Thursday, July 9, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Welcomed Guests

Welcomed Guests
Adapted from the artwork of Ann Willey
Hooked by Kris Miller

Here is another peaceful and calming design.  This could be a mother and daughter, or two sisters, or two friends.  Some people look at this rug and tell me that it looks like they are having a conversation but I have always viewed it as two gals who are enjoying some quiet time, feeding the birds.  No talking needed.

When I began to hook this design, I was excited about the leaves and I started with them first.  In my mind, I was sure that I was going to use a light background.  As the colors began to build and I got more objects completed, I tried to put a row or two of light values around everything to test the background.  Ugh, it really looked awful (in my humble opinion) and I realized that sometimes rugs will tell you what they want to be....and this one was telling me that it needed a dark background!  No need to try to force it or fight with it, I thought. I just had to hook what the rug wanted. You may think I am crazy but this has happened to me more than once...maybe it has happened to you too.

The sweaters that both the girls are wearing were hooked from pieces of unusual textures that I had purchased from Barb Carroll.  They were a perfect match for the patterned skirts and I always try to dress my hooked figures nicely!  Hooking the skirts directionally helped the shape of the figures so that they really do look like they are seated (and no shading needed!)  I hooked the table cloth directionally too.

Hooking the fingers were the hardest part for me but I figured out that I needed to hook them individually in a #6 cut and then sqeeeeeeze a very slim accent line (I call it a pop-out line) in between the rows.

Here is a link to the pattern on my website:

Wouldn't this make a great gift for that special Shero in your life?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Mermaid

It's a very hot and sultry day here in Michigan so let's cool off a little with a refreshing rug.....
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kathleen Marie

You can feel the coolness of the water and almost hear the lapping of the waves when you look at Kathleen's rug!  The water surrounding the mermaid is hooked in such a way that it has a lovely, soothing movement.  Kathleen hooked a small light reverse halo around the body of the mermaid so that she doesn't get "lost" in the water.  I love the purple sky and her purple bra.  If you look closely, you can see that Kathleen added trinkets to jazz up her rug a bit....beads, charms, etc.  Such a great way to personalize her rug!
Bravo, Kathleen, this is one splendid rug...and I feel cooler just looking at it!

I have always been fascinated by mermaids and sea creatures.  My dad was in the Navy and when he crossed the equator, they gave him a "Shellback Certificate" honoring the occasion.  It was decorated with side images of mermaids riding fish and good old King Neptune was riding the waves at the top of the certificate. One of these days, I'd like to design a rug with King Neptune as the main character, just to remind me of my special childhood memories.

You can find the Mermaid pattern here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Old Glory Bunting

Old Glory Bunting
Design by Kris Miller/Spruce Ridge Studios
Hooked by Rhonda Ducote

Have you ever thought about something or someone and then they turn up,  unexpectedly and out of the blue?  That's what happened when I was posting about patriotic rugs. I was thinking to myself that I have always wanted to hook Old Glory Bunting.  It's a really simple, fun design that would hook up quickly with wide cuts.  I started looking through my stash and color planning in my head....and then along came an email from Rhonda Ducote and she had just finished it as a gift to her sister.  
I love the luscious colors she used!
Beautiful rug, Rhonda! *applause*

I had color planned this rug for a student at a rug camp and we chose an old gray/blue for the background and antique white for the stars but treated the sunburst in a little bit different manner.
The rays were going to be antique white too, but I had her outline them in red.  The red has to be strong enough to show up next to the blue background.  

I'm still not sure which color plan I would choose but sometimes a rug will tell  you what it wants to be....sounds strange but I've learned this many when I start hooking, I'm going to let the rug guide me.

You can find the pattern here:

Besides being a "bunting" that you can hang on a wall or over a door, I think this would be a stunning design to use as a half-oval rug in an entryway, right in front of the door when you walk in.  

Monday, July 6, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Bittersweet Crow Pumpkin

Bittersweet Crow Pumpkin
Adapted from the design of Johanna Parker
Hooked by Kris Miller

I hooked this sweet little rug right after I hooked the Halloween Is Calling design.  I had just completed an orange pumpkin and really didn't feel like hooking another one.  I decided to make pumpkin similar to a Jarrahdale pumpkin and chose a gray/green texture.  I also thought a purple hat would jazz up the crow a bit and I did some beading for the hat trim with purple and orange.  

Johanna's design does not have a border and neither does the rug hooking pattern that I draw and sell.  However, as I started to hook the background toward the edges, I felt as if something was missing.  I began to play around with a border on a small section of one edge and after auditioning several different techniques and rows, I came up with two rows of beading.  I purposely made sure that a green loop was opposite a light loop so that it gave a checkerboard-like feeling.  The third row is one solid row of green and the fourth row is the wool I used for the accent lines in the pumpkin.  The inner three rows frame the rest of the design nicely without being too heavy and the outer row tells your eye that this is the outside edge and it's time to stop looking any further.

Here's what the rug would look like without the border:

Both are nice rugs but the border just adds a little more interest.  Wouldn't you agree?

