Saturday, September 5, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Part 1

Mary and Lauren left me comments about my last post...that they would be interested in seeing the progress of my Harvest Goode Things rug. I thought it would be fun to post the progress as a diary and include my thoughts and choices of colors and textures. I'll try to explain why I hooked things the way I did and even explain why I changed things later! This diary will be a little sporadic at first, due to my traveling schedule but my goal is to take you through every step of my hooking process!
My wools for the Sunflowers are pictured below. The tweed on the left is what sparked the whole color plan for my rug. It looked like sunflower seeds to me and I loved the little blue lines that run through the weave. So I was absolutely sure that I wanted to use that for my flower centers. Then I picked some golds. Yes, it's a traditional looking sunflower but that's OK with me. The gold on the bottom was dyed over Dorr Oatmeal and the one in the center was dyed over a neutral texture that looked like little bricks. I liked the texture of the squares and that gold overdye turned out more subtle and drab than the first one. The green plaid on the top was something that I picked out of my private stash and I had used it in my Lion and Lamb rug. I thought it would make terrific stems for the sunflowers and I liked the fact that it had a blue line running through it.....hmm, recurring color spark might be blue....I'm going to look for more textures with a blue "theme" to them. The wool on the right was another scrap of an drab light olive-green overdye that I had used in a previous rug for leaves. I wanted to use that one again for leaves. I often "carry over" wools from previous rugs into my new projects. It's funny, you can almost follow a common "thread" through my previous rugs by looking at what I carried over and used from one rug to the next. I decided that I was going to try to hook most of this rug in an #8.5 cut but use a #8 cut for letters and smaller details if I needed to.

Now here is one of the sunflowers hooked up. I found a tiny scrap of brighter gold/yellow. I only had a few strips! So I used it as an outline around the seed a little more interest to the flower. The flower petals were hooked using the gold overdyed Dorr Oatmeal. The flowers were smaller so I didn't think they needed an outline. There are four sunflowers in the rug, so I hooked three of them like this one:

The fourth one was hooked a little differently. I used the brick texture for the flower petals, didn't use the bright gold/yellow to outline the seeds, but outlined the flower itself with the gold overdyed Dorr oatmeal. The flowers all look harmonious but one is just a little different. I like the theory of "odd numbers", therefore the "3 and 1" combination (instead of hooking "2 and 2" of the same color combination--too predictable for my eye).

When I was picking out my wools for the sunflowers, I also made the decision that I wanted a light background. This is such a fun and happy rug that I felt a dark background would not be appropriate. I wanted the feeling of light and airy. I actually had a different light texture picked out at first but after I got the flowers hooked into the linen, I decided that the background was just a little too "pinky" and I changed my mind. So much of the color I was using had green tones to them (even the brick-texture looked like a gold which leaned toward green tones). My final choice was a light herringbone that has yellowish green tones. I usually like to blend at least two textures into my background but after looking at how much background there was (not a lot and it's broken up by the house and the flowers), I decided that just using one texture was enough.
Now a word about my wool: I don't use spot dyes at all. I use all textures, even if they are subtle heathers or overdyed oatmeal, I don't use solid-colored off-the-bolt wool nor do I use swatches nor spot dyes. That's just me. When I look at my very first rugs (and I didn't know WHAT I was doing back then), there are very few spot dyes used. I instinctively reached for textures..plaids, tweeds, herringbones, etc. The love of textures was further enhanced when I took my first class with Barb Carroll. She opened my eyes to the world of texture possibilities and I have never looked back.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What's On My Frame Right Now?

Sunflowers! Don't you love to see their bright sunny faces growing in a garden?

This is just a part of the pattern Harvest Goode Things, a Spruce Ridge Studios adaptation from Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm's art work. It's available in two sizes but I chose the larger size because I wanted to hook in #8.5 cuts (my favorite size cut right now). The flowers were super-fun to hook and now I'm moving on to hooking the house/roof. I'll post more pictures as the rug progresses. Be sure to check out the other newer patterns such as Love Grows In My Garden, Oh Honey!, and Crow ABC's. They will make you smile!
Yes, the sunflowers are on my frame but my hook has been very lonely this week. I haven't had one extra minute to sit down and work on my hooking. There's just too much going on! I'll be teaching at Star of Texas starting on September 13th and when I get home, I'll be off once again to the ATHA Biennial in Louisville, KY. Please don't miss the opportunity to go to isn't that far away for most of us! The committee has been working very hard to put on a great party and I know there will be wall-to-wall fun everyday. If you can't make it for the whole conference, please come and see the rug show and visit the vendors for a day of shopping. You'll see lots of your friends there! And it only costs $12.00 to see the rug show and vendors. Go to the ATHA website for all the information. Right now I'm drawing up lots of patterns for your fall hooking projects. I'll also be bringing some yummy textured wools, lots of other needfuls for rug hooking, and some hand-carved, must-have pins representing all kinds of autumn motifs from Marlene Dusbiber (you know, all the best dressed hookers wear them)!