- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Angie Millie from South Bend credits a friend with renewing her interest in rag-rug making.

Her passion reflects her interest in recycling, as well as her growing desire to be creative and make something special.

“My mother taught me how to sew, embroider and crochet when I was a little girl,” Millie told the South Bend Tribune (https://bit.ly/19pnfey ).

Millie buys remnants of fabric, washes them, cuts them into strips and rolls them in balls. She checks the bargain bins at local fabric shops and always finds something to use in her creative pursuit.

“You crochet with fabric the same way you crochet with yarn,” she said. “The difference is, it’s material you are using to crochet with. As long as you already know how to do single crochet stitches, the main knowledge you need for rag crochet is in knowing how to prepare the fabric strips to crochet with.”



Rug-making also provides time to remember her mother, Millie says.

As for the friend who needed a new rug for her remodeled kitchen, Millie remembers saying, “I can do that,” and she went to work. “Once I started, there was no turning back.”

In addition to making rugs for family and friends, Millie also sells them.

Mary Haas, of Mishawaka, is a fan of Millie’s work.

“I have six of her rugs in my house,” Haas said. “Angie is a very creative person who, when she puts her mind to something, does it wholeheartedly. What I like about her rugs are they are different and none are alike.”

Valparaiso resident Jo Ann Cauffman said she bought one of the first rag rugs Millie made.

“My rug is huge — about 45 inches — and it’s in my kitchen. What I love about Angie’s work is it reminds me of a time back in the 1950s when I used to roll the rags for my grandmother who made rag rugs. It brings back great memories seeing her finished product.”

Millie, Cauffman noted, “will make them whatever color, size you want, and each rug is one of a kind.”

Today, rag rugs are fashionable decor items as an eco-friendly use of cast-off clothing and fabric leftovers. But in earlier times, they were one way that cash-strapped families could create floor coverings to provide warmth on chilly days.

“I’ve made over 100 rugs so far, and it’s amazing what you can do with just rags,” Millie said.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com

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