TRADITIONAL RUG HOOKING RESOURCES, version 4.2
Part 1 of 2
Last modified: 13 July 1994
Expires: 20 August 1994
keywords: FAQ, crafts, textiles, rugs, hooked, books, suppliers,
guilds, schools, care, cleaning, restoration
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(a) Copyright Notice
(c) How To Retrieve This Document
(d) Other Computer Resources
(f) Change Log
II. Description of Traditional Rug Hooking
III. Tips on Rug Cleaning, Care, and Restoration
IV. Annotated Bibliography
V. A ***'s Address Book: publishers, suppliers, guilds,
schools, and museums
(a) COPYRIGHT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER
This compilation is Copyright (C) 1994 by Deborah Merriam.
It may be freely redistributed in its entirety provided that all
headers, credits, and this and other disclaimers remain intact.
Permission is hereby granted for noncommercial use by electronic
bulletin board/conference systems, individuals, and libraries.
Permission is granted for this document to be made available for
file transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous
file transfer on the Internet. This document may not be sold for
profit or incorporated in commercial documents without the
written permission of the copyright holder. Notification of the
archival of this document would be appreciated.
The information in this document is made available AS IS. No
warranty is made about its correctness or completeness.
Nothing in this article represents the views of Dalhousie
The FAQ-maintainer (Deborah Merriam) does not receive any
financial gain or monetary remuneration from the distribution of
This document was born out of my fascination with this historic
art form, and my frustration in trying to learn to hook without a
teacher. I hope it will help other novices get started without
having to reinvent the wheel. I also hope this document will be a
valuable resource for veteran ***s who are trying to find a
rare material or the perfect design.
I'm no expert, just an enthusiastic beginner - so if you have any
additions, corrections, or suggestions for improvement to this
(until the end of August). Future versions of this document will
benefit from your wisdom! Please let me know how you wish to
appear in the Acknowledgements (by name only, name and email,
name and city, name and snail-mail, or some combination of the
Happy hooking! =) Deborah Merriam
(c) HOW TO RETRIEVE THIS DOCUMENT
Please check the "Expires" date at the beginning of this
document. Has it passed? If so, chances are good that some
information listed here is out of date.
The current version of this compilation is posted to the Usenet
rec.crafts.textiles and rec.crafts.misc newsgroups monthly, on or
near the 10th of each month. You can obtain a copy via e-mail by
Please note that this is a temporary address; by the end of
August, I expect I'll have settled into a new account at another
You can also get a copy of the current version from the gopher and
anonymous FTP sites maintained by the P.E.I. Crafts Council. For
more information than given here, please e-mail Peter Rukavina,
Here's the information Peter gave me on how to find the document
(it worked fine for me).
(1) By Anonymous FTP
Users can connect by anonymous FTP to "gus.crafts-council.pe.ca"
and look in the pub/rughooking directory for the two files
FAQ.part1.Z and FAQ.part2.Z which are compressed versions of the
two parts of the FAQ. The URLs are thus:
Please try to restrict FTP access to after business hours (9 a.m.
to 5 p.m., Atlantic Time), if possible; they have a slow machine
and a slow Internet connection.
(2) By Gopher
Users can point their gopher clients at "gopher.crafts-
council.pe.ca" and then select "Other crafts-related information"
and then "Rug Hooking: Frequently Asked Questions." The URLs are
I will eventually be submitting this document to the *.answers
moderators, and making arrangements for its archival on more
anonymous FTP sites. Stay tuned for further developments!
(d) OTHER COMPUTER RESOURCES
The Usenet rec.crafts.textiles newsgroup is a good place to ask
questions. Unfortunately, the pseudo-archives have been
The Crafts Board BBS offers a searchable database of North
American arts and crafts suppliers, software, newsletters and
discussion forums. They are making this FAQ available for their
users as a downloadable text file, and there's a textiles forum
available. The BBS number is 205-339-0722, and the voice/fax
number is 205-333-8045. For more information, send e-mail to
The Textile Arts Forum (TAF) on Delphi has members in all the
textile arts areas, and maintain a database of shareware programs,
gifs, and text files (including this one). For more information,
The Prince Edward Island Crafts Council maintains an anonymous FTP
site and a gopher server of crafts-related information. See section
I(c) for details of how to get there. The Crafts Information
Service may be of particular interest: they maintain a
comprehensive database of contact information for suppliers to the
crafts industry. For further information, write to
Shirley Poole maintains a BBS for traditional rug hooking called
Connecting Link Of Traditional Hooking (C.L.O.T.H.), from her home
in Barrie, ON, Canada. Here's the information she sent me about it:
YOU NEED: a computer with a Hayes-compatible modem, and software
which can emulate one of the following types of terminals: VT 100;
VT52 Digital; TTY [GENERIC]. Other terminal emulations may work.
Having "Ansi" is a definite benefit.
THE PROTOCOL: Baud rates = 300, 1200, 2400, or 9600. Data bits = 8,
Stop bits = 1, Parity = none. Phone number 705-726-9077.
AVAILABILITY: 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, other than unscheduled
"downtimes" due to maintenance.
GETTING CONNECTED: Set up your communications package for the
terminal emulation. Dial 705-726-9077. Wait for the "connect"
message. Type any key for the next screen to appear; you will see
the welcome screen. The next screen will ask for your personal
information: name, address, postal code, phone number, alias,
terminal emulation, etc. Then a main menu will appear which will
list different areas for you to read, leave messages, order
supplies, and so on.
