Monday, March 17, 2014

Antique Patchwork Background Study

In a previous post I commented about how antique rugs often had the blocks of color or 'patchwork' style.  That is what I'm trying to replicate in my Chicken Challenge Rug.
People used what they had and made do using what was available.  They were not a 'throw away' society as we are today.  Frankly I'm guilty of that by selling a frame I don't like until one just seems right.  The folk then would have made their own hooking frame and made do.  They would have taken a nail and chiseled it or bent it, inserted it into a piece of wood and called it their hook.  I'm guilty of not only have those precious antique hooks purchased in an antique shop (which I of course used as soon as I got home), but also have my wonderful Hartman and a back up Hartman in case one gets suddenly missing.  (oh dear, but this is going to be a long blog post I'm afraid as I'm going off in a tangent....sorry)

First antique rug will be the inspiration for my adaptation of the Chicken Challenge Rug where I used the patchwork as my background.
While some womenfolk clearly used what they had to hook in their rug and mixed homespun cottons, denim, red union suits, stockings, etc., all in the same rug I still wonder about their history.  Did some of the rugs have natural dyes over the various textiles so they started out close to the same color..... But then faded differently because of their textile origin?  Or did they use obvious different colors in the background?

This dog rugs seems to be very similar in color choices except for the block in the right corner.  Yet you can see variation in color throughout, but close.
Another dog rug shows not only the patchwork background but a patchwork dog.
Here are two more perfect examples of patchwork and also wonder if the person hooking said to themselves..."okay, I've this much of this color and I'll hook a block or in this direction until I run out." 

Even the floral below, while a more formal type of rug for the time I think, also has discoloration in the background. 
 Oh but I do love this whole picture and wish I could spend the night in there.  I truly love this rug and it, like many others, are on my 'to do' list.  Definitely should have started hooking earlier because there are too many on the list and too many in my stash.
Below, this antique Red Bird I've shown you before, I've hooked it and have sold some patterns of it.  T'was another of my loved antique pieces I wanted to hook.  Again, as I look at it my mind travels to the wool and wondering where it came from.  What was faded and what was worn to change the color?  But look at the flat black which is still vivid.  OR, was that a repair?   AND, the original color and back of the rug might have indicated it was indeed a red bird but age and wear changed it's color.
 Sometimes it is more the patchwork and discoloration which attracts me than the subject matter. The first thing my eyes go to in the rug below is the color rather than the flowers and doves.  The motifs come in second to my attraction.  Not sure what that says about me.
Oh my but there are more photos that I could share and perhaps that will be another background study show as this is getting to be a long post. 

For you hookers who don't do primitive I'm sure this has been a boring read; for those of you who would like to replicate antiques this is a great study.

NOW...... for the record!!!!!!  I do not try to replicate the antiques to pass them off as antiques!!!!!  The main reason I taught myself to hook was because I wanted an antique rug and could not afford to buy one or travel in search of one.  Instead decided to teach myself how to hook and make one myself.  Oh but that wasn't very smart of me because it became an obsession with hooking rugs.  I'm sure many of you are in the same boat... a long list of rugs to do. 

OH!!!!! There was some more hooking done on the Chicken Challenge rug but also a lot of stuff to deal with the snow but no new photo.  This was the reading first thing this morning before 7 a.m.  But then it continued to snow.
Where the heck is spring?

Have a good evening, wrap up and stay warm.  Please don't over do the snow shoveling.  Work a and go back.  Hugs to all.




  1. Love so many of the rugs you've shared!!! So many little time...sigh.
    I just have one Hartman and it's the only hook I use. I keep saying I need to purchase another "just in case" but I've yet to do so.
    Happy St. Paddy's Day. I hope your snow is no longer falling.
    O'pug hugs :)

  2. I am always so happy when you share your rugs and who the heck thought you were passing off new rugs for old?????

  3. I would love to stay a bit in that room and hook that rug as well! Thanks for showing such beautiful rugs and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Saundra,
    Like you, I learned to hook because I loved the look of antique rugs....I have a rug that I hooked using mis-matched background and it's still one of my favorite. Like you, I wonder what was going on with the people who hooked the rugs...I truly think they were just making do with what they had to work with, and even though I've kind of transitioned over to bright colors, I've been trying to work through my stash and work with what I have....I just think, years from now, I want people wondering about MY rugs. I also wonder how bright those original rugs were to begin with. I'm just afraid that people replicating the old soft colors of the old rugs, will have super washed out colors years and years from now. Of course, I'm not too worried about it, nor should anyone worry about it, because we'll be gone by then :)
    Living for the now!

  5. omg, I love the antique primitive look on a hooked rug.....hard for me to replicate...wonderful post and thank you

  6. Love it when you share pics of the old rugs! Someday I hope to be able to hook a replica.A girl can dream can't she? Sorry about the snow,Spring seems slow about showing up this year.Be blessed and thanks for the informative post.Jen


Thanks for taking the time to visit and I always welcome comments.