A Tribute to Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson was the originator, and a motivating force behind our “first Tuesday features” at Sunshine Rug Hooking…..and this week it was her turn to tell her ‘story’.

She grew up on a farm located between Elmvale and Wasaga Beach in central Ontario, went to a small rural school, and later graduated from Ryerson and U of T as a teacher of family studies. After a number of years in Northern Ontario, she and her husband Bill settled back in central Ontario, where  Bill taught highschool in Alliston, and Linda became involved with raising her family, rug hooking and a variety of other crafts.

She has been actively involved as a teacher of hooking, a member of SCACA (Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Association….I hope that’s the correct title) OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild), and hooking groups in Alliston, Barrie, and Orillia. She has been on the board of OHCG 3 different times, and highly involved with the OHCG teachers group . She is a wonderful teacher and organizer, and at present, is a co-convenor of the Canadian Barn Project…an exciting initiative to create a display of hooked pictures of Canadian Barns…a disappearing landscape. ….more info later.

She explained that most of the rugs she brought for display were from her 3 and 4 cut fine shading period…..at the time she began hooking…the only style one did.

I was fascinated by the shape of this octagonal rug in which she hooked veggies from her husband’s garden. It was designed to go in their family room…and a table sat on top of it in the plain area. 


That was in their last house….now it has a place of honour rolled up in a closet.

This was one of her earlier rugs…this is the right side…


But she displayed it from the back, since the front had faded quite considerably.


Linda explained that most of the hooking being done when she started…was of hangings, rather than rugs for the floor.


…….and most of the topics were flowers or vegetables. …Of course there was also the mushroom phase….and for her mushroom piece she devised this green padded frame which is wonderfully unique.

The bell pull in this picture was her second hooking piece. At the time, she knew nothing about colour, and naively chose the difficult colour yellow.


The lovely dress with the embroidered neckline, she made to wear when expecting one of her children.

Also displayed from the back due to fading…was this wonderful rug entitled “Back Home”. She put herself in it twice, doing activities around the farm where she grew up. 


She hooked it to go on the floor in a specific spot in her home…but realized there was a hot air register right in the middle. …..undaunted….she cut a hole in the rug for the register, and painted the register itself like a rose garden to become a part of the scene…..how creative is that! 

Linda usually enjoys hooking geometrics…but this one she says was a pain to hook…It was designed as a part of a presentation with the teacher’s group on ???????…style designs. (the name escapes me). The frustration came from choosing colours which were very closely related, and trying to keep them sorted out . It almost creates an optical illusion.. 


This lovely butterfly resides in her washroom, and her mom hooked an inch rug in the same colour palette to go on the floor. 


You can just see the edge of it at the bottom of the picture….somehow I missed taking a separate photo of it….I’m so sorry. 

This piece was originally intended as a bag….but when finished…it was too heavy to carry comfortably…so she converted it to a sign for her studio.


Her leaf bag however is much more practical…and light. She drew the leaves from ones she found on the ground and hooked them on verel.


The colours are beautiful, and the shading stunning.

One year, when she was convenor of the Annual, she made this vest to celebrate the theme….Shakespeare. 


The entire vest is covered with Shakespearean quotes about friendship


 She loves vests, and made this one featuring sheep. The ones on the back are hooked, and those on the front are appliqued……


…beautiful…but she says….very hot to wear.

She also loves teddy bears…and made this sweet teddy vest.


She belonged to the teddy bear club, and admits that she got carried away making them. She had a “teddy bear” bedroom, and made many for her friends.


She made Tetley for Luise Bishop…so named because he was dyed with tea.

One of her favourite pieces is this picture she did of her Dad…He was very proud of it and would point it out to friends.


I think this is sooo clever….the photo which inspired the hooking, has been mounted on the back of the framed piece…so when you flip it over…there it is!


Here is her motto rug….love the cobwebs, and bits on the floor.


Her latest rug is this depiction of her daughter-in-law and her two grandchildren…with a Klimt inspired background motif.


I love the realistic curls made from coiled wool…which actually hang down on Mom’s forehead.

I’ve taken several courses from Linda, and she is a wonderful teacher. She  hosts parties and courses (both her own, and ones given by other teachers) at her amazing studio in the countryside, works tirelessly on events like the annual Quilt and Rug Fair, and is a large part of the reason why Sunshine Rug Hookers is such a terrific group.

A Tribute to Kathy Smith

Once again the first Tuesday of the month was tribute day at Sunshine Rug Hookers…and this month, we were treated to the work of Kathy Smith.

Kathy is a native Orillian, and  a multi talented artist.

