Friday, July 31, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Glad Tidings

Glad Tidings
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Deb Nees

 I love Christmas designs more than anything else and I think this is one of my favorites.  It does have a lot of small details so I definitely recommend using lots of different cuts of wool.  You can use wide cuts in the horse and background but smaller strips are needed for the wreath and details on the jacket.  

I taught at Cape May several years ago and Deb was working on this rug in my class.  After class, she went to a knit shop and found some metallic yarn so she used it for the buttons on the jacket and the jingle bell on the tip of Santa's hat.  Genius!  So the next afternoon, we all had to make a bee line to the knit shop to buy a few skeins...I'll bet that yarn shop owner couldn't figure out why there was such a demand for metallic yarn.  Haha!

Deb used sheep curls for Santa's beard, which is totally awesome so I thought I'd talk about that a little bit.  Hooking with curls is fun and easy! Most of the time, I will buy a whole curly sheep fleece and then I have to wash it.  Sheep all have different "textures" of fleece so if you want definitive curls, some of the best are Wensleydale, Teeswater, and Leicester Longwool.  Washing a fleece is a long can not agitate it at all or it will I carefully soak a small batch in a bucket with very hot water and Dawn dish washing detergent.  Usually 3 wash cycles and then 1 or 2 rinses in a bucket of hot water.  I spin the fleece in the washer to get most of the water out and then lay flat to dry on a towel.  If it's a nice, dry day I will dry outside.  You can never get all the vegetation out and sometimes there are little bits of dirt in there too.  Sometimes a few stains but hey, it's clean and it's lovely for hooking!

This is what a one-ounce portion of Leicester Longwool curls looks like.  It will go a long way in your hooking!

Sometime they are stuck together a little bit by small strands of fleece, so you can either carefully pull them apart or you can cut the strands carefully with scissors to separate the curls.

Sheep curls can really overpack an area if you are not careful, so what I recommend is that you hook the beard area first with a light colored wool.  You can opt to hook the strips a little more loosely so that there are small spaces in between the rows, then you would hook the curls in the spaces between the rows.  Sheep curls are pretty thin so they can get squeezed in practically anywhere. 
Pick out a single curl and hold it just like you would a wool strip. Begin by pulling up one curly end.  Pull it higher than your loops.

Pull up another loop of the sheep curl, again making sure it is higher than your wool loops. Spacing isn't critical so I just poke my hook down and grab the curl...but to get a nice beard, you do want to make sure your loops are high.

When you get to the other end of the curl, pull up the wispy end and let it hang above the hooking.  Depending on the length of the curl, you can get one to two loops before you need to pull up the end.  Here is a curl where I got two loops before I had to end it.

Begin a new curl by pulling up its end in the same hole where the previous curl ended (just like you were hooking a wool strip).  Continue on in this method, filling in the desired area.
Here are two curls hooked into the beard...doesn't that look yummy???

I grabbed a large pencil hook for my demo but I almost always work with an 8mm Hartman because I feel that a wide shanked hook pokes a bigger hole for the curl and pulls it up easier.

I have a limited number of one-ounce bags of Leicester Longwool curls for sale.  If  you want to purchase some, please message me on my website or on the Spruce Ridge Facebook page (they will also be posted for sale there but not listed for sale on my website).  First come, first served.

You can find the Glad Tidings pattern here:

My computer and blogger are at odds with each other today and I have had a bit of difficulty posting so I apologize if my post appears a little wonky!  I am trying to figure it out but my computer can be pretty stubborn!  Ugh.

Have a great week-end!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Rug Of The Day - The Stocking Was Hung

The Stocking Was Hung
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Wendy Miller

I have always thought that this pattern was so very sweet.  In my imagination, a little girl had asked Santa for a dolly and found one in her stocking on Christmas morning.  It's actually more of an angel dolly because of the wings, but I can imagine her joy when she discovered it in her homemade stocking.

