A Tribute to Barbara Wilson

The first get together of the Sunshine Rug Hookers in the new year featured the work of Barbara Wilson.


Like many rug hookers (myself included)…. Barb had several ‘false starts’ at hooking.

She was born and brought up in Cornwall Ontario, then worked in Montreal and Calgary. After a few years, her mom thought it was time she came home, and she said she would after she had seen Vancouver. While  there she had a meeting with a fortune teller, who told her she would stay for seven years. As fate would have it, she soon met a young man, was married, and indeed stayed for many years.

The family eventually moved back to Whitby, and it was there at a craft show in the 1970’s, that she first saw traditional rug hooking. She recalls it was a sculptured purple iris, and she loved it. She signed up for lessons with Clare Freek,


and this was her first piece.


Another rug hooked at this time was this beautiful one. She hooked for about 3 or 4 years, then it gradually fell by the wayside.

In 1987, she happened to visit the Rug Hooking Annual, and fell in love with rug hooking again…she joined the Sunshine Group, and truly enjoyed the group and how friendly people were.


She hooked this ‘geranium’ chair pad at a course sponsered by the Sunshine Rug hookers In 1991, she took up golf, and rug hooking was once more set aside.

In 1996, her husband died, and while sorting through things to throw out, she came upon a partially hooked bell pull. She felt it was just too lovely to discard, and she was determined to finish it. She came back once again to Sunshine Rughookers, and began hooking again.


In 2004, she signed up for a course on Celtic rugs, and had a lovely 12″ x 12″ design chosen. Iris Simpson, who was teaching the course, mentioned that she thought it wasn’t very ambitious, and she changed her mind, and purchased Rittermere’s “Four Angels”…


….. which turned out to be one of her favourite pieces.

In 2005, she returned to Trent, and took a course on Orientals with Dorothy Haight….this time making sure she chose a good big pattern.


I love the rich red in this.


This is a smaller oriental used on a table top.

Her daughter wanted her to hook a piece inspired by the Group of Seven, so she produced this wonderful tree.


You can’t tell by the photo. but the pine needle sections are sculptured.

Last year she completed this well known colourful patchwork pattern


…. and for the first time used an 8 cut for this lovely geometric.


She felt the large cut was hard on her wrist, but wants to try another using a larger hook.

Barb, counts herself a sewer, rather than a hooker, but has also dabbled with other crafts. She made this wonderful basket using pine needles and raffia.


Isn’t it intricate!

The purpose of these monthly tributes is of course to highlight the hooking and show newer members the work they might otherwise not have an opportunity to see, but it also gives us fascinating glimpses of the personal lives of women we may only know as hookers. That was certainly the case for me this month. It turns out Barb is a veteran world traveller..having several times visited Australia, New Zealand China, and the South seas, South America, Scandinavia, the Balkans, and not once but twice sailed around Cape Horn…(and that’s just what I can remember…the list seemed endless!!!)

Thanks Barb for sharing your hooking and your life story.

For myself, I’m deep in the work of Dahlov Ipcar….preparing my next project.

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