Sunday, December 2, 2007
For the first weekend in December, our group again decorated a room in the Ross Memorial Museum of St Andrews for their annual Christmas Open House. Several members took turns demonstrating rughooking for the visitors. A few were surprised to see the 'mannequins' come to life, and all were fascinated to observe the process. Quite a few had family memories to share of grandparents, fathers or mothers who hooked rugs.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
On the walls of the studio shop are finished mats and wallhangings, showing the talent and ingenuity of our New Brunswick and Nova Scotia rughookers. If you are new to the craft, you are welcome to sit down at the frame and hook on a rug sampler in progress. Or to try out various hooks until you find the one that feels just right. Sande will happily advise you on a pattern, wools or cotton fabric for your rug or quilt; her practiced eye can make it easier to pick just the right colours, if you're undecided. 100% wools: solids, plaids, hand-dyed, swatches... goodies galore!
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007
If you like hooked rugs... and I assume you do, if you've stuck around after finding this blog... please visit Deanne Fitzpatrick, either online at http://www.hookingrugs.com/ or in person at her wonderful new studio at 7 Electric Street, in Amherst, Nova Scotia [Canada]. Deanne was kind enough to open her studio for me yesterday [not usually open on a Sunday] and I spent a happy hour browsing, soaking up the beautiful rugs and mats on display, the fabulous colours in wool, yarn, silk and other media, and chatting with Deanne as she effortlessly drew her characteristically bold and breezy designs right on to burlap and linen. Deanne's Newfoundland roots and her inspirational artistic talents are infused in her spirited designs; her sense of colour and form is magical. I wanted one of everything, but had to settle for a modest haul of beautiful wool, silk and a divine mohair hand-dyed yarn for my current projects. Deanne very kindly looked at my Tangled Garden mat and offered some excellent advice; now to get back to it with her encouragement fresh in my mind!
Deanne’s workshops and symposia are generally sold out well in advance. Currently a symposium for October 2008 is being planned.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Every year, the residents of St Andrews pick rooms in the beautiful Ross Memorial Museum in town, and decorate according to that year's theme. The Quoddy Loopers brought out mats, rugs, ornaments and equipment to illustrate how "The Spirit of Christmas warms our hearts as the hand hooked mats of yesteryear warmed the homes of our forebears". Several members also took turns throughout that weekend to sit in the parlour amongst our mats and holiday decorations and do what we love to do -- hook rugs! These demonstrations were well-received and attracted a couple of new members. The open house is always the first weekend in December, a much-loved part of the local winter festival, "A Season of Lights & Wonder".
Friday, April 27, 2007
Loops are what makes a rughooked mat -- a simple stitch, making the craft an easy one to learn, yet giving an astonishing breadth of expression and individuality to each person's design. Most of our group uses strips of wool, cut by ingenious Bliss, Fraser or Rigby slitters into various thicknesses, from #2 [VERY fine] to #8 [1/4" or 8/32nds of an inch, commonly called 'primitive'] or handcut strips that may be even wider than a #8 cut. Wool yarn is also a good material for rughooking; it has the dual advantages of being readily available in many colours and thicknesses and also ready to hook immediately, not requiring prewashing to shrink or 'full' the wool fabric so that it does not unravel in the process of pulling up loops with a hook. Woollen cloth, on the other hand, comes in many weights and colours and takes dye beautifully. New wool fabric or recycled wool clothing or blankets -- making beauty from cast-offs appeals to my thrifty nature. I can't bear to think of something going to overstuffed landfills, or up in smoke, if it has another useful purpose. There is so much to learn and experience; dyeing your own fabric is exciting!
Back to the Quoddy Loop... it is a breathtaking voyage by land and sea around and on the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides in the world and some of the most beautiful scenery that you will find anywhere. The area has many qualities to recommend it as a place to play, work, visit and live, aside from its abundant natural beauty: people care about each other, the tradition of handcrafting is strong, the weather is moderate and heritage is rich and respected. Communities on the mainland and numerous islands yield fascinating stories and rambles, bringing history to glorious life. Ste Croix Island, just up the coast from St Andrews, bears the distinction of being the first European settlement in North America [north of Florida], due to Samuel de Champlain's bitter winter on that island in 1604. The survivors then decamped to Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, across the Bay of Fundy, making it the oldest continuous settlement north of St Augustine. This was also the beginning of l'Acadie, still a thriving presence in Canada, adding a strong French thread to our country's tapestry. Loyalists fled the United States and some even floated their homes on barges across to St Andrews, on the more tolerant shores of Canada. Evidence of these settlers, especially the shipbuilders, is plentiful in the area's architecture.
So, we hook and chat, following the traditions of ages, while bringing modern ideas and methods to this ancient and enduring craft. Every week we follow each others' progress and marvel at the output of a small group of women, truly 'hooked' on this wonderful art form!
Monday, February 26, 2007
We make rugs for the floor, chairmats, table mats and rug hangings to be displayed on the wall. Big, small and inbetween, colours of every description, either from as-is wool off the bolt, recycled wool from whatever source [always well washed and dried to slightly felt or 'full' the wool and get rid of any moth eggs or surface dirt that might be clinging to the fabric] and the limitless results of our dye pots. Some like the pictorials, others are fond of geometrics or abstract designs, some go for realism and others like the naive or primitive look. We share our wool, our stories and our strengths. Some of the group members have been 'at' rughooking for 30 years or more, and others are very new, working on their first little mat.
Years ago, rugs were hooked out of whatever came to hand — old clothes from the ragbag or leftover yarn from knitting sweaters, hats & mittens, made to fend off the cold Atlantic winds and spray. Necessity was truly the mother of invention — those draughty homes and chilly floors cried out for cozy mats. Today, the St Andrews “SeasideHookers” meet weekly to fashion mats and rugs of various designs and styles... some original, others from traditional or commercial patterns. It's recycling at its finest! All are welcome… experience not required… just bring your imagination.
April 28/07 note: our group is now called the Quoddy Loopers