More pictures from Laundry Day in our town centre.
“In England nobody understands what rag-carpets are; but in every part of America they are more or less used. The wealthy use them for their kitchens, and sometimes dining rooms; the farmers, for their chambers; and often every room in the house will be covered with them ... Every conceivable kind of woollen cloth was cut into little shreds about half an inch wide, and an inch long. These were all joined together lengthwise, and then wound in balls. The children's employment was to help in sewing the shreds together, and thus to make hundreds and thousands of yards of woollen band. This was afterwards woven into a coarse kind of carpet, and produced a mottle of all colours, not at all unpleasing to the eye. Occasionally such carpets would be dyed all of one colour; sometimes they were woven into a regular pattern, stripe or plaid; but this...was to be a mottled one; and their young friends...were invited for a few days to help in this homely but curious work; during which, however, some amusing book was read, and thus the time passed pleasantly.”
Mary Botham Howitt, Our Cousins in Ohio, 1849
Without any research to prove it, I’d say the traditional Swedish rag-carpets are usually striped; as can also be seen in these pictures.
“Rugs made of cloth would generally stand up to being washed in a tub if they were small enough. Bigger ones could be rinsed through in a creek or stream. In Finland there is a tradition of washing rag rugs in summer in the nearest lake or river. Some Finnish women used to freshen their rugs at the end of winter by spreading them out on snow, sprinkling more on top, then hanging them to dry in sunshine and/or breeze.”