When the Finns immigrated to northern Michigan, they of course brought their crafts and culture with them. A craft that was an important part of their life, was weaving rag rugs. Most homes had a large floor loom or access to one where they could weave rugs using old clothes or used fabric torn into strips. Traditional Finnish rag rugs were often useful, beautiful and strong. They were utilitarian, functioning not as decorative wall hangings but as everyday floor coverings that were placed on thresholds or in living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms to protect or warm the floors of the house.
Finnish American weavers paid careful attention to the design, experimenting with patterns and colors. Generally, the rugs were very strong. Depending on their technique (how forceful they banged the beater and the type of fabric used) weavers could produce rugs that lasted for years, even decades.
The loom, recently installed in the back porch of the Bottle House Museum, was recently donated by Cindy Asiala. She has woven many rugs over the years for her home and extended family. She has also sold rugs at the Kaleva Art Gallery.
The loom originally belonged to the Tuisku family of Kaleva.