2024 Triennial Theme – A Place to Grow

Niagara Falls, Canada from September 29 – October 2, 2024

A Message From Your President

Although the global pandemic did not allow us to gather in Newfoundland in 2021, we hope to still bring TIGHR members to Canada in 2024 but to the town of Niagara on the Lake, in the province of Ontario. We want to thank Dianne Warren and her team for their work over the last three years and we realize how disappointed they must be that we were not able to come to St. Johns. The 2024 Conference will celebrate 30 years of a truly wonderful organization providing friendships between Rugmakers around the globe!

Archive document
The first page of the Founders’ Day programme: the document was scanned by the TIGHR Historian, Susan Feller

The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers (TIGHR) was founded on December 4th 1994 in London, England by a group of international friends who decided to establish a worldwide group involved in rugmaking.

DECEMBER 4th 2019 was our Silver Anniversary .Yes – you read that correctly! TIGHR is now 25 years old and still going strong- thanks to the collective support and passion of all its members.

The International Rug Hook-In Day now held on December 4th each year has been celebrated for 5 years now and it’s turned into a truly global event.

Rugmakers around the world join forces to celebrate our resourceful, artistic traditions. The TIGHR executive is so pleased it has been so successful.  This special day brings everyone together and really promotes the mandate and raisin d’etre of our Guild.

We hope you will decide to join TIGHR!

Visit the public Facebook page of TIGHR The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers.

TIGHR members-only Facebook page
TIGHR members are invited to join the Facebook fun on our members-only page: go to the page and ask to be made a member. There’s a lot happening on the TIGHR Facebook members only group!

TIGHR YouTube channel
Just in time for International Hook-In Day 2016, the TIGHR YouTube channel was launched. It has two films at the moment and there are more to come.

The TIGHR mission statement reads:

The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers is a global organization of creative people who come together in friendship to share ideas, and to explore the different techniques of the art of rugmaking using a variety of fibres.

The organisation’s governing body is the Board, comprising members from one country who take office for three years. They lead the organization and communicate through the TIGHR Newsletter Hooking Matters, via this website and by using a members-only online network. Towards the end of each Board’s three-year term, they organise a Triennial at which members come together in friendship, face to face, to share ideas and explore the techniques of rugmaking.

International Members in South Australia 2012
International Members in South Australia 2012

Since being founded in London in 1994, boards and Triennial meetings have been in Nova Scotia, Canada 1997; Massachusetts, United States 2000; Toronto, Canada 2003; Tenby, Wales 2006; Kentucky, United States, 2009; Strathalbyn, South Australia 2012; British Columbia, Canada, 2015 and Reeth, North Yorkshire, England 2018. The 2019-2021 board is based in St John’s, Newfoundland.

Members of this guild explore a variety of rugmaking techniques.

Berith Myrvold, Norway traditional rughooking
Berith Myrvold, Norway traditional rughooking

The craft of rugmaking has included many different techniques over the centuries. This guild is mainly interested in the manipulation of fabric strips, in a variety of widths and yarns, by pulling or pushing them through an open weave backing.  Contemporary rugmaking artists often use cotton monks cloth, rug warp or linen with approximately 12-15 threads per inch – natural fibres will maintain a good foundation for years to come.  In the past any fabric which could be punctured to pull a loop through was used, leading to some utilitarian which deteriorated because the foundation fibres were not strong enough to withstand the elements and stress.
Some of our members describe their techniques and provide terminology on this page.

"Dancing Under the Stars", Kris McDermet, Vermont,USA Hooked and Braided
“Dancing Under the Stars”, Kris McDermet, Vermont,USA
Hooked and Braided

A sister craft to quilting, rugmaking evolved out of the need to warm up domestic spaces and to beautify the home without incurring great cost.  Depending on the region’s sources of material, a variety of techniques have developed and many of them flourish today.
In the United States of America and Canada, wool fabric is most commonly used – it resists wear due to foot traffic, light exposure and changes of temperatures.  This fibre had the advantage of being commonly available (as discarded clothing) in colder climates.
Japan’s recycled materials include silk kimonos.
Hooked rugs are often painterly, using thin strips of wool.

Wider cuts of fabric are reminiscent of the primitive style of hooked rugs created in America in the very early 1800s.  Originating in the Maritime provinces of Canada and spreading down to New England in the United States, bare floors and wool clothing led to the need to hook rugs from recycled fibres. Regional styles and a preference for particular types of material developed. In the 1860s, after the American Civil War, pattern makers stencilled designs and sold them.  Today Rug Hooking Magazine publishes articles featuring the multitude of styles and techniques and it lists events and workshops.

Prodded mat by Maggie Lucas, Australia
Prodded mat by Maggie Lucas, Australia

In Australia and the United Kingdom, the craft is referred to as hooky if pulling with a hook. Another technique, using wide strips cut about 3″ in length and prodded through the backing creating a lush shaggy pile, is called proggy or proddy. Cotton t-shirts, synthetic fleece and other fabrics are as readily available as wool in these countries and are found in many a rugmaker’s stash.

Another technique incorporated into rugs is standing wool or quilling.  A heavy rug is created using wider strips, folded in half and sewn down the middle length to the backing. Progressively more strips are packed in to fill the surface of the design.  This technique, used in America prior to hooking through the foundation, is resurfacing all around the world with, for example, rugmakers incorporating circles as flower centres into a hooked piece.

The benefits of joining this international guild include a members-only website where we discuss topics, post group projects and meet members by visiting their personal pages.  We encourage members to take part in Skype calls as a way of accessing the global techniques and projects our guild is involved with.  Videos of conference events and presentations by fibre experts are available on the members’ site. The organization is increasingly taking advantage of cyberspace and connecting members through emerging social media platforms.