Cheticamp Hookers

Chéticamp, Nova Scotia

Chéticamp is a fishing community on the Cabot Trail on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The community has almost 4,000 residents, a large number of whom are Acadians and speak French natively, as well as English.

We call "hooking" the making of wool rugs on burlap. The burlap is stretched tightly on a wooden frame, and the hook is a simple nail with a curved tip attached to a wooden handle. With a hook held in one hand, hand dyed 2-ply wool (held underneath the burlap with the other hand) is pulled to the surface of the burlap creating a small loop. There are 144 loops per sq. inch!

Rug-hooking as we know it today developed in North America along the Eastern seaboard in New England, the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador over 200 years ago. The style of using 2-ply wool as opposed to strips of cotton is what makes Chéticamp rugs unique. Originally, these hooked rugs served as throw rugs to cover the cold floors in winter or to exchange with traveling salesmen for merchandise not available locally. The traditional pattern for Chéticamp has always been their floral designs. 

Chéticamp works may be admired at various places throughout the world, including the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, the White House and at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.

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