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Crafty women enjoy rug hooking

BY APRIL ANTONIAZZI A group of happy hookers has taken up residence at the Older Adult Centre on Durham St. It started last October when the centre offered a course on rug hooking, and the group continues to grow.
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Kathy Wagner enjoys learning about the art of rug hooking at the Older Adult Centre.

BY APRIL ANTONIAZZI

A group of happy hookers has taken up residence at the Older Adult Centre on Durham St.

It started last October when the centre offered a course on rug hooking, and the group continues to grow. There are now 15 members who meet regularly every Thursday.

Rug hooking is the technique of inserting thin strips of wool through a base of burlap with the help of a hook. Most of the women in the group have finished their first project, a pillow top, and have moved on to tackle their own more challenging creative endeavours.


"You can learn in 10 minutes, it's just pulling up a loop," said rug-hooking instructor Debbie Bloom.

The mechanics of the craft may be easy, but it's the unlimited creative potential that makes it appealing to those who participate.

Once the desired pattern is drawn onto the base material, usually burlap or linen, wool of any colour is hooked in to create the rug. After the basics are mastered, anything goes.

"I learn the rules and once I knew the rules I figured out how to break them," said Kathy Wagner. She is working on a wall hanging for her granddaughter using scraps of material she had around the house.

The women dye their fabrics to achieve the desired result and often buy wool garments at second-hand stores to use for their craft.

Their finished projects often become gifts for friends and family, because after putting so much work into something, it's hard to part with it. If they were to sell their projects, the going rate is $125 per square foot, explained Bloom.

Bloom encourages anyone completing a hooking project to write their names and the dates they began and finished the project, as well as a dedication, on the back of their work.

"It makes the difference between a rug ending up in a yard sale and ending up in a historical society or a museum," explained Bloom.

She has met women who remember learning how to knit or sew with their mothers and want to pass on the craft of rug hooking to their own daughters now.

There are two main rug-hooking suppliers in Ontario, but if you're joining the Thursday group the materials can be purchased from Bloom.

"You don't need a lot of equipment. It's not expensive to get started," she said.

The Older Adult Centre of Sudbury offers many classes and workshops for those over 50, including computers, health and wellness and arts. A yearly membership to the Older Adult Centre costs $35 and gives members a discounted price on the courses offered. Non-members can try their hand at rug hooking for a $3 fee.