hooked rugs at the Belleville Library

A new show of hooked rugs by the Moira Mat Makers opened at the Gallery in the Belleville Library. If you are in the area, I encourage you to see this excellent display of rug hooking. The first two are my own rugs and then a few examples of the many wonderful pieces on show. The final piece in the showcase (so not a great photo) is of the darling bear hooked and sewn by Glenn Ryley Cotton. Note also his hand woven scarf! The show runs until September 17th.

pom 3 large

wedding rug

liz 2

Stained Glass Liz Brock

luba loon

Loon Luba Young

cindy 2

Poppies Cindy Lucas




Annie–hooking my big rug

I have had a chance to spend time hooking my big rug this summer. I affectionately refer to it as Annie because of its Annie Dillard quotation which fills each end border. If you check here or here you will see I have been hooking this rug for a good long time. This summer I finished the 65 houses and have made some headway on the green section of the rug. The design decisions are pretty well finished now and it is just getting down to hooking it. The green sections will morph back into blue in the centre. I say the design is finished but I’m now toying with the idea of hooking arrows into the ground among the circles, just to point the way as it were. And I’ll say publicly here that I plan to have it finished for next year’s annual. There, I’ve set the challenge.

We are back home after a few weeks at the cottage and I hope to also start on the bags which have been ordered. I’ve been away from the sewing machine all summer. In the works is a new Delta bag and a man’s messenger bag as well as a couple of others. I’ll post as soon as I have something to show.

annie 2

annie 3

annie 4


upcoming Matangwe rug hooking show sept 15 – oct 24


I am excited to tell you about the upcoming rug show in Belleville Ontario at Gallery 121. There will be a collection of the beautiful hand hooked mats and chair seats done by the women of Matangwe Kenya. Each piece reflects the world of rural Western Kenya and highlights the women’s unique sense of colour and design. Above is a chair seat depicting the mud huts, acacia tress and rolling hills. Below several more examples of the charmingly simple designs and stunning use of colour. The left thumbnail is the back of a chair seat–wax printed cotton from the Bondo market and the Matangwe label based  a drawing by one of the school children. All the pieces are hooked with found recycled cottons from the Bondo market and wool strips and old t-shirts donated by Ontario hookers. And it is all done without hooking frames or cutters. Marvellous!

The opening reception is Saturday September 19, 2-4 pm. The show runs from Tuesday September 15 until Saturday October 24, Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 until 4:00 pm. I hope you will be able to come to see this

matangwe labelrose1

jackline flower pot



another glimpse of that rug

I have been back at the rug. I affectionately call this rug Annie, because as you probably know, the quotation at either end is from Annie Dillard. These are words to reflect on at any stage of life and so the quotation is perfect for rug hooking especially a rug of this size. Pulling the loops gives you lots of time to think. I promised myself I would not post the rug until all 65 houses were done. But as I approached house #50 I thought it was time. Each house takes about 1/2 hour by the time I choose the colours, cut them and hook. So there has been lots of hooking time already and I still have the background and border to go.

I began the rug with an off the bolt blue. I had 7 yards of it, but realized early that I would not have enough even though my plan involved a switch to green and maybe even yellow. The off the bolt wool had a pronounced stripe and one of the stripes didn’t work in the design. So seven yards weren’t really seven yards. So on Sunday, the first day of glorious rain we have had in Southern Ontario in ages, I got out the dye pots. Below you see some of the blues and greens I dyed. It feels good to know that if my plan to move on to yellow or even yellow green doesn’t work, I will be able to dye enough to finish this big rug.

And below that you see the rug as it lies with 49 houses winding their way around the rug. Eventually there will be 65, because this is my birthday rug–yes, yes, I am now past that marker. And the rug goes on.
dyeing for annie

annie june 2 a


more hooking from Matangwe Kenya

I was delighted to receive an email this week with photos of hooking done by the women in Matangwe since February. The pieces took me right back to the big table in the Community Centre and the 16 women hooking and chatting in Luo. It was a great privilege to work with them and to help them develop their own style and colour sense. Remember, they are working with burlap and minimal fabrics–whatever they can find at home or at the local market–are cutting each strip with scissors and hooking without a frame or hoop. And they lead busy and difficult lives. Yet the pieces they produce are of great charm and unique design. More pictures of the rug hookers of Matangwe can be found here and here.

I am looking forward to our gallery show in September when all the pieces will be mounted and displayed. More details on that closer to the time. And in the meantime, check out the bird in the third piece; it’s not hooked yet but it will make you smile.



jacky bird


Ruth’s chair seats

My friend, Ruth, is a physician who has been volunteering at the Matangwe Clinic in rural Kenya for the past eleven years. She and I have travelled there together for the last four. This year she decided to commission the rug hookers to make her six chair seats depicting the local community. Colourful and charming, the collection is the work of five different rug hookers. They are made of hand-cut t-shirt strips, wool strips and nylons–in fact anything we could lay our hands on. It is amazing to see the ingenuity and talent of the local women. I will back the mats with Kenyan cotton and they will soon bring a touch of Kenya to Ruth’s dining room.

ruth mat 1

ruth's mat 2

ruth's mat 3

ruth's mat 4

ruth's mat 5

ruth's mat 6


I am a retired educator and recovered administrator. I have always been interested in fibre, first as a weaver, now as a rug hooker and screen printer. Over the last few years I have become passionate about giving a new life to cast-off wool and leather. This is my journal where I muse about my creative life.

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