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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rug Hooking History

As we welcome rug hookers from across the country to our nationally-recognized Rug Hooking event this week, we realize there are still many people who don’t know much about this traditional art form. Here is just a bit of history to help you better understand this beautiful craft . . .

Rug hooking started in the mid 1800s in the Eastern United States. Like many crafts, rug hooking was started out of necessity. Colonial women used rags to make hand-hooked rugs to use on their floors in the summer and on beds in the winter.

The base of the rugs was made from the burlap sacks that the livestock feed came in and the fabric was any material that could be found including worn clothing, rags, old wool blankets or spun wool. Women hooked rugs in their homes to help pass the time during the hard cold winters.

To hook a rug, the rug hooker, with her right hand above the pattern and the cloth strips in her left hand underneath, pushes the hook down through the burlap. The hook catches the cloth strip and the rug hooker draws it back up to form a loop on the top of the burlap. Loops about half an inch long (length can vary) are formed to create the rug.

People eventually began selling hand-hooked rugs and cottage industries sprang up across the country. By the 1940s rug hooking had become a well-established hobby in the United States and Canada and its popularity continues to grow today. Hand-hooked rugs can be found in art galleries and museums throughout the world.

Again this year, rug hookers from across the country are gathering at Sauder Village to celebrate this traditional craft. This spectacular event includes workshops, lectures, vendors, demonstrations and a breath-taking exhibit in Founder’s Hall. We hope you'll visit the exhibit to see what all the excitement is about!

More detail about this special event can be found online at: