Several Quoddy Loopers are working on their Rug Aid mats from the November 21,2009 international Rug Rave event for Rug-Aid, a not-for-profit organization begun by UK rughooker & teacher Heather Ritchie, who has been helping blind and vision-impaired people and their families, in Gambia.
Heather has been working with the group, teaching, providing materials and spearheading the fundraising efforts, with the aim of eventually providing a building for the rughookers to work and store their materials in. For the time being, they have the use of a community room to work in but have to carry everything home between their sessions. Rug Aid also pays their transportation and provides some food for the workers. Sighted people hook outlines, sort the fabric into colours and the blind rughookers fill in the spaces. At the Rug Rave, we were to each try hooking blindfolded for 30 minutes – it’s not easy! We each paid a fee to Heather for the use of the pattern and everyone is hooking their own version. The intention is to raffle off the rugs by our 2010 hook-in and remit those funds to Rug-Aid as well.
More info from the rug-aid.org website: "Heather Ritchie first visited the Gambia in 2007. She was amazed at how quickly the blind people she taught at the GOVI (Gambian Organisation for the Visually Impaired) Resource Centre learned to make rag rugs, even though she didn't know their language. They learned very quickly and used second hand t-shirts to create their rugs. The aim of Rug Aid is to provide opportunities for women and children in some of the poorest communities in Africa. They will make rugs, wall hangings and decorative items for sale locally, nationally and, maybe later, through fair trade organisations world wide. By providing opportunities for women and children, the aim of Rug Aid is to bring about change 'from the bottom up'."
This one is hooked with mainly as-is recycled wool, in #6 to 9 cuts, on burlap, or 'hessian', as it is called in the UK.