Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rug Hooking

Awhile back I stumbled upon some beautiful rugs on the internet - lovely primitive ones that were hand made by hooking thin strips of wool through burlap. I was facinated. This was a craft born out the need to make do and keep ones family warm and ward off cold stone floors. Many of the rich folk had beautiful carpets in their homes  but the poorer ones could only resort to sacks and such to keep their floors warm. Then some enterprising and crafty soul discovered that by hooking fabric through burlap - old clothing could be recycled into rugs. They used old sacks and drew out their own patterns and designs with coal from the fireplace- and an art was born..For a hook - an old nail bent and with a handle attached became a hook for hooking these rugs.

Since then a whole world of hooked rugs have been created from the simple to the ones that resemble fine paintings. Rug makers have resorted to dyeing wool to get just the right shade and using special frames and hooks to create their art.Life and loves and home and family became inspiration for the designs on these rugs.. some featured the family pet while others the old home stead or an event in life. These rugs told stories and put memories into form. They became history.

I started making rugs with the help of some online friends from a Yahoo group RugHookers.. I was talked through the art of hooking given advice and told what to do. My next door neighbour happily game me her cast off clothing which I cut into strips with my mat and rotary cutter. I used what I had and drew a simple cat pattern as my first rug. I struggled to find the right tools here in New Zealand and it almost moved me to tears when one day a huge box arrived from the USA with a rug hooking frame, hooks, burlap and enough wool to get me going. The generosity has not stopped with gifts of old magazines, photographs taken at rug fairs and even wool fabric. These were people who loved their craft and dearly wanted to make sure it continue and spread. I even hook with tools from a deceased member of the group who wanted to make sure her tools and hooks went to a new hooker. She would have been surprised to find it made its way to me all the way in New Zealand.

I love the craft and each memory has potential to become a handmade rug.. from the birth of puppies to the  antics of of our pet pig. I need to be frugal as that is what both Greg and I strive for - so I reuse rice bags and horse feed sacks. I hunt old woolen skirts and clothing in charity shops and stalk Greg's closets. I also draw my own patterns..

and each evening I hook just a little more of my rug...I hook  a warm rug for our floors to be enjoyed by cold toes and cold paws. I hook our life and our dreams..I hook our history.

1 comment:

  1. I'm inspired by your ability to learn this craft from an online group!


Our friends- please share with us your thoughts and words too. We welcome hearing from you and your unique insights.With love ..Greg and Tammy