Some Things to Remember

A Ruggin’ Love Story

When I started teaching and demonstrating the rug making methods, I realized that I needed to have some catchy things so people would not lose interest and walk away. It’s a sales pitch and an interesting story, as they learn a new craft.

I came up with this: There are two pieces of material that are used when making the toothbrush rug, one is the worker and the other is the runner. I refer to the worker as the woman and the runner as the man. (Everyone laughs!) Then I say that you hold that man(runner) close to the rug and every time that you go down in the rug and up in the loop with the needle on the worker (woman) you are wrapping around the man. Then I compare that to life. In life you need a man to wrap around on a cold night and you need a man for stability, just like the runner is for stability in the rug.

Since I for many years did not have a man in my life, I then said very loudly, “I need a MAN!” And certainly got more laughs. It was always a fun booth and lots of crowds around for learning or entertainment.

Well, one day when I said “I need a MAN!” this man stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me. I asked, “Are you married?” He said, “No!” And that happened at the War Eagle Spring Show in 2001. I taught him to rug on the second date. We married in 2002. Now you’ll find Wayne with me teaching and rugging at craft shows.

The moral of this story is: If you want something, ask for it, or be careful what you ask for, you might get it. And he doesn’t realize that I asked a million men before him, so he is “one in a million”. I think it was God’s divine intervention. I still tell this story all the time and many have asked me to write it, so here it is. And Wayne is tired of hearing it. See us at www.ruggingwithjulie.com

Here are a few helpful hints for the patterns that ruggers
tend to forget or overlook.

  1. Lay your rug down every couple of rows to make sure it's laying flat. If it is cupping, increase MORE. If it is ruffling, DON'T increase for a round or so, or do decrease at the ruffle. It's not necessary to tear our this rug.

  2. The pattern says to go three times in the SAME hole only ONCE on the oval and heart. After that, do increase about three times on each end, but as it shows on the top of page four. Two ways to know if you need to increase:
    1. Two big holes - go in between (increase)
    2. Long distance to the next stitch (material has to pull too far) increase.

  3. The worker and filler (runner) are normally the same color. Change colors at the end of the oval or heart, and at the same place on the round.

  4. Pursue - When starting a rug, it looks ugly. Go three rounds and it will improve. If all else fails, I do sell the starts. The practice start that you receive with the pattern is for you to "practice" on. It is much easier to start a rug when you have learned how to hold the needle, your fingers and have your tension even.

  5. It's important that your material be the same weight (width). Wool and denim should be narrower. Place mats require narrower material. Basket material should be about four or five inches wide.

  6. Our new DVD/video is 1 hour and 35 minutes long and has both right and left handed demonstrations of all techniques for making rugs, including inventions and trouble shooting.

If you have any suggestions for other ruggers, please sign in on our Guestbook:


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What size rug can you make?

Any size! The middle of the rug (the start) is the length minus the width of the finished rug. So if you want a hall runner 7 feet long and 3 feet wide, you start with 7-3=4 feet of casting on. A runner is a difficult rug to make.

2. How do you keep the rug laying flat?

It’s not an EXACT formula. Different materials and different people’s stitches come into play. You need to lay your rug down often and check it. If it is cupping (becoming a bowl), you need to increase a lot more for a couple of rows. If it is ruffling (becoming a doily), you need to not increase for a couple of rows, maybe even decrease. Keep laying it down to check flatness, but the usual number of increases on an oval is 3-5 on each end.

3. How much material does a rug take?

A 24 x 36 inch rug takes 10 yards of material or 3 pounds. A pound is 3 1/3 yards of 45 inch wide material. I cut it 2 ½ “ wide. I use 4-5” wide strips for baskets and 1 ½ “ wide for placemats.

4. Which is easier: a round or oval rug?

It depends on who you ask. Both are equally easy for us. The rectangle and half-moon are the hardest. Make the heart after you’ve made an oval. It’s not difficult. Baskets are easy also. What’s nice is you use the same buttonhole stitch for everything and everything is explained in our one pattern booklet.

5. What is a practice start?

We invented that to make teaching and learning easier. It’s a small oval, about 5” long and 3” wide, has a homemade wooden needle on the worker, ready to go. We’ve found once you learn to do the buttonhole stitch and increase properly, starting your first oval is much easier. Everyone we teach starts with a practice start.

6 .What material works best?

Sheeting and cottons are good. We’ve used lace, satin, denim, wool, stretchy knits, sheers and blends. When using wool, denim, or heavy material cut it narrower. They are not our favorite. Do not use corduroy or chenille. Too messy!

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.


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Julie Topolinski/Perry
2821 West Road
Mtn Home, AR 72653
870-425-2829
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