Work resumes on rug-hooking project

Duane Hicks

It’s a new year, time to try a new hobby, and organizers of the “What Hooks You Here” community rug-hooking project want the public to take a crack at “pulling up loops.”
As previously reported, the project includes four large panels featuring the four seasons and depicts activities and sights people living in the Rainy Lake area enjoy (i.e., “what hooks them here”) in each of those seasons.
While work on all four panels has begun, local rug-hookers Debbie Ballard and Judy Kielczewski need more people to try their hand at rug-hooking and truly make it a “community” project.
Ballard and Kielczewski will be in the fireplace lounge at the Fort Frances Library Technology Centre on the first three Wednesdays of every month.
They will be there from 1-4 or 5 p.m., where they will be hooking and teaching others the craft.
Everyone is welcome to drop by, check out the project, and try their hand at hooking—whether or not they have prior experience.
“We’ll only be hooking on Wednesdays, but we’ll leave them [the panels] on display so people can look at them or even sign up to work on them,” noted Kielczewski.
“Anybody’s who interested can contact us,” echoed Ballard, who can be reached at 274-3250.
Kielczewski can be reached at 274-7120.
Ballard added Sherry George of the Fort Frances Museum also is planning on holding a Wednesday afternoon hooking session there during March Break.
“So that will be another chance for kids to participate,” Ballard said, noting those interested in that particular session can contact the museum at 274-7891 or via e-mail at
While there has been some interest from groups in “adopting” a panel and working on it together, none actually have done so yet, admitted Ballard, though stressing they are wholeheartedly welcoming clubs, sororities, or even school classes to do so.
While various community members, including local children, did provide input last year on what they wanted to see in the rug-hooking project, the participation has to carry on from there, the pair agreed.
In order for it to be a community project, they can’t be the only ones working on it—it really needs others, whether they are first-timers or veteran “hookers.”
Kielczewski said that when they were at the library last Wednesday, a gentleman stopped by and pulled up a few loops on a tree.
 “That’s all we really want people to be able to do. Make an effort and pull up a couple loops,” Kielczewski remarked.
“When it’s hanging in the museum or hanging in the library, you can say, ‘Hey, I took part in that community project.’”
“Once people learn how [to rug-hook], we’d like them to take a panel, pass it around, take it for a week or even a few days,” urged Ballard.
“That way, you can do a significant part of it.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with just pulling a few loops, but you will be able to say, ‘I hooked that man’ or ‘I hooked that tree,’ and point to a specific object [depicted in the panels],” she reasoned.
“What Hooks You Here?” is sponsored by the Community Arts and Heritage Education Project (CAHEP) and Moffat Fund.