SIGNING OFF: Return to the main menu. Select "Goodbye". Disconnect
from the system. Please note that the system will automatically
logoff after 4 minutes of inactivity.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Shirley Poole, The Burlap Room, 46 Little Lake
Dr., Barrie, ON, Canada, L4M 4Y8. Phone: (705)-726-8516.
To my knowledge, there is no other existing FAQ or e-Zine that
deals with rug hooking, and my Veronica and Jughead searches of
gopher servers have come up empty. If you know of any other
electronic resources for rug ***s, please let me know!
If you'd like to try your hand at computer-generated designs for
your rugs, your best bet at the moment is to use a generic
drawing program to create your design (or upload a graphic that
strikes your fancy). Then, print it off and enlarge it by the
method of your choice. I had a look at the (excellent) cross-
stitch design software packages that are currently available,
and they don't seem to be easily adaptable to a rug-maker's
purposes. Quilting design software may be more adaptable to rug
I'd like to acknowledge and thank the following people, who
encouraged me to start this project, reviewed early drafts of
this document, made valuable suggestions for modifications,
submitted corrections or book reviews, or otherwise contributed
to the FAQ:
Suzanne Sylliaasen (Seattle, WA)
Peter Rukavina, P.E.I. Crafts Council
Shirley Poole (Barrie, ON)
everyone in the Dartmouth branch of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova
Thanks, also, to everyone who has written to me since the initial
posting of this document; your kind words and your enthusiasm for
this craft make all my efforts worthwhile.
And finally, special thanks to all the authors and ***s whose
wisdom, enthusiasm, and publications have made this document
(f) CHANGE LOG
V1.0 (25 Jan 1994) - Initial release by e-mail.
V2.0 (28 Feb 1994) - Expanded bibliography; addition of care and
V2.1 (5 Mar 1994) - Miscellaneous minor changes in most
V3.0 (14 Mar 1994) - Expansion and reorganization of Addresses -
Guilds and Schools; addition of How To Retrieve
This Document; review of Pearl McGown's books
rewritten; miscellaneous additions and minor
changes in all sections. Posted to
rec.crafts.textiles and rec.crafts.misc on
V4.0 (9 May 1994) - Reorganization of existing sections;
addition of copyright notice and change log;
deletion of workshops which have passed from the
Addresses - Guilds And Schools section;
miscellaneous additions and minor changes in all
sections. Posted to rec.crafts.textiles and
rec.crafts.misc on May 10th.
V4.1 (10 Jun 1994) - Sections reordered and FAQ split into two
parts; added more information on dye booklets to
Annotated Bibliography; review of Joan Moshimer's
Complete Book of Rug Hooking expanded; several
additions and changed addresses in the Addresses -
Suppliers section; deletion of workshops which have
passed from the Addresses - Guilds and Schools
section, and addition of several new workshop
listings; addition of information on Delphi's
Textile Arts Forum; miscellaneous minor changes.
Posted to rec.crafts.textiles and rec.crafts.misc on
V4.2 (13 July 1994) - Addition of info on the PEI Crafts Council
anonymous FTP and gopher sites; addition of info on
the C.L.O.T.H. BBS for rug ***s in Barrie, ON;
review of Hooked On Cats by Joan Moshimer, review of
Hooked Rugs by William C. Ketchum, and other minor
additions to Annotated Bibliography; addition of
Hands Across Time and The Burlap Room to the
Addresses - Suppliers section. Posted to rec.crafts.
textiles and rec.crafts.misc on July 14th.
II. DESCRIPTION OF TRADITIONAL RUG HOOKING
So, what is "traditional" rug hooking? Traditional hooking uses a
hand hook, similar in shape to a crochet hook, to form a looped
pile from fabric strips or yarn on an even-weave base (such as
burlap, monks-cloth, divider cloth, or linen). This technique isn't
only used to create rugs, of course; you can also make chair seats,
wall***s, trivets, Christmas tree ornaments, carpetbags,
clothing, and jewellery, among many other things. I've
designated it as "traditional" to keep confusion at bay, since
the use of latch-hooks, punch-needles, or speed hooks is also
commonly called "rug hooking". Punch-needle hooking and speed
hooking also form rug piles from the running loop stitch, and are
sometimes mentioned in the same reference books and supplied by
the same companies as traditional hand hooking - so, if you are
interested in these newer techniques, you may also find a
starting point in this document. Latch hooks form a knotted pile,
and will not be discussed in this document.
A description here of how to hook would probably only confuse, so
I'll refer you to any of the excellent reference books listed in
IV. However, the guidance of a good teacher can be invaluable in
preventing you from forming bad habits. Contact your local shop
or guild (listed in V) to find a teacher or group you can hook
with and get tips from. Many shops and guilds hold informal
hook-ins, or know of them. If no local resources are listed, try
writing to one of the "International" guilds for help - they have
branches all over North America, and keep lists of teachers.
Personally, I have found that hooking regularly with an informal
group has vastly improved my technique and allowed me to learn a
great deal (as opposed to hooking by myself and getting hung up on
every possible problem ;).
Note: 1995 will be The Year of the Hooked Mat, at least in
Atlantic Canada, so be on the lookout for activities put on by
your local guilds, galleries, historical societies and whatnot.
III. TIPS ON RUG CLEANING, CARE, AND RESTORATION
I decided to include this section in light of the number of
requests for such information I have received. These tips are
compiled as a public service from a number of sources, including
books written or edited by Alice Beatty and Mary Sargent, Thom
Boswell, Happy and Steve DiFranza, Pat Hornafius, Leslie Linsley
and Jon Aron, and Stella Hay Rex. As always, I invite your
comments and suggestions.
