Thursday, December 25, 2014

The World's Ugliest Rug

Friends, I have such marvels to show you on this Christmas day!

I like making things by hand. It gives me something to do while I watch TV, and at the end of the process I have something that's attractive and/or useful.

Latch hooking works particularly well for TV viewing, and it results in a rug. Rugs are useful for folks without wall-to-wall carpeting, and the fuzzy ones feel mighty nice on your bare feet. Win!

There are just two problems:

1. New latch hook kits are expensive, and intact ones rarely show up at my local thrift stores.

2. There is no such thing as an attractive latch hook kit.

Fibre artists design nice hooked rugs all the time, but the ones you buy as kits run the gamut from sorta cute but ultimately misguided Winnie the Pooh character pillows to orange and brown monstrosities from the darkest part of the 1970s. I have vague memories of hooking a small, rainbow wall hanging when I was a kid, but the first latch hook kit I worked as an adult depicted a giant mushroom against an off-white background.

"Oh god," I said to my mother. "What have I done?"

She assured me it was really quite cute. In fact, she liked it a lot.

"Fine," I said. "You can have it. You have to keep it forever and ever until you die."

She gave it to my grandmother less than a month later. So much for that.

After a long dry spell, the thrift store yielded a kit that put those horrendous mushrooms to shame. It was the ugliest rug in all the land: a 70s sunset scene, replete with that distinctive blend of orange and brown and large enough to make a suitable bathroom rug for my recently-dehospitalized grandfather. I bought it, hooked it, and handed it off.

A painfully ugly hooked rug depicting a small brown boat against a violently orange, brown, and yellow sunset.

Grandpa gave it back to me within the week. Something about how his home care worker called it a "safety hazard" because it didn't have grippy stuff on the bottom.

I believed that. I really did.

The Really Ugly Rug (as it's come to be known) now resides at the bottom of my basement stairs. Sometimes, I force guests to gaze upon it. Their expressions of abject horror give me life.

I figured the Really Ugly Rug was the pinnacle of latch hooked ugliness until a mere month ago, when the thrift store disgorged something even uglier. I stared at the kit for a moment, hardly daring to believe it actually existed. What were those 70s craft designers thinking? This was an hallucination. It had to be.

But it wasn't. I brought the kit home and brought it to life while I watched AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D and caught up on all the fall TV I'd been ignoring for ages.

Now I present the World's Ugliest Rug for your viewing displeasure. Be forewarned: the rug depicts a poorly-proportioned ship upon a yellow sea with a flat yellow sky in the background. It is hideous, and it is not for the faint of heart.

Are you ready?

Have you steeled yourself?

Are you absolutely sure you want to scroll further down?

Okay, then. They're your eyes.

My mother still maintains the Really Ugly Rug is the uglier example. Me, I'm inclined to hate/love the World's Ugliest Rug more on account of that ghastly yellow sky and the poor perspective. The Really Ugly Rug does look more texturally welcoming, I'll admit, but that's mostly because it hasn't had people walking all over it for the last couple of years. Give it some time.

Which of us do you agree with?


  1. God, they're both so awful, this is a very tough decision. I guess I agree with your mother? But it's very, very close.

    1. Murchie also agrees with my mother, but since he's colourblind I'm going to assume he's going by texture, not appearance. Going by texture, the Really Ugly Rug is definitely the worse of the two.

  2. I miss latch-hooking. I made a very unfortunate pillow with Pluto on it as a kid. It was hideous; a yellow dog does not translate particularly well to being made of yarn.

    I vote for #2 for the uglier rug, mostly because the sails don't quite seem to work.

    I have a really pretty latch hooked rug in my bedroom. It was made free-form without a kit by my grandmother when she was losing her mind from Alzheimer's. It's geometric, brightly colored, and full of awesome, and I can vouch for the fact that she had absolutely no idea what she was doing when she made it.

    1. Free-form rugs by fibre artists can be so gorgeous. I worked my at university's art gallery back in the day, and we once did a show full of amazing hooked rugs. If only kits were as great as those rugs and the one your grandma made.

  3. I can't believe I didn't comment on this. I think I agree with you. At least the first ugly rug has some orange in it??? I made a HIDEOUS latch rug that was basically a huge yellow smiley face with a hot pink background. #90s.

    1. I think I remember seeing a yellow-and-pink smiley face kit way back in the day! I'll bet it was the same one.

  4. Oh good god. Both are so awful, but I think the bottom one takes the cake because of the strange oblong sun behind the ship.

    1. This was always my feeling as well. Yellow sun + yellow sky = horrors.