One of her early rugs was the traditional shaded rose…..


….but  she soon moved on to styles that she found more interesting.


This rug was from a course she took with Deanne Fitzpatrick in Nova Scotia


This too is influenced by Deanne’s style.


This is one of Emily Carr’s paintings…re-interpreted .


This was a shed at her grandmother’s place.


This wonderful piece could be mistaken for a painting.

We all know rug hookers tend to be multi-talented, and we love to see, and learn about member’s work in other genres. Kathy is no exception.

Kathy’s mom taught her to sew, but never thought she would ‘take to it’……Many years later, she surprised her mother with this beautiful quilt.


Growing up on the water in Orillia, she says that water is connected to all of her inspiration and interests.


This memory quilt recalls all the areas of influence the water has had for her.

Kathy never does anything by halves, so once bitten by the ‘sewing bug’…she went ‘all out’ and said she has more than 60 jackets and vests in her closet that she has created. Perhaps it’s only natural that she became a dealer for Pfaaf sewing machines.


This is a wonderful jacket…although Kathy regrets having made it in white…says she’s never worn it….there were lots of offers to take it off her hands from those of us in the room.

The amazing detail doesn’t show up in this vest.


The different details are applied in a woven pattern….it’s exquisite.


This vest is made entirely of jeans…all the different coloured pieces are appliqued, with the tree branches cut, rolled, and stitched to create a 3 dimensional effect. Kathy warns that if you don’t like to be touched…you shouldn’t wear this vest…..people are always wanting to ‘feel’ the trees.


This amazing vest is done with appliqued doilies…overstitched with gold threads.


This is my favourite….a reversible jacket of rich jewel tones, all stitched with with gold thread.


Can you imagine how many pieces were needed to create this batik style pattern?


Kathy said she created this vest for a contest…to demonstrate the capabilities of an embroidery machine. All the motifs are machine embroidered.

Being someone who breaks out in a sweat when I have to sew a zig zag around a rug in order to finish it….you can imagine how impressed I was with Kathy’s stitchery.

Wow what a talented lady.

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.

A Tribute to Gail Mueller

Another first Monday has arrived, and what fun it was to see Gail Mueller’s work, and hear her story.


Although Gail was born in Kalamazoo Michigan, she grew up in the Beaches area of Toronto, attended U of T, and became a physio therapist. (she said nursing wasn’t an option because of all the blood and needles). She and her husband later moved to Orillia where she worked in home care, had two daughters, and retired in 1997. Retirement only lasted a few months, since as she said …she grew bored in a hurry. While at a nearby greenhouse one day…she casually asked the owner if he needed some help…and was immediately put to work. She ‘helped’ part time for 12 years.

Gail is proficient in many areas. She took a carpentry course, became a master spinner,


and weaver.


She has done quilting, smocking, cross stitch and painting.

Her ‘first’ introduction to hooking had come when she was just 12….


she and her mom hooked this rug in the 1950’s while at the cottage. Neither of them had any experience, and they left all the tails on the back side…


but as she pointed out….it didn’t pull out. It’s now a very special keepsake.

She took up rug hooking proper in 1995,


and did the obligatory fine shaded flowers….her first piece.

She thought she  might never have continued hooking after this experience, but fortunately met up with Willa Mercer, and was introduced to designing patterns, wide cuts and using recycled wools…..this was much more to her liking.

Her first ‘real’ piece, was a drawing by her young daughter, which Willa helped her with…and then she was truly ‘hooked’. (I would have sworn I took a picture of this rug….but it isn’t on my camera….so sorry…:(  )

She loves taking courses, and many of the pieces she brought today are evidence of that.

She took a course with Jeanne Field in Newfoundland on miniatures.


This depicts Jeanne’s husband proposing to her in a forest. It’s about 3″ square.

At a Trent course on the Grenfell style with Germaine James, she hooked this wonderful piece using nylons which she also dyed.


The picture was drawn by her daughter Jill.

At a course in Haliburton, she hooked Ann Hallet’s corydale sheep,


from one of Ann’s photos. (complete with pieces of fleece from the actual sheep)

Her usual style is wide cut, and using a wide variety of materials, but in 1999, she did this oriental in a 3 cut, and was amazed at how she enjoyed doing it.


She claims that once the colour planning was done, it was restful….quiet hooking.

….at this point in Gail’s story…Ann Hallett piped up, and commented that she has an oriental drawn too, wool chosen, and rolled up ready to hook when she’s in a nursing home…..and needs ‘restful’ hooking.

I love these ladies…no doubt inspired by the Deanne Fitzpatrick style of hooking.


