Twenty Years at the Mat
A glance backward at rug hooking's move forward
Diamonds in the Sky, designed and hooked by Deanne Fitzpatrick, Amherst, Nova Scotia, 2009.
In 1990, when I learned how to hook, I was twenty-five years old. Rug hooking was a quiet little hobby of which few people had heard, and for many of those who knew of it, it was something that their grandmother did.
I started to hook because I wanted old-fashioned mats for the floors in my farmhouse. I went off to a Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia (RHGNS) meeting in Tatamagouche with three of my sisters. There, I met Doreen Wright and Marion Kennedy who ran Rags to Rugs, the only shop in Nova Scotia to sell traditional and primitive rug hooking supplies.
Doreen and Marion liked nice even loops, hand-dyed Dorr wool, and a tidy style. They also had a strong affection for the traditional rugs of Nova Scotia and understood that we had a long history of mat-making along our shores.
Marion, a long-time rug hooker with a gravelly voice and a gruff manner, told me, "If you want to hook, you have to finish things, so just keep at this mat until it's done."
That weekend she gave me a small mat and a basic rug hooking lesson.
This article is from the March/April/May 2010 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.