Rug hooking club to display work at Perryopolis quilt show
By Colleen Pollock
Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Barbara Stanley of Jefferson Township took a class in rug hooking a few years ago and has since been “literally hooked.”
Stanley is the newest member of the Wooly Weavers rug hooking club that meets in members' homes twice a month to work on their traditional folk art rugs and wall hangings.
The quilts and rugs will be displayed on the second floor of the Grist Mill at Sampey Park in Perryopolis during the Pioneers Days Quilt Show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the event is free.
Members will conduct demonstrations from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“I started rug hooking on my own for awhile but then got involved in this group,” said Stanley, who joined the club in February.
“It's great, it's so much fun. I love to be creative and this is just one more way I'm able to do that,” she added.
Rug hooking is an art form that dates back more than 200 years in North America, initially showing up in the New England and Canadian Maritime provinces.
The craft involves using narrow strips of fabric, usually wool or yarn, that are pulled through a stiff woven fabric backing such as burlap to create the hooked rugs.
Charter member Toni Dzurko of Perryopolis said the local club started about 12 years ago with five members.
It now includes eight craftswomen who meet to hook, teach, socialize, inspire and encourage one another.
“It's a very basic, very simple art. We are willing to teach anyone to help them get started,” said Dzurko.
“It's traditional rug hooking which differs from your latch hook or your punch needle hooking,” explained Dzurko.
“Latch hook and punch needle hooking use yarn, whereas the traditional hooking uses wool.”
Dzurko said six of the members create rugs with a primitive or simpler pattern using a one-fourth-inch or wider strips of fabric. She said the other two member prefer fine-hooking that uses narrower strips, such as one-sixteenth-inch, to produce a more detailed or realistic look.
“The method is the same, but the finished project is different,” said Dzurko.
Designs for the rugs can be simple or complex, commercially produced or hand-designed. Club members dye the wool to achieve the design colors.
Dzurko said club members purchase wool fabric online or utilize material found in old clothing or other items.
She said rug hooking supplies, at one time, were difficult to acquire, but online access has made purchasing them much easier.
She said specialty shops in Ligonier and Scenery Hill were the only stores that sold the supplies. “The craft is coming back now,“ said Dzurko. “I think it's gaining popularity again because online shopping is so prevalent you can find everything you want for rug hooking,” she said.
“What's nice is that we can actually use the rugs we make to put on the floor, use them to give to our children and relatives, hang them or use the smaller ones for the front of a pillow.“
Dzurko said it sometimes takes a year to produce one rug.
“It's a slow process because were don't do it continuously. It's a slow process that fits into our lifestyles. It satisfies a need to create for our own enjoyment,” Dzurko said.
“Getting together as a group adds to that enjoyment because we see what the others are working on. We encourage each other and it keeps us working actively.
The club also works collectively on projects such as the centennial rug made especially for the community's bicentennial celebration a few years back.
Dzurko said raffle chances for the centennial rug will be sold during Pioneer Days.
Colleen Pollock is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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