Monday, June 18, 2012

Rug Hooking: Explored!

After a lesson for a Burlington artist, this month I finished by first rug hooking project with success! I had never done it before, but had admired my late grandmother's rug work and was itching to learn the ins-and-outs.
After seeing some of Jackie Lodder's beautiful rug hooking work at an Art Show during a James Street North Art Crawl, I knew I had to track her down and learn from her expertise. Conveniently, Jackie is the mother of two of my pals, so my friend Lindsay and I spent an evening to delving into this fine heritage craft. Jackie explained to us that this craft was originally done by women in New England and the Maritimes to transform old clothing into beautiful rugs. It was considered a country craft, and done by lower income families who could not afford factory made carpet in the 1830's. Below is a sample of Jackie's work - a circular pot holder and a rectangle rug.

Here is the crafty family trio themselves: Justine, Jackie and Kira. Below, you can see a complex winter scene that Jackie is currently working on. She primarily uses thrifted wool skirts for her material, or scraps from previous projects. After felting the fabric, she cuts it into tiny strips using a Wool Cutter.

Jackie had dozens of partially finished rug hooking projects given to her - so to learn, we began practicing on them. While rugging words and more complex images with hooking is completely possible, bold straight lines and shapes seemed to turn out best for folks new to the trade.

Lindsay and I had a blast learning from the Lodder ladies, myself working on a previously started owl piece and Lindsay on a new piece. Despite how it appears - we both did the same amount of hooking. It took a while for me to learn how to pull the wool through evenly, and to do straight diagonal lines but a great foundation had been laid.
After going home, I realized I should use up all my yarn before felting any wool, so used some scraps yarn to complete my first project. Yarn gives hooking a slightly more uneven look - but certainly does the trick. If you'd like to try it out - there are some great video tutorials out there that explain things nicely - including this one. Happy hooking!

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