Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Adapted from a design by Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kris Miller

Today's patriotic rug is Home Sweet Home.
This sweet little rug has a story and lesson behind it.  About 13 years ago, I was attending Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village.  In the evening, I met up with some friends and they invited me to come hook with them.  Silly me, I hadn't brought a project to work on so I decided to start a new pattern, something not too big, and I chose Home Sweet Home.  I had to color plan it on the spot and didn't have the appropriate wool so my generous friends gave me a few small pieces and I also purchased a few pieces of wool in the vendor area.  I got started on hooking the urn, the flag, and the cabin, but I never thought about my background color.  By the time I got home, I had painted myself into a corner.  What was I going to hook for the background??? I couldn't go too dark because the urn and ground would get lost.  Medium values would sink everything, so I had to think about a light background.  I couldn't go too light or some parts of the flag might not show up and then there was the roof.  Luckily, I saw a plaid in my stash that ended up working very well.  It had light beige in it but also pops of turquoise and orange-coral.  If I placed my strips carefully, I could hook the light values up against the darker motifs and vice versa.   

So, because of this personal experience, I always ask my students on the first day of class if they want a light or dark background when we are color planning.  I think it's important to know that first, then you can start choosing the other colors in your rug.  You will save yourself some trouble later and will be less likely to "paint yourself into a corner!"

You can find Home Sweet Home here:

I rarely sell my rugs but I have been going through my stored sample rugs and decided that I don't use Home Sweet Home for a sample in my booth anymore...so if you want to purchase a rug hooked by Kris Miller (LOL), this one is looking for a good home and is for sale at $148.00.  I will even ship for free.  Dimensions are 20" x 16" with the crochet edge.  Just leave me a comment or send me an email through my website.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rug Of The Day - American Sheep

American Sheep
Pattern adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Cindy Louise Edwards

Fourth of July is just a few days away so it's time for some patriotic rugs!  I love Cindy Louise's version of American Sheep.  She incorporated several fun techniques into her hooking....quillie circles in the flowers and my "nine-cut stars" in the bunting.  Doing the stars this way is so easy and you can use a 9-cut  strip of wool instead of fussing around with a wee little #4 cut.
This is really one of my favorite patterns and has been on my bucket list for a long time.  Maybe it's time to get serious about hooking it!

I think Cindy Louise's color choices are delightful!
Bravo, Cindy Louise!

You can find the pattern here:

I'm late for my blog post because today was sheep & alpaca shearing day.  I think it's funny to see how they go from one fluffy blob to a skinny little critter. This week is going to be really hot so the timing was perfect and now they will be more comfortable.  My shearer is amazing at how fast and accurate he works.  I know it must be hot and back breaking so I appreciate his talent.

This is Kulta.  Her name can be a term of affection in Finnish and means "gold," "darling" or "honey."  She is quite the little rascal but she did very well for her first shearing.  Those buzzing clippers can be scary!

Ken and I tried to shear our own alpacas one year...let's just say we decided to leave it up to an expert after that!  haha.  Quinn looks like he's just taking his spa day in stride.

Unfortunately, this might be Sukka's last shearing.  She has been regurgitating some of her hay and the vet couldn't find anything wrong with her mouth so he thinks she has a stomach tumor.  She's doing OK right now and we'll take good care of her until it's time for her to cross the rainbow bridge.  It's always hard for me to face this reality but it is an inevitable part of pet ownership.

Stay tuned for another patriotic rug tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Boy Scout

Here is another antique adaptation to daydream about:
Boy Scout
Adapted from an antique rug
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller

Of all the rugs I've hooked, this is certainly one of my favorites.  Bear with me if you've already heard this story.  About 20 years ago, my husband and I went on an anniversary trip to the Adirondacks.  We visited a large antique show in Blue Mountain Lake and I saw this rug hanging in a booth.  It was too much money for me to purchase at the time but I asked the vendor if I could take a picture and he agreed.  Being a new rug hooker, I was excited to try to recreate it.  I collected a lot of neutral textures and then gathered up my nerve to start.  The very first part I hooked was the bottom half of the rug because it was mostly straight-line hooking.  When I got to the top half, I lost my courage to continue and let it sit for almost a year.  Finally I gave myself a pep talk and plunged into hooking the rest of the design.  My greatest struggle was to try not to hook so neatly!  The original was lumpy and bumpy and that's what I loved about the way it looked.  But ultimately I had to stay true to myself.  I realized that you have to embrace the way in which you hook...that is your hooking personality, your hooking "fingerprint."  No one does it quite like you...so you be YOU!

