Saturday, December 26, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Final Chapter

Yesterday was a wonderfully laid-back Christmas...we opened gifts and sat around in our jammies all day. The goats and sheep got apple treats and the dog got some extra scraps in her dish. Basically, we all did what made us happy. I did a lot of rug hooking and finished my Harvest Goode Things rug! Here are pictures and tips to share:

I decided that I wanted to dig into my scrap piles to hook the pumpkins instead of cutting into fresh pieces of wool. The pumpkins are small and I wanted to vary the colors a little so they were not all the same. I found some orange scraps and also a light green heather for "white" pumpkins. I had to mindful of color value since the ground is such a medium neutral tone (it tends to make other similar values sink and fade away). I needed to outline each pumpkin so the accent lines would give some shape and definition, and they wouldn't just look like orange balls. I found some nice outline wool in my scraps but a lot of my scraps are cut in #8. I outlined and filled the first pumpkin with some of these #8 cuts. However when I was done, I thought the outline was too thick and overpowered the pumpkin too much. So I ripped out the outline and hand-trimmed it to a smaller size (more like a #6). Once I hooked it back in, the difference was astonishing! So all the pumpkins ended up with #6 outlines and then filled with #8 strips. Once each pumpkin was hooked, I put a line of the ground wool around it to hold its shape. Finally, when all had been hooked, I went back and filled in the entire ground area....

(drum roll, please!)
The finished rug:

Now mind you, I consider this rug "done" even though it hasn't been steamed or hemmed yet....Some of you who know me (wendy!) know that I'm a "professional pinner" and tend to avoid hemming until it is absolutely necessary.
Hemming is just not creative....
don't ask me to explain my bad habit any more than that.
Maybe there's a New Year Resolution evolving here....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a warm, wonderful day with family and friends that is full of fun surprises and special moments!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Part 6

Oh my, how time flies! It seems like just a week ago that I posted my last "Diary" chapter. I haven't had a lot of time to rug hook since I've been preparing for the Holidays but recently I have managed to sit down for a few precious moments in the evening to work on my rug a little bit. Thanks, everybody, for hanging in there!

The next element to be hooked in my Harvest Goode Things rug was the little outhouse. Someone suggested the color blue. I had to think about that for a while but then found a great gray-blue striped wool..."that might work" I thought. Then I found a very odd shade of rusty red wool while digging through my secret stash...."that might work, too!" for the roof.
I wanted to hook this little building like the house, straight across. So first I had to put in a row of background for my "reverse" outline. Then I hooked in the roof. I just outlined the roof and kept going around and around until it was filled in. Next I hooked a single #8.5 row for the chimney and hooked a single line of antique black for the corner of the building.

This picture shows the reverse outline process and the gray/blue wool being hooked straight across directionally. Notice that I had to hook one row of the ground underneath the outhouse to help keep everything in place.

The door and moon were scraps pulled from my leftovers from other projects. I wanted to hook these in first before I hooked the rest of the building. The moon is a very dark bronze (didn't want it to show up too much, but didn't want it to fade into the building) and the door is a reddish orange/gold/brown texture, which shows up nicely against the blue too. I continued to hook straight across, even when I got to the moon.
(the outhouse looks like it's leaning but I think it's the angle of the camera...sorry!)
Here's the finished "privy." I do really like the blue color and I think it's a keeper!
I have finished hooking all of the background and most of the brown outside border. All that is left to hook are the pumpkins and the ground! I really didn't think I'd be hooking pumpkins at Christmas....LOL!...but this will be a fun area to play with. I'm going to dive into those scraps again to come up with some pumpkin outlines and then fill with all kinds of wonderful colors...some might be orange values but I'll leave my options open for some other colors too.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Upcoming Classes

This is me at a Quilt show in 2008, teaching little Rachel how to rug hook. What a joy for the both of us...Rachel was smitten with learning her new craft and I was overjoyed to be able to teach her! I loved her enthusiasm and perseverance.
I am offering rug hooking classes here in my studio, beginning Saturday, January 16th. If you are interested in joining me, click on this link: classes This will take you to my Schedule page where you can read all the particulars. You can also download a class flier by clicking on the "Download a flier" link on that page. Why not start out the new year by learning a new craft, brushing up on your skills, or just getting together for a few fun hours with like-minded friends?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Merry Christmas From My Barn to Yours!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Starring Kris, Emma, Bryce, Willow, and Lumi!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rugs From Independence, Missouri

I had a wonderful time at Wooley Woolens with Janice Johnson and all the gals who took my workshop. The rugs were turning out fabulous and the food was absolutely delicious! We had a show-and-tell and I thought I'd show you some of the rugs that were color planned and hooked from my previous workshops at Wooley Woolens.