Lori puts little skeleton keys in her designs and this pattern has one drawn on it but Wendy sewed a real key to the rug, which makes it all the more charming.  Since the doll has stubble hair, the easiest way to hook it is to do a "beading" stitch half way around the head.  Beading is simply hooking with two strips of wool, each a different and contrasting color, at the same time. You pull up one loop of color, and then a loop with another color, and repeat.  I have the technique explained and demonstrated in my Introduction To Rug Hooking book, but you could also "google" it.  Make sure you search for "beading rug hooking stitch," otherwise you will get an entirely different subject!
To create the stubble hair, you would bead with a hair color and the background wool.  The larger the cut, the longer the stubble!

Another thing I love about this pattern are those tabs on the sides and the hit-or-miss circles on the stocking.  This is a great way to use up your noodle, bits and pieces, or worms.  You will also learn a little bit about color because you will soon see which colors work well and which colors fight each other.  It's a simple fix...if you don't like the way two colors are looking next to each other, just pull out the offending strip and try another.  I jokingly have called this "trail-and-error" instead of hit-or-miss.  But please don't obsess too much over the colors because it's supposed to look scrappy and random.  

Here is another sample of the rug, hooked by Rebecca Erb.

Isn't it fun to see everyone's interpretation and color plan?

You can find the pattern here:

Monday, July 27, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Holly & Ewe

Holly & Ewe
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller

I designed this pattern for a technique class many years ago.  I was teaching hooking with roving (the sheep), sculpting with wool strips (the holly berries), sculpting with roving (pom pom on Santa's hat), crochet edge finish (easy to do since the rug is oval and has no corners) and eyes (both Santa and sheep).  

Hooking eyes can be a scary thing to do when you are hooking faces. It can make or break the whole feeling of the design. The first time I hooked an eye, I thought that there must be some sort of process or maybe a particular order in which to hook.  Even though I consider myself a primitive/wide cut rug hooker, I wanted my eyes to look somewhat realistic.  So I came up with a plan that works for me every time.  Yes, it took some patience and practice, but I enjoy hooking faces now.   And my technique is suitable for animal eyes as well as people.

  I like to teach hooking eyes during my classes and I enjoy it even more when my students make a beautiful eye and they are excited about it.  Once I demonstrated hooking an eye on a student's pattern and I told her she had to hook the other one.  She nervously got to work and later the class decided that her eye was better than the one I hooked!  Perfect!  That made my heart sing! 

You can find the Holly & Ewe pattern here:

If you want to learn my technique for hooking eyes, you can buy my booklet here:

Not only does my booklet teach you how to create realistic, primitive eyes, it also teaches you how to do silly, googly quillie eyes (perfect for spooky creatures) and a simple technique for a no-fuss bird's eye.  There's lots of step-by-step pictures so it's easy to follow along.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Tomte the Elf

Tomte the Elf
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller

A tomte (Swedish) or tonttu (Finnish) is a mythical elf.  He is small and usually wears a red hat and has a beard (sort of like a garden gnome).  He is the guardian of one's house, barn, and animals and he makes sure they are taken care of.  It is good luck to have a tomte but don't make him mad!  He has a temper and if he is crossed, he will seek revenge on you and your household!  Tomte are most commonly associated with Christmas time and the Winter Solstice.  If you leave your tomte a bowl of porridge with a pat of butter on top, he will bring you gifts.

I imagined my tonttu with skis so that he could get around faster in the snow to deliver his gifts.  He is wearing the traditional red hat but I also gave him matching mittens and striped socks.  

Notice that I used my favorite khaki plaid....not for the snow this time but for the sky.  I had not originally planned for the swirls in the sky but I realized that there was a lot of empty space up there so I drew in some swirls and gently echoed around them.  It was a last minute decision but it worked out to be a wonderful one!  It balanced out the quiet snow by giving some movement to the sky. 

Here is a tip for hooking the basket:  I chose a plaid with several colors running through it.  I hooked one row around the basket to create the outer edge and then I hooked vertical rows, from the top to the bottom.  

I have been taking Finnish language lessons on line for the past 4 weeks.  Believe me, Finnish is a very hard language to learn but I do practice every day. According to my app, I can say 224 words in Finnish.  Haha!  I speak like a toddler but I can tell you that I have a big white dog or that you have a small green car.  I can also order a coffee and a pulla bun too, handy for the next time I find myself at a cafe in Helsinki (pulla is sweet bread that is delicious with a cup of coffee.  You can eat it plain with butter but sometimes it is made into cinnamon buns or has a sweet cream cheese filling.  Yum!)

