Famous last words?  I don’t know.  At least in my husband’s lifetime it will not be!  I have only hooked one rug that he said “I want to keep that”…and this is the one…

An Azeri style rug...my one and only.

Family Reunion – an Azeri style rug…my one and only.

This rug – Family Reunion – is called an Azeri rug.  There are many different styles of rug hooking – that’s another post – but this style hails from the Middle East.  A carpet salesman went over to Turkey and noticed the traditional carpet making businesses were going under and the lifestyle of the carpet makers was disappearing.

So he commissioned some of the best carpet makers to create carpets that showed their lifestyle and things that were familiar to them.  He brought those carpets back to America and they sold like hotcakes.

Traditional rug hookers here in North America saw the carpets from Turkey and the Azeri style of rug hooking was born.

In short, an Azeri rug is a story rug, or a rug that tells the story of the maker.  I actually designed this rug for a class…the one and only class I ever took at the one and only rug camp I ever attended.  It was at “The San” (short for sanitorium) in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada.   I’d taken classes before, but never at a rug camp.  As a one income family struggling to raise two daughters we did not have a lot of extra money for rug camps.

Traditionally an Azeri has figures and images floating around on the surface of the rug, surrounded by an Oriental border.  In my rug I decided to give the images some coherence and order.  I put a road in, to place events in chronological order.

This wall hanging tells the story of our trip to a family reunion in Salmon Arm, BC.  We lived in Regina, SK at the time.  Our old silver gray Toyota Tercel is immortalized in it!

We decided to stop at Badlands Provincial Park on the way to learn more about the badlands.  It is a very dry habitat with dust devils, prickly pear cacti, and rattlesnakes.  In fact, the latter are so prevalent that park staff insist on “No open toed shoes”!  Of course our 16 year old neglected to pack anything but the open-toed sandals she was wearing.  She did manage some educational tours though…from the safety of a tourist mini-bus.

They had just come back from a late afternoon tour, in fact, and were relaxing on a blanket stretched out under a tree, when a dust devil or whirlwind, came down the hill behind us and caught our tent, lifted it off it’s bearings, pegs and all, and threw it up into the tree!  We were sitting there with our mouths hanging open.

By the time we untangled the tent from the tree we found a six inch long gash in the roof and ripped strapping where the tent pegs used to be.  We looked for the tent pegs and were short a couple.  What we found were twisted and bent.  Incredible stuff!  Do not underestimate the power of a “small” whirlwind or dust devil!

After an analysis of the situation we came to the conclusion we could not use the tent as it was.  So after the park staff graciously refunded our second night, we headed into Calgary, home of the Saddledome (in red), to wake up Hubby’s sister and crash at her place for the night.

We spent the next day having the tent repaired, buying more tent pegs, visiting, and generally preparing for the final leg of our trip to Salmon Arm, BC.  We stopped at the campgrounds past Field, B.C., in Yoho National Park.  We were about 100 yards from the TransCanada in what we thought was a nice secluded campsite with few other campers around.  What we didn’t know was the CN Railway main line ran about 50 yards behind us, and the train came by around midnight and sometime in the middle of the night.  We didn’t get much sleep.

It rained.  We ate breakfast inside the local cafe before heading back to Lake Louise for rain ponchos for those of us who did not put in rain gear (that would be Hubby).

We went hiking and took in Takkakaw Falls.  They were beautiful!

Once we arrived at Salmon Arm we had a wonderful time with family.  Our hope was restored for a nice restful weekend…well, kind of.  We pitched our tent in the only flat spot on the motel grounds (the motel was full and had agreed to this in advance).  We discovered the first night that the last train, again about 50 yards away across the Trans-Canada, was at midnight, and the rooster from the farm behind us, woke up at 5 AM.  We suffered through one more night, and then we decided to share a room with my mother-in-law.

The third night our air bed sprung a leak.

We love family, but this was one vacation where we’d had more than we bargained for.  We headed home the next day, with everyone else, but instead of taking a slow scenic route, we drove straight through from Salmon Arm to Regina, arriving about 1 or 2 AM.  We passed a horrific car/semi-trailer accident in western Saskatchewan.  Thankfully the girls were sleeping by then.

Despite the challenges of getting to and from the reunion, and the issues at the reunion, we had a really good time.  But I must admit after that I could see the writing on the wall as far as Hubby was concerned when it came to camping.  He never was a big camper, and that trip did nothing to encourage him in that department!

So this rug/wall hanging is full of memories for us.  And, as Hubby says, “It’s not for sale!”

Technical Details:  This rug is hooked in #3 and #4 cut wool, recycled and new, mostly hand dyed, but some commercial dyeing.  It is on on Scottish burlap backing.  Beads are attached to the maple leaves in the border.  The handmade fringe is a mixture of different fibers – wool, silk, rayon, cotton – and beads.  The prickly pear cactus spines are made from wire, as are the tent pegs.  The entire wall hanging is lined with quilter’s 100% cotton.  The hanging tabs are wool.

If you have any questions just leave a comment in the comment section below. 🙂

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