Make no qualms about it, I love my bed.  I have waxed rhapsodic about my bed to almost anyone who would stand still long enough to listen (the list is not long.)  My love of my bed goes beyond the mattress to include my bedding and bedcovering, a beautiful cotton, machine-made, colorful quilt.  There is nothing more I enjoy than snuggling under my quilt on a drizzly grey morning and reading the day away.

Now I understand that all do not share my zealous love of their bed, but I am willing to guess that most people have contemplated what kind of bedding to use.  Bedcovering options include quilts, duvets, and coverlets, and once that decision is made, the world opens up to choices in material: silk, cotton, wool, or synthetic.  The options are enough to boggle the mind even without considering color or pattern!

But what if I told you that there was another option to cover your bed?  Would you be intrigued?  Would you want to know more?  Well, let me tell you about the bed rug.  A rug you say?  But a rug goes on the floor, not on a bed.  That is true now, but in the early 1700s a bed rug was a common covering for a bed.  It was quite heavy and warm, certainly good for those living without central heat.  NYSHA has a very fine example of a bed rug in the collection.  Made out of wool and linen, the rug has a white/cream background and a blue floral motif with a tree-of-life-like pattern in the center.  The letters LT stitched in the top center of the rug are most likely the initials of the woman who brought the bed rug into her marriage.  It is possible that other female family members or friends helped LT in making the bed rug.  With its curved lines and almost symmetrical appearance, the bed rug’s pattern is representative of its era.  This object was most certainly handmade. Because the bed and bedding was the most expensive piece of furniture in a household it is unlikely that a household would have more than one bed rug, even after many years, so perhaps the tree of life is representative of the life and growth of a marriage and family.


While a bed rug might not be an option for a bed today, perhaps this has made you think a little more about what you cover your bed with and why.  Writing this has made me contemplate changing the quilt on my bed.  Until my next post, I’ll be over here thinking about what is more important, schoolbooks or a new quilt?

– C. Wolf