I've always called rugs artwork for the floor (and walls if you like tapestries). The featured post below by Tea and Carpets talks about how the traditional past time of hand-making hooked rugs developed in the USA and the rest of North America.
I personally enjoy reading Tea and Carpet because of the stories behind items (yes, I also haunt local antique stores and flea markets for the one treasure). The writing flows well and is quite informative.
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It is always fascinating to see how rugs in so many parts of the world originated as practical necessities but evolved into items of art.
One example is hooked rugs.
They are a peculiarly North American creation that began as floor coverings and today are just as likely to be prized wall hangings.
Just how hooked rugs evolved in the 1800s is a fascinating story.
Author William Winthrop Kent writes that the earliest forebears of hooked rugs were the floor mats made in Yorkshire, England in the early days of the industrial revolution.
At that time, workers in weaving mills were allowed to collect the excess pieces of yarn that were by-products of the work. The pieces, which were called “thrums” and usually some 9 inches (23 cm) long, were valuable to the workers because yarn in general was expensive and the products of the mills were affordable only to the middle and upper classes.
The mill workers put the thrums to good use.
They pulled the strips of yarn, one by one, through a grid backing to make carpets. The backing was linen or burlap or any other such heavy material and the tool for pulling the yarn through was a simple hook with a wooden handle.
Later, this technique transferred to North America, specifically to New England and the Canadian Maritimes, and flourished.
It became a favorite way for poorer households in these regions to produce colorful floor covering at a time when most 19th century homes had unsightly floors that were hastily cobbled together by the builders from softwood boards of random sizes.
Read more here...
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