Most importantly, please remember that your rug is only as strong
as its foundation. Burlap loses strength as it ages, is
susceptible to extremes in temperature, and weakens when it's
wet. Linen and cotton are sturdier. However, the tips that follow
will assume your rug has a burlap backing. If you treat your rug
as lovingly as it was made, it should last for generations!
- DON'T fold your rug; DO roll it with the pile on the *outside*.
This prevents cracking or stretching the fragile backing fabric.
- DON'T wrap your rug in plastic, as any trapped condensation
leads to mildew. DO wrap it in a sheet or cloth or heavy
acid-free paper. DON'T fasten tightly with *** bands or the
RUGS ON THE FLOOR:
- DON'T place your rug in high traffic areas that will soil and
strain your rug's fibres past their limits.
- DO place a thin pad under your rug to help extend its' life. It
should be cut 1/2 inch inside the rug's edges. You can buy such
pads from your supplier. One book claims that fibre pads absorb
moisture over time, and recommends a synthetic pad instead.
- DON'T paint a***backing on the back of an heirloom rug. In
time the***will harden and crack, and the rug will be
destroyed. In a letter to Rug Hooking magazine (Vol.5, No.5,
Mar-May 1994, p.10), Jim Beasley of The Ruggery writes, "The
first thing I tell a customer who comes to my shop for a repair
is that if we touch a rug with latex, we reduce its value by half
as an antique. If the rug is of museum quality, I send my
customer to someone whose business is rug restoration. However,
if the rug is of sentimental value only and the burlap backing is
five minutes away from total disintegration, why not "fix" it
with***and use it for another 15 or 20 years...?"
- Changes in humidity and temperature cause the fibres in a rug
to shrink or swell slightly, and the rug must give to accommodate
this. Consequently, DON'T stretch a rug tightly for***, as
you would stretch a canvas, and DON'T staple, nail, or glue your
rug to a frame or board.
- DON'T place a rug behind glass or plastic. If condensation
should be trapped inside the frame, your rug will be ruined by
- If you mat and frame a rug, use only acid-free mats. Use quilt
batting on acid-free mounting boards if padding is desired. If
your frame is wood, be sure it's covered with mylar (a pH-neutral
- DO evenly distribute the weight of a rug that is used as a wall
***, so it won't sag and strain the backing. Two techniques
follow which will avoid undue strain on any section of the rug:
(1) Sew a cuff of fabric or rug tape to the top finished edge of
the rug. Slip a dowel or drapery rod through this sleeve. Use
drapery fasteners, cup hooks, or bent nails to attach the rod to
(2) Sew velcro on three sides, leaving the bottom open. Tack or
glue the opposite velcro strips to a frame made to fit the size
of the rug. Press the rug onto the frame by applying gentle
pressure. Do not stretch the rug too tightly!
- DON'T shake or beat your rug. This strains the backing, and an
old rug might disintegrate in your hands.
- DO air your rug outdoors occasionally, especially on damp,
foggy days. This will make a dry burlap backing less brittle.
- VACUUMING - Sand and grit will grind down the pile of your rug
and weaken its foundation. Some books forbid vacuuming delicate
antique rugs, while others say that gentle suction (with the
upholstery attachment of a canister-type vacuum or a hand vacuum)
is okay for any rug. Also, occasionally place your rug face down
and pat it (or sweep it) to dislodge grit which has fallen
between the loops.
- Some books suggest placing your rugs face down on newly fallen
powdery snow, then brushing the snow off, claiming that the
moisture makes the burlap less brittle and brightens the colours;
others call this method "an old wives' tale".
WASHING YOUR RUG:
- DO remove stains immediately. Blot LIQUIDS firmly with towels.
If necessary, sponge the area gently with cold water; if the
stain persists, you can try blotting with a mild solution of cold
water and white vinegar or household ammonia or fresh milk. Gently
lift SOLIDS out of the fibres, perhaps by spot vacuuming as you
loosen the particles with a knife.
- DON'T immerse your rug, because some backings will fall apart
- DO gently wash the *surface* of the rug using a mild detergent
in cold water. Whip up the foam, gently moisten the spot, and rub
very gently to dislodge the dirt. Use a cloth or sponge dipped in
clear water to remove the foam. Don't soak it! Blot dry. This
method may also be used to surface clean an entire rug. Be sure
to overlap sections so you won't leave dirt rings. Also, work
quickly so that the foundation won't get wet and any insecure
colours won't have a chance to bleed.
- DETERGENTS - Harsh commercial rug cleaners may damage the
fibres and set a stain. Ordinary household detergents are usually
highly alkaline, contain fillers and brighteners which damage
textiles, and leave a residue. One book recommends that you use
sodium lauryl sulphate, an extremely mild detergent with a
neutral pH which rinses freely and leaves no residue. It's
commonly used by textile conservationists, and is sold at tack
shops as a horse shampoo (Orvus WA Paste). The book recommends a
solution of 1 teaspoon of Orvus WA Paste in 1 quart of water.
Another book suggests that you use a new product designed
specifically for cleaning hooked rugs called Heirloom Care.
- DON'T wring the rug or hang it to dry. DO roll the rug (pile
side out) in a heavy towel to absorb the moisture, then lay it
flat to dry in a shaded area, or away from direct heat.
- ABSOLUTELY DO NOT give your rug to a dry cleaner if it's
desperately ***. The harsh chemicals and rough handling used
by conventional dry cleaners are likely to destroy your rug.