St. Nick is shown above and hooked by Sue Clark in my workshop in 2008.

Sue Clark hooked Give Ye Thanks for my workshop in 2007. As you can see, Sue is a terrific rug hooker!

LaDonna hooked Wool Garden in the 2008 workshop. Her colors are so soft and wonderful, just like spring!

This version of Give Ye Thanks was hooked by Kathy Simmons in 2008. I love the background on this rug.

Rhonda Timberlake hooked Pearl, May and LaVerne in last year's workshop. Her bright colors are absolutely wonderful in this rug!
All of these patterns are available on my website. Just click on the pattern name and you can check them out.
Big, big thanks to Jim and Janice Johnson for all their hard work! It was another successful year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Holiday Show

Just like one of Santa's elves, I've been busy creating some wonderful goodies for the
All The Trimmings Holiday Show.
Saturday December 5, 2009
10 am to 4 pm
Chelsea Fairgrounds
20501 Old US 12
Chelsea, MI 48118
You can go to the All The Trimmings blog to check out the other artists and their wares.
I found some great holiday gifts last year for my sister and my husband....and a couple of things for myself too......
Admission and refreshments are free!
I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- part 5

The last Dear Diary entry talked about hooking the boards and windows on the house. I was hooking the boards straight across horizontally and simultaneously working the windows vertically. Eventually I worked my way down the front of the house to the the door had to be hooked in next before I could continue.
I had remembered seeing a door/window treatment at Shaker Village in Kentucky that was similar to this drawing. I checked their website and sure enough, that was all the inspiration I needed! Click here and take a look at the beautiful Shaker door. I want my door to be like that!
In order to get a graceful outline for the door and windows, I used some of my roof wool and cut the strips in a #6. I can hear a gasp from the "really-wide-strip" hooking population....yes those strips were tiny but hey, it wasn't that bad! And the window outline looks great, right? It is all about whatever works!
I really toyed with the idea of hooking a blue door on the house but I think the green door has a greater impact. I believe part of the reason is because red and green are complimentary colors on the color wheel. I love the combination for this house.
Once the door was completed, I could finish up with the boards on the house. Notice that I hooked a line of my "ground" at the base of the house. It is serving as a holding line right now. I decided that I did not want green for the ground...too predictable. Besides, in the fall, most everything starts to turn brown and I imagine that the ground in my pumpkin patch has done the same.
Let's take a step back and view the work so far. As you can see, I have been slowly hooking around the outside border and filling in the background. It's time to think about the little outhouse and what kind of wool choices will be next.....
I'm flying out to Missouri Wednesday afternoon so the next Diary entry will be next week!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ciao Bella!

This is Bella and the new stump....
The goats got a new "toy" on Saturday and as you can see (beyond the old rotten stumps), it is simply enormous!
Some time during the summer, we had a pretty bad storm and an old, very large oak tree blew over. It had grown smack-dab on the property line between us and our neighbor, Mr. Richardson. Since the tree fell on his side of the property, he gleefully came around with his chain saw and began hacking away at the debris. I asked him if I might have part of the stump for my goats to climb on since their stumps had gotten old and rotten.
Last Saturday, Mr. Richardson drove his tractor over to deliver the stump....and it was quite an ordeal! The stump got picked up, dropped, dragged, pushed, shoved, flipped and manipulated until it was finally set in place. It took two hours, two tractors (the first tractor wouldn't fit through our gate, so he had to go back home to get a smaller one) and three people to wrangle that thang!
When all was said and done....well, the goats wouldn't even attempt to climb on it. Quite the disappointment for all of us who had made such a grand effort! They milled around to chew on the bark and give it a good sniff. And that was it. Gee, I thought they'd be swarming all over that dang stump! We finally had to bribe Sequoia and Bryce with treats to get them to climb on top, just so we could get some satisfaction out of the experience.
Today, Bella decided to give the stump her stamp of approval. She claimed it for herself and stood on it for a good part of the evening. Goats! They certainly work with their own agenda!
Bella is the youngest goat in my herd. Ken calls her a "firecracker" because she is very feisty and independent. She might be the smallest goat, but she runs the fastest, hollers the loudest, wiggles the most during shearing time, and generally stands up to any kind of challenge. She has dragged me across the dirt and teased the dog unmercifully. She has an under-bite, she's pigeon-toed, and she's built like a little tank. She can make me laugh by running around and hopping sideways at the same time.
Bella is simply a delight.
Thank you, Bella, for making my day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Come On Over!

