Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hooked Mats For Sale

When we went to Prince Edward Island, I expected to love the beautiful shoreline and the amazing farmland. 
What I did not expect, and what ended up being the best part of the trip was the people we met there.  I still can't get over their friendliness.  There whole time we were there, we never met anyone who didn't have time to talk for a while...from the guy who pumped our gas (yes, you read that right), to the man out walking his two Great Danes who was off to buy some fresh fish for his tea, to the wait staff who not only served our food, but would sit down at our table and help us plan out the things we wanted to see that day.
On one of our journeys around the island we saw this:
Of course, we had to stop.  And I had the great pleasure of meeting Margaret Campbell.
Margaret is 85 years old and has sold over 500 of her mats.  She works at this frame that was made by her husband.
She works in yarn on her "good" rugs.  She draws all her own designs and mostly hooks "by eye".  This is her current rug.  She is beginning with the border and then is going to put in some type of landscape....she really hadn't decided yet.
She has this rug hanging in her living room:
It is her homestead.  She was born and raised in the house on the right, married and raised her four children in the middle house and the her son now lives in the house on the left.  Her whole life is represented in this rug.
In addition to the rugs that she sells, Margaret also makes rag rugs.  The materials for the rag rugs come straight from her rag bag and are cut with the scissors you see laying on her frame.  (She is, in fact, a little dismissive of those fancy cutters we all seem to use now.)  These are two mats she had on the floor by her back door.  Before that, they were used in guest cottages that she used to run.  They are 30-40 years old.
Remember how we are always told that you have to use 100% wool--everything else will fade, wear out, fall apart?  Yeah.
I was honored to spend almost two hours talking with Margaret.  Oh, we talked about everything....rug hooking, family, life on the island, aging.  She would say, "Oh I just love to tell a good story on myself." and then she would be off.  It was just the best time and the highlight of my whole trip.


  1. Thanks for sharing this post. Yes we hear a lot that the material we use must be of the highest quality, be it the wool or backing. My sister has mats made from sacks and scrapes of clothing that are at least seventy five years old. not falling apart yet. and while these mats are now displayed they were walked on for decades. I only wish they were Hugs

  2. Wow! What a treasure you found in Margaret! I bet those rugs she makes will last another 100 years and that's walking on them!
    Love the two you photographed and wish we could see the one she is working on when it's complete!
    I can see why this was the highlight of your trip!
    Cathy G

  3. That is wonderful that you got to meet such great lady. I love the two old mats especially the one with the flower on it. I am from Nova Scotia and just recently went back for a visit and it is nice that everyone wants to chat.
    Glad you had such a great time in PEI.

  4. Such a great story! I love PEI - have been going there for years.. Have not come across Margaret yet..have to do a search for her mats ...Thanks

  5. BTW - my profile picture is my dog taken at Cousins Shore near Lake of Shining Waters on the north shore...