INSTEAD find a company that specializes in cleaning *hooked* rugs
(even companies who regularly clean antique oriental woven rugs
may not know how to treat a hooked rug).
- Please find a qualified expert to at least assess an antique
rug's condition for you (Your local guild or supplier can
probably recommend someone). If your rug is particularly delicate,
you would be wise to trust a professional to clean it, restore it,
and mount it for*** for you. Restorers often must start by
removing previous repairs.
- Remember that "a stitch in time saves nine", and mend damage to
your rugs immediately. If you match your colours carefully and
use as much of the original material as possible, your repairs
should be hard to spot. If you save your notes and extra material
when you've finished hooking a rug, you'll make its repair much
- If a few loops have been pulled out by a pet, just hook them
back in place or hook new ones to match.
- If the backing has a weak spot or has been cut, unravel some
threads from a matching backing material, and darn them back into
the weave and rehook the loops. (You may wish to reinforce this
with some diluted white glue.)
- If the backing has a hole in it, sew on a patch of monks-cloth
by hand. First, rip out the pile an inch around the hole. Use a
patch that's a little bigger than the hole to be covered, and sew
it securely to the underside of the foundation using heavy-duty
thread. Stitch down the frayed backing to the patch on the top
side of the rug, then rehook the area using the wool you pulled
out or matching strips.
- Hold your antique rug up to the light. If it's filled with
holes, it may have dry rot - in which case it will eventually
fall apart. One book suggests that such rugs are "impossible" to
fix. Other books suggest that you line the entire rug with
monks-cloth. Cut the new backing slightly larger than the rug,
and stitch it to the old backing at intervals to hold them
together evenly; turn the edges of the lining under when sewing
to the rug's edge. Wherever there's a break, remove the loose
loops, stitch the frayed backing to the lining, and rehook.
- If your rug has frayed edges, remove the binding and the loose
loops, attach a new backing as above, and rehook and rebind the
- If the binding is worn, a new binding can be sewn over the old
one. Use two-inch wide binding tape, as close to the border
colour as possible, and strong thread. Sew the new binding to the
rug through the wool loops on the top side, at least a
quarter-inch back from the edge, with your stitches close
together. Ease the binding around corners smoothly. Sew the
binding in place on the underside. The completed bound edge
showing on the right side of the rug should be about a half-inch
- One book suggests that rugs with full linings are best used as
wall***s, because the lining will catch soil and wear
against the loops inside if the rug is underfoot.
IV. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
These books fall into three main categories: How-To, Design
Inspiration, and History. I've included any reference books I
could find, even ones I didn't like, with the reasoning that it
may be perfect for your purposes. The annotations list features
of the book, and are liberally sprinkled with the opinions of the
reviewers. I have not annotated books which have not been
reviewed by myself or another FAQ contributor. I've put an
asterisk beside my favourites and the "industry standards" (found
in Suggested Reading lists in other books). They're organized
alphabetically by author or editor. All opinions are mine, unless
Please note that this list is NOT complete - there are certainly,
for example, many booklets and manuals on dyeing that are
missing. If you run across a book that I've missed, or have
comments on the ones I've included ("This book has a great
section on X techniques," or "I found these directions very
easy/difficult to follow," or "Please remove this useless thing
from your list"), please write to me and tell me all about it!
Adrosko, Rita J. Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing: A Practical Guide
With Over 150 Recipes. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY.
1971. ISBN 0-486-22688-3. (Originally published in 1968 as United
States National Museum Bulletin 281, "Natural Dyes in the United
This book contains excellent historical information (focussed
on the practices of European settlers in the U.S.), a section on
colour theory, and clearly written instructions for dyeing both
wool and cotton using natural dyestuffs.
Ashworth, Anne. Chroma-Craft.
Booklet of formulas for dyeing transitional swatches, i.e.
from a dark shade of one dye to a light shade of another, and for
Ashworth, Anne and Armstrong, Jean. Green Mountain Colours.
Green Mountain Rug School, Randolf Center, VT. 1985.
Bartlett, Marlene and Baker/Dykens, Barbara. Nova Scotia Formula
Book. (Booklet of formulas for Majic Carpet dyes.)
* Batchelder, Martha. The Art of Hooked-Rug Making. Manual Arts
Press, Peoria, Illinois. 1947. reprinted, 1983, Down East Books,
Camden, Maine. ISBN 0-89272-138-3.
The author encourages readers to design their own rugs, and
gives excellent and practical advice on designing rugs with
traditional motifs. The book also contains a number of suggested
projects for beginners, set up in Lessons instead of chapters.
The age of the book shows in the suggested colour combinations
and in the writing style.
* Beatty, Alice and Sargent, Mary. Basic Rug Hooking, 2nd Ed.
(First published as The Hook Book) Stackpole Books, Harrisburg,
A great book of help for learning to hook rugs in the
primitive style. Some good information on dyeing; however, the
authors recommend using both salt *and* vinegar to set the dyes.
Please use salt *or* vinegar, since having both in the same
solution will produce hydrochloric acid that will damage the
fabric. Especially great advice on hooking various motifs and
working with reclaimed woolens.
Beitler, Ethel J. Hooked and Knotted Rugs. Sterling Publishing Co.
Betterton, Sheila. Rugs from The American Museum In Britain.
Bishop, Robert and Secord, William. Quilts, Coverlets, Rugs and
Samplers. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. 1982.
* Blumenthal, Betsy and Kreider, Kathryn. Hands on Dyeing.
Interweave Press, Loveland, CO. 1988.
