“Sointula Gill Net Rug”
Sointula Gill Net Rug makers are always on the lookout for the “gold”, 3-ply nylon web, as well as 3-ply Coho net. which is silky soft and comes in shades of green and vibrant blues. Wendy Davis will tell you that each net has a story intimately linked to the unique history of a place or community along the Pacific West Coast.
Gill Net Rug makers call the 3-ply web their “gold” because there are very few nets left to be found. If the nets haven’t been buried or burned after 40 years, they remain as strong as the day they were produced by the Bubour Company, whose manufactured web makes the very finest rugs.
In 1958, for the visionary Finnish woman, Helmi Pakkalen, a fisherman’s wife who developed the Gill Net Rug, 3-ply was plentiful. She worked with a friend to cut up local nets to knit strands into rugs however knitting was the wrong approach. Next Mrs. Pakkalen cut the webbing slightly differently and crocheted the strands. This technique resulted in a beautiful and durable Gill Net Rug. Mrs Pakkalen then endeavored to teach other women this technique in her home, and they, in turn, taught other women.
Time has drastically changed the gill net fishery, boats are bigger, mechanical gear is more advanced, electronics are state of the art, and the nets have transitioned from a 3-ply cotton to a thinner, synthetic Mono-Ultrastrand to the “Alaska Twist”, a synthetic product with a lifespan of a mere 25 years.
Almost 50 years later her rugs are still in use.