Entertaining Programs on The Art of Shirret Herstory Rug making by Lexa McCrady, MFA, CAA.

Third Generation and Leading Authority on ShiRRéT™ in the US.

Program includes slide lectures, narratives, audience beginner experiments and lessons, color theory, ShiRRéT™ technique.

shirret quilt of cotton skirts

Louise McCrady      shirret sunflower hat flower 

Louise McCrady, Shirret Originator + Juliet and Lovis, 4th generation

Lexa McCrady - Lectures and Programs on The Art of ShiRRéT™

Exhibiting Contemporary Artist, US and International
Recent Adjunct Professor, Textile and Digital Design
Department of Art and Art History, Eastern Connecticut State University
Former Visiting Assistant Professor, Painting, Long Island University Southampton

MFA Hunter College CUNY. Painting, Contemporary Art Theory 1990
Post Bac: Southern Connecticut State University, Economics, Accounting, Sculpture
BFA Syracuse University School Visual Performing Arts, Painting, Illustration
Sir John Cass School of Art, London UK, Sculpture
Hartford Art School, HS scholarship

Eileen Fisher Community Foundation, Irvington NY Green Eileen workshops 2013
Skyllkill Embroiderers Guild, Hyde Park NY Lecture and workshop day 2013
Essex County Needlecraft Guild, Massachusetts. Lecture and workshop day 2013
Brookfield Craft Center, Brookfield CT workshops 2012
Guilford Art Center, workshops Watercolor, Collage, Painting 1997- present
Creative Arts Workshop New Haven CT Watercolor, Collage, Painting 2018-present

Selected Awards and Residencies
Virginia Center Creative Arts Residency grant 2015
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council - Creative Capital ASI 2013
Connecticut Commission on the Arts individual artist grant, Installation 2010
Connecticut Commission on the Arts individual artist grant, Painting 2002
New England Foundation for the Arts individual artist grant, Painting 1994
Guild Hall Museum Easthampton LI NY First Purchase Prize by Larry Rivers 1987
National Endowment for the Arts- New York University Digital Art, Martin Nizenholtz 1981, 1982

Selected Exhibition
Battersea Art Fair London, Lopez Grey Gallery UK 2015
Whitney Biennial 2012 Michael Clark UK Dance Co residency, performer 2012
Springfield Museum of Art, Ohio
Bradley International Airport terminal 2009
Parrish Museum Southampton LI NY 1990
Cre-Ange Dance Company Paris 1986
17th Annual Biennial fo Sao Paulo Brazil



shirret girliecework



©LouiseMcCrady Shirret Sunflower brooch

The falling polar ice cliffs-
Bizarre weather patterns -
Loss of habitat and species -

Acid oceans -

this is the
sad and
real meaning of
global warming

The quest for oil causes
power struggles and wars.

Please, VOTE for clean energy
wind, water, solar.
Clean Energy produces jobs.

S a v e    r e s o u r c e s
P r a c t i c e  t h r i f t .
Hang the laundry out to dry.  
Take the bus to town.
Ride your bike.
Make ShiRRéT™

Beautify. Don't destroy.

\shirret flower







Lexa Lady McCrady, MFA CAA
Author Lecturer Artist
The Art of ShiRRéT™
Programs for large groups
and needlework guilds






Email me
Landline (203) 245-7935
Daily 9-5 only
East Coast NYC Time, US
Madison, Connecticut US,
on Long Island Sound.

I lecture on the art,
history, and inspiration
of Shirret.

I inherited a collection
of 60 well-preserved
shirret rugs, which
I loan for exhibitions.
Seven are 100 years old.
They show the origins
and development of
shirret rug making.


































To Shirret is to be actively
thoughtful of the environment.

Shirret creates warmth, kindness
and beauty.

Introductory text from the back cover of Louise McCrady's
Instruction and Pattern book
The Art Of Shirret:
by Michelle Murphy
Shirret is a unique hobby: It costs next to nothing, yet produces gorgeous heirloom items that will endure for generations.
The secret? the fabric strips used in the rugs, chair pads, mats and other items are recycled––
cut up from outgrown clothes or tired drapes and slipcovers.
What a wonderful way to give new life to faded material, while hanging on to a piece of your family's heritage!

Imagine a colorful nursery rug made from the girlhood dresses of a mother-to-be.
Think of a front-hall piece made from the now-out-of-place textiles of a previous home.
What about an oval Shirret for in front of the hearth, created from the wool plaid and mohair finery of another era?
The possibilities are endless!

Shirret is amazingly easy, with just a few simple steps.
There is no sewing involved, no canvas to fill in.
And it's somewhat mysterious: the cord of double-crocheted stitches that links the fabric strips
is hidden, so no one will ever be able to figure out how you made these beautiful rugs!

Read through this book, go through those closets, and pick up your Shirret needles and cord.
That's all you need to begin creating soft and thick rugs that will last a lifetime . . . and beyond !

Introductory text from the large Shirret Color Poster:

Shirret (shir-ray') combines shirring and crochet for a new word and a new look in American needlecrafts.
Shirret is the lively art of recycling "rags into riches". Clean out your closets!
Cut up your old clothes, faded curtains and slipcovers, braiding, hooking, sewing and quilting leftovers,
and make shirred rugs. You can turn out-of-fashion into the latest style with SHIRRET.

SHIRRET is a simple crochet technique with a special hook that I manufacture that adds fabric folds easily.

The step-by-step illustrated book and the basic equipment are permanent and inexpensive.
SHIRRET is luxurious and feels extravagent,
yet it's made of recycled fabrics that cost nothing and preserve resources.

Old style plaids and prints and colors, seen on the edge, are disguised in new patterns!

A Word for It
  ––Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.
"It developed out of the philosophy of 'Waste not, want not', explains Louise McCrady who combined the practical
old American craft of shirring and a more creative technique that involves crocheting.
As a result, she and her followers have been recycling their outgrown clothing, old jeans, faded draperies,
old tablecloths and sewing scraps by Shirreting them into colorful rugs, chair pads, cushions and wallhangings.

Strips of fabric 3/4" wide are threaded on a special needle to form shirred folds.
Each fold is then slipped off and attached with a crochet stitch of cord. The finished piece
is surprisingly velvety, lush - with a 3/4" pile - reversible, and filled with unexpectedly splashy patterns.
"For instance, striped fabric gives a multi-colored kaliedoscopic effect, polka dot comes out tweedy, and plaids, SWIRLY."

From a folk art rugmaking technique she learned from her mother as a girl, Louise McCrady of Connecticut
has been creating a needlework movement for 30 years. She coined a word to describe it –– SHIRRET !

Shirret is a simple technique with three easy steps.
1. Cut fabric into strips. Strips are not sewn together so tiny scraps of old or new fabric can be used.
2. Baste strips onto the special needle lengthwise through the center to form shirred folds.
3. Hold the unusual crochet hook between midddle and ring fingers. Make a crochet stitch, then pull a fold off
the needle. Crochet stitches make a strong net that is hidden inside the fabric folds.
Shirret has last-forever strength on the inside, and luxurious softness on the outside - & it's completely reversible!

Shirret will never be another unfinished project in the closet. Why? At the end of every round or row, it looks finished
and you can use your Shirret until the next time you add to it. There's no canvas to fill in.
Use it as a hot mat, then add rows for a chair pad, then make it into a bedside rug.

contact infoATshirret.com

ShiRRéT™ Shirret Llc, Shirret America are all properties of Lexa Lady McCrady  info@shirret.com  PO Box 1338  Madison CT 06443  USA
© Lexa Lady McCrady 1997-2020