Pennsylvania Dutch Hex bag

I am a member of the Yahookers…a wonderful on line rug hooking group. They frequently have swaps organized, which are lots of fun . One that has just ended was called Dutch treat, and involved hooking a version of a Pennsylvania dutch Hex sign. I’d never heard of them, but was fascinated, so I googled them and found a wealth of information.

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“Like other immigrants, the (Pennsylvania Dutch) brought their old world language, dress, traditions and art to their new home. Mystical bird and floral designs graced their birth and marriage certificates, family Bibles, quilts, and some furniture. The “fancy” farmers also decorated their large German style bank barns with colorful geometric patterns. Six-pointed star designs were very popular. The German word for six, “sechs”, sounded like hex to their English-speaking neighbors. In time these “hex” patterns became commonly called hex signs. This custom persists today. 

These bright, colorful designs had meanings or legends. Families selected a hex sign based on color, design and its meaning. Some of the more popular symbols included: hearts for love, birds (called distelfinks) for luck and happiness, tulips for faith, and stars for good luck. The colors used for painting were also carefully chosen because of their added meaning. Blue conveyed protection, white purity, green abundance and red strong emotion. The hex symbols were individually hand painted for many years.”

I decided not to participate in the swap, but ended up hooking one anyway. I had picked up a couple of plain burlap bags at a little sale we had at Sunshine Rughookers. I thought a hex sign would be a great decoration for the bag….add handles, and it would be a great tote.

In this pattern, the twelve petals are for good luck and happiness for the twelve months of the year. The hearts denote love, and the wavy border…smooth sailing throughout the year.

Again I called on Ray for help in drawing the pattern on the burlap. Actually I think he offered to help, because watching my “unmathematical attempts” drove him crazy! He produced his carpenter’s large size set of compasses, and before long I had an accurate circle, and 12 perfect, properly placed petals. The trickiest part then was finding two shades each of six different colours (I didn’t want to do any dyeing for this little project), then deciding on their placement around the circle. It is hooked in a #6, and this is the last time I will hook on burlap. (I keep saying that)..but primative linen or monk’s cloth is so much nicer to work with and easier on my wrists.

I haven’t yet added the handles, but since that involves sewing…I’m going to invite myself to my sister’s for coffee soon…she’s an expert with a sewing machine.

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