

Pattern Only sets and Complete Kits each contain patterns, directions and materials (or materials lists for those who already are well supplied with wool) to complete one Penny Rug project, as shown in the photo... HOWEVER, the patterns are from my Universal Folk Art Penny Rug Series, and can be used over and over by the purchaser to create an infinite variety of designs. To get your creativity going, a few suggestions for future projects are included!

Similar to my J. Conner and Happy Hooker Rug Kits, no two penny rug kits are exactly the same. Following the same simple, basic, directions, each artist is able to create her own combination of colors and stitches. When a pattern calls for brown, it might be a brown plaid, tweed, or hand dyed solid, depending upon what is available from my heirloom collection. Every customer knows that these hand made products, assembled for you in my kitchen, are each completely unique--and so will be your finished artwork!


As you purchase patterns or kits, you will be collecting a series of template sets which will enable you to create an infinite variety of folk art and antique reproduction penny rug appliqués!

Please contact me with questions or custom design orders - for patterns, kits, penny rug classes or retreats, and finished custom Penny Rug Appliques by commission.

COPYRIGHT J. CONNER DESIGNS: Permission is granted for the use of these patterns only by the retail purchaser. Patterns, designs and finished products may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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