We're just a bit old fashioned here at Rafter-four Designs. We're a family owned business with a commitment to preserving the traditions of rug making - and to serving our customers. We have been in the rug business since 1984, and on the internet since 1996, making our "Rugmaker's Homestead" site the oldest rug making site on the web.
Our mission here at Rafter-four Designs is to preserve the old traditional ways of making rag rugs by hand. We believe the best way to do that is to teach people about these rugs and how they were made so that they can continue these traditions. For many of the rugs, Rafter-four Designs is the only source for instructions on how to make them since many have never before appeared in print.
We are also working to document all of the traditional types of rugs and create a resource for any one who wants to learn about them. There are literally hundreds of types of rugs which were made in the past and most of them have fallen by the wayside. It is our goal to create and preserve a record of these rugs before they pass out of living memory.
All of our publications are authored by our Master Rugmaker, Diana Blake Gray, who was named one of America's top 150 traditional craft artists in 1985 for her work in resurrecting and preserving lost techniques of making rag rugs. Her ability to bring modern design to these folk arts is why her rugs have been exhibited in galleries and museums all over America and sold all over the world.
But more than that is her philosophy that the only way to preserve a folk art is to teach it to others. Mrs. Gray wrote her first instruction book for making traditional rugs in 1984, drawing on her years of rug making research and experience. By that date she had already made hundreds of rugs using dozens of lost methods. Her instructions are noted for their clarity. One reader wrote that reading her books is like having your great-aunt sitting at your elbow explaining each step. (All of the rugs you'll see pictured in our on our web pages were made by Mrs. Gray unless otherwise noted.)
Our object at Rafter-four Designs is to preserve these folk methods for making rugs, but beyond preservation, you will find that these rugs are intriguing and fun to make with only the simplest of tools and materials. People around the world have used our resources to reestablish family traditions, to build a rug making business, to expand their horizons as textile artists, and to make wonderful rugs to warm their own homes.
One of the things that makes Rafter-four Designs, and the "Rugmaker's Homestead" pages so unique is that (to use a modern expression), we offer free "tech support" for rug makers at all skill levels. It is part of our mission to help people understand the wealth of traditional folk art that rag rugs represent. We can't post all there is, and there are dozens of methods still waiting to be documented, so if you have a question about rug making, any of our books, an old rug in your family, a rug making tool you're trying to find, or a particular rug method you'd like to learn, all you have to do is ask.
What we won't do…
What we will do…
We will respond to you. Whenever you email Rafter-four Designs, you'll get an answer. If you have a question about rug making, you'll get an answer, usually within 24 hours. (Because occasional glitches happen with any mail server, if by chance you don't hear back from us, please resend your message, and make sure that you have not blocked our response.)
We'll fill your order promptly. Most orders are shipped within 2 business days. If you used our online catalog, you'll receive a Paypal email with your tracking number. Occasionally we run out of an item and have to back order. If that happens, we'll ship the rest of your order anyway. Then when the item comes in we'll ship it separately. Anytime you have a question about your order, you can email us. If you are ordering by regular mail, you'll receive the same prompt service, but remember that it can sometimes take 2 weeks for first class mail to reach us from the east coast of the US. (For some reason, it doesn't take as long going the other way.)
We'll give your order personal attention. If you have a special request or want a gift shipped to someone, just let us know. We can enclose a simple message like "Happy Birthday" or if you send along a card with your order, we'll put it in the shipment.
We'll answer your questions. If you have a question about any book or tool you've purchased from us, we'll answer it. Our books are written in plain language to make it easy for beginners, but occasionally a question will pop up. So if you do have a question, email us and ask! Think of it as having your own personal rag rug tech support. And your questions help us improve future editions.
There are some questions we can't answer. Too often someone sees some poor directions on the internet or in some craft publication and thinks we can fix that. Well, we can't. With the advent of social media, there seem to be a fair lot of one-rug-wonders, and we just aren't responsible for someone else's incomplete/incomprehesible/inaccurate directions.
On the etsy version of the Rugmakers Homestead: All of our current rug books plus Pre-folded cotton fabric strip, hot pad kits and PDF files of out of print books for instant download in a mobile-friendly environment. Just click on the Rugmakers Homestead link below or any of the photos shown.