I would love to know the story behind this design.  Was it hooked by a woman or a man?  Who was the boy scout that was being commemorated?  He was certainly special because "Boy Scout" is hooked in red and it's the only color in the entire rug. 

Sometimes there are things in your life that you wish had worked out differently.  I believe that if I ever see the antique version of this rug again, I would do just about anything to purchase it.   But until it crosses my path once more, I have my little hooked version to enjoy!

You can find the pattern for Boy Scout here:

Next week, I will blog about patriotic rugs since we are getting close to Fourth of July! 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Farmhouse Geometric

Farmhouse Geometric
Antique adaptation by Kris Miller, hooked by Kris Miller

One of the many reasons I was attracted to learn the art of rug hooking was antique hooked rugs and their whimsical designs.  I don't remember one specific rug that triggered my love for them but I knew they were out there and they spoke to my heart.  What was the story behind their design?  Whose clothes were hooked into the rug?  Where did they use the rug when it was finished?  

When I first saw this particular antique rug, I thought it would be an interesting small project to hook.  I don't know the size of the original one, but I decided to make mine suitable for a large cut of wool.  While working on it, I started to daydream and make up a little story about how the creator drew out her rug.  The circle in the center is about as big as a dinner plate, so maybe she plopped one of her plates down on her foundation and traced around it.  She followed the threads in her burlap and drew a square.  Were the center petals inspired by a compass rose?  Maybe a quilt pattern?  The circles outside the square remind me of spools....maybe she was a seamstress and traced around the ends of her thread spools to create the border.  Old black dresses became the hooking material for the border but because red was a special fabric, she saved them for the center and a few special spots in her rug.  Maybe the khaki fabric was from a uniform or work shirt.

I decided to name my adaptation Farmhouse Geometric.  In my daydream, the rug maker lived on a farm, in a house that her husband built.  She tended the chickens, helped milk the cows, raised a large family.  She sewed clothes and quilts for her children.  Maybe she made the best bread and biscuits that anyone had ever tasted.  Her hands were worn and tired but she found time in the evening to create something beautiful.  I wish I could have met her.

You can find Farmhouse Geometric here:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Wool Garden

Another sheep rug today...this is Wool Garden!

Wool Garden
Design adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Jeanne Stephens

I will be the first to admit that I am not a gardener nor do I even enjoy doing it.  I think when God was passing out talents, He said "I understand and gift you your enthusiasm, joy, and commitment to animals but plants.....not so much."
I like the plants and flowers that come up year after year, like hostas and peonies, because they do well on their own.  But one thing I do love is to HOOK flowers and that makes me very happy!

I especially love the flowers in Wool Garden.  Maybe because their colors make me happy or maybe because their role in the rug gives you a sense of calmness and beauty.  In Jeanne's rug, they are the pop of color that makes her rug sing.  You want to go sit in that peaceful wool garden for a little while and enjoy the flowers....no weeding required!

Wouldn't this be the perfect rug for your little hooking nook or craft room?  I can envision it hanging above a shelf of wool or the wall nearest your chair.  Just a calm and peaceful little statement that you are spending happy times in your very own "Wool Garden."

Jeanne says that Cathy Stephan helped her with the color planning at a rug camp in Duluth.  It looks like the sheep were hooked with roving or chunky yarn.  If you are interested in hooking with roving and/or sheep curls, there is a tutorial at the top of my blog...just click on the tab.

You can buy Wool Garden here:

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Knitting Sheep

Knitting Sheep
Adapted from PJ Rankin-Hults Designs
Hooked by Kris Miller

When Pam sent me the artwork for  Knitting Sheep, I asked her if she heard me joyously screaming all the way from Michigan.  If you know me at all, you know that I adore anything related to sheep (and I think you do too).  

