Wednesday 24 September 2014

Rug Wool Gauge

Friends came to stay last weekend and brought me a knitting-related gift - a Patons Turkey Rug Wool Gauge.   It's a piece of wood, 8½ inches (21.5 cm) long.

The instructions are printed on it: "Wrap wool with even tension round gauge and cut along groove"- the groove is on the under side.

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The gauge was intended to be used when cutting thick rug wool into short pieces for making a hooked rug - the pieces are 2¾ inches long, or just over 7 cm.  (I've tried it.)  Rug making was evidently popular in the 1930s - there is a Patons & Baldwins catalogue from 1935 in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection that has several pages on making rugs.  

From Patons & Baldwins catalogue, 1935.
The woman seems to be working with large skeins of wool, so she must be cutting off short lengths of wool before hooking them into the canvas.  Presumably she is using a wool gauge, though it's not shown in the sketch.

The KCG collection also has several booklets of rug designs, from the Patons archive.  The earliest, I think, is a Rugcraft booklet. There seem to have been several editions of Rugcraft; this one is later than the one illustrated in the 1935 catalogue, but still shows vaguely Art Deco designs, so possibly dates from the late 1940s.  

My mother used to make rugs, up to the 1970s.  (My mother-in-law too.)  But I don't remember my mother having a rug wool gauge -  she bought Readicut kits, with a printed canvas, and bundles of  wool already cut to the right length.  So no need for a gauge.  


  1. I adore the patterns on the cover of Rugcraft. so vintage

    1. Almost makes you think you'd like to make one... Until you think about how long it would take.

  2. My mum made me a tiger rug - sadly I don't what happened to it. Thanks for the post it reminded me.

    1. I discovered that you can still buy Readicut kits. Don't know if there's a tiger rug though.


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