Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 19 > Page 48 - Martha Bailey Makes Poked Rugs

Page 48 - Martha Bailey Makes Poked Rugs

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (382 reads)

Martha Bailey Makes Poked Rugs In issue 3 of Cape Breton's P/Iagazine, Maisie Morrison of Wreck Cove showed us the basic steps in the making of a hooked rug from the traditional materials of bur? lap and rags. The Cheticamp rug is a re? finement of those basic methods, using new spun wool. We met Martha Bailey of Schoon? er Pond, and she showed us yet another kind of rug, still using burlap stretched on a frame, and rags. But whereas Ffeisie was using long strips of rag and hooking bits of the strip up through the burlap. Miss Bailey cuts her rags into pieces 2 or 3 inches long, about 1 inch wide. She said that you could cut the strips even longer, but they will tend to lay down in the fin? ished rug. If you stick to the shorter strip (2-3 inches), the strips will stay up. She calls the kind of rug she makes a "Ruggy Jack," a term her mother used for them. She told us that the kind of rug Maisie Morrison made was known to her as the "Canadian mats." Watching Miss Bailey work on a rug, poking the strips through the burlap with a tool made from an old wooden clothespin • we remembered that rugs like,this are actually called "Poked Rugs" in Newfoundland. And W. W. Kent in his book, The Hooked Rug, says the hooked rug technique originated in the British method of "thrumming." "A thrum," he writes, "is a short cut-off piece of yarn or cloth." And thrumming was a method of poking so the two ends showed • exactly the method Miss Bailey uses. She keeps boxes and boxes filled with rag strips cut ready for rug making. She makes a hole in the burlap with her tool, pokes one end of a strip through, goes over a- bout 3 strands of burlap, pokes another hole, then jabs the other end of the strip through. Then she pulls both ends through and snug, and feels as she pulls so they are of equal length. Then she goes over a- bout 3 strands and pokes a hole and puts one end of the next strip through. You can go closer to the last strip (perhaps leave only one or two strands of burlap between), but her mother always said if they were too close they would have too little hold and were likely to come out quicker. These Ruggy Jacks have the added pleasure of the two sides being so completely dif? ferent. You can have either side up. And Miss Bailey said that it is not wise to wash them. Just give a good shaking. Cape Breton's Magazine/48
Cape Breton's Magazine
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