Bluenose Patterns


BN 2118

hooked by Sue MacLachlan

In 1998, Linda MacDonald, owner of Rags to Rugs, acquired the Bluenose Rug Hooking Patterns. This collection of designs was created by the Garretts of New Glasgow throughout the 1900s for distribution across North America and Britain. At the time they were acquired by Linda, these patterns had been sitting in the basement of Garrett's by the Bridge in New Glasgow for quite some time. They were in the form of perforated paper stencils stained with black ink. As you can imagine, the task of cleaning the stencils of dirt and dust, then transferring them to a usable form is very time consuming. More on the process of cleaning the stencils and burlap matbacks.

To date, we have prepared over 100 patterns for distribution. To view our Catalogue of Designs online, please click here. (Note: Adobe Acrobat is required to view this document. This program can be downloaded for free from the Adobe web site). If you are unable to view the document, please contact us by one of the methods outlined on our Contact Page.

Please click on the category name below to download a PDF of the available patterns or click here to download our entire pattern catalog

Floral Patterns

Geometric Pattens

Pictorial Patterns

Fairytale and Fantasy Patterns

Furs and Feathers Patterns

Chair Seat Patterns

Celtic and small design Patterns

Cleaning the burlap mat backs

First, we tackled the burlap mat backs. Their sojourn in the basement had left the burlap mat backs covered with black dust and smelling musty. They are too old and delicate to wash them in water and detergent. Plus, such a washing would make the coloured dye run as it is not colourfast. So, first, we tried to air them out by hanging them at the front of the garage with the door opened. Then, we put on our dust masks, old clothes, and heavy gloves and went to brushing and sucking the dirt off of them with the vacuum cleaner. Next, we ironed them to remove the creases that had been left from the years and years of being folded and piled together. Finally, we photographed and catalogued them. As you can see in the following photographs, our process preserved the delightful colouring of the patterns but it did not remove the dirt absorbed in the creases of the burlap.

Cleaning the paper stencils

The paper stencils were a whole other story. They had been rolled and piled in no particular order so we began by trying to clean each stencil before it was removed from the basement. Each one had to be carefully unrolled and cleaned with a dry cloth to remove years of dust and whatever was waiting in the centre. Some had been damaged so the ends had to be removed before they could be unrolled. This had to be done with great care to prevent cutting off the edges of the designs. By the second day, we realized that at this rate it would take years to clean and remove all the stencils. At this point, we decided to simply remove them from the premises and tackle this task one group at a time. There are still hundreds of stencils we have yet to look at. To date, we have cleaned, sorted and catalogued over three hundred designs. There have been some wonderful surprises and these unexpected discoveries are what inspire us to continue with the preservation process.

For a complete history on the Bluneose Patterns check out the book Garretts and the Bluenose Rugs of Nova Scotia available for sale.