You can find the Tomte pattern here:

Just a little under 5 months before Christmas arrives...time to start working on your Holiday rugs!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Dashing

Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Cindy Goolsby

Dashing is such a fun rug!  The donkey is a playful alternative for a sled-pulling animal and don't you love that old fashioned wagon???  The turquoise blue background works perfectly for this rug...not too dark and not too light...but it is a medium value so Cindy outlined the donkey so it would show up and pop out nicely against the blue.  The tree is simply marvelous hooked up in a light texture.  It reminds me of the old silver aluminum tree my aunt put up every Christmas when I was a kid.  I don't think a green tree would have been as noticeable or exceptional.  The red berries on the tree are like the icing on a cake.  If you notice, the red was used sparingly but in three different places, which forms a pleasing balance in the rug. 

Another beauty from Cindy and I thank her for sharing her talents with us.

Here is another charming example of Dashing, hooked by Julie Neumiller.  She altered the donkey a little to make it look more like a reindeer and personalized the word bubble with her family name.  Again, a medium value was used for the background so she hooked a halo around all the objects to make them stand out.  I particularly like the way she hooked a light wool inside the tree and wheels.  The tree looks luminous.  Again, the use of red makes your eye travel around the rug in a pleasing manner.
Great job, Julie!  *applause!*

You can find the pattern here:

Friday, July 24, 2020

Rug Of The Day - St. Nick

St. Nick
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Cindy Goolsby

Well, here is another beauty hooked by Cindy Goolsby. Again, her rug hooking is perfection!
I have always thought that this rug needs a dark background since Santa is coming down the chimney while the world sleeps.  Notice how Cindy used a beige-like texture for Santa's beard.  It sets itself apart from Santa's mustache and hat trim without having to outline with a definition line.    I also love the way Cindy hooked the bricks in the chimney.  Besides finding the perfect "brick" red/brown textured wool, she hooked around and around the squares instead of hooking straight rows across.  This gives the bricks more substance and texture.

The most playful part of the rug is Santa's bag.  The original pattern does not have the sewn-on patch...this is something Cindy added herself...but it really adds to the feeling and character of the rug's story!  The bag is a really large area on the rug and the patch helps break that up a bit.  Plus it adds to the story that Santa has had a lot of traveling to do and his bag has seen lots of wear over the years.  I think it's a perfect accent and I wish I would have thought of it! 
Bravo, Cindy!  Another darling rug!

Here is another St. Nick, hooked by Sue Clark of Missouri.  Just a little different color plan but equally as delightful.  I love the way Sue "puddled" the bag and background.

You can find the pattern here: 

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Holly

Adapted from the design of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Cindy Goolsby, Louisianna

I am a huge fan of anything and everything Cindy Goolsby hooks or creates.  Her hooking style is perfection and very recognizable.  I really liked Lori's Holly design so I was absolutely amazed and delighted to see Cindy's version of it!

This is another rug that can be left out all season long.  The holly wreath and bare birch tree gives you the feeling of winter without having the depiction of snow.  I actually think it has a Scandinavian or Nordic feel to it with the use of red and white.  Finland is composed of 75% forest and the birch tree is very common,  so I think that adds to the Northern feel of the rug too.

Thanks to Cindy, for sharing her wonderful talent!

You can find the pattern here:

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Cocoa and Cookies Alphabet Sampler

Cocoa & Cookies Alphabet Sampler
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kris Miller

