Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 42 - The Story of the Cheticamp Rug

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (1603 reads)
 

The Story of the Cheticamp Rug Mrs. Willy D. Deveau: I knew Miss Burke, yes. She bought some of my rugs, when I was hooking. She was the one who started the large rugs. People had been hooking before, and she bought their hooking • and then she started having special orders made. But the people here were hooking already. They were working with rags, but they were also work? ing with wool. You know, those days people were all wearing woolen socks and woolen mitts • and after they were all worn they used to cut them in strips and undo them, unravel them. If you cut them right in strips, they came out little ravelers. And if you had woolen blankets made on the loom all worn out • the people were cutting them up and they were unravelling the wool off of it and the cotton warp would stay in their hands. I used to like to do that. I did it a thousand times. We'd keep the wool and throw the cotton away, and then we'd mix the old unravelled yarn with a little bit of new wool. And we'd spin it again. But first they had to wash it with soap and hot water. And they had something like plungers, like what we had to churn our but? ter. It was not the butter churner; it was a yarn churner • but it was the same thing. Just a cross of wood and a handle. And then we'd turn it in the water. They used to do it in an old churn or any small tub. But an old churn did better because when you were churning there was no mess. And in there Cape Breton's Magazine/42 would be yarn taken out of mitts and socks and old blankets. And then they used to rinse it and wring it with their hands. And then they used to put it to dry. If it was in the wintertime and it was a nice day they would put it on a blanket outside • if it wasn't too cold. But even if it froze it didn't matter because anything that freezes • if you have something out on the line and it freezes--it doesn't take as long to dry as a wet one from the tub. I've often tried that. In the spring and summer it was drying outside. But in the wintertime they used to take it in when it was not quite dry, and they had big stoves with legs on a platform covered with tin. They used to spread their yarn underneath the stove. And now they'd take it and card it. At first only carding to kind of fluff it up. Then, if you wanted to put a little new wool in it, this was the time, when it was fluffed up. Then you'd card it all over again. Then a little bit of new wool in it would make it stronger. Then you'd card it and card it and make rolls. And then you're ready to spin. You'd spin it on the spinning wheel. And it was making very nice yarn. And with this yarn we would hook rugs. When the yarn was taken from old mitts and socks, it was mostly white • mostly the sand-
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