Crafts have had an important role in North American history. The crafts that people make and use can teach us what life was like at different points in time. This page explores the history of three types of crafts. We will look at how they were made and what they were used for.
Rugs made from left-over fabric, yarn, and fleece are common to many cultures. In nineteenth-century North America, carpets imported from Europe cost too much for most people. Rag rugs proved to be a better way to cover cold floors. Rag rugs were easy to make and were worked on in the evenings or when weather made farming or fishing impossible. The variety of colors and designs made these rugs a source of pride to their makers. They were useful as well.. Hooked rugs are made by drawing loops of rag strips or yarn through a burlap type fabric. A hooked rug does not have to be worked, one row at a time, the way a trapestry does; the rug maker can choose where to start.. Traditional hooked rugs were usally no larger than the burlap feed sack used to make them - about 2X3 feet and were rarely square. Sometimes long,narrow runners for the hallway or stairs were made from a series of sacks. These usually measured 8 feet x 19 inches. Hooked rugs grew in popularity throughout the 1800's. Stamped burlap rug patterns became availible. The cra ft was verty popular until commercal carpet became more affordabke in the 1920's. Traditinal rug designs included a wide variety of themes.
Rug hooking was most popular in early nineteenth century America. Burlap was not avalibole until after 1850. They used old clothing instead.. Homeade dyes were made from plants. Making a design is the most difficult task. Rug hooking began in Maine, New Hampshire, and the Canadian coast.
By Janet Carjia-Brandt
(Source: The Complete Rug Hooker, Joan Moshimer)
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Sewing and Samplers
Samplers were pieces of embroidery. They were used as an educational and decorative pieces. Most samplers used mostly cross stitch, but they sometimes also used other stitches like satin stitch and back stitch.
(Source: Jane Kendon)
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Of all the crafts practiced in America, none has touched more lives than quilting. The craft of quilting was brought to American by European settlers. During the 1840's, block-style construction was the most popular style. Quilts can be broken into three basic types--plain, pieced and applique. Pioneer mothers taught their daughters to sew at an early age so they could help make and mend clothes for the family. Sometimes women made quilts for friends who got married or were moving far away. They used scraps of fabric they had saved from their dresses and aprons, so each time their friends looks at the quilt, she would remember them.
Quilts are now considered by many to be a form of art. A museum in Massachusetts has a collection of historic quilts, including those from around the world. You can visit this museum online at http://www.nequiltmuseum.org or in person at 18 Shattuck Street, Lowell,, Massachusetts.
(Source: Museum celebrates quilts as Art, Heidi Perlman)
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