* Boswell, Thom (Ed.). The Rug Hook Book. Sterling Publishing
Co., New York, NY. 1992.
One of my favourites. This book contains a gallery of
contemporary artists with gorgeous colour plates, a good section
on techniques, a number of projects, and an appendix of patterns
taken from the books of Kent, Kopp & Kopp, and McGown. Jill
Minehart writes, "I especially liked the section where individual
***s "speak" and some of their work is shown."
Bowles, Ella Shannon. Handmade Rugs. Garden City Publishing
Company, Inc., New York, NY. 1937. Little, Brown & Company, Boston,
Contains sections on history, design, wool dyeing, how to
hook, and collecting. Only likely to be useful if you're
interested in natural dyes.
Boyle. Designing for Traditional Rug Hooking.
Boyle, Joan. The Dye Manual. Self-published (P.O. Box 1162,
Prescott, ON, CANADA, K0E 1T0), 1983.
This booklet was recommended to me as a great collection of
dyeing techniques. It contains an introduction to colour theory,
information on Cushing Perfection Dyes, and a wide assortment of
techniques. It's well-organized and easy to follow, and the
author cites other booklets for more information on each
Brescia, Laverne E. Scrolls Are Easy.
Booklet of formulas for coathanger dyeing (a method for dip
Burton, Mary Sheppard. Educational Standards for Traditionally
Hooked Work. Self-published (21600 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown,
MD 20874), 1977.
Carlson, Helen G. The Technique of Rug Hooking. (around 1950)
Casselman, Karen Leigh. Craft of the Dyer.
A great book on natural dyes.
Charleson, Connie. Rug ***s Dye Manual. Privately published
(9920 Weiskopf Dr., New Port Richey, FL 34655), 1974.
Contains clear instructions for dyeing swatches by the jar-
dyeing technique, 60 formulas using Cushing's dyes, and advice on
shading flowers with charts and colour sketches.
* Chiasson, Anselme (Ed.) The History of Cheticamp Hooked Rugs
and their Artisans. Lescarbot Publications, Yarmouth, NS. 1988.
ISBN 0-921443-11-0. (researched by Annie-Rose Deveau and translated
by Marcel LeBlanc; a project of La Societe Saint-Pierre de
A warm and unique history, if eccentric (Father Chiasson
leans a bit heavily on religious anecdotes). Short on technical
information, as the ***s of Cheticamp have trade secrets to
Coss, Melinda and Soudan, Sylvie. Magic Carpets. William Collins
Sons & Co. Ltd., Toronto, Ont. 1989.
Contains 30 designs with colour photos, meant for
latch-hooking or cross-stitch but easily adaptable. No mention of
traditional hand hooking.
Cox, Clarisse. Anyone Can Dye.
Cox, Verna and Moshimer, Joan. Hooking And Braiding (video). Cox
Enterprises, Bucksport, ME. 1993.
Craig, Catherine. Rug Hooking: Here's How. (around 1950)
Crouse, Gloria E. Hooking Rugs: New materials, new techniques
(book and companion video). Taunton Press, Newtown, CT. 1990.
In the video, she discusses various techniques and
materials, shows two projects, and shows a sampler of her
finished pieces. The book has a nice photo gallery, in addition
to the how-to stuff. She doesn't use a hand hook - her interest
is in speed needles and punch needles - but her approach to
materials may appeal to hand hook users as well. I'd advise
against painting***on the back of your rugs like she does
(see section III).
Cuyler, Susanna. The High-Pile Rug Book. Harper & Row,
Publishers, New York, NY. 1974.
Describes many different methods of hooking (hand,
latch-hook, punch needle, shuttle hook, speed hooks, etc.).
Davies, Ann. Rag Rugs. Henry Holt & Company Inc., New York, NY.
Contains a nice techniques section and lots of pretty
photos, and instructions for 12 projects. She mostly focuses on
hand hooking, but other rug making techniques are also used.
de Roos, Claire. How to Dye for Stained Glass Effect.
* DiFranza, Happy and DiFranza, Steve. Hooking Fine Gifts.
Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA. 1992.
Contains an excellent how-to section, 16 projects with
colour photos, a glossary, and a list of suppliers.
Dunn, Adele. How To Design Your Own Rug-Hooking Patterns.
Eberlein, Harold Donaldson and McClure, Abbot. Practical Book of
Early American Arts and Crafts. 1916.
Ebi, Dotti. Scraps or Spots: 115 Formulas For Rug Hooking.
Self-published (501 Kingsbury, Dearborn, MI 48128). 1979.
Clearly written instructions and Cushing's Perfection dye
formulas for overdyeing and spot-dyeing reclaimed woolens or
Elliot, Jane. Color Flow.
Booklet of formulas for dyeing transitional swatches, i.e.
from a dark shade of one dye to a light shade of another.
Fallier, Jeanne H. Traditional Rug Hooking Manual. The Rugging
Room, Westford, MA. 1983.
Felcher, Cecilia. The Complete Book of Rug Making: Folk Methods
and Ethnic Designs. Hawthorne Books, Inc., New York, NY. 1975.
Contains a chapter on hooked rugs, along with many other
rugmaking techniques, and a chapter on dyeing. The chapter on
hooked rugs introduces the use of hand hooks, punch hooks, and
speed hooks, but doesn't discuss any of them thoroughly. Contains
a number of charted designs.
Femiano, Ellen. No Sweat Dyeing. Self-published (6052 Cedar Wood
Dr., Columbia, MD 21044), 1993.