I made this large rug many years ago and it is still one of my favorites, even though I don't display it very much.  I learned a lot when hooking this rug, so I think of it as my "discovery" rug.  It was one of the first projects where I had to hook a lot of letters so I learned to hook one letter at a time and immediately hook one row of background around the letter before moving on to the next one.  
I also learned a little about color planning with textures.  The background is a medium beige plaid with subtle lines of maroon and purple.  Medium value backgrounds can be hard to work with because they want to "suck" the color out of all the other medium values in the rug.  I had to make sure I chose colors that were strong enough to hold up.  The snow was hooked with the same khaki plaid that I used in Midnight Clear but do you notice what I did?  Just along the horizon line, I had to put one row of a little bit darker value than the wool I used for the background.  This was to lift and separate the snow from the background to define it better.  I call it a "bridge" between the two.  Without the bridge, they would have blurred together. 
Here's another tip for color planning when you are using textures and plaids for your background:  Look at the colors that compose your plaid.  In this example, there were lines of maroon and deep purple.  By using similar colors in the lettering, my color plan was effortless because the colors were already friends and worked together.  I mixed up the shades of maroon and deep red and eggplant so that all the letters were not the same (too boring) but I DID hook groupings of letters in the same colors so they weren't so scattered and random.  You could highlight certain letters by hooking them in the same initials are KLM so I chose to hook those the same.  Sort of a subtle message that only I would find (and now you know too!)
The words on the ground were hooked with the same rusty red as the saltbox house on the left.  Since they are located in an entirely different background, that works great, and they are still friends with everyone else.

One last note about my rug...I believe Lori's artwork showed a redware plate and mug so that is what I chose to depict.  Mr. Snowman is waiting for his winter treat!  But I have seen some people replace the plate with a gigantic cookie and I think that is simply charming!  Isn't rug hooking great?  We can all create our own interpretation and come up with inspiring rugs!

You can find the Cocoa & Cookies Alphabet Sampler here:

There is also a smaller version without letters for those of you who don't want a large project or the stress of hooking a lot of letters.
Paula Russell from New York hooked the smaller one.  She hooked a chocolate chip cookie and I think her rug is fabulous!

The great thing about this design is that it is not specifically a Christmas rug so you can enjoy it all season long!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Midnight Clear

It's Christmas in July!  Let's cool off with some Christmas and winter designs for the rest of the month.  

Midnight Clear
Adapted from the design of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kris Miller

This rug design is available in two sizes and I hooked the larger size.  It is probably my most favorite rug that I have ever hooked!  I mixed a lot of different cuts in my hooking...#8.5 and #9 for the background, #8 and #6 for the lettering, and #6 and smaller hand-cuts for the snowman and parts of Santa's face.  I decided that I couldn't make the fur on Santa's robe white because it would conflict with his beard so I used a very dull sage-khaki plaid.  The snow on the ground was hooked with a light khaki plaid.  Because it is a night scene with a dark background, I didn't want to have the snow appear too bright and besides, snow can have shadows on it at night.  I had to do a subtle pop-out line around his boots because the brown blended with the dark sky (unless I pointed it out to you, you probably wouldn't even notice).  My favorite little detail is the snowman in the pocket.  I hooked a striped wool vertically...I wanted the pocket to look like a little patch pocket that got sewn on later.  I thought that the tabs around the edge of the pattern should definitely be red and green but I made a plan in my head to use only left over strips of wool.  I dipped into my huge stash of noodles and pulled out a variety of strips.  I made a pile of green and a pile of red and just made a random mix to fill in the tabs.  So much fun!  I bound the edges of the rug with a crochet finish, using the background wool and a #8 cut.

You can find the pattern here (large size):

and the smaller size here:

If you are used to hooking with wide cuts, I would recommend the larger size.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Rug Of The Day - A Little Bird Told Me

 A Little Bird Told Me
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Deb Nees

Oh my, I love everything about Lori's design!  The unusual leaves on the tree, the colonial-looking girl, and the sheep peeking around the flower...sort of like a rug hooking photobomb. Haha!  Deb added the border to the rug and I think it's perfect because it ties everything together.  
 Saundra Porter took this picture but she must have used her flash because you can see the colors a little more clearly in her photo.  We were at Cape May a few years back and Deb had entered this rug into the rug show.
Deb did a lovely job on the face because it is tiny and harder to get a lot of detail.
Well done and a wonderful rug, Deb! *applause*
Dana Cook was hooking this design when I taught in Santa Fe a few years ago.  I am a huge fan of the turquoise and gold dress, along with the ruby striped sleeves.  A little bit of Santa Fe influence, wouldn't you say?

