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Local News

January 15, 2014

Do you know what this is?

OSKALOOSA —

This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm is a rug hooking needle.

A couple people made a guess as to the identity of the artifact.

Lisa Barker wrote via Facebook: “Butter paddle.”

Pam Williams Howard also wrote via Facebook: “I do … the one on the left belonged to my Great Grandmother.”

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact. She wrote: “Rug Hooking Needle

The rug hooking or tufting needle simplified and perfected the home made rugs of the housewife. Hooked rugs have been classified as an art form for many decades. Originally a practical craft – made from scraps of yarn or cloth – these folk art rugs have decorated many hearths in across America.

Although rug hooking and rug tufting create rugs similar in appearance, the techniques used are reversed. Both require looping yarn or narrow strips of wool fabric through the small spaces formed in a loosely woven piece of backing material such as burlap, cotton or linen. Hooking utilizes a small hook, similar to a crochet hook. The looping material is pulled through to the front, the rug maker adjusting for height and spacing with each stitch. The tufted rug is worked from the back of the piece, the needle pushes the material through the backing to a specific depth, the other side of the tool holds the material in place while the needle is retracted – creating an even surface on the underside or front of the work.

Here, rug historian and artisan Michael Heilman, demonstrates how to use a tufting needle at the Textial Museum in Washinton DC in 2012.

Rug making is still a popular art form. Vintage needles are still available on-line and similar designs can be found in hobby and craft stores. Modern rug tufting tools are available in both electric and pneumatic designs.”

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