12 Nov 2008
Latch hook rug making or the realm of kitschiness
There was this time in Stockholm when I saw a subtle green latch hooked rug in a weaving loom and decided I should try making a rug like that one. Apart from some basic knowledge from design school, I can't say I know how to weave so I started looking for lessons and tools. I was immediately discouraged when I found out how expensive it was to pay for a medium-sized loom of my own, some quality yarn and the weaving classes (besides having to carry the loom for each lesson). So, if my final objective was a hooked rug, then I could try a simpler but somehow less noble version: using rug canvas.
So here's my first attempt. Inspired by a crocheted bedspread, I created this geometric and very easy to follow pattern. The technique is rather slow so I'm not sure when I'll be posting the finished rug (I do hope to finish the nine squares originally intended and not give up on the way).
What's been really fun with this technique is that I've discovered the realm of bad taste and kitschiness. Just search around the web and you'll find sheer kitsch in pillows, rugs and wall hangings. I wouldn't like to offend anyone's work, but for one reason or the other, hand latch hooked rugs have ended being the canvas of cartoons, animals' portraits or holiday themes. Has it something to do with its resemblance to bathroom rugs that this technique has totally fallen from grace?
I'm always intrigued by cultural and social connotations given to some crafts (tie-dye will always be hippie, latch hooked rugs will always be kitsch) and how they can really change when approached to with an original focus. Sandra Backlund's knits never feel unflattering nor Subversive Cross Stitch embroideries look boring. So, is there any future with latch hooking?