You are invited to an
Open House
Saturday November 21, 2009
2 pm to 5 pm
Wooly Woolens
Independence, Missouri
click ~here~ for directions
Janice Johnson will be hosting an open house for all of you out there who are not able to attend camp but would still like to visit. It sounds like a great afternoon! You'll be able to see what the workshop participants have been working on and shop for wool from Janice's astronomical selection (remember...3 huge walls of wool!) I'd love to meet you and you can also pick up some of my patterns (I will have a limited supply with me so if you have your heart set on something in particular, just send me a quick e-mail before November 16th, and I'll bring it along).
The very *newest* patterns adapted from Lori Brechlin's whimsical folk art will make their debut while I am at Wooly Woolens! I'll have He Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Yuletide/Pear Tree, and Sunflower Witch.
It's going to be a really fun Saturday afternoon....I hope to see you there!
I believe the above rug was hooked by Sue Clark at my Wooly Woolens workshop in 2007. If I have given the wrong credit, please let me know).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Part 4

In part 3 of the dear rug diary, I gave tips about hooking letters. Now that the words are completed, I've moved forward and started hooking the house.
I decided that I wanted to hook my house in a red plaid that had subtle gold lines and a thin black thread running through it. I wanted to hook my house straight across horizontally. I like this effect because the directional hooking gives the feeling that the house has siding or boards. I did not want to outline my house first, even though this is pretty much the usual thing when you are hooking something as big as this. So I created a "reverse outline" (I'm using this phrase for lack of a better one) by hooking around the walls of the house with my background color. I stayed just outside the line that was drawn. Next I hooked in the dividing line that defines the corner of the house. This definitely needs to show up .... so be careful that you don't choose something too close to the value of the house. However, I didn't want the line SO dark that it jumped out. I went to my basket of red scraps since I only needed a little bit....yes, we all have a growing pile of these pesky strips left over from other projects! I found a few strips of a dark red raspberry color that seemed to be the right value. It was a little to the purple side of red, but once I hooked in that single line, it worked beautifully. Now I began to hook horizontally across the house, using my reverse outline and the corner of the house as starting and stopping points for my red wool strips.
One other point to discuss is the windows. I knew I wanted to hook my windows up and down, the opposite direction that I was hooking the house. I also knew that each window would be two strips of #8.5 cuts. I want the windows to have a place but I don't want them to speak too loudly...they are just quiet little spots, but oh so necessary for the house. I decided that I wanted to use a gray color texture so I dug into my stash and found a small piece of a gray texture that had very subtle orange and red lines running through it. What I really liked about the gray wool was that it appears to have a lot of green tones in it. It's just a dull grungy primitive gray (even though I call it dull and grungy, I still think this is a great wool to keep in one's stash and I'm sort of sad that I don't have more). As you can see, I have been hooking the windows simultaneously while hooking the siding on the house.
A couple of points of interest as you are looking at my picture can see I've hooked the side of the house right down to where the ground is. I will have to hook my "ground" wool next before I proceed with finishing the side of the house. Of course, that is because a line of the "ground" wool will serve as my "reverse outline" and help continue my starting and stopping point for the red wool.
You might also notice that I've been continuing to work on the outside border of the rug as I hook along.
I will soon need to make a final decision of what colors to use for the door. I am almost to that point!

Friday, November 6, 2009

You're Invited!