My very first adventure into fiber art was knitting.  I might have been as young as 8 or 10 years old.  I spent a lot of my summer vacation down the street at my best friend's house and her mother taught us how to knit.  Maybe it was to keep us quiet and occupied for a while.  I had these big plastic turquoise knitting needles and some thick yarn and I was off to the races!  I loved the hours I spent working on my knitting.  It wasn't perfect but my dolls and other toys had knitted blankets to lay on.  I eventually graduated to knitting sweaters and blankets for big people.  I couldn't imagine spending my time in any other way.
When I saw Knitting Sheep, my knitting memories came flooding back and I knew I had to hook it.

The first time I had my husband enlarge the pattern, we did it too big.  "Holy smokes," I said, "that is WAY TOO BIG!"  So we did it in a smaller size but my brain was still spinning over the bigger version....I wanted to try hand tearing my wool and this was the chance to do it.

I hooked hand-torn strips for the background, the floor, and the sheep bodies.  The bench, slippers, scarves, knitting needles, and outlines were hooked with machine cut wool because I felt they needed a little bit better definition than a hand-torn strip could provide.  

This is my technique for hand tearing:  I measured in one inch from the edge of my wool and snipped.  Then I ripped that one inch piece off.  I folded it in half, made a snip in the middle, and tore off the 1/2 inch piece.  If the wool got shreddy or didn't tear well, I simply took my scissors and hand cut right down the middle.  I used a Hartman 8 mm hook so I could poke a big hole before I pulled up my loop.  You could even try a 9 mm hook.  
I'm going to tell you right now....I LOVE to hook with hand torn wool!

Here is the wool I used for my background.  I drew an arrow so you could see that I tore across the stripe to get those wonderful pops of color.  If I would have torn with the stripe, I would have gotten bands of color and I wanted it more homogenized and not full of striped bands.
If you are interested in purchasing this wool, I will be listing it on my website later this evening under the Wool Fabric tab.  Look for Carnival.  The nice thing about this wool is that it tears like butter (if butter could tear!  haha  I just mean that it is really smooth and easy).

Just a few more pointers about my rug....I wanted to hook turquoise knitting needles (just like my first ones) but they faded into the background too much so I opted for red.  It's OK because I think the red accents give this design a bit of a Scandinavian feel.   I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about the yarn...after all, the sheep are knitting each other!  Regular yarn was too thin and it didn't show up well so I decided to use roving from my own fiber animals!  The very light gray was from my goat Willow, and the darker gray was from my goat Aspen. 

This is the smaller pattern version of Knitting Sheep, hooked by Ingrid Hieronimus:
Ingrid hooked the sheep with wool strips but rug punched the background with yarn.  I was quite impressed with the technique of mixing of both yarn and strips and I love her color choices.  She said she gets a lot of compliments on her rug! 

You can find the smaller pattern here (most people buy this size):

And the larger pattern is here: 

AND!  If you don't want to hook both sheep or you are looking for a quick pattern to hook, look for the single sheep versions, also located under the PJ Rankn-Hults Adaptations pattern tab.  One is called Dot and the other is called Dash.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Nantucket Broom Ride

Nantucket Broom Ride
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Saundra Porter

Saundra was in my class at Cape May a few years ago and this was the rug we worked on together.  Of course, Saundra gets the most credit because of her wonderful rug hooking technique but I do have to say that I am a proud Mama Hen because I had a part in the color planning.  I always bring a huge amount of wool when I teach but Saundra has a phenomenal stash of textures too, so between the two of us, we had some really lovely choices.

Because of the night sky, we decided to dress the witch in purple but she still faded a little into the background.  A lighter purple "halo" hooked around her took care of that problem.  Don't you love the witch's sassy red hair? 

I brought a striped off-white texture that I had Saundra hook for the house on the far left.  She hooked it in straight lines so it resembles white-washed boards.  The purple roof and door are fabulous too.

The really playful part of the rug happened after rug camp ended...(I hope I'm remembering this story correctly) Saundra wanted to add a little extra to the witch and Barb Carroll suggested the green scarf.  I couldn't agree more that it is the icing on the cake!  It added just a bit of pizazz and movement.  You can just imagine that the witch is having a crazy fun whale of a ride!

You can order the pattern here:

Remember that the scarf is not routinely drawn on the pattern but if you write it in the "notes" section of the order form, I can draw one in for you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Pumpkin Thyme

Pumpkin Thyme
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Noforgotten Farm
Hooked by Wendy Miller

Mr. Pumpkin Thyme is quite the sophisticated gent, all dressed up in his top hat and his best jacket and pants.  He must be on his way to a special occasion because he has brought his pocket watch along to keep his eye on the time.  He doesn't like to be late!

