I started collecting random yardages of felt. No rhyme or reason, I just love felt. The colors are so saturated. And if you get a lovely thick piece it makes a crunching sound when you cut into it. Completely addictive, like bubble-wrap.
When I started searching for "wool felt" on ebay there were a few listings for Penny Rugs. I dug the concentric circles and simple design and thought I would make one for my first felt project. I also noted that some of the ebay sellers were using a an easy sewtard stitch (more commonly known as the whip stitch) instead of the motherfucker stitch (also known as the blanket stitch) and it still looked fantastic.
I'm not a Kuntry girl and when I looked for Penny Rug patterns to follow I only found traditional ones. I tend to favor that Eames meets your Grandmother Bessie look that craft leaders like Wee and Chicken do so well. So I decided I would just start cutting and sewtard stitching these lovely felt circles together and assemble the Penny Rug without a pattern once I had finished.
After much consultation with my Architect husband we figured out the exact spacing of the circles on a piece of dark gray wool felt. I had to keep revisiting Wee's Flickr set to remind myself that the reason I love her work is that it has such a cool simplicity to it. So I would look at her stuff, take a deep breath, go back to sewing and try not to make the project harder than it needed to be. But once I got all my Penny Rug circles sewed on to the backing I hated it. I hated it because if you squinted at it the rug looked like a badly crocheted 70's afghan.
I took a Xanax (seriously) and had some Sleepytime Tea and in a rare moment of calm realized that I am the button lady. There are buttons all over the walls in my home and to be true to my art I needed to add some buttons.
So I started sewing vintage buttons that I bought from an overpriced "Lot of Vintage Buttons I Stole From An Old Lady" ebay listing on to the rug. Now, I have to say my normally craptastic crafting self is feeling quite proud. I think the semi-finished product kicks ass. The stitches are wonky and the buttons are off center but I kind of like it that way. In fact I'm going to pretend I was being all Primitive and shit and say I did it on purpose.
My next bastardization of the Penny Rug format will be to put another piece of grey felt on as a backing and then add edging (as if I was joining a quilt) with one of the fabrics you see in the picture. I'm a little nervous about wrapping this project up. I might be overstepping my skills joining and binding. But I feel kind of pumped when I look at my buttons so I am persevering. If I were the amazing Black Apple this would be photographed in dappled sunlight but I only aspire. Check it out.