The finished rug as made by McAdoo Rugs. You can of course choose your own colors!
Your pattern will be a line drawing hand traced for you on our light table. It will come with a “map” of the colors they used and a list showing how much yarn you will need for the different areas.
About our McAdoo Rug Patterns For Punch Needle and Traditional Rug Hooking
All of our patterns are available on 100% cotton monk’s cloth or 100% linen rug backing. Our patterns are individually hand drawn and we take special care to draw the pattern lines straight with the weave of the cloth for easier punching/hooking. Our monk’s cloth has 14 threads per inch (each thread is actually a double thread so there are really 28 threads per inch!) Our linen is the finest quality primitive natural linen from Dorr Mills and has 12 threads per inch. All edges on our monk’s cloth and linen are serged to prevent fraying. Patterns include 5” of extra backing on each side. Chair pad patterns come on 24” x 24” cloth.
If you aren’t sure what backing to choose, I recommend monk’s cloth for punch needle rug hooking. I offer linen because some traditional rug hookers prefer it to monk’s cloth. For more about traditional and punch needle rug hooking techniques and rug backings please see my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here on this website.
Draw My Pattern:
If you’re a punch needle rug hooker, you’ll be working on the back side of your rug so your design will need to be backwards (a mirror image). If you’re a traditional rug hooker, you’ll be working on the front side of your rug so your design will need to be frontwards. If you choose to order one of our patterns here you will see a drop-down window with two choices: "Draw my pattern backward for punch needle hooking," or "Frontward for traditional hooking." Please click on which option you prefer.
Each McAdoo Pattern includes:
- A color photograph of the rug.
- A diagram or “map” showing color placement for McAdoo rug yarn colors. McAdoo rug yarn is currently unavailable but you can use this map as a guide.
- Yarn amounts needed for every detail of the rug. Based on the McAdoos’ use of the #8 Oxford Punch Needle which makes 1/2” tall loops. Anyone using #9 (3/8” loops) or #10 (1/4” loops) will have more than enough.
About McAdoo Rugs
When Frances McAdoo (pronounced MAC-uh-doo) retired, he and his wife Cynthia, both avid sailors, set off on a long sailing trip along the coast of Maine. During their travels they would stop and go ashore to visit different harbor towns. It was in one of these small villages that Cynthia saw local women selling hooked rugs by the side of the road. The designs were from Sears, Roebuck and Company and Cynthia found the rugs quite unattractive and thought the women could do much better if they had more beautiful rugs. The economy in this region was very poor and Mrs. McAdoo wanted to do something to help. When she got home to New Jersey, she set to work with a real mission. She sought out experts and learned to hook rugs with the punch needle method, dye her own yarn, and then started designing rugs. Fabulous rugs. She worked diligently in her basement, creating kits for the women she remembered in Maine. Each kit contained a pattern on monk’s cloth, dyed yarns, and a punch needle. When Cynthia had enough kits to fill her station wagon, she and Frances drove up to Maine in search of people who needed jobs. It was 1972 and this was the beginning of McAdoo Rugs. At first it wasn’t easy to find anyone who wanted to give this project a try but in time, they got their endeavor off the ground and were able to really make a difference in people’s lives.
In 1980, their son, Preston McAdoo, took over the business with his wife, coincidentally also named Cynthia. They started in their barn in North Bennington, Vermont and then, as the business grew, moved into a 200-year old red mill across the street. Preston was an abstract painter with a degree in fine art and brought his own artistic talents to the business. McAdoo Rugs flourished and a feature article in The New York Times really put them on the map. They sold rugs in galleries and shops all across the country, worked with decorators, and held private rug shows in people’s homes, donating a portion of the sales to local charities. They even opened a shop on Lexington Avenue in New York City. In their heyday, McAdoo Rugs employed 10 people in the mill and over 50 rug hookers who worked in their homes. They had seven designers including Preston, his mother and his wife. This cottage industry hummed along, producing between 1000-1500 rugs a year in a variety of sizes from chair pads to enormous room sized rugs and stair runners that graced the homes of presidents, movie stars and world leaders.
Cynthia and Preston retired in 2007 and sold the business to Jeff and Cary Turner. In 2009 the Turners closed citing the “abysmal” economy. In an email release they wrote, "We hung on as long as we could and have sought outside investment help, but unfortunately, no one seems prepared to invest in small American owned and operated companies anymore.”
I was able to purchase all of the McAdoo patterns at auction in 2010. There are over 1000 of them including over 400 custom designs and more than 600 "standard" designs (designs that the McAdoos' made repeatedly). I’ve featured 26 of my favorite standard designs here and will keep adding more over time. These rugs have a very special personal meaning to me because I learned to make punch needle rugs when I worked as a home rug hooker for the McAdoos in the early 1980’s. I first met Cynthia and Preston when I was a freshman at Bennington College and answered an ad on the college bulletin board for a baby sitter for their two young children. Preston was a car mechanic then, painting in his spare time. When I saw his first prototype rug when he took over the family business I knew I wanted to be a rug maker and I’ve been making them ever since.
Over 1000 patterns on rolls of paper were delivered to my barn after the auction; it took two moving vans to deliver all of these rolls. In this picture I am also feeling completely overwhelmed and thinking, “What have I done?!”
Preston McAdoo came for 4 days to help me sort the patterns. Now they are all in tidy cubbies in alphabetical order.
It is my pleasure to be able to share these designs with you. If there is a pattern that you love that isn’t featured here we probably have it and can trace it onto cloth for you. Please call or email me if there is a special design you’re looking for. I feel very fortunate to be able to preserve what I consider to be a national treasure.
All patterns are copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be reproduced without written authorization.