Day Dreaming hooked in 2008

Her favourites now are abstracts.


This is a recent piece.  ‘Abstract’ hooked in 2010.

She claims her most fun however, now comes from her two grandchildren….and (she says with glee) she gets to babysit them.

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.

A Tribute to Edie Crockford

Sunshine Rug Hooking meetings have been very busy this fall, but with the Quilt and Rug Fair, and RUG, now over…today we were able to have our first ‘tribute’ of the season. These monthly events were begun so that the newer hookers in our group would have the opportunity to see the work, and hear about the lives and background of the more experienced hookers……but everyone looks forward to seeing all the beautiful work. This has become one of my favourite events.

Edie Crockford was Tuesday’s featured hooker. She said she thought she had begun hooking in 1976…but discovered that her first rug was dated 1974. She has lived her whole life in Barrie , and is a member of both the Huronia group in Barrie, and the Sunshine Rug Group in Orillia. She works with #3 and #4 cuts, and is a master of fine shading.


This is a heritage pattern.


This is my favourite….amazing detail…I can almost feel the wind.


The bell pull was Edie’s first hooked piece. The arched stain glass piece was framed with actual stained glass. That smile is always in evidence!


Looking at the sheep out the window..


This is the colourful piece she is currently working on.

She also did some wonderful cross stitch.


Edie is such a talented hooker and a wonderful woman. She travelled to Trent with me last spring and her cheery disposition and infectious giggle lifted every day. Thanks to Jean Chabot….who anticipated that I would forget my camera…brought hers,….and took the pictures for me.

Thanks too to Cynthia Young, who sent me these pictures of my rugs being presented at RUG.






My hall rug

I still have the “show and tell rugs” to show from RUG. I was going to include them in this post…but I realize now there are far too many…and they deserve a post of their own.

A Tribute to Doris Graham

The first Tuesday of the month is our tribute day, and it’s becoming my favourite meeting of the month. How wonderful to get to see and hear about the amazing background of the women in our group. DorisGraham  recently celebrated her 90th birthday, is now wheel chair bound, but still comes out to most meetings.  Through the course of her hooking career, she worked in  a wide variety of styles.


This Elizabethan style vase is delicately shaded. There were also examples of fine Wadoboro sculptured mushrooms from the 1970’s (sorry…I didn’t get a picture) Doris eventually settled on a preference for hooking with t-shirts,and all of the following rugs are done that way. She is well known for her wonderful crocheted edges and fringes.


This primitive pictorial  has a lovely crocheted  scalloped edging.


This paisley style rug is fringed all the way round.


The shading in the centre of this rug is so effective, that I thought it was sculptured.


A very effective hall runner done with hit and miss.


This is a friendship rug. Each section done by a different Sunshine Rug Hooker


This is my favourite of the samples of her work brought to the meeting by her daughter Diane. It makes me smile just to look at it.

Like so many talented women, Doris didn’t work exclusively with rug hooking but also did quilting, tatting crocheting, knitting, and painting. She is very busy now knitting scarves which she donates to the Salvation Army at Christmas. (She is also adept at saying the alphabet backwards.) Thanks Doris for sharing with us a small sample of your wonderful work.

A Tribute to Hilda Hayes

The most senior member of the Sunshine Rug Hookers, is a truly wonderful lady. Hilda Hayes was born in England in 1917 and is 93 years young.


She and her husband  immigrated to Canada in 1976 just in time for the birth of their grandson Chas Mugford. She had always been a skilled crafts person, and made wonderful stuffed animals which she sold. However it was in Orillia , at the Young at Heart Workshop that she first became acquainted with rug hooking. In Hilda’s words…once she started, she just kept going. Some of her work included amazing waldoboro sculptured pieces, and fine shaded hooking of rugs and wall hangings, geometrics and orientals. She still lives in her own home (her husband passed away in  1999), and although she is now legally blind (one needs to identify oneself when speaking to her so she knows who it is), and she uses a walker to get around, she is a regular at meetings, and will once again be attending Trent Rug Hooking School this June (where I’m told she is the life of the party). She now hooks with a wider cut and a strong light to illuminate her work, and another member helps with the finishing, as she can no longer see well enough to do the fine work. Yet she has just completed two wonderful matching 10′ long runners.


They are to cover two benches owned by her granddaughter Adele. Adele designed them, and they show the same scene four times throughout the seasons.









Hilda hooked each season separately, then Gail Meuller (a skilled and innovative Sunshine rug hooker) joined the sections, hooked the merging portions and did the finishing.


What a precious keepsake to have from a wonderful Grandmother!