Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: Rug Hooking Made Easy

Title: Rug Hooking Made Easy
Author: Charlotte Kimball Stratton
Date: 1955
Publisher: Harper & Row
ISBN: none, but click here to see the Amazon page
Length: 214 pages
Illustrations: many photos and charts
Quote: “If I were to teach an inexperienced pupil, the first lesson would be entirely on the technique of making the loop.”

Nevertheless, possibly guessing that most of her readers will be experienced rugmakers (she keeps calling them “hookers”), Mrs. Stratton begins with chapters on design, dyes, and materials, and gives the lesson in making the loops only on pages 48-49. After that, pages 51 through 207 giver geometric patterns, shaded picture patterns, and tips on making a variety of elaborate design.
Rug Hooking Made Easy provides an intermediate step between the blind-follower stage, in which crafters buy beginners’ kits and try to make something exactly like the picture on the package, and the advanced-crafter stage, in which crafters design their own projects.
Stories of old-time rugmakers fill out the back of the book.
For knitters, like this reviewer, rugmaking can become a source of frustration. It’s another textile craft that can be done with the same material (heavy wool yarn), so supplies are usually shelved together in stores, and books are usually shelved together in libraries... and almost everything that’s right for one craft is wrong for the other. Rug patterns can be fun to knit, but they won’t look quite the same. Yarn that makes comfortable socks and sweaters is always too soft, and nearly always too thin, for rugs.

The good news for knitters is that rugmaking is quite easy to learn, and rug hooks, rug yarn, and either pre-stamped or unstamped rug canvas (backing material) are quite cheap. If you’re a knitter or a practitioner of some other needlecraft and would like to expand your horizons, Rug Hooking Made Easy will take you as far into rugmaking as you want to go, whether that’s the plain doormat, or the stair carpet with fifteen different detailed landscapes between the sixteen steps. (Yes, Mrs. Stratton hooked such a thing, and patterns are included.)

Many people who were old enough to write nonfiction books in 1955 are still alive, but, in the absence of information about Charlotte Kimball Stratton online, I can only assume that this one-book author is not actively promoting her book or any future work. In the absence of evidence that she wants to be tracked down, I'm not offering Rug Hooking Made Easy as a Fair Trade Book. To buy it from me online will cost $5 for the book + $5 for shipping. If you find a better price, take it, and scroll down to find a Fair Trade Book you can buy here.