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Friday, October 2, 2009

A Friend's Treasure

hooked stair runner

I am taking the day off from hiking because it is raining all day. I'm at the house of some new friends relaxing with such amenities as chairs, electricity, cold soda pop, and a bed. What luxury!

But last night he, Steve, showed me a family treasure. His grandmother made this, and he believes that the 1946 date is the year she completed it. This is a handicraft that was popular in the 1940's, rug hooking. His grandmother designed this stair runner to reflect things that were important to the family. She salvaged used material from worn clothing or where ever she could to cut the strips. I'll tell you about the sections. This is a lot of pictures for one post, but I just had to show you, and Steve gave me permission!

hooked stair runner

Each picture was framed on one of the stair risers, so they weren't walked on. The variegated sections were on the stair treads, so they did not show the dirt or wear as much. The top picture is of the church they attended where she played piano and organ. Next down is a tea service. Steve thinks it was probably the only real china she owned

hooked stair runner

Then we see the flower garden with a wheelbarrow, and some of the fish which their clientele were hoping to catch.

hooked stair runner

They lived near Lake Erie, and there was a freshwater marsh between their house and the lake. They made their living by renting rooms to hunters and fishermen, so the next two panels show the marsh and some ducks.

hooked stair runner

Next are their fist names, Ray and Eunice.

hooked stair runner

Followed by the family name, Boller, and a picture of the house. Steve says it looked just like that and was made of red tile. The family lived downstairs and rented the upstairs to the clients.

hooked stair runner

At the bottom is the date, and then a rose. I've seen quite a few commercial patterns for runners like this, and I think the rose might be the one design in the rug that Eunice took from a book.

hooked stair runner back

Finally, here is the underside of the rose. One can tell the quality of work such as this by how neat the back side looks. This is flawless!

I have always wanted to make something like this, but the amount of time required has actually kept me from starting yet another project. To stumble onto this work of folk art is one of the highlights of this trip for me. The runner is made in sections, so Steve plans to separate it into halves, build a vacuum sealed case, and create two wall hangings.

See Irene's Afghan is Done
See Fun and Frustration


Salitype said...

what a lovely runner, indeed a treasure! painstakingly crafted by hand, woven with memories, threaded with love!

Priceless treasure! and the back side is as beautiful as the front! Amazing!!!

WillOaks Studio said...

That is just amazing!! Truly a masterpiece and what a family treasure to have and to hold!! Just beautiful and thanks so much for sharing!

Ratty said...

It's also a highlight here. I find it amazing to see something like this created by one person. I grew up when the last of this kind of thing was leaving us. Now everything is made by large corporations from very far away.

Rughooker said...

Dear Ratty and all,
Rug hooking hasn't disappeared - I have a rug hooking group on Yahoo with almost three thousand members. There is also a new museum for rug hooking in Nova Scotia. Rug hooking is very popular today and is rapidly becoming an art rather than a craft. However, very few rug hookers have ever made such a nice runner - it's worthy of a museum display. I hope the current owner doesn't divide it into two pieces, the fact that it's one piece is part of the wonder of it.

Julia said...

I just look at a rug/runner like that and admire it and then think, "how'd she do that???" Thanks for the sharing today.

John | English Wilderness said...

This is amazing. I can imagine hundreds of hours work went into creating this.

I wonder how many people have the time and dedication to take on such a big project these days.

spinninglovelydays said...

That's gorgeous and definitely something I want to try doing myself. Thanks for sharing. :)

rainfield61 said...

His grandmother must have all the patience to do it, without much distraction by the modern day gadgets.

Secondary Roads said...

It's amazing what people could and would do before the Internet, TV and the like. Excellent work and very creative.

Kim S. said...

Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful stair runner, and the story that goes with it. I'm taking my first rug hooking class in a few weeks and am so very inspired by this.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Tes- Yes, those homemade items had lots of love woven in. Machines can't match that!

WillOaks- I was so happy that Steve allowed me to share it.

Ratty- I'm so glad you like it!

Hi Rughooker- Steve read all the comments. But if he divides it, there won't be any damage to the hooking. It is made in two pieces which were sewed together in the middle.

Julia- It did take a lot of planning, didn't it?

John- Those big projects do seem quite daunting in these days of instant everything.

Spinning- I know there are rug hooking groups in existence. Hope you do get to try it.

Rainfield- I also think distractions are part of our problem these days.

Hi Chuck- the creativity is one of the things that makes it so special.

Kim- Oh, I hope you share your efforts!

Jeanie said...

The runner is really beautiful. Just think of all the hours of loving work that went into it. That's dedication! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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