The hooked rug craze got started in Maine in the 1830s. Women had long been making textiles for their homes, and when one innovative gal realized she could use scraps of wool to make durable and bold decorative rugs, the idea spread across the East Coast like wild fire. By the 1870s not only could women come up with their own designs, and hook freehand, whole kits and stencils were available. Rug hooking is fast work, and satisfying. Common themes including floral wreaths and swags, animals, especially dogs, cats, horses, sheep, and lions, and outdoor scenes such as ships at sea and the family farm. By the 1920s, antique dealers realized the beauty and importance of this humble folk art, and drew national attention to the lovely rugs that were coming out of New England, especially Maine, and especially Waldoboro, Maine where some of the finest and most sought after rugs were made. The earliest hooked rugs, with fine and unique design, and in excellent condition can sell for upwards of $5,000 today. Because rug hooking was such a popular late 19th and early 20th century past time, however, many fine examples can be had for far less than that. I have purchased two early 20th century hooked rugs, both with floral designs, both for under $5 at the flea market. The diligent hunter can still score a lovely piece for the cost of a cup of coffee.
Typically, the rugs are now hung, and honored as the art form they truly are. They're a wonderful way to add color and charm to your home, just as they were 150 years ago for the women who initially made them. Here are some lovely examples hung below.
|A vintage geometric pattern hooked rug leads the eye down the hallway in this space.|
|I love this bird themed rug, so colorful and cheerful. The sea green cupboard is equally fabulous!|
|This early hooked hug has a unique geometric heart pattern. It's a lovely example.|
|A fabulous space. I love the vertically oriented rug, and how it compliments that gooooorgeous table.|
|A pretty vintage rug brightens up a laundry room here.|
|This is a wonderful large scale rug. It's the show piece of the room for sure.|
|The hooked rug here holds the eye in the beautiful antique decorated space.|