Collections Carousel – Marian (Frisk) Karhula’s Braided Rug, Circa 1945

Marian (Frisk) Karhula’s Braided Rug. Circa 1945

Women’s cotton stockings, in colors ranging from white, cream, tan and brown to dark grey and black, were the materials used to make this 30″ diameter flat braided rug. Donated to the Morrison County Historical Society in 2010 by Marian (Frisk) Karhula, the rug represents a centuries old handcraft that can be found in various cultures across the world. Braiding is a simple, versatile technique that is well suited for rug making and is especially adaptable to rugs such as this one, which are made from used or worn clothing or other textiles. The technique involves cutting strips of material that are folded and woven into braids. These are then tightly wound into a flat, usually oval, rug. The braids are held in place through hand stitching, as is the case with Marian’s rug, or by looping a string through folded strips on opposite sides of the braids. Practical, durable and decorative, the making of braided rugs has typically been handed down from mothers and grandmothers to their daughters and grandchildren.

Marian (Frisk) Karhula may have made this rug as a young newly wed for use in her new home. Marian and her husband, Eli, were married on June 18, 1936, in Little Falls, Minnesota. Rag rugs or rugs made from worn textiles were popular during the 1930s. Marian was born on January 28, 1916, to Carl and Selma Frisk. Marian grew up in Randall, Minnesota, and moved to Little Falls with her parents in 1935, one year before marrying Eli. Eli was born in Parkertown township in Morrison County, Minnesota, on August 3, 1909, to Matti and Anna Karhula. Eli helped his father on the family farm until 1935, when he became the sole owner and began farming on his own. Eli and Marian did not have any children. Eli’s father lived with them until one year before his death in 1964.

Marian (Frisk) Karhula’s Braided Rug (detail), Circa 1945

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