Grandma Reavis Lives in Harmony

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By: Liz Gordon

Zelma noted that back in the day, she hooked the borders first, a practice that is opposite from how rug hookers approach a project today. Rug size unavailable.

Most of us today hook rugs because we fall in love with a special design, the soft cozy-colored wools, the challenge of an as-is wool or a lovely hand-dyed fiber. And for almost all of us, hooking is a joy-filled hobby.

For 97-year-old Zelma Reavis and the women in her family, rug hooking is all that and more. Zelma, her mother Mattie, and her six sisters hooked rugs of their own designs to help support the family for almost 100 years.

Zelma’s design ideas came from photos or pictures she saw in newspapers, magazines, grocery bags, greeting cards, and the farm scenes around her own home in Harmony, North Carolina.

“I could make four squirrel rugs from one morning’s walk,” she says. She’s sure she would recognize any of the 500+ rugs she created in a heartbeat even though she made her first rugs more than 87 years ago.

This article is from the January/February 2013 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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