To border or not to border...that is really the question!  My answer is to go with your intuition, your gut feeling.  Some of the rugs I have hooked do not have a border and I felt they did not NEED a border.  Maybe there was a lot going on in the center of the rug or the background color was sufficient enough and a border would be a distraction.  Some of my rugs have borders that are thin and delicate, maybe just one row.   Some have thick borders that act as a picture frame.  Sometimes my borders are made up of many rows and different colors, but almost always my outer rows are a dark value because I find that the most pleasing way to hook them.  Like the period at the end of a sentence, it is there to tell your eye that this is the end --  stop.

Here is the link for the Bittersweet Crow Pumpkin pattern:

If you would like to hook a border for your Bittersweet Crow Pumpkin rug, let me know by indicating in the "notes" section of the order form that you need room for a border.  I will add an extra inch or so into the fabric allowance on the pattern.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Rug Of The Day - July

Here is one more fabulous patriotic rug to celebrate the Holiday week-end!
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Karen Rorick

It seems like just yesterday (but it was actually 2 years ago) that Karen and I worked on the color plan for the July rug at the rug camp in Manistee, Michigan.  Karen brought some of her own wool but I suggested that she hook the house with some over-dyed mustard wool that I had brought along to camp.  She wanted a light background so we really did not want to choose white for the house.  And since there are buntings hanging from all the front windows, I think the perfect compliment for the red, white, and blue is a gold (mustard) house! If you remember from an older post, I am very partial to the look of a mustard colored house.  In this rug, the house became the star of the show!

Don't you think it's genius that Lori created trees with flag branches?  It's so primitive and whimsical and so perfect for a playful patriotic rug!  Just another great design that is on my bucket list...but this one is definitely at the top.

You can find the pattern here:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Hearts and Flowers

Hearts and Flowers
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller

Happy Independence Day!  You might not think that this design has any connection to July 4th, but it holds lovely memories of a July 4th from a few years ago!  Of course there is a story to go with it.....

Four years ago today, I was in Finland visiting my friends and family.  My friend Sirkku asked if I might teach a rug hooking class for her and some invited guests.  Rug hooking is virtually unknown in Finland but Sirkku had gotten a copy of my Introduction To Rug Hooking book and was intrigued by this art form.  

Our class took place in Sirkku's home on July 4th and her goddaughter Fei-Sophia made a caramel cake to honor our class and they decorated it to celebrate the US holiday.    As you can imagine, the cake was absolutely delicious!

Each student received a Hearts and Flowers kit with a basic hook, a linen pattern, and cut strips.  They were very eager to get started. Once they got the hang of it, they seemed to keep one step ahead of me, asking "what's next!?!?"

It was fun to see them create their new projects and they quickly talked about choosing a name for their newly formed group!  
I realized that the new Finnish rug hookers were no different than rug hookers anywhere else in the world...a sisterhood of enthusiastic people getting together to create and socialize.  We enjoyed coffee and caramel cake and they hooked all morning and afternoon. 

Even after everyone else had gone home, Fei-Sophia sat outside in the twilight while we grilled sausages and had a picnic.  She put her iPhone on flashlight mode and continued to work on her project well into the night!

We were scheduled to return to Finland this summer but the pandemic put a stop to that.  I can't wait to return soon and perhaps bring another rug hooking project for my Finnish friends to work on.  Until then, I can look at my pictures with fond memories.

You can buy the Hearts and Flowers pattern here:

And you can buy my book Introduction To Rug Hooking here:
There are step by step instructions for the Hearts and Flowers project, along with 7 other projects...each project teaches a different technique or lesson.  

Friday, July 3, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Lucky Liberty Black Cat

Lucky Liberty Black Cat
Adapted from the artwork of Johanna Parker
Hooked by Kris Miller

Besides being a talented designer and artist, Johanna is the proud owner of a black cat named Jack.  He has been the inspiration for much of her artwork, whether it be Halloween, patriotic, or just general high jinks!   Jack hit a much celebrated milestone a few weeks ago and turned 20 years old.  Happy birthday to Jack!

I started this rug last summer but somehow it got tucked away when my traveling got busy and then it sat in my hooking bag until our state went into lock down in March.  I pulled it back out and began hooking again.  It was so much fun to do, I really don't know why it took me so long to get back to it!  I decided to use a quillie circle to jazz up the center of his bow tie and my "nine-cut" stars appear again on his buttons.  I used the beading technique with a #9 cut to create his mischievous smile.  The background is hooked with my Faded Flag colors and I hooked the background stripes in straight rows to give the effect of the stripes in the American Flag.

I had originally hooked silver eyelash yarn for the sparklers but it was not pleasing to me so I changed up my plan.  I edged part of the white with a silver sparkle yarn and then smeared silver glitter glue over the white hooked areas.  
I highly recommend Stickles glitter glue because it is acid-free, thin, and dries clear so all you see is the glitter.  I bought mine at Michael's and got the 3-pack of silver, gold, and diamonds.  It's a fun thing to have on hand when you want to add a little bling!  I know it's hard to see in the photo but it's really wonderful when you see it close up...just the right amount of sparkle without being gaudy!

You can purchase the Lucky Liberty Black Cat here:

I haven't bought sparklers in a long time but I do remember Black Cat sparklers when I was growing up...