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Little Harbour Hookers showing work at The Bistro

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NEW GLASGOW — Rug hooking is both an art and a craft. Cut strips of wool or yarn are pulled through a backing cloth with a crochet-type hook.

In the 1850s, machine rugs were becoming popular. They were expensive so this country craft was born out of necessity. Hooking became very popular in New England, the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador. Traditionally old clothes and scraps of wool were saved, dyed and cut and maybe a burlap potato bag was used as the backing. It was the ultimate in re-use.

In the 1900s New Glasgow was a hub of hooking. The Garret Family created and produced their Bluenose Patterns that were sold all over Canada, United States and Britain.

In recent times hookers have explored new materials and techniques. New styles and patterns have emerged and this old technique has taken its place with fiber artists.

Harbour Hookers is the rug hooking group in Little Harbour. The women get together once a week to work on their own hooking projects or to work on a community rug. The community rug is later raffled with the monies going to a local charity. This year is the 15th year for the group’s community rug. Members have donated more than $25,000 to local charities with their rugs.

This year’s display has a maritime theme. Many of the rugs are framed in parts of the wooden lobster traps — the hoops, the entrance rings and the door. Typically, a rug can take six months to make and the Harbour Hookers are known for their unique patterns.

The Harbour Hookers work is currently on display at The Bistro on Archimedes Street; drop in to see their work of hooked rugs, paintings, and wall hangings during July and August.