I have also seen this pattern hooked by someone who made the girl look like Frida Kahlo.  It was absolutely spectacular and honestly, I was awed by the creativity.  But I tried searching for a picture and I couldn't find one.  If I ever run across the picture, I will definitely post it in a future blog post.

You can find the pattern here:

Have a great week-end!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Early Bird

Early Bird
Adapted from the design of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kris Miller

Over the past week, I've been seeing a lot of fledglings and their mammas in our backyard.  I don't think I remember ever seeing that many different families at one time and it is quite amusing to watch them.  The fledglings are as big as the parent bird.  When mama finds a bug or seed in the grass, they all come rushing over to try to get the tasty morsel.  I've seen a group of crow fledglings too...they are just as big as mom but you can tell who is boss.  They usually circle around her and make quite a racket when they are competing to get her attention.  Our barn swallows have already raised one brood and lately I've seen mom and dad hanging around so they will probably have another...I love to see the fledgling swallows swoop out of their little mud nest and soar through the air!  Even for a while after they have learned to fly, they return to the nest for the night.  It is quite comical to see them crowded in that tiny nest in the evening, almost like a bunch of circus clowns that have crammed themselves into a clown car!

The bird in this rug reminds me of the fledglings I've seen, with wings flapping, waiting for a juicy worm tidbit.  The state bird for Michigan is the robin, so I decided to hook my Early Bird like a robin....however, I liked the way the turquoise blue looked with the brown textures so I added that very non-typical color to my bird.   I think it adds a nice spark to the rug.   The letters were hooked in pale blue, just like the eggs.   I had a really funky dirty pink/maroon texture that was perfect for the earthworm.

  Sometimes a rug just comes together effortlessly, and this was one of them.  It was fun to hook and it makes me happy just to look at it.

You can find Early Bird here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Adamstown Filly

Adamstown Filly
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller

My husband and I love to antique when we are traveling and we stopped at a shop on our way to somewhere, just to see what we could find.  One of the booths had a lot of equestrian items and I saw an old wooden cut out of a horse hanging on the wall.  "That's a rug inspiration," I told my husband so I took a picture to refer to later.  As we browsed, I kept coming back to that booth to gaze lovingly at the wooden horse.  "You should just buy it or you are going to regret it later," said my I did!
(hehe, I did get his approval, didn't I?!?!)
I also love to collect other wooden architectural artifacts and I had a piece of interesting latticework that I thought would make a great border.  So I began to doodle and came up with the Adamstown Filly design.

My plan was to hand-tear my wool.  I had worked on another rug with hand-torn strips and I really liked the simplicity of it...just snip, rip, and hook.  No cutter needed and no reason to keep getting up from your chair.  I also decided that I liked the chippy paint and rough weathered boards in my old horse cut out.  The best way to get that effect was to hook it in rows, straight across the horse and vary the color of my strips to look like the wood had darkened and stained.   The key was to make it look more like "puddles" and not get a striped look.  Just like I mentioned in my last Rug Of The Day post, I outlined around the horse with the background color.  I call this a reverse outline because you are staying outside the drawn lines of the horse and working in a row of background first.  Then you have a precise starting and  stopping point for your horizontal rows.  One other tip:  start your horizontal rows in the middle of your horse and work from there...down to the bottom and then up to the top.  I know it sounds a bit counter-productive but it worked for me.  I may have had to alter the mane and tail a bit to accommodate the width of the hand-torn strips but that's OK too.  When you are done, no one is going to know any differently!

The lattice border was fun to do and I worked on it while watching TV/movies in the evening.  I hooked two rows of the blue plaid in the solid "arches" of the lattice work and then filled in the remaining spaces with a different plaid.  It was sort of an ugly plaid that no one really wanted to buy...but when they saw it hooked into my border, I sold out of it quickly!  Sometimes you have to turn those ugly ducklings into swans!

You can find Adamstown Filly here:

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Hex & Frex

Hex & Frex
Adapted from the designs of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Kris Miller

Years ago, I took a class from Jayne Hester.  I had always wanted to be in one of her classes because I love her extreme primitive style.  I chose Hex & Frex because I knew she could do something really fun and prim with the color plan.

