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Literary Rugs

A look at the hooked rugs in our favorite books

By: Sue Lange
Photo courtesy of University of Guelph

The bedroom of L. M. Montgomery at the Macneill farmhouse in Cavendish, PEI. Used with permission, archives, University of Guelph.

What do the literary classics Anne of Green Gables, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little House on the Prairie and Louisa May Alcott’s Jo’s Boys all have in common? References to hooked and braided rugs!

If, like me, you enjoy the serendipitous pleasure of discovering an unexpected description of a hooked or braided rug while reading a favorite novel from the bookshelf, you may want to snuggle down and revisit some popular childhood novels this upcoming holiday season.

A number of popular 19th century North American writers wrote about rural life in places such as Prince Edward Island (PEI), New England, and the American prairies. These novels offer a glimpse into the origin of practical, thrifty handicrafts such as rug-making, quilting, spinning and sewing, which were necessary skills to warm and decorate cold, spartan homes.

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



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