There's something about rugs made from scraps of wool or other fiber that evoke a certain nostalgia in me. I recall seeing a lot of these kinds of rugs at the homes of older relatives and family friends as I was growing up, but it wasn't until recently that I learned why they were so popular with the older generations.
The technique for making a rug by pulling loops of fabric through a backing is known as "rug hooking." Some of the earliest mentions of rugs of this nature go back to the weaving mills of England in the early 19th century. Back then, workers were allowed to collect "thrums" - any scrap of wool measuring nine inches or less in length. These scraps were useless to the mill, but resourceful weavers could pull these thrums through a cloth backing (burlap sacks were especially popular, since they were so inexpensive) to create a rug. Recently, there has also been research that suggests that this technique goes back even further, to the age of the Vikings.
In America, the trend of having floor coverings didn't fully take off until around 1830. The wealthy could afford to buy machine-made carpets from factories but those without that kind of money turned to the rug hooking method. This video by YouTuber StyleNovice shows how to make your own rag rug using slightly more modern materials - the burlap sack has been replaced by a shelf liner mat. If you're feeling old-school, however, you can probably use this method to make yourself one out of burlap. Send us a picture if you do!