Rug Hookers from several Northeast states have been meeting annually in Alfred, Maine for years, but this year’s event was held at Oceanwood Conference Center in Ocean Park. Dubbed “Alfred at Oceanwood,” the event was coordinated by Lauri Troutman and attended by over 20 people who came to enjoy and to hook with friends.
Alma Duseault and her friend Whitney drove up from Connecticut. Alma was working on a spectacular rug first started by 94-year-old Jeannie Zook back in 1981. Jeannie had completed most of the flowers before she passed and Alma has a lot to do to complete this treasure. She was working on leaves and acorns. She had removed most of the beige background and replaced it with a more durable wool. Ethel Hills, a former organizer of the Alfred retreat, was given the rug by Jeannie’s son, and Ethel asked Alma if she could “hook low,” meaning using #3-cut fabric strips. To match the colors, Alma checks her stash, replacing colors with not-enough variation in shading, and working diligently to keep the piece consistent. This is a museum-worthy masterpiece in the making and we can’t wait to see it completed.
Nancy Wingate was hooking with a very wide-cut fabric to create a highly-textured piece. The effect is different from “Proddy,” a British variation of rug hooking which uses shaped pieces of wool fabric lifted up to create three-dimensional elements. According to Nancy, one rule in hooking is, “The width of the fabric strip equals the height of the pile.”
Around the room, women were busily working, talking and laughing. Several members had brought rugs to put on display. They were also learning from each other, finishing up treasures and starting others anew. It was a glorious Spring day for a hook-in and folks were happy to gather in person.