Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Proddy rug for my father

My father is 91 and a Yorkshireman. The first time I saw rag rugs, I was with my parents, having tea in a stone cottage on the Yorkshire moors. We were guests of Bob and Elsie Merrington, a Dales gamekeeper and his wife with whom my father had become friends. The flagstone floors in their cottage were partly covered with rugs which, Elsie explained a little shyly, she had made on winter evenings. "There's Bob's old corduroy breeches there" she said, pointing to a dark mustard strip in one rug.
My mother, always a craft-fiend, was enchanted, but she was already well set on her own complex and profound needlepoint journey, a voyage of discovery and skill which eventually led to an entire medieval Norfolk church being almost entirely covered in needlepoint and cross-stitch of considerably better taste than most; so she never got into rag rugs.
But I belong to the generation in love with recycling - this, I am sure, why the concept of rag rugs has gripped me. (I'm aware that I've inherited my mother's aversion to any attempt at realist representation - we can't help feeling that "if you need to paint, use paint.")

My parents are very old. I have started a simple proddy rug for my father in blues and greys which will in time be joined by a hooked rug for my mother, probably in earth tones. Both small bedside cotton rugs, to be done as efficiently and quickly as possible.

I was going to use purple notes in my father's rug but on reflection greens will be more appropriate - if he can be said to have a favourite colour it is surely green.

So far, I've done the blue and grey tones.

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