A SHORT HISTORY of the BLUENOSE GARRETT PATTERNS
from the Canadian Museum of Civilation
by Scott Robson
Throughout the first half of the 1900s, hooked mats on floors across Canada carried the name "Bluenose," a well-known Nova Scotian name.
Some even carried an image of the famous fishing schooner of the same name. About 1926, the Garrett family business in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, adopted the word as its trade name for hooked mat patterns. Its printed burlap patterns, distributed by mail order, transported the name and the company's designs into homes far away. Although Garrett's was neither the first nor the only producer of hooking patterns in Nova Scotia, the company was certainly the largest, and by far the longest in operation.
Garrett Designs and Distribution
In more than 80 years, the firm printed burlap patterns with hundreds of designs, many drawn by John Garrett, and then by his son Frank, who had trained as a commercial artist. These designs can be traced through the pattern sheets and catalogues, which were often issued yearly. An advertisement in theFamily Herald & Weekly Star on February 28, 1900, boasted "over sixty designs for mat hookers" in six sizes. In 1925, there were "more than a hundred designs." Some were inspired by older mats and some were adapted from patterns bought in Boston; a few have been identified as versions of Edward Frost's designs, which are well known in New England. However, most of the designs were created by Frank Garrett and his father.
Soon after 1900, Eaton's (a Canadian department store ) began to market Garrett patterns across Canada. The Hudson's Bay Company, Simpson's, and others followed. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Eaton's was Garrett's best customer for the mat patterns. In the winter of 1926-27, Eaton's sold over 900 dozen (10 800) of two designs alone.
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This is just a little sample of the information on the internet regarding these rug patterns. Almost every home in Nova Scotia has at least one old hooked Garrett BLUENOSE pattern in it.
These Patterns were bought by Linda Macdonald of Pictou NS and are still available from Rags to Rugs
I got my own love of hooked rugs and hooking from my great grandmothers home where I spent the summers as a child . . .she was a prolific rug hooker and I remember her rugs well from a height of about 30 inches off the ground!
Salesmen would travel around the country side selling the Bluenose patterns . . .No Dorr wool in those days!!! Rugs were used to keep ones feet warm . . .and hooked with whatever there was on hand to cut up.
When I had my own home I started to collect old rugs from NS in the summers . . I have many . . .most have holes . . .I dont even repair them as I love the old used feeling. . . .and besides, any that didn't have holes were stolen and resold here in Quebec!
After a while I couldn't find rugs that I liked to buy . . . or that were affordable . . . . so I started to hook my own . . . .
Now I have to" take a rug for the weekend ' to the farm house as I am afraid to leave them there !