Combination Rugs

Christine here.  What I’m working on now is a presentation for the Mason Dixon Rug Hooking Guild in Baltimore.  The talk and slide show will focus on combination rugs, which to this group will primarily be rug hooking and braiding.  (Since I’m a braider and not a rug hooker, they’ll have to hear about rug hooking combined with crafts other than braiding from someone else!)

I’ve been collecting photos from the websites of antique textile dealers, and eBay, and Etsy, and also some unusual sites.  I’m not really clear on the protocols for stealing photos — certainly everyone does it; there are whole sites like Pinterest devoted to “borrowed” pictures — so I’ve been writing to a lot of places and asking for permission to use their photos as long as I cite the source.  For the most part, I’ve heard back from everyone saying that it’s fine to use their photo as long as I list their contact data.  So I list all the contact info at the bottom of this post.


The photo left shows the simplest way that braiding and hooking can be combined:  braids act as a frame to the hooking.  Often just one row of braiding is used in old rugs; this one is a little more unusual for using several rows of braid.  Braiding is often cited as a protective frame to the hooking if the rug is used on the floor, where the edges are often the first place of wear and raveling.  But clearly the braiding in this rug is more than just a frame; it’s an integral part of the art of the piece.

timthumb.phpThis lovely rug has 3 different techniques in it:  braided circles, hooked portions between the braids, and then a lamb’s tongue/penny rug border.  Found in New England, it’s date is estimated at 1890-1910, with maker unknown.  I like the way both the braided circles and the hooked inserts are duplicated in pattern at many sites through the rug.

Ok_bky5pPSd_457Z0rpvVF8Pb9NawVpyE9yslMY1bE8The next rug is one that I found from Intercourse, PA (Lancaster County).  It’s now owned by Kris McDermet.  It also has braided circles surrounded by intervening hooking.  I like the balance between the two elements:  the braiding and the hooking are both equally scrappy, equally pretty, and of equal importance in this rug.


Hancock Shaker Village Rug, late 19th century, courtesy of Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY.

The rug above is a beautiful example of combining a rug hooked center, a knitted inner border, and a braided outer border.  I show it just because it’s an interesting combination of 3 techniques, but the braiding portion is pretty limited and obviously just for the protection of the inner knitted border.  This photo was taken for our book, Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding, and is found on page 10.

4p1G_snSmoTAwnfh3mMaNyJHshm4Y8S6P_OqVyT2vpA,K7wgpKM7ZZjMY25DlevMIeYZytFgbaJG8swk2fXMa10Finally, I can’t talk about Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding without showing the work of our friend and co-author, Kris McDermet.  The interesting thing about her work is how she combines both arts — the braids aren’t just a frame, but are integrated as central aspects of the piece.  Here’s her “Leaves of Grace,” 2010, which is adapted from the Tree of Life painting by Hannah Cohoon (1788-1864).  Permission obtained from the Hancock Shaker Village.  This rug is found on both our book’s cover and page 148.  Note the tree’s flowers which are 9-loop braided centers, and that the braided and hooked leaves at the border are a unique trait of many of Kris’ rugs.

Wish me luck on the presentation — I’m trying to remember how to set up a Power Point Presentation, which I haven’t done in many years…. Christine

First hooked rug with braids around it:  $900 Wayne & Phyllis Hilt.

Second braided circled with hooked inserts and penny rug border:  Old Hope Antiques, for sale $16,000.

Third rug with braided circles with hooked inserts:  Antique Combination Hooked and Braided Rug. Owned by Kris McDermet. Age and Artist unknown.  Combining Hooked and Braided Rugs, p. 150.

4th and 5th rugs from Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding as cited above.

5 thoughts on “Combination Rugs

  1. This is some of the most incredible workmanship I’ve seen in rugs! Thanks for posting these awesome photos! And to Kris, I can’t imagine doing something like that! WOW!

    • Dear Nancy, thanks for your appreciative comments. I have a whole collection of other “combination” rugs that I’ll post next week, showing braids with penny rugs, with crochet, with knitting, etc. Christine

  2. I learned to braid so I can “frame” my hooked pieces. I have found I like to make braided baskets too. Love the photos.

  3. Hi Christine! Fabulous rugs … now I’m on the look out! I love those oldies but goodies … and of course Kris’ work is outstanding. If it works out for PA or MA, could she bring “Labryinth” for us all to see and admire?

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