Mr. Pumpkin Thyme is loved very much by a lot of rug hookers because I've seen many versions of him.  He speaks to our heart with his big round head and skinny little arms.  What's not to fall in love with this cute little fellow?  

Wendy's rug was a winner one year in the Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs magazine, published by Rug Hooking Magazine.  She allowed me to take him to shows so that people who wanted to buy the pattern could see him hooked up.  It really helps to have a visual!  If we were vending at a multiple-day event, I was very nervous about leaving him hanging in our booth at night when we weren't there.  So Mr. Pumpkin Thyme would be taken down off of our rug display when we were done for the day and personally carried by me back to our hotel room.

Eventually, Wendy kindly told me that I could keep him.  I was over the moon!  No one had ever gifted me a hooked rug before and I felt like I received an Academy Award!

Mr. Pumpkin Thyme has retired from his traveling job as a sample rug and he now hangs in my office where we visit each and every day.  He is pretty good at giving me kind and gentle advice.

You can buy the pattern here:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Halloween Is Calling

Hooked by Kris Miller/design adapted from Johanna Parker artwork 

I started hooking this pattern when I was traveling and spent several nights in a hotel room all by myself.  In the evening, I turned on the TV and pulled out my frame and cutter.  I sat for hours happily hooking without any interruptions. Sometimes a little "me" time is good for the soul.

Johanna's design reminded me of an old time travel poster, or a vintage seed packet because it is so simple and yet it speaks volumes.  There's just 4 different wool textures used to hook the entire rug so it's a very simple color plan.  There is also a wide range of different cut strips that I used, from #9 all the way down to #6 and maybe a skinnier, hand-cut strip or two.  My favorite cut is a #8.5 but I always mix my cuts when I am hooking a rug.  I like to use whatever cut fits the motif or space I am working on.  

Let's focus on the letters.  I used a #9 cut to hook the word "Halloween" because it best fit the space I had to fill.  The word "is" is smaller and needed a #6 cut so that you could read it clearly.  The word "Calling" has lots of curves but a #8 cut worked.  It does take up a bit more space but you can still read the word clearly.

While I was hooking this rug, I learned that I really love to hook letters and words.  They do take a bit more concentration sometimes but I find them rewarding when they are finished.  This is how I hook my letters:  think of them as a flower stem or a single line.  You DO NOT have to hook them and pull them out to hook again higher!  Simply hook the single line, and just hook ONE letter, pulling the loops up as high as all the other loops in your rug.  Before you go on to the next one, hook one row of background all the way around your newly hooked letter. You can hook a little closer and pack a little bit. This keeps the loops in the single line from falling this way and that way because now they have a neighbor to hold them up.  Here's an analogy that I tell often when I am teaching:
Think of your single line of hooking as a guy who is coming home from the pub but he has had a bit too much to drink. He is stumbling and going this way and that way.  So when he has a buddy holding him on one side and a buddy helping on the other side, he can walk straighter.  
(haha, I told that to a class I taught in England and they didn't find it quite as humorous as I did.)

You can purchase the pattern here:

If you have hooked any patterns that Spruce Ridge Studios offers on my website, please send me a picture and I'd be happy to feature it in a future Rug Of The Day.  You can send me an email on the "contact" page of my website and I'll send you an email address where you can send a photo attachment.

See you tomorrow! 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Emma's Garden

I chose Emma's Garden for my Rug Of The Day post because there is a little story behind it that connects it to Father's Day.

I once owned a sheep named Emma.  You might remember me talking about her from older blog posts.  She was a Wensleydale, which is a breed that comes from England but is being bred here in the United States too.  She had a big personality, not afraid of anything, and quite the attitude too.  She was my inspiration for the Emma's Garden rug and many of my other designs.
Here is Emma and her mom.
My friend (and Emma's breeder) Neil, carrying her out to our truck when we brought her home.
Look at that face!  And gorgeous curls!
What an attitude!  We were trying to get her out of the pen to have her fleece sheared and she had a temper tantrum.  She would buck up in the air and then flop down on her back with her legs up in the air!

