A Thankful Inheritance: Traditional Rug Hooking

Nina's Lighthouse


I’ve always gravitated towards the textile arts and became intrigued with traditional rug hooking after spending a month touring the Canadian Maritime provinces (2008). I purchased a very simple rug hooking kit, scissors and a couple of rug hooking books from  http://www.encompassingdesigns.com/index.html. I was able to get the centre of the rug (a chair pad) complete using a hoop. I tried building a square frame to hold the burlap so that I could complete the project but that didn’t work out very well! ;) Needless to say it isn’t yet finished.

Fast forward to the summer of 2012. My mother-in-law, Nina Almas, was a rug hooker. I didn’t realize how long she’d been hooking and how much she had accumulated in her quest as a traditional rug hooker until I took charge of organizing her supplies. Nina passed away in June and as the family began the dismantling of the family home it became clear to me that no one understood anything about her hobby. She was not unlike me, or you, the quilter. She had hundreds of dollars worth of wool yardage, cut and uncut,  Scottish burlap, linen, monks cloth and magazines.  Nina also owned a Puritan frame and floor stand along with a Bliss Model A cutter and blades. She had everything and more that a rug hooker would need.

Rug Hooking Supplies

As I worked my way through all the bags and boxes of wool, patterns (drawings on burlap or linen), and partially finished products (UFOs) I discovered that Nina had been hooking since the late 1980′s. I understood almost immediately that all these supplies needed to be sorted with care and distributed in a way that would respect Nina’s chosen hobby and be of benefit to other rug hookers. I contacted a mutual friend who is also a rug hooker and asked her if the Dogwood Traditional Rug Hookers (Nina’s group) would be interested in receiving the bulk of the wool and patterns as well as the UFOs. Several boxes and bags will be going to the group for a donation to the Cancer Society. I’ve been lucky to inherit the cutter, frame and enough wool to keep me going when I’m not busy quilting.

FV Nina Ellen

The partially hooked rug to the left is of special significance to me. The Nina Ellen was a wood troller built in 1964 in Nanaimo. Stan Almas had the boat built and named it after his wife. Steve and I fished the Nina Ellen up and down the coast of British Columbia for 13 years. This piece is amazing because there is no mistaking that this IS the Nina Ellen. One day I would like to finish this piece, it is just a little bit beyond my current hooking skills. The lighthouse at the top of the page is something that I can actually complete now.  I figure I’ll start by completing my simple chair pad and then go ahead and finish Nina’s lighthouse. The rug below was one of Nina’s first pieces and now has a place on my quilting room floor, away from all the threads. ;)

Safe Harbour Nina…and Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye

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One Response to A Thankful Inheritance: Traditional Rug Hooking

  1. Melanie Morrison says:

    That was a lovely tribute to a lovely lady. I haven’t been able to hook much for the last few years and just found out yesterday that Nina had passed away. She was a joy to know. There was always laughter where Nina was sitting. I’m sure You will enjoy Nina’s treasures as much as she did. Those treasures passed along come with love.