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( Article orginally published May 1952 )
Rug hooking has taken the nation by storm. Every state in the union is interested, judging from our correspondence. The revival of this worthwhile craft began about fifteen years ago and interest has been increasing steadily. It is definitely not a fad. The results of this handiwork may become prized heirlooms.
Many rugs that were made a hundred or more years ago are being resurrected, repaired and treasured. Some are finding their way into museums as Early Americana examples, and others into private collections.
The old designs are being copied and many new ones are appearing. Today hooked rugs are adapted not only to Early American interiors but to practically any decorative scheme. A hooked rug of proper design and coloring is appropriate for any period of decoration.
To make a rug involves so much time and thought that the first requisite is a sound design. Your rug can be no better than the design. Good proportion, balance and possibility for color distribution is essential. Because the design is old does not necessarily make it good beacause the ordinary housewife, who may have had no eye for color or form, drew her own pattern, used the scraps of cloth at hand and thus created a rug, mainly for a floor covering.
Some of the beautiful old rugs have a charm and appeal that is hard to reproduce. They somehow have the characteristics of the maker hooked into their delicately shaded scrolls and flowers.
In this day and age with best materials available, why use inferior ones? Securing the best designs on the best quality burlap and using good wool pieces for hooking is not too expensive, considering the product that may be developed.
A good sturdy easel frame facilitates good workmanship. To keep the burlap taut on the frame at all times makes for easier and more uniform hooking. A rug hook, about the size of a No. 3 crochet hook, with a wood handle that fits comfortably in the palm of the hand is correct.
A conservative width of strips for hooking is one-eighth inch. Like any handwork, the finer the strip and the hook, the finer the product. In different parts of the country the width of the strip varies. In some sections a quarter inch and even wider is used. This cutting can be done by hand but a stripper is available which cuts four or five strips at once, according to the width. Thus progress on the rug is much faster.
The technique of hooking is very simple, consisting of only one stitch. When that is mastered, only color sense and common sense are necessary.