Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rug Hooking Etiquette

I have done a bit of traveling already this year...Florida, Texas, Kansas, and I'll be in Tennessee next week.  Since I am a one-woman operation, I find myself drawing patterns, dyeing wool and preparing for the "next big thing."  Everything else has to wait, including my blog.  But many of my friends have encouraged me to write again, so I'm going to try it and do my best.  Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Not too long ago, I was talking to another well-respected rug hooking teacher.  We have so much in common so sometimes I feel that we are really kindred spirits.  We started talking about rug camp etiquette and how something needs to be written about it.  I'm going to extend that to just plain "rug hooking" etiquette because I think we can apply it to just about any situation that involves our craft.   So over the next few posts, I will discuss some etiquette that I think will be helpful to everyone. 

Here's my disclaimer:  I am not criticizing, pointing fingers, making fun of or singling out  anyone, or otherwise being a bad apple about what I am discussing.  These are observations and helpful tips for those of you who go to rug camp or hook with a group.  I hope you will find them useful and maybe learn something too.  The seasoned rug hooker who goes to a lot of rug camps may already be familiar with this etiquette.  The newer rug hooking may find some benefit in my tips. Most of these tips are from my experiences and are my opinions.

Rug hooking workshop in Bryan Texas, 2017
My 2016 class in Cape May, NJ

Do you know what is the #1 complaint that I hear at camp?
Talking too much/talking too loud!
(I'm not talking about me...haha)
This is really difficult subject but it is unpleasant for the other participants when someone talks too much or too loud.  Usually we are in a small room and believe me, voices are magnified.   When someone is constantly talking, it is hard for the teacher to discuss lesson plans, techniques, etc.  Don't get me wrong, it's fun to chatter with your friends....but try to be aware of your volume.  Even harder for me is when a student asks me to tell that particular person to stop talking so puts me in a really bad situation that I don't want to be in!  

Consider what your teacher specializes in and go with it, learn from it
I am a wide cut/primitive rug hooking teacher. That is my specialty.  I teach #8 cuts and above.  Sometimes I use small cuts for details but not too often.  If you are a fine cut hooker who wants to learn 8-value swatches and shading, you would not be very happy in my class because that is not what I am going to teach you.  So when considering a teacher for rug camp, read the class description and choose wisely.  You will be much happier if you learn from a teacher who matches your style. If you want to learn something different, that's great...but plan on doing something within that teacher's specialty.  
You wouldn't go to a ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat) and ask him to do your pap smear, would you?  He probably learned to do it in medical school but you certainly wouldn't enjoy the experience!  

Don't color plan your rug before class
I may not be speaking for all rug hooking teachers, but when I teach at a rug camp, I am there to help you with a color plan.  We are there together to build a lovely rug for you.  I never color plan my whole rug in one sitting and I don't expect to do that for you either.  Sometimes, especially with textures, you have to hook a few motifs or elements to begin and then see how the colors are building.  We can get some surprises with wools/colors that we thought would work perfectly and once they are put into the rug, they don't work at all.
Take advantage of your teacher's knowledge.  Watch as she color plans and see why she picks the colors.  If you don't understand, ask questions. Every teacher does things differently.  I always say that if I learn one new thing from a class, it was well worth my money.
If you come to camp with a rug that is already color-planned, what is the point?  You could have stayed at home and hooked that rug on your own.

That's all for now, but I have lots more to we will save it for the next post!
Happy hooking!


Carolyn said...

Thank you! I remember going to the first camp and being totally lost. The teacher spent three days fold and restocking her wools. Yes, I had one of her patterns, purchased the color planned wools from her and felt like I only took six hour drive for a shopping trip. I hooked all three days and could hardly wait to load and leave. Have I or will I ever do that again? Probably not. I quilted for many years and never spent that kind of money to sit n sew with others. It's fine for those who do, but it's certainly not for everyone.

Kris Miller said...

Hi Carolyn, So sorry for a bad experience! Not all teachers are like that...certainly I am not and I know many other talented teachers who put blood, sweat, and tears into their class time. I hope you will try rug camp again sometime!

Karen Buchheit said...

Your advice is 'right on' Kris! Especially the loud is very annoying. I'll be looking forward to the rest of your etiquette advice! Loved taking your class in the past & will do so again.

Lori from Notforgotten Farm said...

Sage advice sweet Kris ~ and love the idea of posting on this subject! following along......

Rughooker said...

Great subject, Kris. You hit a problem right on the nose with the loud talk subjects - even teachers can be so loud that sometimes it's hard to be in the neighboring classroom. I think the whole key to this aspect of etiquette is respect - if each person chooses to respect the other students and the teacher, it will be much easier for the teacher to give the students their moneys worth! By the way, I have heard people all over the country talk about what a great teacher you are, Kris. I'm always proud to say I know you!

scarlett said...

Excellent subject. I'm sure a blog could be totally devoted to etiquette. I'm a quilter and I always thought it would be a good idea to put masking tape right down the middle of the table for those who seem to spread out.

Patchdee1 said...

Great tips. I always enjoy your FB page. Pat Dalton

Saundra said...

har har, humorous ancedote of the ENT reference. Good advice and now I'm wondering if I fell into the 'good student' category.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Great post. Looking forward to more!

Katie said...

Thank you for taking this on! Great advice!!!

Jo said...

Great post Kris! Looking forward to more posts on the subject!

twoives said...

Thanks Kris. Shared this with my ATHA guild. A good reminder to all of us.

cheryll1950 said...

Don't be a teacher hog. Others are there to get help too. I like it when the teacher rotates around the room. I hate to admit it but I am not hearing very good these days and wear hearing aids and sometimes in some rooms it's overwhelming all the different conversations at once. Be sure and buy some wool from your teacher that is how they make enough money to come and help you. Try to keep your area reasonably neat. I sometimes have the explosion method of keeping my wool neat. this is not so good. don't hog more than your side of the table. If the teacher is packing up after class ask if you could be of help. People like teachers get very tired after a long day on their feet. There may be some jobs you could do to help. Ask questions as what you ask may be just what the shy person wants to know. One teacher had a person in class write down all the questions and then she made sure she covered the questions. i really liked this method. rug camps are very fun and refreshing if people use respect for others when they attend.

Lynn Porter said...

Appreciate your advise as well as Carolyn's comment.
I want to add from a participants point of view, make a class closed if you are not truely available to people who bring their own pattern and some wool. This did not occur with you, but have had that recently in a class and would have preferred to buy if I had known less sharing was going to occur. Know thyself and close the class if better for ALL.