Posted by: Laura Pierce | November 24, 2015

Caswell Carpet Impressions in a Prim way…

Caswell Carpet embroidered by Zeruah H Guernsey Caswell, 1832-1835

Caswell Carpet embroidered by Zeruah H Guernsey Caswell, 1832-1835

This carpet is part of our National Heritage, stashed away for safe keeping at the Metropolitan Museum. An impressive testimony to one American woman’s fiber art. Zeruah probably had the gift of time to chain stitch this room size carpet, and a long winter or 2 in Castleton, Vermont.

Caswell Impression #3 dwg by Laura Pierce

Caswell Impression #3 dwg by Laura Pierce

This past summer, I spent many days sitting with my mother. Sometimes Emma would drift off to sleep and I liked to have something to do, to occupy those times. I took a photo copy of the ‘Caswell Carpet’ and copied several blocks in ink… nothing perfect, just quick drawings.

Caswell Impression #8 long dwg by Laura Pierce

Caswell Impression #8 long dwg by Laura Pierce

I scanned the sketches, cleaned them up and came up with several patterns; some square and some rectangular. I couldn’t wait to get them on linen and start to hook!

Caswell Blue Jay by Laura Pierce

Caswell Blue Jay by Laura Pierce

Wine Country Rug Hookers sponsored a workshop with Kris Miller earlier this month… I took my Caswell bird pattern and hooked a Blue Jay! I looked for visuals on the internet and found that Blue Jays have lots of lively blue turquoise in their wing and tail feathers! It was a fun hook using scraps of blues in #6 cut. Kris is a #8.5 cut rug hooker, but she loved my blue Blue Jay! I selected a beige plaid for my background; I thought it would be a good choice as it’s sort of a neutral version of orange… the compliment of blue. I kept the edges of my bird dark or bright blue to stand out from the beige plaid. Eventually, i realized I couldn’t quite go with the beige plaid… I added the off-white texture to the beige plaid in stripes. I had wanted to do this kind of stripy background anyway… so it made me happy! I’m going to use the beige plaid to make a biased tape edge for this rug; I think it will be a perfect compliment. Of course, the off-white texture is very pretty too. I’m going to give a short lesson in rug finishing at Wine Country Rug Hookers early next year; in an after lunch activity. I’ll get my biased tape made and pressed, then save it for the lesson.


  1. Lovely!!

  2. Love your interpretation. You definitely inherited Emma’s talent.

  3. I love what you did with the bluejay, and also the background!

  4. Laura, a very interesting post. I like your blue jay as we see many in our backyard and you nailed It! We were able to see the Caswell Carpe from the Meropolitan several years ago when we took a trip to the NY Folk Art Museum. They had an exhibit of hooked, sewn, etc. rugs. Lee Kogan, a member of the staff there, curated and guided our tour. A once-in-a lifetime experience! Those fragile items are only rarely shown.

  5. I appreciate the follow up of this great art mat!
    I also look forward to see it in person at our meeting.

  6. Laura, How is your project for the Caswell Carpet going? Why don’t you make one of the squares an option to bring to LRI? Just a thought. AS I look at it in more detail, it is really complicated. It looks like it was seamed down the middle. Do you thing? How are you going to choose which squares to copy? Sarah

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