Rug hooking has been part of American women's household tasks for a long time. In southeast Pennsylvania, frugal sewers saved and shared their textile scraps to create useful, pretty rugs, especially in the late 19th and 20th centuries. To document the region's hooked rug arts, The Heritage Center of Lancaster County conducted the Lancaster County Rug Harvest from 2004 to 2006, which culminated in their lavish exhibit, "Rags To Rugs, Pennsylvania Hooked and Hand sewn Rugs," in 2007. This book serves as a permanent record of these rugs, the Rug Harvest, and the exhibit. The book documents each step and evolving techniques to design, make, sell, and use hooked rugs. It features regional details to look for and credit to many talented people who contributed to the art and its heritage. Over 170 color photographs display the designs, from abstract to botanical and pictorial, and illustrate the styles. Many families have shared this tradition in their homes and proudly display, use, and collect them today. They will find the descriptions here fascinating, and may be inspired to carry the skills forward to future generations.
Dr. Patricia T. Herr is an authority of the textile arts of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She also has written other books and actively promotes Pennsylvania folk arts of the region through exhibits, lectures, research, and antiques events. She can be reached through the Heritage Center of Lancaster County.