Need a rug? Recycle T-shirts at historical society

Wilton Historical Society is offering a new twist on historic crafts and recycling by offering a program on converting T-shirts into a rag rug by using a hula hoop.

Participants ages 8 and up may bring their old shirts and a hula hoop to the historical society at 224 Danbury Road on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10:30. The program runs until noon.

Eight to 10 shirts are enough to make a rug. The historical society will have some extra shirts on hand and hula hoops will be available for purchase for $10. Hula hoops will not be damaged by this project.

Registration is requested since space is limited. The cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members. To register, email  or call 203-762-7257.

Rag rugs were commonly used in past years, but few really old rugs survive since they were not considered an art. Descriptions from North America in the first part of the 19th century show that in many areas rags were collected, cut, sewn together, and wound into balls at home, and then sent away for weaving by professionals who charged by the yard.

According to the historical society, rag rugs really took off in the 19th century with machine production of cloth. Spinning and weaving were no longer hand crafts, but industrial processes, and fabric was produced in much greater quantity than before. The use of wood pulp instead of cotton rags for papermaking also helped make more used clothing available for rug-making.