Article: Old Coats and Hooked Rugs: Beautiful rug, beautiful article

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Image Old Coats and Hooked Rugs
By Sharon Brown on September 6, 2010

This is the story of a very special little coat that touched my heart in 1948, wove its way into a rose patterned rug in 1954, then came home to live with me in 2010. It's also a story about hooked rugs, an almost forgotten art.

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ImageLarryR
Sep 5, 2010 11:56 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Your article brought back memories that involve both my side of the family and Wilma's. When my father was 18, he was holding down three jobs, trying to have a social life, and getting very little sleep. As a result, he developed stomach ulcers. The prescription for ulcers in those days was bed rest for a month, avoiding acidic food, and consuming lots of cream. As you might imagine, it was very difficult for him to be confined to bed after leading such an active life. His solution to while away the hours: making hooked rugs on a frame stretched across his bed! When he died some years ago, I found in his belongings a hooked rug that he had started, but, for whatever reason, had not finished. I couldn't get myself to throw it out or give it away. It currently rests in a chest up in our attic. I hope to finish that rug someday...

Wilma's mother was well-known for the beautiful hooked rugs she designed and made herself. One of them once appeared in National Geographic Magazine and is now on permanent display at the Amana Artists Guild gallery. I'll try to stop by one day soon, take a photo, and send it to you.

I see that your awesome artistic talent runs in the family!

(Edited to fix a typo)
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
[Last edited Sep 5, 2010 11:58 PM CST]
Quote | Post #393472 (1)
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 12:10 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Larry!! I need to see the rug your Dad started! Please take a photo of it too. And the one that Wilma's mother did.

Maybe we can hook rugs this winter. The videos helped me to remember what I thought I might have forgotten.

My mom was very creative, but she poured most of her creativity into textiles, things that she needed in our home. She made beautiful things, including most of my clothes. I was trying today to find a photo of the coat, but all those that I found taken during that time period, were of clothes she made for me. Later, after she retired from teaching, she did paint a little bit, but not much. Her love of fabric won.

She encouraged me, though, and taught me all about sewing and quilting.

Thanks, Larry. I can't wait to see your pictures. I don't know anybody else who knows a thing about hooked rugs!
Imagequilter5
Sep 6, 2010 7:21 AM CST
Name: Barb Jenkins
Hillsborough, NH
Sharon, my grandmother (on my Dad's side) taught my mother and both of them made the most wonderful traditional hooked rugs.
I still have the rug my grandmother made in 1943, the year I was born. It is made from coats and any other wool pieces she could find. Every strand of wool (about 1/8 - 1/4") wide strip was cut by hand with scissors. I am so very proud of this. I also have two made by my mother. One is a child's rug of the Little Engine That Could and the other is a floral. They both dyed every bit of wool used in their quilts. One of my most treasured possessions is my mother's hook. I will never part with it. And I fondly remember trips to the Dorr Woolen Mills to get white wool for dying. Watching her hook was a really special time for me and I thank you so much for bringing those memories alive again......And I thank my mother for my love of textiles..be it fabric, thread or yarn......
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 9:04 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Thanks, Barb,

I'm so glad you know about hooked rugs, too. You have a lovely story. We never dyed the wool, but we didn't have white wool either, no source. But dyeing it would have been another interesting step in the process. It would have toughened the wool also, I think.

I'd like to see the rug your grandmother made, I'm sure it is a treasure.
ImageLarryR
Sep 6, 2010 10:35 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Here is a photo of my father's unfinished rug. Evidently he did his rugs free form, as there is no pattern drawn on the burlap. The stencil reads: "No. 2 special, 100 lbs."

Thumb of 2010-09-06/LarryR/2a5db3
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 10:37 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
You MUST finish it, Larry! How pretty it will be. Or you could even display it as it is.

Yes, a burlap grain bag, for sure.
What a treasure!
ImageLarryR
Sep 6, 2010 10:42 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
While I was rummaging through the chest, I found two of Carrie's (Wilma's mom's) rugs. The first one is similar to the one I mentioned above. Both have a cat motif.

Thumb of 2010-09-06/LarryR/884d24
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 10:45 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Ohhhhh...look at that calico!
Gorgeous.

Another treasure.
ImageLarryR
Sep 6, 2010 10:46 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Here is the second rug, one of the many florals she did:

Thumb of 2010-09-06/LarryR/3341af
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
Imagevic
Sep 6, 2010 10:48 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
What a touching story Sharon and what a beautiful and lovely rug.

The whole time I'm reading, I'm trying to think if I have wool anything you can have and I don't. If I run across any, I'll pick it up for you.

I need to watch the videos as this is an art form way over my head unless you get into the 70's craft of latch hook Whistling

vic
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Imagevic
Sep 6, 2010 10:48 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
WOW Larry - those are stunning!
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 10:54 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Absolutely stunning, Larry!

Hi Vic...nope, not the same as latch hook, though I do remember them too. I also remember those 2 inch pieces of yarn all over my house when the kids were little in the 70's. But watch the video, hooked rugs are easy, if somewhat tedious.

The Gene Shepherd videos are best.

I've been digging around in my fabrics...no wool, I'm afraid. I can't even find an old wool coat. But I'll keep right on looking.

Larry, I love the reds and brown tones in Wilma's mother's rugs. What are their sizes?
AlohaHoya
Sep 6, 2010 11:44 AM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Wonderful story, GF Lovey dubby

Did you pass on your experiences and your wisdom to your daughter? Lucky woman!!

Lovey dubby Carol
Leap. The net will appear.
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 11:53 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Hi Carol,
Thank you.

My daughter is great with fashion design and home decor. But I gave her a sewing machine one year, and now about 6 years later, it's still in the box it came in, never having been opened. So I guess she has the flair, but not the interest in home made things.

But I tried, I really did.
ImageLarryR
Sep 6, 2010 12:21 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Both rugs are 29" X 45".
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImagePollyK
Sep 6, 2010 8:11 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Wonderful touching story, and lovely pictures of some beautiful rugs, Sharon and Larry. How special to have such momentos!
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 8:21 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Thank you, Polly.
Imagenap
Sep 6, 2010 8:41 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
This was another "fun" article, Sharon, and lots of interesting comments and follow-up comments. I LOVE that Poppy rug , Larry!

Let's see more rugs, and we will all be waiting to see your winter project, Sharon!
ImageSharon
Sep 6, 2010 8:46 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Thanks, Nancy.
I have the burlap and the hook, just don't have the wool.

But I'll be looking for it!
ImageLarryR
Sep 6, 2010 10:34 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Sharon, the village weaver lives just up the public walkway from our gardens. We've donated old clothes to him for many years, which he weaves into beautiful rugs. The cloth is cut into strips, sewn together, wound into balls about the size of a soccer ball, and then fed into the loom. I bet he has some woolen strips rolled up into balls. If you like, I'd be happy to inquire.
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/

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