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Good Luck Charm

Pulling Loops in Finland

By: Kris Miller/Spruce Ridge Studios
Updated August 17, 2018

In June 2016, my husband and I boarded an Icelandair jet and flew over the Atlantic to Helsinki, Finland. Little did I know what a lasting impact that trip would have on my love of textiles and my rug-hooking journey!

My ancestry is Finnish and I still have relatives who live in Finland. My sister and I have always wanted to find our second cousins, whom she had met in the late 1970s and I had never met. We were also going to combine our trip to visit some friends who live in Turku, a city on the southwest coast of Finland.

As luck would have it, my friend asked me about rug hooking. She had never heard of it before but was intrigued by the process, so I offered to teach her how to hook.

At our first stop, the small town of Kangasniemi, we met three of my second cousins. We visited their farm, which had been in my family since the early 1600s. While enjoying coffee, cake, and old family photographs, I discovered that my cousin Marketta was a rug maker too. Many of her beautiful hand-woven rugs adorned the bare floors of the farmhouse. One of the rugs hanging on the wall caught my eye. Her sister explained that Marketta had been inspired by an antique design and had recreated it in her woven rug. I realized that rug making has been in my DNA all along and that textile makers are truly inspired by the same things, no matter where they live!

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