Nazmiyal Collection

Omri Schwartz

Nazmiyal Collection is the world’s source for antique rugs and decorative carpets. Since 1980 Nazmiyal has supplied some of the top interior designers, vendors, auction houses, museums and collectors across the globe.

Hooked Rugs: An American Tradition

Women work on hooked rugs in 1929 | Nazmiyal
Women work on hooked rugs in 1929 | Nazmiyal

Hooked Rugs -- American hooked rugs are as quintessentially American as jazz music is. Like the latter, it had a very humble beginning but grew to become a unique American tradition. Dismissed for its rustic and low quality until the early 20th century, handmade hooked rugs are now prized for their delightful folk art quality. Today, a thriving rug making industry had grown around it to meet the demands of a growing number of collectors.

Rug hooking is a rug making technique that involves pulling loops or strips of fabric through a stiff woven base to make a rug. The base or backing material can be made of linen, burlap or rug warp. A crochet-type hook mounted in a handle is used to pull the loops through the base. Originally, both the base and loops were made using any materials available, including strips cut from worn out clothing and curtains; hence their reputation as a craft for the lower class.

According to author William Winthrop Kent, who has done extensive research on rug hooking, the technique has its origin in the early 19th century Yorkshire, England, where workers in weaving mills were allowed to take home pieces of 9-inch long yarn called thrums, which were useless to the mill. The workers used the thrums to pull loops through a coarse backing to make a homemade rug. This was the closest impoverished families of...

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