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Picking Up the Loops

Start here when you're asked to finish another's rug

By: Sue McClure

Dogs Playing Poker, 28" x 18", #3-cut wool on burlap.  Based on the oil painting A Friend in Need (1903) by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge and hooked by Harriett Laird, Stow, MA, 1974 and Penny Ward, Franklin, TN, 2011.

When longtime New England rug hooker Harriett Laird died at the age of 74, she was hooking a rug based on the well-known painting of dogs playing poker. That was 37 years ago. The unfinished rug—and its unfinished poker game—has been sitting in a suitcase for all these many years.

But as gambler’s luck would have it, Laird’s son Bill, now 79 years old himself, found a talented hooker living near his home in Franklin, Tennessee, who was willing to take on the task of finishing his mother’s rug. It’s a daunting undertaking for any hooker, but particularly so for Penny Ward, a primitive hooker whose idea of a rug involves #8 and #9 cuts—not #3. Needless to say, Penny was nervous when Bill opened the suitcase to reveal his mother’s burlap-backed rug.

This article is from the January/February 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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