Monday, 23 July 2018

The completed mini Taatit Rug

A Taatit Rug is a Shetland Pile Bedcover. These were made between (approximately)  the 18th and 20th centuries. 

Those of you that follow this blog will know that last year at Wool Week (2017) I chose to attend  a talk by Carol Christianson (Taat Chat at Da Bod) about the history of Taatit Rugs in Shetland. I also attended a class on making a mini Taatit Rug by Kathy Coull. The post about these is 2Jan18. 

During the year and intermittently I have made progress on the sample, but the breakthrough to its progress came when I decided to take out quite a bit of what I had done. Our lounge has one of my favourite Shetland photos (Norwick Beach, Unst) that we have had made into a canvas and I realised that if I changed what I had sewn into the rug I could:

   Use some of my hand dyed and hand spun yarn

   Coordinate it to the room

   Turn it into a wall hanging so that I could enjoy it rather than it being in my completed project  boxes, notice the ‘s’ ! 

Like most projects that linger rather there was a motivating factor. I have signed up for the Advanced Taatit Rug workshop for this year and felt I needed to finish my first project. I have also got a little list of ‘things I wish I knew more about’ ready for this year’s workshop. 

Once I got going on what was now ‘my  mini Taatit Rug’ and not just the workshop sample I found it addictive. It is great to see how the colours interact and how too much of one can swamp the effect. 

So this is it - my contemporary Taatit Rug - along with the stimulus picture. 

This is the pile side and would be the side nearest to the occupant of the bed. 

The reverse side is just as much my favourite and in fact would be the side that was on show on the bed. 

However, the houses these were used in were often small and from the number of windows quite dark too and I don’t expect many people got a tour of the sleeping area. 

After my next class I hope to be able to weave my own backing ground  too. 

This lovely Taatit Rug was made for a couples wedding (traditionally each side of the family made half the rug). The couple, along with 7 children  and the Taatit Rug emigrated to New Zealand in 1874. 

The rug was donated to the Museum in 2014 by the couple’s great granddaughter. It is a beautiful  item to see and to read the story of it. (apologies for the reflection in the picture). If you get to the Museum in Lerwick it is well worth looking for this. 


  1. If you want to buy one book about Taatit Rugs I highly recommend Taatit Rugs by Carol Christiansen. 
  2. There is a wonderful little museum guide ‘ Guide to Shetland Museum Textile Collection’ £5 (when I bought it). 36 pages of joy and temptation. The booklet has a double page spread, including pictures, about Taatit Rugs. 
  3. The Bod is a restored fishing station is at Gremista, on the outskirts of Lerwick. It houses a wonderful collection of textiles and usually has volunteers demonstrating (mainly spinning and knitting) as well as hosting special exhibitions and having a shop of tempting locally made textile items . It is a must to visit in textile terms. Do check their website for opening times and allow yourself plenty of time for the visit. The volunteers are very knowledgeable and time can ‘just fly by’.