Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For Hookers Only

I was first introduced to 'hooking' as a very young boy. You see, my grandmother lived with us for most of my childhood and she was a 'hooker'.

I better set things straight.......my grandmother hooked rugs! Of course you all knew I was just playin' with ya!

Nana learned to 'hook' when she had to do so, to make money for her young family of four kids (my Mom included). She continued this craft up into her seventies.

Her 'rugs' were made from any material she could find.....cotton, polyester, wool. She would cut it into long strips of varying lengths, get out her frame and attach a burlap base, then draw her design by hand  onto the burlap.......and away she'd go!

She would use a hooked instrument that fit into the palm of your hand. She would hold it on top with one hand and with the other hand she would hold the strip of material. Then she would pull the material up through the burlap to a certain height and then as quick as she pulled the material up, she would poke the hook back through the cloth and pick up another loop.

Confused? Just picture a bunch of little 'loops' all over the top of the burlap in the shape something. She would go like the blazes!

It would take her a couple of days to complete a 36 inch by 24 inch rug. Whatever happened to them I have no clue, well at least the ones I remember her making at home. She must have made/produced hundreds over the years.

So, the rugs you see in this post are ones that either came from Ron's Mom's house or are ones that we used to use and 'put away' about ten years ago.

All of these rugs were made in Nova Scotia and most we bought 'at source'. A few were purchased on the South Shore and a few in the Annapolis Valley. 

Most are in pretty good shape but there are a couple that are pretty rough....either worn out naturally or by the claws of our 'late' kitty, Rita (who lived to be 17 years).

So I dug them out of the basement today to see what we had and to take some photos to have them 'recorded'.

I wish I knew the individual designs of each rug. I don't though. But I can say that they are very typical of some of the rugs that were made a few decades ago in Nova Scotia. 

Before closing this post I want to introduce you to someone we discovered last year in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Her name is Deanne Fitzgerald and she has a studio in that small town near the border of New Brunswick. She's been 'hooking' since the 90's and makes rugs that you would not believe! They are beautiful and have taken the 'hooking' craft/skill/art to a whole other dimension. Enjoy here.....check her web site out.


  1. Are these rugs considered "folk art"? If not, they should be! You've got a beautiful collection.

  2. These are fabulous! I love the saturated colors and geometric patterns. The second one from the top is my absolute fav -- if I'd come across that one anywhere, I'd have bought it in a second!

  3. Those are beautiful. So creative and individual. You are lucky to have so many.

  4. Hi Jim, awesome rugs! My grandma used to make rag rugs on a loom and I can remember sitting and cutting rags for hours. It was worth it though, cause she'd reward us with warm homemade chocolate chip muffins (and nobody could make them quite like Gram). How wonderful that your grandmother lived with you when you were young!!

  5. Wow, I have never seen rugs made like that before (or if I did, I didn't know it). I think of rug hooking as that craft that came back in the 1970s with pieces of yarn a couple inches long that you pulled through a mesh. These are just gorgeous. It's wonderful that you've preserved them.

  6. You "hooked" me with your Title. How very naughty of you.
    I love those rugs. But then I love most things that are handmade. Too bad that you don't even have one made from your grandmother.
    Your Friend, m.

  7. Those rugs are just beautiful- so many intricate designs -I love the colours too !

  8. Now...any chance I can sprawl all over those gems? I promise not to shed...not likely,eh!

  9. You do have a lovely and interesting collection! My grandmother used to make braided rugs--I think both are becoming lost art!

  10. I have seen this type of rug, but never saw how it was actually made or finished off. I think they are quite folksy!

  11. oooh Jim, you're a tease, when I saw the title i thought i had stumbled across one of those naughty sites i'm always warning the kids about! how lovely to meet you, i'm so glad you're planning to stick around although i'm not sure that you'll learn much of anything at all, unless of course you'd like to learn how to play the spoons... now that i could teach you, x

  12. Oh my gosh those rugs are beautiful! Seems a lot of old world ways are long gone these days.
    As usual your post gives me a sense of serenity with a smile.

  13. I love these pieces. Gorgeous and time consuming works of art. :O)

  14. They are all so cheerful. The colors are great. I hope some of your grandmother's rugs turn up some day. She must have been really fast!

  15. Those rugs are beautiful, very arts and crafts, so detailed.

    BTW, we have a town in Oklahoma named Hooker. I don't know how it got that name, but imagine being a hooker in Hooker...wink.


  16. wow, these rugs are beautiful! i think sometimes one has to appreciate all the work that goes into making one to really see the beauty! wow, i am glad you boys have some saved.

    oh, BTW, your daughter sophie put up the funniest video i have ever seen on her blog!! i am showing it to everyone!! its SO cute, too!!!

    she's a good girl.... a very VERY good girl and i love her.

  17. i think many of our ancestors either hooked rugs or braided them. mine braided. i love their creativity! good for you for taking these lovely pics. rita was a very bad kitty! mine always dig too...jill

  18. Beautiful Jim. As a kid I remember a local neighbor lady had a bumper sticker that read "Support your local Hooker". She was a hoot-and knew exactly the double entendre she was messing with.
    Love this color in the middle of winter.

  19. Awww Jim, you tinker, you. You drew me in with the word 'hooker' in your blog title. Because I am shallow, I thought 'oooh, this post is probably going to dish some dirt', but then I found out that it was a post about rugs. But then I looked at the rugs and really loved them.

    It was a proper roller-coaster journey.

  20. Those are gorgeous, Jim! Gorgeous! Hey, I was/is a Hooker, too. Yep, that's my maiden name plus I'm a crocheter ;)
    p.s. love the header pic

  21. beautiful rugs. Thanks for popping over to my cousin's blog.... I saw your comment - cheeky !!!

  22. Aww, you had me at "Hooker" I totally love the first rug. Such a great pattern.

  23. How did I miss this post?
    The rugs are beautiful. My sister makes and sells these and other craft items at the military base around the corner from me.
    But I thought we had something in common there. You see my Grandfather's second wife was a hooker. He owned the club that she worked out of back in WW2.


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