* Field, Jeanne. Shading Flowers. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg,
* Fischer, Jeanne. Dye Reference Cross Index. privately
One easy way to achieve colour harmony in a rug is to use a
group of dye formulas that share a common dye. According to a
review in "The Rug ***, News & Views", the author has compiled
a list of formulas from common dye books and sorted them by dyes
used. Sounds terrific!
Fleming, Edna. (1) 101 Formulas for Casserole Dyeing, 1965. (2)
Fretz. Hooking Rugs.
Grice, Doris. How to Dye for the Rug Hooking Craft.
Booklet of formulas for dyeing transitional swatches, i.e.
from a dark shade of one dye to a light shade of another.
Haight, Dorothy. Oriental Dye Formulas. Self-published (P.O. Box
959, Picton, ON, CANADA, K0K 2T0).
Hallen, Julienne. Folk Art Designs. 1949.
Hansen, Jacqueline. For the Joy of Hooking. (video) Jacqueline
Designs, Scarborough, ME. 1990.
Hicks, Amy Mali. The Craft of Hand-Made Rugs. 1914. Empire State
Book Company, New York, NY. 1936.
Hicks, Lydia. Triple Over Dye, Books I and II. (booklets of
dyeing formulas and techniques). Privately published (The Triple
Over Dye Family, 187 Jane Dr., Syracuse, NY 13219).
* Hornafius, Pat. Country Rugs: How To Design and Hook
Traditional Wool Rugs and***s. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg,
PA. 1992. ISBN 0-8117-3042-5.
Contains excellent advice on design and technique, a section
on rug care and supply sources, and 14 patterns with colour
photos. Focuses on primitive hooking. The advice she gives on
cleaning, repairing, and*** your rugs is especially good. My
only complaints are that she uses salt and vinegar simultaneously
in her dyeing (which will form hydrochloric acid that will weaken
the fabric), and she has a wee tendency to underestimate the savvy
of rural folk ("All these effects were unintentional, I'm
sure..."). The author also has made how-to videos on hooking and
dyeing, which are available from her shop.
Johnson, Mary Elizabeth. Rugs. Oxmoor House Inc., Birmingham,
Contains a chapter on hand hooking, among many other
Kelley, Hazel Reeder. ABC of Rug Making. 1947 pamphlet.
* Kent, William Winthrop. (1) The Hooked Rug. Tudor Publishing,
New York. 1937. Reprint: Gale Research, Detroit. 1971. (2) Rare
Hooked Rugs. The Pond-Ekberg Company, Springfield, Mass. 1941.
(3) Hooked Rug Design. The Pond-Ekberg Company, Springfield,
Mass. 1949. (4) A Primer of Hooked Rug Design. 1941 pamphlet.
Kent's theories, developed in (1), regarding the origin of
rug hooking were embraced at the time and are still widely quoted
by the history buffs. However, today the experts seem to agree
that hooking arose in New England or Atlantic Canada, and reject
Kent's shaky evidence for a European origin. Speculation aside,
these books are a fun read and a great source of design
inspiration, with photos and sketches in both colour and black &
white. Kent focuses on historic designs in (2), and (3) contains
a large section of his own impressive designs.
* Ketchum, William C. Hooked Rugs: a historical and collector's
guide: how to make your own. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York,
NY. 1976. ISBN 0-15-142168-4.
Overall, this is an *excellent* book. It contains: a wide-
ranging history of rug hooking, with lots of region-specific
information (although I noticed some small blunders for the
Canadian info - Garretts only opened a branch in Massachusetts,
rather than moving there, and the Acadians of Cheticamp would be
very offended to be called Quebecois!); information on types of
designs, and excellent advice for collectors; a section of
techniques (primarily punch-needle, with a very brief mention of
the traditional hook) by Richard Flynn; a photo gallery of rugs;
and a gallery of patterns taken from antique rugs. If you have a
history bug (like me), you're starting a collection, or you find
inspiration in antique designs, this book is for you!
King, Mrs. Harry. How To Hook Rugs. Baker & Taylor, New York, NY.
Koehler, Doris H. Color & Contour For Hooked Rugs.
* Kopp, Joel and Kopp, Kate. American Hooked and Sewn Rugs: Folk
Art Underfoot. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, NY. 1st
edition, 1975. 2nd edition, revised and enlarged, 1985.
Wow. This book is lavishly illustrated, and knowledgeably
discusses hooked rugs as a folk art, with relatively unbiased
historical notes. It also contains a great bibliography for you
history buffs, and a short section on how to hook and how to care
for your rugs.
Lambert, Patricia, Staepelaere, Barbara, and Fry, Mary G. Color
and Fiber. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Westchester, PA. 1986.
Lawless, Dorothy. Rug Hooking and Braiding for Pleasure and Profit.
Thomas Y. Crowell, New York, NY. 1962.
* Linsley, Leslie and Aron, Jon. Hooked Rugs: An American Folk
Art. Clarkson N. Potter, New York, NY. 1992.
Contains a short history of the craft (well done, but with a
definite American focus), a how-to section (a little sketchy),
information on collecting and caring for hooked rugs, a huge
photo gallery, and a resource directory (including consultants
and dealers). It's a nice introduction to the craft, but the text
is written primarily from the perspective of a collector. I'm
recommending this book purely on the strength of the exquisite,
inspirational colour photos - it's a visual feast. Jill Minehart
(who recently started a collection of antique hooked rugs)
writes, "I was especially intrigued by the photographs of the
collection... and I was more interested in the information on
collecting than I would have been otherwise."