Psssst!...look at all that GORGEOUS wool!!!
This a picture of Janice Johnson (left) and me (right) in front of just a fraction of wool that Janice has for sale at her Wooly Woolens studio in Independence, MO. I will be teaching there from November 19th through November 21st. There are a few openings left and I wanted to invite you to sign up! It may be at the last minute but you definitely won't be sorry. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Absolutely the most wool I have ever seen...3 huge walls of glorious wool...all waiting to be fondled!
2. A really fun time with other creative, primitive rug hookers.
3. Some of the best food I have ever had at camp. I am serious, girl! The highlight is Jim's barbecued brisket lunch. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Oh, and the pumpkin cake, and the baked beans, and the salads.....
4. Jim and Janice's down-home hospitality. They make you feel like family.
5. Terrific antiquing in near-by Greenwood. One antique mall is home to the booths of Anita White and Maggie Bonanomi.
6. Three days of color-planning and personal attention from me! I'll help you with whatever you need.
7. Lots of laughs and good times!
If you would like to experience all of the above or would like some more information, please click on this link: Wooly Woolens
or contact Janice at
Hurry! The time will be here before you know call in sick to work, get a baby sitter, put some dinner in the freezer for your dear hubby, then grab your hook and frame and go!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New Kit For Winter 2009

I've had many requests for kits lately. One of the requests was for a winter design, not necessarily for Christmas, but something that could be displayed all winter long. So I designed this little guy last week-end! The dimensions are approximately 13 1/2" X 13 1/2". I'll be assembling complete kits soon (just in time for gift giving!) and they will be available with either cut strips or uncut wool pieces, on your choice of monks cloth or linen. I will also sell the pattern individually for those of you who want to do your own color planning. This is a small, simple design with so many possibilities! I am thinking of sewing mine into a pillow.
If you are interested in purchasing this kit/pattern, send me an e-mail or leave me a comment.
I've also been making progress on my Harvest Goode Things rug, so there will be another diary entry tomorrow!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Goats Wearing Sweatshirts

Is your fall as crummy as it has been in Michigan? It has been so rainy/cloudy/cold for most of the month. That kind of weather is really hard on the fiber farmers...when can we ever get our shearing done before the snowflakes fly? I've been waiting for a good day to roll around, and finally yesterday we decided it was "now or never" we sheared the four youngest goats and left the three older ones wearing their mohair until next spring. If there is one thing that I absolutely hate, it is a shivering goat! I HATE IT! I feel so sorry to see them quiver. So I get old sweatshirts, cut off the arms and make a slit in the neck, and dress up my goats to keep them warm! Sometimes we go to garage sales or Salvation Army, and sometimes a generous friend will donate a couple of old sweatshirts for our cause. They are all appreciated and get good use!
In my travels somewhere over the past few months, someone said to me that they would love to see a picture of a goat wearing a sweatshirt. I'm sorry that I can't remember who it was. So here is a picture for all of you to see...and I hope the person who asked to see it will be looking too....

They will wear their shirts for a couple of weeks until their hair grows out to about 1/2 inch or so in length, then we cut the shirts off of them. Believe it or not, they actually like wearing their shirts!
Now if we could get some fairly decent dry weather in barns are in serious need to be cleaned out!
Is that too much to ask for?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Part 3

I wanted to talk more about hooking letters....
When I first started hooking, I listened to a lot of people who said letters were hard to hook and they didn't like doing it. I got a pre-conceived notion in my head that I wasn't going to like letters either. I used to feel weak in the knees just thinking about it! Then one day, I just sat down and decided I was going to tackle it....and I found out that letters ARE NOT hard to hook! I actually like hooking them!
I really like Wendy Miller's philosophy about hooking letters. Letters are just straight lines, just like stems or one-line borders. You can hook a flower stem, can't you? Then you can hook letters! Just hook straight on the lines and don't think of them as letters.