I designed Emma's Garden for a technique class where we learned to proddy the flowers and hook roving and sheep curls. Each participant got a small amount of Emma's curls to hook around the sheep face.  Emma used to chase the birds that landed in her pen so that was the inspiration for the bird perched up in the sunflowers.
Here is another sample of Emma's Garden, hooked by Linda Brown.  Isn't it wonderful?

So now I must explain how this is connected to Father's Day... I am a grandma now and my son named his daughter Emma.  At nine months old, her personality is already starting to shine.  She is funny, sweet, and loves animals.  
Here is Emma and her Grammy feeding the sheep animal crackers. 

You can find the Emma's Garden pattern here:  https://www.spruceridgestudios.com/product/emmas-garden-22-x-25-25/
The flower petals are drawn on the pattern so if you don't want to do proddy for the sunflowers, you can just hook the petals as you normally would do.  If you make proddy petals, you would ignore the drawn petals.

Happy Father's Day to my son (his first one!) and all the Dads out there!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Old Scrolls and Roses

Today's rug is an antique adaptation that I call Old Scrolls and Roses.

Several years ago, I taught and vended at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum in Athens, Tennessee.  They have a wonderful collection of historic artifacts on display that capture the life and spirit of the area's heritage.  
Displayed amongst the various exhibitions are some wonderful old hooked rugs.  Several of us were lucky enough to also peek at their impressive antique quilt collection that is kept in storage.   

While strolling through the museum, I saw the Old Scrolls and Roses rug and immediately fell in love with it.  I talked to the director and decided to work in collaboration with the museum by adapting the design for us modern day rug hookers and then donating a portion of the proceeds back to the museum for their Textile Preservation Program.  This supports not only the rugs but the beautiful quilt collection. 

This rug was hooked by Brenda Reed and posted to Facebook.  She has really nailed the essence of the original rug.  The red scrolls were what originally made me love this design.  In the antique rugs, scrolls were rarely shaded.  They were merely outlined with one color and filled in with another.  Sometimes they had a "vein" running through the center of the scroll.  It was also typical for the objects to be outlined in a thin line of black or other dark color (another reason why I love this rug) and the center background was often hooked straight across. 
 The outside border of the original was darker but I think the texture that Brenda used works really well and she created a rug with a true vintage feel.  
Bravo, Brenda!

You can purchase the pattern on my website (under the Spruce Ridge Studios pattern tab) here:

I originally drew this pattern out to a 38" x 21" size but I found out later that the original rug was larger (52 " x 29"), so I added this larger size for all of the wide cut rug hookers out there.  You can find it here:

Happy Midsummer, everyone!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Rug Of The Day-Over The Moon

Hello Blog Friends!

I'm back and so is Rug Of The Day!  I did Rug Of The Day several years ago and recently thought that now is the time to bring it back.  This is a personal challenge for me to get back to blogging on a daily basis (or nearly daily) and also a way to show you a sampling of hooked versions of the lovely patterns that are on my website.  Since a lot of us are just staying at home, this will be your eye candy for the day...or maybe you are looking for a new pattern to hook and this will inspire you.  I will also add a few little anecdotes and maybe a few things for sale too.

Over The Moon

This is adapted from a PJ Rankin-Hults design and hooked by me.  I naturally fell in love with this pattern because I have been a dog lover my entire life.  I hooked the dog to resemble my beloved lab, Jack.  He did not have spots (I liked putting them in there anyway) but he did wear a green collar.  He crossed over the rainbow bridge last year but I hooked this before he did, so I think it's a nice tribute to my Jack.
Since the dog was hooked in gold, I didn't want to repeat it again in the moon, so I made the moon blue.  
Which reminds me of Blue Moon ice cream...one of my favorites when I can find it.  Have you ever tried it?

This sweet version was hooked by Deb Nees.  She hooked it to give to her daughter who has a dog named Jet.  I love how Deb added a border (with quillies in the corners!) and personalized it with Jet's name.  A much loved gift, for sure!

This is D'Awn Lowe's version.  She hooked it to give to her granddaughter.  I love the purple sky, which D'Awn tells me is more fitting for the nursery. Another much loved gift!

This is a fun piece to hook and it hooks up quickly because it is not too big!  I used mostly #8.5 cuts and a some #8 cuts for outlining, etc.  I have this pattern available on my website here: 

I also have one kit available in the same colors that I hooked my mat.  To purchase, go to "Kits" and look for Over The Moon.