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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 continuous rug making site on the web.
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. (All of the rugs you'll see pictured in our catalog and on our web pages were made by our master rugmaker, Diana Blake 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'll fill your order promptly. Most orders are shipped within 2 business days. 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.
How do we keep our
Another thing that we do which makes a big difference is that we avoid products with fancy packaging. Most people don't realize that those bubble packs you see in stores often cost more than the product inside. With our products, you're not paying the price for fancy packaging, you're paying just for the product. After all, it is the tool, not the bubble pack that you need to make rugs.
But one of the biggest reasons we work to keep our prices low,
we really want people to try rug making and learn these traditional
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