A Tribute to Mary Lou Justason

Once again the first Tuesday of the month arrived and this month was a tribute to Mary Lou Justason.

Mary Lou works tirelessly to promote the Rug Hooking Museum in Nova Scotia, and is” Director at Large’ for Ontario. She is  a member of The Sunshine Rug Hookers in Orillia in the spring and fall…and a member of the Heritage Rug Hooking Group in Largo Florida during the winter months..a Yahooker, and a member of Gene’s IRC….and those are just her current hooking activities.


She has been a local rep for OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild), and both convener and co-convenor the OHCG annual. She was a founding member of the Huronia Rug hookers in Barrie, and was for many years an active rug hooking teacher and twice president of the Teacher’s group of OHCG. She claims she only  became a teacher in order to have people to hook with, after her first attempt to gather rug hookers together resulted in a group of latch hookers arriving at her door. …All of this while raising four children, working full time as a nurse, and sharing her life with her “prince charming”…Don.


Her first rug….. hooked in 1971. She lived in Georgetown at the time, and her first teacher was Shirley Lyons. It is the Rittermeyer pattern called Annabelle. As she said…there was no messing around then with small learning pieces…this is what she was given, and this was how she was to hook it.


A later piece, done for adjudication in the teacher’s group….has a sad tale to tell. Being upset by the finicky, and mistaken criticism that one rose had skipped a colour value, she actually stopped hooking for 11 years. She said she never admitted it, and would bring knitting to the meetings, but for a long time couldn’t face hooking. Her good friends Wanda Kerr, and Faye Goode finally got her hooking again. Her attitude about that episode  now?…how could I have been so stupid!


This beautiful oriental was originally started by her  friend Edith Chapman, and after her death…completed by Mary Lou


At a workshop in Nova scotia with Deanne Fitzpatrick, she chose this rug. She was to hook women who had been significant in her life. After much thought she settled on…her 4th and 5th grade teachers who were sisters, and were known by their hair colour…red haired Miss Nash, and white haired Miss Nash.


This is my favourite…her Elizabeth rug…hooked in memory of her sister. Her name at the top is actually a copy of Elizabeth’s signature.


Having barely closed the cover of this lovely  book “Night Garden”…


The mailman delivered this rug…based on the same book…a gift from a friend….The amazing co-incidence of this made a big impact on her…are rug hookers on the save wave length or what !!!


I love the progression of this rug….the gnomes were hooked by Mary Lou in the waldoboro style many years ago, and remained unfinished. Last year she did some clearing out, and brought many items she no longer wanted to see if anyone else would like them. Cynthia Young chose this little piece and is finishing it. Cynthia’s free form style of hooking couldn’t be further from the sculptured, precise Waldoboro…but the result is wonderful. Cynthia’s glorious yarns and colours are setting these lifelike little fellows free in a world of fantasy.


Mary Lou and Shirley Poole began the Huronia Rug Hooking Group in Barrie, and for their 25th anniversary, the group co-operatively hooked this beautiful rug for Mary Lou (with their initials in the hearts). What a wonderful thank you gift.

Mary Lou is our only member who must journey by boat to get to the meetings, as their summer home is in the idyllic Honey Harbour region of southern Georgian Bay. In early November, the waters of Georgian Bay are choppy, and the morning fog coming off the water is dense. As a result…Mary Lou had to load up her rugs, and make her boat trip the day before our meeting. Although she couldn’t bring any large rugs, we enjoyed seeing a photo album of many more of her wonderful hooked pieces. I’m only sorry
I can’t share them all here.

Mary Lou and Don are off to Florida next week, and we wish them a safe journey, and a warm winter.

7 thoughts on “A Tribute to Mary Lou Justason

  1. I have heard about Mary Lou and her strong promotion of the Hooked Rug Museum. It is so nice to have a photo to go along with her name, and to know more about her and her life. i love stories about people, so thanks so much for sharing a bit about Mary Lou! Travel safely Mary Lou!

  2. She is indeed a tireless promoter of the museum MizT…as I understand are you. The rest of the rug hooking community will reap the benefits…I can’t wait to see it myself.

  3. A delightful article about "Mama Lou" and all she has given to the rug hooking world. She surely supported me during the years I was hooking.Mary Lou has been friend to so many and is so deserving of this acknowledgement of her many contributions she has shared with all of us. There is not another like her.Big hugs coming your way from our new home in Prince Edward Island, dear friend…. Faye

  4. Faye…Mary Lou was delighted to hear from you, and very touched by your comments. She hopes to reconnect via email. If you would email me your address at:elizabethmartel@msn.com I’ll send it on to her

  5. <font color="#000099"><font size="4"><font face="comic sans ms,sans-serif">That's just great Elizabeth… my email address is<br><br><a href="mailto:faye.goode@gmail.com">faye.goode@gmail.com</a><br><br>and I'd love to hear from her. I really enjoyed your blog. Hugs to Mama Lou…. Faye

  6. My dear sister Mary Lou has created a monster – me. I only wish I had started only. I am now “hooked”

    • HI Jeannie – “Pickles”
      You were in my cabin when ,we were 11 at Huron Church camp Sounds as if you are still as wonderfully crazy as ever — like the rest of us! Your sister is truly a gem we are so lucky to have her! lad that you are ‘hooked’ Cookie

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