Photo by Lisa Munniksma/ Courtesy Two Brothers Nursery
I have never made a rag rug, but being the adventurous crafter that my Aunt Suzanne is, she has ventured down this road with me by her side as witness. Unfortunately, I’m guessing she’d like to wipe my memory of this experience.
Having found a method and pattern that was handed down from friend to sister to her, my aunt forged ahead on her rag-rug journey. On this particular adventure, she used a crochet technique where each loop was pulled through with a crochet needle, linking one loop to the next. Many stitches were pulled out and rehooked before she reached the end of her first, not-so-perfectly shaped rug. (Shh … you didn’t hear that from me!) Don’t get me wrong; it didn’t look bad—just not the picture-perfect rug my aunt anticipated. Subsequent tries led to better outcomes, but the effort required was not something she wanted to endure again, so she eventually retired from the hobby altogether.
When it came time to edit the article on braided rag rugs, I was pleasantly surprised to find the method Lisa Kivirist discusses is easier, faster and, if you ask me, prettier (not a word to my aunt!) than the rugs that were created using the complex, tedious and strenuous crochet procedure. I was so psyched about the article, I called my aunt right away to tell her about it and even got her feedback on a few of the steps. The result: She can’t wait to try this one!
If you can braid hair (and maybe even if you can’t … yet), you can pull off this simple, traditional accent for your home. Speaking of accents for the home, nothing says country like a quilt. I have a quilt my grandmother made when I was a child that is stashed safely away in a dresser drawer, but even if you don’t have a lovely hand-me-down or family heirloom, Jean Fogle has the information you need. Get her tips for collecting as well as caring for these coveted bed coverings in “Farm Fetishes.”
This issue abounds with ideas, projects and recipes that resonate with the same theme: You can do it. From learning the basics of canning to running a canned-goods business, there’s plenty to keep your larder (and the pantries of friends) filled with homemade goodness pulled straight from the ground and preserved for year-round eating. Still feeling a little squeamish about cooking, preserving and eating your own jars of food? Check out Nancy Mann Jackson’s canning safety tips and recipes. Once you’ve built your confidence in the kitchen, read the story behind three booming canned-foods businesses.
Kick your culinary skills up a notch with squash in “The Gourd Gourmet,” get your hands dirty by digging into raising potatoes, give your farmhouse a much-needed energy face-lift, or build a scarecrow following Rex Gogerty’s steps. No matter what you try, show off your can-do attitude—it could score you a new skill to use around the farm or even win you a prize!