As I said in my previous post, I used #8 strips to hook my letters which gave them more clarity and crispness. I hooked right on the line that was drawn. First I hooked the longer lines of the letter, then I went back and hooked any lines that intersected, for example, look at the "t". Don't cross under the longer lines with your strip...start and stop your strip on either side of the long line. Then I hooked a row of my background around all of this to hold the shape. Sometimes I crowd things a little and hook real close to the letter to help define its shape. This is definitely one time when it's OK to crowd your loops if you need to. Look at the "H" in the picture...its left "leg" is wider than the rest of the letter. While all the other lettering was hooked in a #8, I'm going to hook this wider part with a #9 strip to make it fatter. I could have hooked it with 2 #8 strips but I think that might have made it TOO fat, so that's why I opted for a #9.
You may notice that as I was hooking around my letters, I was getting pretty close to the wavy outside border. I needed to get a line or two of that wavy border hooked in so I could safely continue around my letters.
Here's a great plaid for the wavy outside border. I like it because it is going to bring a lot of the tones that I am using in the main part of the design, out to the border. This will be very pleasing to the eye...sort of helps your eyes "walk" around the rug and ties things all together in a harmonious way. I have hooked two rows of it, as shown in the picture below (it looks dark in the photo, but trust me, it works well and I like it).

So here you have it! The lettering is completed and I didn't even break a sweat! It looks like a lot of brown values going on here but I am going to start working on the house. Once I get some red wool in there, things will start to change dramatically.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Diary of a Rug --- Part 2

The last time I talked about my Harvest Goode Things project, I discussed color and wool choices for the flowers, leaves, and stems. I also hooked a little of the background wool around the flowers. This holds their shapes and also gives me a general idea of how the background color is going to relate to the other colors I have chosen. So far, I liked the way everything was coming together so I was ready to proceed on to another area of the rug.

I decided that I wanted to hook the house next. I'm going to start with the roof, and therefore the lettering on the roof has to be hooked first and then the roof colors will be hooked in around the letters. Several decisions had to be made...first of all, I wanted a dark brown roof and a red house. I had a great red plaid for the house and found the perfect brown windowpane plaid at Sauder Village. The plaid has some colored threads running through it, one of the threads is fits right into my "blue theme"! The brown plaid acts like a chameleon some light it looks brown and in other light, it has a green tint to it. I liked the fact that it wasn't your typical chocolate brown. After deciding on the brown roof, I needed to pick out a color for the lettering. Since I have a "blue" theme running through some of my wools, I decided that I'd like blue lettering. I don't want these letters to jump out too much so I was looking for a subtle blue. I have to be careful of value, as well. I don't want the blue lettering to fade away into the brown roof.
At first, I picked this Blueberry plaid. I've used it before and it hooks up to look like denim. I thought the color would work nicely on my brown roof. I want the letters to look nice and crisp so I cut the wool in a #8. I thought #8.5 would be a little bit too chunky.
After I got the first letter hooked in, I worked some of my brown roof wool around the letter to hold its shape. Guess what? I found out that the Blueberry plaid looked too bright up against the brown! I wanted something that was not going to "sing" too it was back to my wool stash to look for something different.....

Here's a plaid with a completely different color scheme. It does have some blue, but also some olive green and a bit of orange. I began to think that I might be able to play with the plaid by cutting it and then separating the colors. Hopefully this one isn't going to "sink" into my brown roof.
I posted this picture so you could see the brown roof wool and the colors for the letters.On the right is the Blueberry Plaid and on the left is my second choice, the blue and olive plaid. It's pretty evident by this picture that the Blueberry Plaid is just too bright and stands out a little too much!
Here's my lettering with the blue and olive plaid. I played with separating the colors in the plaid, hooking a few of the letters with the olive, but made most of them with the blue part of the plaid. I like the way this looks...the letters stand out but seem a little faded. I did hook the letters in a #8 and then hooked around them with the brown, also cut in a #8. Then I ended up hooking the whole roof in a #8 cut...I'm not sure why I did that, I guess I just kept grabbing the #8 strips and filled it in. In hindsight, I think I would have just outlined the letters in a #8, and then filled in a #8.5. Too late now, I'm not going to pull out what I've done. You can certainly mix all kinds of cuts in your rugs and it won't make any difference. I'm just not going to worry about it.