I love hooking animals and during this stage of my rug hooking life, all of them I created were hooked by following the contour of their body lines and with gentle curving rows.  I still think that makes sense for most animals that I hook.
However Jayne told me to fill in some of the areas in the cats with straight lines.  "Huh", I thought, "OK but that's a little out of the box for me." At that point, I thought straight lines were a little boring. Boy, was I wrong!  I hooked the large spot in the rust cat with straight lines and the body of the black cat was straight lines too.  The spot was relatively easy but the body was a different story!  I outlined the black cat first so that gave me a starting and stopping point for my rows without having to guess.  But hooking straight lines in a curved body was not as easy as I thought...and I LOVED the results!

Moral of the story:  Try something that is a little out of your wheelhouse.  If it is as simple as some straight lines or using wider cuts, or more complex as learning a new finishing technique or using all kinds of alternative materials and stitches.  I always feel that if I learned one new thing in a class, then it was money and time well spent.  If it makes you think, if it makes you squirm a little then that is good for your brain and your creativity!  PS:  Listen to your teacher too.  :)

Just a comment on straight line hooking:  I only do it occasionally but many of the antique rugs that we love and admire had lots of straight line hooking in the background and there is definitely a place for it and it can make our rugs look fabulous when we do it in the right places!

You can find the pattern here:

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Love Grows In My Garden

Love Grows In My Garden
Adapted from the artwork of Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Hooked by Sandy Denarski

The original pattern is drawn with the words "Love grows in my garden" but Sandy changed the words and personalized it to honor her grandmother.  Great job, Sandy!  Bravo!

I have always been fond of this pattern because it has a sweet and charming  sentiment.  I'll be the first to admit that I am not a gardener but I wouldn't mind working in this hooked garden!  I think I'd hook my lady just as Sandy has done (love the blue dress, white apron, and straw hat!) but I might play around with some bits of sari ribbon for the colors of the flowers.  I really like the trellis in the pattern don't see trellises very much in rug hooking patterns.  The vine growing up and twisting around the trellis just has leaves drawn in, however you could personalize it by hooking in little spots and pops of red or yellow to make it look like roses. 

I work on my rug hooking all year you?  Wouldn't this make a great summer project?  You still have time and I'm sure you'd be done before Labor Day!

Here is the link to the pattern on my website:

Have fun playing in your garden!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Rug Of The Day - Little Fox

Little Fox
Adapted from the artwork of Ann Willey
Hooked by Kris Miller

I seem to be creating a theme of peaceful and calm this week, which we all need right now! 

Little Fox is probably one of my most favorite rugs.  We have a fox that lives in the back of our property that I affectionately call Jamie Fox.  Sometimes we don't see her for a while and then she shows up again.  Sometimes she has had a litter of kits and she lets them play in the grass where we can see them in the evening.  She has never bothered my farm critters but she does like to tease my dog by sitting in her line of sight but being too far away for my dog to do anything about it.

My color plan happened quite by accident....I had ordered some wool and had it stacked up on my work table.  I began to move the pieces of wool around to see how they worked together the best.  I added a piece or two from the wool I already had in stock and I was so excited about the color way that I created, I had to take a picture with my phone so I wouldn't forget what order they were in!  I wanted a very tranquil and quiet forest scene but I also wanted the fox to be the star of the rug.  The burnished orange was the perfect choice.  I had to do some small pop-out lines around the light areas of the fox so they would get lifted up from the background.  You could see them but the small accent line just made everything look more defined.

The last little detail that I had to think about was the owl.  If I hooked him in brown colors, he would not be seen because of the tree colors.  I think he is so whimsical, sitting in the crotch of the tree and he needed to be seen!  So I grabbed a couple of small purple scraps and hooked them for his body.  The eyes were each just one loop of a #8.5 cut (pull up an end, hook a loop, pull up the other end).  I'll let you in on a little secret of how I created the black dot in his eyes....after I hooked the 8.5 strip, I went back with a needle and black thread and carefully stitched a small dot onto the loop. Perfect solution for those tiny eyes!

Here is the link to purchase the pattern:

Have a great week-end!

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 people 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 squeeeeeeze 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: