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Free Penny Rug Patterns

Wool circles, blanket stitch, backing…. Yes, we are talking about penny rugs! This page is full of free penny rug patterns that are fun to make and look amazing!

What is a penny rug?

Penny rugs are a kind of folk art originating in the 19th century from frugal necessity.  Coins or circular shapes were used as templates on wool fabric. 

The circles were then cut out and stacked together with a blanket stitch.  The finished circle stacks were finally sewn with a blanket stitch to a backing fabric.

Not all penny rugs were made up of circular shapes.  Some were fabric appliques of animals, flowers, primitive shapes and people. 

Now this old thrifty cottage craft is becoming popular with quilters and other textile crafters.  

History of Penny Rugs

It is believed that early settlers to America brought their penny rug making techniques from where they immigrated from, most likely the European countries.

During the 19th century, women made beautiful decorative mats, wall hangings, pillows and table runners from scraps of wool. 

The scraps could have come from pieces of family clothing, old hats, blankets, mail order samples from the wool mills or even collected from friends.

The earliest penny rugs had burlap as the backing fabric upon which the circular “pennies” were appliqued.  A large piece of wool was rarely used as the backing fabric since it was expensive and was needed to make clothing.

Oftentimes, the penny rugs were backed with feed sacks or old burlap bags.

It is not known if the penny rugs were used as floor rugs, since homes before the 1850’s did not have floor coverings.  Some antique penny rugs made later in the 19th century show much wear, so it is possible these were walked upon.

The history of the penny rug is that these handmade pieces were used to cover tables or placed upon hearths for decoration.  They were also used to lay upon beds for extra warmth as they were made of wool.

Penny Rug Patterns 

Below both old penny rug patterns and newer patterns can be found. They are beautiful and would not be walked upon today!  The penny rugs are used only decoratively now.

An Accuquilt machine can be used to stamp out the woolen circles in a quick and neat manner with the Accuquilt studio circles die.  For more information on Accuquilt tutorials and patterns, see our page on the Accuquilt.

If you do not have an Accuquilt, a very simple penny rug pattern is to use different sized coins or jar lids to trace on coordinating wool for the pennies.

Once the circles are cut out, lay them in stacks upon a piece of coordinated wool backing, moving them around until the pattern is pleasing to the eye.

Although some crafters stitch all of the penny stacks together before stitching them to the backing, the circles lay flatter if each circle is stitched using the blanket stitch one at a time onto the backing.

To wash the penny rug, simply wash in gentle soap and leave to air dry.  Wrinkles can be lightly pressed with an iron.

Scroll down to find articles on the history of penny rugs as well as lovely patterns to make your own.

This is a page that can’t be skipped!


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 Penny Rugs

Penny Rugs #ad

Sewing Wool Applique - Color instructions, materials, and patterns are provided for charming sheep, watermelon, crows, tulips, and hearts. by Janice Sonnen - Paperback - Published 2010

A History of Penny and Sewn Rugs

Here you will find the history of penny rugs with some stunning examples. Penny Rugs and More

Accuquilt Studio Circles - Penny Rug

Accuquilt Studio Circles - Penny Rug #ad

Penny rugs require circle sizes that are concentric. This AccuQuilt die includes four sizes for fast and easy cutting like you've never before experienced. Affiliate Link to Accuquilt

Accuquilt Studio Circles Penny Rug Embroidery Designs

Accuquilt Studio Circles Penny Rug Embroidery Designs #ad

This FREE machine embroidery appliqué download includes 9 designs to be used with the Studio Circles-Penny Rug-1 1/2", 1 3/4", 2 1/4", 2 1/2" die (50090). The appliqué includes three stitches: blanket, motif and satin stitch. Affiliate Link to Accuquilt

Acorn Penny Table Runner Pattern

Acorn Penny Table Runner Pattern #ad

This warm and cozy wool runner is the perfect Autumn accent. This is a free pattern for Accuquilt Members. Affiliate Link to Accuquilt

Bird and Holly Penny Rug PDF

This free bird and holly penny rug guide sheet list supplies needed along with instructions and free pattern. Embroiderer's Guild of America

Black Licorice Penny Rug

Here is an idea for a penny rug with shades of black and grey along with information on putting it together. Three Sheep Studio

Blanket Stitch

Blanket Stitch

Learn how to do the blanket stitch with this blanket stitch tutorial. It's used as an edging to attach applique designs, finish felt toys and ornaments, decorate crazy quilts and more. Needlepointers.com

Blanket Stitch - How to End the Blanket Stitch (Video)

Blanket Stitch - How to End the Blanket Stitch (Video)

This tutorial is on how-to end the blanket stitch. The tutorial shows how to end the blanket stitch if you have two layers of fabric and if you have one layer of fabric. Needlepointers.com

Blanket Stitch - Short and Long Blanket Stitch (Video)

Blanket Stitch - Short and Long Blanket Stitch (Video)

Learn how to stitch the short and long blanket stitch which is a variation of the basic blanket stitch. This decorative stitch can be used in crazy quilts and appliqué in addition as a hemstitch on projects. Needlepointers.com

Christmas Tree Penny Rug Pattern PDF

A free pattern for a unique gift idea. Patch Pieces

Christmas Wool Applique Penny Rug

This post shows you how to stitch a wool appliqué penny rug for use with a candle or a mat for a favorite Christmas item to display on a table. From My Carolina Home

Circular line on Wool Pennies

If you have trouble blanket stitching evenly around wool pennies, here is an article explaining how to draw a circular line on your wool penny and then stitch to it. Lisa Bongean's Web Blog

Cutting Pennies

This post explains two methods on how to cut out pennies for a penny rug. Penny Rugs and More

Cutting Wool Pennies

Three Sheep Studio shows their simple way to cut wool pennies. Three Sheep Studio

Doll Penny Rug

With wool scraps and this tutorial make a tiny penny rug for a doll. Ann Wood Handmade

Felt Penny Pins

Though The Pea Pod doesn't explain how to make pennies into pins. It is really self-explanatory and would be easy to do. Take a look and see some penny pin examples. The Pea Pod Designs

Free Snow Flurries Penny Rug Pattern

With some nice thick wool, some iridescent beads, and some snowflake buttons you can stitch your own penny rug using these instructions. Cat Haven Crafts

History of Penny Rugs

What is a penny rug? What is the history of penny rugs? Answer these questions and learn more about penny rugs at this website. Home School In The Woods

Joining Back Stacks

Here are two short YouTube videos on how to join back stacks. Penny Rugs and More

May Flowers Pincushion PDF

Stitch a pretty pincushion with penny rug circles, buttons and a few embroidery supplies. Embroiderer's Guild of America

Mini Pumpkin Penny Rug

With this free pattern, a little wool and thread you can create a mini pumpkin penny rug this fall. All People Quilt

No-Pennies Penny Rug

Patchwork Posse calls this a penny rug, even though technically there aren’t any pennies surrounding the circle. Learn how to make this penny rug. Patchwok Posse

Penny Rug

History of the penny rug. Wikipedia

Penny Rug Bookmark Tutorial

This free photo and instructional tutorial shows how to make a bookmark with a wool penny stack. Penny Rugs and More

Penny Rug Instructions

This guide gives you instructions for the basic steps to sew penny circles to create a penny rug. Our Pastimes

Penny Rug Posy Table Runner

Create a wool felt table runner in the penny rug style using this free, quilted table topper pattern. Free Patterns

Penny Rug Table Topper Pattern

Penny Rug Table Topper Pattern #ad

Liven up any table with the Accuquilt GO! Circles Penny Rug Table Topper! The pattern is free for Accuquilt members. Affiliate Link to Accuquilt

Penny Rug Tutorial

This is a video tutorial on how to make a penny rug. By Farmhouse at Meadowhill on YouTube

Penny Rug Video Tutorial - Part 1

This video by Penny Rugs and More shows some tips on constructing a penny rug. By Penny Rugs and More on YouTube

Penny Rug Video Tutorial - Part 2

This video explains about the needle to use and thread and shows how to stitch pennies onto a wool circle. By Penny Rugs and More on YouTube

Penny Rug Video Tutorial - Part 3

This video shows all the pennies sewn onto the circle and then how to end your thread. By Penny Rugs and More on YouTube

Penny Rug Video Tutorial - Part 4

This video is on how to finish the penny rug by sewing all the pennies together. By Penny Rugs and More on YouTube

Stitch a Penny Stack

This tutorial shows start to finish how to stitch a 3 stack with a backing. Penny Rugs and More

Wool Pennies with Attitude

Here is a sample of colorful wool pennies with the lovely addition of french knots. The Sheep Studio

Wool Penny Coasters

Take the traditional wool penny design, pick three colors of wool felt, and in hours you can make a set of coasters that are both lovely and functional with these instructions. Wee Folk Art

Wool Penny Rug Idea

Here is a penny rug idea with information on how it was made. Ashton Publication





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