Thursday, October 18, 2012

My New Rug Hooking Frames and Thoughts on Rug Making

Rug Hooking Frame made by Yvon Michaud of Cheticamp, NS

I have been fascinated by East Coast Rug Hooking since I discovered the books written by Deanne Fitzpatrick who tells stories with her colourful hooked rugs.   Many of her rugs describe growing up in Newfoundland and the history and customs of the people (she is located in Nova Scotia now).  The accompanying narratives add more depth and emotion to the stories in her rugs.    I am drawn to new ways to tell stories with art and to the simplicity (you only have to learn one stitch) yet complexity (capturing a design with that one stitch) of rug hooking.   Deanne has online courses available and I am hoping to take one.   Closer to home, rug hooker Loretta Moore teaches classes and workshops as well and I am thinking about signing up for one of hers as well.  

When I was in Newfoundland my friend  showed me the beautiful hooked wall hangings she has done and took me to the shop of a rug hooker and teacher.  I returned by myself to watch people busy at work hooking rugs for an upcoming event.

 A few years later I visited both Les Trois Pignons museum and Jean's Gift shop near Cheticamp and saw what possibilities exist for creating beautiful rugs and wall hangings.   I was 'hooked'.  
Museum had some amazing detailed historical pieces of Prime Ministers, Presidents and scenes from history

More museum pieces - What detail and colour!

More of our Heritage

The Museum has loads of fascinating details about the history of rug hooking in the Cheticamp area
I started gathering wool yarn wherever I went because much of the work I first saw in Newfoundland was hooked with yarn rather than strips of wool fabric.   I bought a hook and using a picture frame as a base, I started to hook.  But I found the frame difficult to work with as the work sagged and came loose from the frame etc.  so my first piece gathered dust on a shelf.

In September when I was in Cape Breton, I again visited Les Trois Pignons and saw some nice tabletop frames and a beautiful floor model that they were using for demos.   I got the name of the maker because I was flying home soon after and contacted him from Ontario for more information.  I ended up purchasing both this floor model and the tabletop one.

The gears keep the work nice and taut

It was easy to assemble

My cat checking out my new tabletop rug hooking frame
 They are exactly what I was looking for!!   These traditional Cheticamp style frames are highly regarded by rug hookers.   Yvon Michaud of Cheticamp is the maker of these particular frames.  His prices are very reasonable, and the frames are well made of kiln dried maple.  He was prompt and answered all my questions.  The shipping was not expensive, the frames arrived quickly, were well packed, and I was able to assemble both frames easily by myself.   I also purchased another hook from him.   I would highly recommend his work and if anyone is interested I would be happy to give you his contact information.

I have attached the small piece I was working on to the tabletop frame (which I purchased for its portability) and it works well.  The piece is sewn to the two canvas strips and held at the sides with the cup hooks (string on one side because it is such a small piece).   Both rollers can be adjusted for tension and the work stays taut never saggy.  My technique is still pretty rudimentary and I won't show you the back of the piece...

I am in the process of designing a piece which I will do on my larger frame.   There is lots of great info online, videos on you tube and lists of wool supplies as well.    But the first thing I did (because I want to start working with wool strips) is to go to the thrift shops and purchase old wool clothing, wash and dry them, and disassemble them into pieces to be cut into strips.
Three blazers and a wool scarf ready for use

A wool and silk blazer and wool camel coat - still to be disassembled

This fuschia coat was a real find for me - love that colour

 It is a bit of work (I'm thankful for my seam ripper) but less expensive than buying yardage.   Another great thing to have is a cutting machine to cut the strips but they are expensive so I'll have to make do with my rotary cutter.

I was surprised at the emotions that came up as I was taking apart these second hand clothes.   I thought a lot about the people whose hands sewed these coats especially when coming upon inner stitching/basting obviously done by hand.   The linings and interlinings, padding etc that goes into the construction of a coat or jacket gave me such respect for the workers who do the work and I wondered about the conditions they work in and the pay they received.   I also felt a little guilty taking apart their work when people could still be wearing these clothes.  However the thrift shop had reduced them for sale and I reasoned that they wanted to make room for newer stock.  Perhaps I was saving them from the landfill.  I also thought about the people who had worn those clothes.  I have worn second hand clothing before but the act of handling and unstitching the clothes seemed to give rise to a more intimate connection with the makers and wearers.   I wonder if others have ever experienced these feelings.   Quite unanticipated!

I'm also starting a few other quilting projects - including a colour wheel challenge, some water themed pieces, and goddess dolls.  More about that later.   What a long post this is!


  1. It is a recycling....and yes I have felt those emotions when I have used old clothing. I think your projects will be wonderful and look forward to what you discover along the way.

  2. I am so there! I love love rug hooking - and yes, Deanne is a fabulous inspiration.

    : )

    Looking forward to seeing more...
    Monika K.
    in Saskatoon

  3. Would love contact information for Yvon

  4. Would also like contact info for Yvon Michaud of Cheticamp if possible?
    Thank you!

  5. Please may I have the info for contact of Yvon Michaud?

  6. I would love the contact information for Yvon Michaud. MAny thanks.

  7. Hi Juanita,
    I don't see the comment I left yesterday, so maybe it didn't post. I would so appreciate the contact info for Yvon. Thank you, Laurie from California :)

  8. I am also interested in the contact information regarding the cheticamp frame.

  9. Would you send me contact for Cheticamp maker? Thanks


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