Shag versus Socks

Here we have a black & white sock rug and a shag rug.

Here we have a black & white sock rug and a shag rug.

Shag rugs are as they sound: shaggy. They are soft and fuzzy, easily hiding the warp you use. They can also be dust traps – which may or may not be what you want. The variety of colors in a single shag rug can also hide any stains that may befall upon the rug. Do you have kids? Dogs? farm boots stomping around the house? Then shags my be a good match.

Sometimes, a rug comes real close to having a pattern.

Sometimes, a rug comes real close to having a pattern.

Additionally, they can be thick, giving padding and some relief to tired feet. Personally, I have several in my kitchen, which has a hard wood floor. I put them in strategic places where I will be standing while cooking, baking, or prepping the harvest for canning or freezing. I find it makes a difference.

Shag rugs are made out of the selvage edges of Pendelton blankets. This selvage is landfilled if it is not sold to folks who can use it for art projects. The shag arrives in large boxes which contain several large plastic bags filled with loose, and sometimes tangled, shag. We’re never sure what we will get, but it is usually a fun mix. the loose shag has to be rolled into balls in preparation for weaving.

Simply blues and blacks.

Simply blues and blacks.

Sock rugs are a personal favorite, as my sister and I helped to make several when we were kids. They are as they sound: a rug made from socks. The socks are cut straight across, making loops. The toe and heel, and any areas that have significant wear or holes, are discarded. The loops are then looped together making a long chain of sock loops, ready for weaving. A brand new sock rug will have little bumps where each loop is connected to another. For some, these little bumps are not desirable. But with time, sock rugs do loose their texture, the little bumps flattening out. I have one in my bathroom that is somewhere between 15-20 years old.

Currently, most of my sock rugs were made up out of a 55-gallon drum of socks my mom from Cabin Textiles gave me. Yes, I do come from a line of crazy. There were some additional bags of socks, both here and from my mom.


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