MacKay, Mary, Robbins, Arlene, and Newhall, Sally. Multi-Dye.
Instructions on painted, dip, gradation, clothespin, and
Majic Carpet Dyes. Pure Majic. (booklet of dye formulas).
Marinoff, K. Getting Started in Handmade Rugs. Bruce Publishing
Company. 1953, 1971.
Martin, Hazel and Riley, Les. A Great Little Book On How To
Hook. Self-published (RFD #3, Box 695, Williamston, NC 27892).
Matthews, Janet. Triple Over Dye, Book III. (booklet of
dyeing formulas and techniques). Privately published (The Triple
Over Dye Family, 187 Jane Dr., Syracuse, NY 13219).
* McGown, Pearl K. (1) The Dreams Beneath Design. Bruce Humphries
Co. Inc., 1939 (a historical survey of early hooked rugs and their
makers). (2) You Can Hook Rugs. Lincoln House, 1951. (3) Color In
Hooked Rugs, 1954 (colour planning and colour theory). (4) Persian
Patterns, 1958. (5) The Lore and Lure of Hooked Rugs. Acton Press
Inc., Acton, Mass. 1966.
Mrs. McGown holds a place of honour in the history and
development of the craft through her designs and her teaching
network, and her books are thought of as bibles in many circles.
(5) is a collection of essays encompassing the recent history of
rug hooking and a showcase of interpretations of the author's
designs. This book rubbed me the wrong way when I first read it -
I felt that she was imposing her ideas about colour and design on
the reader. However, I just reread it and really enjoyed it.
There are lots of gems of advice on dyeing and other techniques
buried in the text - advice that was unrecognizable until I had
learned the basics. I'd especially recommend it if you are
interested in the tapestry hooking techniques that the McGown
McLain. (1) Anyone Can Dye. (2) Shading With Swatches. Privately
published (Jane Olsen, P.O. Box 351, Hawthorne, CA 90250).
Meilach, Dona Z. Making Contemporary Rugs and Wall***s.
Abelard-Schuman, New York, NY. 1970.
Contains a chapter on how to hook, among *many* other
techniques. She encourages originality of design, which is a
treat. I wouldn't recommend that you follow the harsh cleaning
techniques that she suggests.
* Memorial University Art Gallery. The Fabric of Their Lives:
hooked and poked mats of Newfoundland and Labrador. exhibition
catalogue, Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.
John's, Nfld. 1980.
Contains an excellent discussion of the history of rug
hooking in Newfoundland and elsewhere, notes on the rugs shown in
the exhibit, and photos of each rug. A wonderful antidote to the
New England focus of many historical discussions.
Moshimer, Joan (Ed.). Craftsman "Primitive" Guide for Hooked
Rugs: A How To Manual. W. Cushing & Co./Craftsman Studios,
Kennebunkport, Maine. 1974, 1976,...
Equal parts pattern catalogue and magazine, filled with
(many discontinued) designs, articles, and helpful hints. Many of
the excellent articles are reprinted from The Rug ***, News
* Moshimer, Joan. The Complete Book of Rug Hooking. Dover
Publishing Inc. 1989. ISBN 0-486-25945-5. (republication of 3rd
edition of The Complete Rug ***: A Guide to the Craft, Leith
Publications, Kennebunkport, ME; 1st edition, New York Graphic
Society, Boston, MA, 1975.)
The author is truly one of the giants, with decades of
experience as a ***, dyer, teacher, designer, and editor, and
she has been instrumental in the current revival of the craft. This
book is engagingly written and filled with excellent advice. It
contains: a short history of rug hooking, focussed on New England;
basic how-to directions; excellent information on dyeing techniques
and Cushing's Perfection dyes (which her company sells), and many
dye formulas; advice on hooking different types of motifs, from
geometrics to primitives to finely shaded florals to pictorials;
and suggested projects to help you increase your skills. The advice
she gives on dyeing and shading is especially detailled. Definitely
an industry standard.
* Moshimer, Joan. Hooked On Cats. Stackpole Books, PA. 1991. ISBN
This book is aimed squarely at the cat lovers among us, with
terrific advice on designing and hooking cat rugs, Cushing's
Perfection dye formulas for cat fur colours, a colour gallery of
cat rugs for inspiration, and a number of projects ranging in
difficulty. However, I suspect that the author's advice will be
equally valuable to anyone interested in hooking a portrait of a
favorite non-feline pet. You'll also find basic how-to directions
on hooking, dyeing, and finishing techniques, a glossary of terms,
a list of suppliers, and a unique section on the monetary value of
Moshimer, Joan. (1) Imari Formulas. (2) Jacobean Formulas.
Booklets of Cushing's Perfection dye formulas.
* Moshimer, Joan, Ed. The Rug ***, News and Views
Absolutely classic, b*** with reprints from out-of-print
books, free designs and excellent articles. The predecessor of
Rug Hooking magazine. I'd love to see someone publish a
compilation of these!
Neel. I'd Rather Dye Laughing.
O'Brien, Mildred J. Rug and Carpet Book. M. Barrows & Co., New
York, NY. 1946.
Parker, Xenia Ley. Hooked Rugs and Ryas. Henry Regnery Company,
Contains one chapter about traditional hand hooking, and
many chapters on latch-hook techniques. Also contains a
black-and-white photo gallery featuring the finest in disco vests
and shaggy carpet bags.
Phillips, Anna M. Laise. Hooked Rugs & How To Make Them. The
Mavmillan Co., New York, NY. 1930.