I will sit down tonight and hook some of the letters in the sky with blue/olive plaid. I'll make sure to hook some background around each letter. Again, this will hold the letters in place and I can double check to see that I like the way the background and the olive/blue plaid are relating to each other. Then I will focus my attention on hooking the house itself. As you could see in the previous picture, I did hook the chimney and I like the way that looks, so I'll continue with the red plaid. I want to hook directionally, straight across the house with the red plaid. In order to make my straight hooking a little easier, I used my background wool to outline around the house. When you do this, you have to hook outside the line of the house. Then you have a "holding" line, a starting and ending point for your ends.
Now there are some other decisions to be made....what color shall I use for the windows? The door? The dividing line at the corner of the house? You'll just have to wait for the next "Diary of a Rug" chapter!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey!

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I looked out the window and saw this (click on the picture to get a closer look):
We have seen this flock of turkeys lurking around our yard over the past week or so, but they have never gotten this close to the house. I was thinking of getting some cracked corn to feed them but Ken doesn't want to encourage them. Note the light colored one in the upper right hand corner...we don't know much about turkeys, does anyone know what's up with the color variance?

Our weather has been chilly and damp, just like November should be. Must be Turkey Time! Or maybe we're just going "cold turkey" here in Michigan. *tee hee*

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here, There, and Everywhere

As some of you may know, I've had a whirlwind life these past two months! I've hardly had time to do much else but come home, unpack one suitcase and then pack another to dash off to vend at a show or teach a workshop. It's been an exciting rug-hooking-gypsy-style life but now it's good to stay at home and keep my feet in one place for a while.
Above is a gate in a courtyard in Fredericksburg, Texas. Just gorgeous!

Here's Rather Sweet Bakery and Cafe in Fredericksburg. We ate breakfast here one morning. I bought some lovely raspberry scones to take home. They were so hot that they nearly melted the bottom of the bag. Yes, they did make it home but in several large crumbly pieces!

Fellow teacher and Michigander, Maria Barton, waiting for Rather Sweet to open! Maria took pictures of my students' rugs below....thanks Maria!

This is Aurora's rug, designed by her granddaughter. This was only the second rug that Aurora has ever hooked. And one other special thing about Aurora....she is 80 years young! You go, girl!

This is Judy's rug. It's one of my designs called Deer Season. She's doing a fabulous the turquoise star!

This is Linda's rug, a design by Bev Conway. Don't you love that horse's face? It already has a wonderful personality.

This fabulous feline is being hooked by Georgeanne. She has a terrific sense of color and this rug will look very old when it is completed.

Dianne's rug is simply spectacular! This is an adaptation of the Mary Comstock Bed Rugg. I love the old neutral colors mixed with the primary colors of red, yellow and blue.
There were so many other terrific rugs in my class that were not photographed. Some of the gals had to leave before our "show and tell" and we didn't get pictures of them. I assure you that the whole class was working on some beautiful pieces! We had a great group of gals!
Now on to the ATHA Biennial in Louisville, KY!

This is my booth at the ATHA Biennial. We were in the historic Seelbach Hotel. I did not take a lot of pictures but the photos below are from the Rathskeller at the hotel:

(above) Believe it or not, this is the ceiling near the bar. It is tooled leather!

Here are some very cool pelicans. They circle around all of the pillars and are made of Rookwood pottery.

More tiles on the wall. Isn't this stunning???
Al Capone used to frequent the Rathskeller. It is said that there are secret doors where he escaped when the cops were coming. We got to see one of the underground passages!
Now that I'm home, I can't wait to get back to my rug hooking project. Look for Diary Of A Rug, Part 2....coming soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


My friend Connie and I went to the Ghoultide Gathering in Northville, Michigan this morning and look who we met !!!!

Yes, it's Lori Brechlin from Notforgotten Farm! I could not take a picture of her products but believe me when I say that her booth was exceptionally spooktacular ...*ahem*...spectacular! The shoppers stood literally shoulder to shoulder and crowded the little building shared by other ghoulish vendors. I dare say that by the end of the day, there wouldn't be much left for sale at Lori's table. We had to elbow our way through the crowd to get close and see her creations.
Lori was appropriately dressed in a black velvet dress, striped witchy socks and Puritan style shoes....OK, wait a minute...Lori's legs looked like this.... but those are actually MY legs!!! Connie and I got such a laugh from Lori's quirky fashion sense, that we trotted right over to Target after the show and I picked up the same thing! Yes, I'll admit that I'm a copy-cat but I think this is really wicked-good, don't you? Trick or Treat!

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.