Show & Tell / February 2021

Featured Rugs Gallery      

In this Gallery, you can tour a selection of rugs from our last Exhibition, held in September 2017 at Centennial Hall. Visit our Blog to see the rugs showcased in the past.  

Show & Tell : Rug Hooking through the Generations

Many among us were first introduced to rug hooking by a family member from long ago. Grandmother’s homemade rugs adorned the ancestral home or cottage and were passed on to family members as loving reminders of our past. Carrying on the family tradition of rug making fills us with pride and inspiration and connects us to our roots. February is the month of love and affection, and a perfect time to introduce our new Show and Tell category.

Inch Mat. Hooked by Susan Locke and Daisy (Cameron) MacNab. Collection of Carolyn Ells.

Antique Rugs / Collections
Inch Mat

Hooked by Susan Locke and Daisy (Cameron) MacNab
Traditional Nova Scotia design*
Collection of Carolyn Ells
58 inches x 32 inches

*The Inch mat design, often with yellow in the 4 corners, is common in communities along the Northumberland Strait. It is known as “Boston Sidewalks” in New Brunswick and the Northeastern US.

My great-great grandmother, Susan Locke, was an excellent rug hooker. Her farmhouse and those of her children and grandchildren were filled with hooked rugs that she and her progeny made. She and her granddaughter Daisy (my grandmother) hooked this mat together around 1920 or earlier, when Daisy was in her teens. I admired this mat since childhood. When I moved to Montreal, my mother gave it to me. This prompted my interest in both the history and the craft of rug hooking. I soon became a rug hooker myself.

This inch mat is particularly special because each hooked square is sheared. (The loops around the edges of the squares were hooked low and the central loops were hooked high and cut by scissors to give each square a domed effect.) The rug also retained its bright colours. They had access to commercial dyes and used salt sea water to fix the colours from fading. The fabrics used are from worn clothes (long underwear, sweaters, etc.), cut into strips and hooked into a burlap backing. The fibers are wool, or wool and nylon/rayon. On this mat, each “inch” is actually 1.25 inches; if they were to outline the squares in a unifying colour (usually black), each square would be one inch.

The mat is registry #1586 in the Heritage Hooked Mat Project of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia.

Inch Mat. Detail.

 Left: Susan (Blackie) Locke; Right: Daisy (Cameron) MacNab. Pictures:  Cuortesy of Carolyn Ells.


Chrysanthemum Runner. Latch-Hooked by Steven Maten, Collection of Emmy Maten.

Chrysanthemum Runner. Detail.

Antique Rugs / Collections
Chrysanthemum Runner
Latch-Hooked by Steven Maten
Circa 1955
Collection of Emmy Maten 
31 in (2 ft 7 in) x 100 in (8 ft 4 in)
Thick 2-ply 100% wool yarn, jute backing

When I was 14, I went to Amsterdam for a 6-week stay with my grandparents. My Opa, born in 1902, introduced me to one of his hobbies - rug making. He used a loom to weave the backing, then latch-hooked as he progressed along the length. He used a cross-stitch pattern to calculate the colour of each knot. I inherited two of his runners - this one, and another beautiful floral runner with navy blue as the predominant colour. Unfortunately, this second one has since disintegrated. He also made two area rugs measuring about 8 ft x 10 ft each. I imagine he must have stitched several runners together to make such large pieces.

Steven Maten, Picture: Courtesy of Emmy Maten.

Antique Rugs / Collections

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