Poole, Shirley. Basic Solutions. (booklet of formulas for Majic
Reis, Estelle H. American Rugs. World Publishing Co., Cleveland.
* Rex, Stella Hay. Practical Hooked Rugs, 2nd edition.
Cobblesmith, Ashville, Maine. 1975. (1st edition: Prentice Hall,
New York, NY, 1949.)
Now out of print. Charming, b*** with helpful hints,
and, yes, practical, if a bit dogmatic about appropriate colour
schemes to use.
Rompkey, Richard. Grenfell of Labrador: A Biography. University
of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ont. 1991.
* Ryan, Nanette and Wright, Doreen. Garretts and the Bluenose
Rugs of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS. 1990.
Gives a balanced and accurate history of the Garretts
company, including the text of a lecture about the company given
by Cecil Garrett to a group of Halifax businessmen in 1927, and a
transcript of a conversation with Cameron Garrett. The text is
followed by reprints of Bluenose Rug patterns taken from the long
out-of-print Garretts catalogues. A fabulous design source. Since
these patterns were widely available through department stores in
addition to the mail-order service, this book may also help you
identify the source of your heirloom rugs. (Contact Spruce Top
Rug Hooking Studios to order a copy.)
Sargent, Walter. The Enjoyment and Use of Colour. Dover
Publications, Inc., New York, NY. 1964. (republication of the
1923 edition by Charles Scribner's Sons)
Recommended by many other authors as a fine introduction to
colour theory; written with painters in mind, but equally useful
for rug design.
Sleeper, Barbara. Analogous Dyeing.
Sprout. Hooked Rug and Flower Shading.
Sprout, Mildred. How To Dye for Rug Making.
Stratton, C***te K. Rug Hooking Made Easy. Harper & Row, New
York, NY. 1955.
Taylor, Mary Perkins. How To Make Hooked Rugs. David McKay Co.,
Terrio, Joan. The Microwave Dye Book and Heather Hues Dye Formulas.
Privately published (P.O. Box 13, Needham, MA 02192). 1981.
The current wisdom is that microwave dyeing is NOT a safe
technique to use. However, these instructions are written clearly
and with good humour, and the (Cushing's Perfection) dye formulas
can be used in more conventional methods of dyeing. The dye
formulas all contain Taupe, and give "soft and mellow shades".
Turbayne, Jessie A. (1) Hooked Rugs: History and the Continuing
Tradition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Westchester, PA. 1991. (2) The
***s' Art: Evolving Designs in Hooked Rugs. Schiffer Publishing
Ltd., Westchester, PA. 1993.
Tynan, Jean. Dyeing For Primitive Rug ***s. Privately published
(The Blue Door, 18585 38th Avenue N., Plymouth, MN 55441).
* Underhill, Vera Bisbee. Creating Hooked Rugs. Coward-McCann,
Inc., New York, NY. 1951. (Now out of print.)
Walker, Lydia LeBaron. Homecraft Rugs. Frederick A. Stokes Co., New
York, NY. 1929.
Waugh, Elizabeth, and Foley, Edith. Collecting Hooked Rugs. The
Century Publishing Co., New York, NY. 1927.
Wilcox, Bettina. Hooked Rugs for Fun and Profit. 1949 pamphlet.
Wiseman, Ann. Rags, Rugs, and Wool Pictures. Scribners, New York,
* Wiseman, Ann. Rag Tapestries and Wool Mosaics. Van Nostrand
Reinhold Co., New York, NY. 1969.
Has lots of photos, a good technique section using both hand
and speed hooks, and encourages original design. Cool.
Woman's Day. Today's Hooking. 1942 pamphlet.
Young, Arthur. (1) America Gets Hooked. (2) The Lyrics of Fiber.
Booksplus of Maine, Lewiston, ME.
* Zarbock, Barbara J. The Complete Book of Rug Hooking. Van
Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, NY. 1961.
Znamierowski, Nell. Step-by-Step Rugmaking. Golden Press, New York,
..and finally, the books with no author...
ATHA: Newsletter of the Association of Traditional Hooking
Artists. (periodical) Association of Traditional Hooking Artists.
A subscription to this magazine-length newsletter is
included in your membership in ATHA. The recent issues I've seen
are reminiscent of the old "Rug ***: News and Views": lots of
ads for suppliers and privately published books, lots of tips and
articles, free designs, and loads of announcements and reports
from different regions.
* A Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg,
PA. 1991, 1992, 1993.
An annual series, edited by the staff of Rug Hooking
magazine, showcasing the work of ***s, and including advice on
technique. B*** with gorgeous colour photos.
Diamond Dye Rug Book. Wells and Richardson Co., Montreal, PQ.
1899. Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
microfiche series, pre-1900 Canadiana, (c) 1982, no. 01194.
Only of interest to history buffs. The text describes how to
hook, plugs the company's wares, and includes brief and vague
descriptions of the patterns. The colour plates are largely
* Rug Hooking. (periodical) Stackpole Inc.
Published five times a year. The only contemporary magazine
dedicated to hand-hooked rugs. Contains advice, free patterns,
and feature articles. A lot of the giants and experts in the
field are on the editorial board. Fabulous source of information.
* The Rug Hooking Magazine Sourcebook. Stackpole Books,
From the "about the sponsor" section of A Celebration of
Hand-Hooked Rugs III:
"Containing addresses and phone numbers of virtually every
teacher, designer, and supplier in the United States and Canada
in a highly organized format..."
Gosh, sounds like the bible to me. I haven't seen a copy, so I
don't know how up-to-date this book is, but Stackpole Books have
an excellent track record.