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Rug, Catalogne

Curated Submission
Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada
1870 – 1920
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
434 x 82
Materials & techniques
Cotton; Plain-woven
Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman
Textile Museum of Canada T91.0120
Originally designed as bed coverings made from two joined lengths, by the mid-19th century catalogne weavings came to be used as floor coverings in rural parts of Quebec. In Ontario, they did not come into use until a sufficient quantity of rags could be spared for such decorative purposes. They were woven with a cotton warp, and lengths of cotton or wool remnants cut into thin strips were often stitched together end-to-end. Author and naturalist Catharine Parr Traill (1802–1899) describes how thrifty households could recycle used cloth by winding strips onto balls “as big as a baby’s head” to be used to weave rugs, either on looms at home or by the local weaver.

A pound and a half of rags will make one yard of carpet… Bits of bright red flannel, of blue, green, or pink mousselin-de-laine, or stuffs of any bright colour: old shawls and handkerchiefs, and green baize will give you a good long enduring fabric, that will last for eight to ten years. Narrow widths could be used for stair carpeting; sewn together in strips, they could carpet a room wall to wall.

The fluidity of the colours and pattern improvisations in these rugs evoke the subtle and harmonious shades of the Canadian landscape.
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