A Bit to Rest Your Toes On


Sigh or Wish by Deanne Fitzpatrick

Lucille is the landlady of Rachel’s boarding house. She is also one of several local women who hook rugs. One Friday night, at loose ends in Twig, Rachel joins them for a session:

Flossie and Annie, who it transpired were sisters, sat side by side, their hooks moving in time. Flossie’s rug featured a bright orange house with the ever-present sea behind it. Annie’s was much more detailed. It showed a woman in red dress and white apron, standing in a grassy yard, pegging sheets to a clothesline. Flossie and Annie hooked like Lucille, row by row.

In contrast to the others, Biddy seemed to hook freestyle. In her design a woman knelt in a wooded area, picking blueberries. I marvelled at Biddy’s hook roaming the surface of the burlap. When I commented on it, she said, “Ah sure, as long as you fills it in, it don’t matter how. I likes to meander.”

The speed at which the scenes unfolded was unbelievable, the blank canvasses filling in rapidly before my eyes. It amazed me that the women were creating such vivid works of art from a bit of burlap and recycled wool and rags. But they would not accept my effusive praise.

“Ah go on with ye,” said Lucille. “It’s only a bit to rest your toes on.” 

“You knows yourself,” said Flossie.

“Sure anyone could make these,” added Biddy.

I’m not sure anyone could hook a rug, but maybe someday I’ll have a go. If nothing else, I’d like to buy one,  maybe one hooked by Newfoundland artist Deanne Fitzpatrick who now lives in Nova Scotia. Deanne kindly granted me permission to use the beautiful image above. Her rugs are magnificent; you can see some more of them here.

Are you crafty? (in either sense of the word)



19 thoughts on “A Bit to Rest Your Toes On

  1. I am not crafty in any sense of the word. However, my first book project for a craft publisher was to edit (if I remember correctly) a US version of a Deanne Fitzpatrick book. That remains my favorite book of all the craft books I was involved with. So beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to be crafty in both senses of the word but I fail on both counts. Both require concentration and that feels like work. Annie


  3. Two of my aunts are major hookers! My one aunt, right after first getting into the craft was on a trip in Portland, Maine (she lived hundreds of miles away in Indiana), and wandered into a crafts shop w/ all kinds of gorgeous hook rugs. She was talking to the hook rug artist, admiring her work and telling her how she had just started hooking. The woman told her that her adult-daughter also did hook rugs and was a really great teacher, “… but, she lives far from here – in a small town in Southern, Indiana.” It turns out the woman lived 15 minutes from my aunt. They met and began “hooking” together and eventually opened a hook rug shop.

    I love that story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow gorgeous rug!
    The line “will you ever heave a sigh or a wish for me” is from Farewell to Nova Scotia
    I never really noticed before what a beautiful lyric that is
    Thanks for the inspiration from Rachel


    • I know. I’ve sung that song so many times, but seeing the words in Deanne’s rug made me realize how beautiful the words are too. In fact, I feel a story coming on…


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