Olde Tyme Arts and Crafts

Historical Craft Kits~Art~Handmade Crafts~Books


Rug Making
      The use of  rugs as floor coverings dates back farther than recorded history.  Animal skins were first used, and later, coarse fabrics of a plain weave.   In colonial homes only the wealthy could afford tapestry rugs.  These were too precious to walk on and were displayed as wall hangings.  Because of the time and money invested in weaving  fabric was reused for making rag rugs and braided rugs.  Rag rugs were made from continuous strips of wool, cotton or linen cloth sewn together.  Gradual improvements in weaving, along with the introduction of traditional designs from immigrants through the years, has developed into modern floor coverings.


     Our tool is designed for cloth knotting to make traditional rag rugs.  The exciting idea about working with fabrics are the beautiful colors and prints.  Most are inexpensive and easily available.  Even recycled or unused fabric items can find a new purpose as creative art projects.

     Knots are made using the rag rug needle to design items in either  oval, round,  rectangle or square shapes.  Just a few suggestions would be bowls, baskets, place mats, pot holders and free-form works of art.  Other usable materials  are rope, rug yarn and raffia. The possibilities for creating your own project ideas are limitless. 


     Included in the kit are directions, 2 bundles of pre-torn fabric strips, a handmade wooden needle, digital illustrations for a no-sew technique to join strips together and digital illustrations for constructing a rug.                  


Coppergate antler needles along with many made from bone.    

Neolithic period of Eastern Europe about 5000 years ago.

Information on the primitive wooden toothbrush:

Click on image to view Vicksburg's National Memorial Park exibit and an article from the Smithsonian Magazine.

Chinatown Dig Deadwood, SD

The site of the property the archaeological dig is occurring on is across the street from the 2001-2004 archaeological investigation that uncovered over 250,000 artifacts from 1876 to the 1950s that helped Deadwood and the state better understand the impacts, significance, and day-to-day life of Chinatown and that area.  Items typically found are chinaware, glassware, metals, and carbon feature items.

A Brief History of the Sewing Needle

By Lily Homer     May, 2018

The needles we use here at SNAD are made of steel, copper, and a thin layer of gold or silver to avoid rust or corrosion. The modern embroidery needle, made of combinations of different metals, however, is just the most recent in a long (and we mean really long) history of needle development.

The oldest needle we know of dates back around 60,000 years ago: a human-constructed, animal (most likely bird) bone needle found in South Africa. Other needles made of bone and ivory have been discovered in Slovenia, Liaoning, China, and Russia, dating back to between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago. The first needle with an eyelet dates to around 25,000 years ago.

Although these artifacts originated in varying climates and cultures, they point to a time when modern humans were evolving away from their evolutionary ancestors. Armenian copper needles, for example, which date to around 7,000 BCE, mark the development of metal harnessing, a major development in human technology. Early sewing needles, on the other hand, were crucial in the survival of the human species, helping early humans construct more fitted clothing made of animal furs and skins to protect themselves from the elements during the most recent ice age.

The use of needles in the arts, which evolved from the more practical need to sew, has a more contested beginning. The earliest known example of embroidery was found in Russia, dating to around 30,000 years ago. However, it is widely accepted that embroidery first developed in South/Central Asia and the Middle East. Text documentation from China during the Warring States Period, around 220 BCE, describes the practice of ‘making decorations with a needle’, or iuhua/zhahu, as an ancient tradition. The earliest existing example of Chinese silk embroidery comes from a tomb in Mashan in Hubei Province, dating to around the 4th century BCE, though physical evidence of embroidery in China dates back centuries.

Nowadays, we can order needles online from companies all over the world, specializing in styles or particular needle content (our steel, copper, silver and gold needles are highly regulated in composition). Our access to the tools that fit our precise needs allows us to focus on our craft, and continue to improve the products we make.