A Patchwork Rug




This floor rug for my granddaughter was made from old white woollen blankets.






My preference for making full use of whatever is available, rather than buying something new, is a characteristic my children find rather irritating at times. My frugality in the kitchen is also often the cause of much mockery, especially when I insist on diluting all dishwashing liquids at the rate of 1 part dishwashing liquid to 3 parts water and on using each teabag for at least two cups of tea and even three, if at all possible. However, occasionally they reluctantly agree that waste materials can sometimes be put to good uses.

When I told my daughter that I was making a floor rug for Milly from old woollen blankets, she was less than enthusiastic. But I continued nevertheless. The woollen blanket pieces were mordanted in alum, then dyed using cochineal, madder, weld and indigo. I then used the Log Cabin patchwork technique to piece the strips together. I really love this particular patchwork method, as it seems ideally suited to impatient people like me, especially as it can be easily done on the sewing-machine. The backing for the rug was a single piece of woollen blanket, dyed in indigo, and the rug and its backing were placed with the right sides together and then machine-sewn round three sides. The rug was then turned right-side out and the last seam was stitched by hand. Another advantage of this rug is that it can be machine-washed without risk of shrinking, as any shrinking will have taken place during the simmering of the mordanting and dyeing processes, making it unlikely to shrink further. Indeed, this rug has already successfully withstood several machine washes. And my daughter and granddaughter love it, so I feel my efforts were worth while.

I also made a large floor cushion, using the same techniques.


13 replies
  1. Mona
    Mona says:

    Beautiful way of repurposing! I’m actually saving my babies/childrens worn wool leggins in order to dye and repurpose. I was planning to do something similar, just in a smaller scale. Perhaps, if you told your daughter, she’d think you weren’t that irritating after all? 😉

  2. Marian
    Marian says:

    This is beautiful!!!! And what a great idea recycling old blankets.
    My mom dilutes washing liquids too! Always has…she says is more eco!

  3. Kathy Weisz-Kathyinozarks
    Kathy Weisz-Kathyinozarks says:

    I love it! I am doing the same thing, use what I have, recycle to a new use, I am making my own laundry supplies, and will start making my own dish soap too once I run out of what I bought already-beautiful rug and pillow

  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    What kind of a seam allowance did you use? The wool blankets I have are so thick, I am concerned about really bulky seams if I were to try this, but yours look beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who likes to recycle and to be economical with things like washing-up liquid. I shall now be able to tell my children that there are actually others like me! As far as the seams on my patchwork rug are concerned, I used about a one-inch seam allowance & it wasn’t too bulky but gave a pleasing thickness, suitable either for a floor rug or a bed cover.

  5. Ladka
    Ladka says:

    Beautiful floor rug! And you used the log cabin technique which I also love. I immediately started thinking which old blanket I coul use for a similar project (being very re-use and re-purpose oriented) but then remembered we NEVER had pure wool blankets, especially not white ones. The one I bought a dozen of years ago is still in use and is not “ripe” for re-purposing yet.
    And of course, I also dilute the washing-up liquid, it seems normal to me.

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      I go round all the second-hand shops & junk shops looking for pure wool blankets & it’s surprising how many really good ones seem to be thrown out. However, now that I’ve mentioned this to so many people, there don’t seem to be so many old blankets around!

  6. Steph
    Steph says:

    Fantastic – I end up searching for anything wool in the charity shops and making into something…my only limit is storage space !

  7. quinn
    quinn says:

    I’m just the same with diluting dishwashing soap – any liquid soap, really – and have begun making my own inexpensive laundry soap as well. And I manage to get as many as FOUR decent cups of tea from a single (overpriced) herbal teabag! Experimentation is always worthwhile 🙂

  8. Dot
    Dot says:

    What an unusual and special rug you have made, the colours look bright and beautiful. It’s good to give children handmade things, I learnt so much from my Grandparents making things for me, I grew up with the idea that I might be able to make things too.

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