Friday, April 30, 2021

Maryland Sheep and Wool Virtual Festival


The Spruce Ridge Studios booth at the 2019 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is always the first week-end of May and something that I always look forward to.  This year the festival will take place virtually and Spruce Ridge Studios will be participating!  I will have a "Festival" special and an exclusive decorative pillow for sale on Saturday and Sunday.  Here is a link to the vendors (but you can't use it until Saturday):

Please note that the marketplace/vendors will go live on Saturday around 8:30 am. So you won't be able to see much until then...but if you were attending the festival in person, you would not have access to the vendors until 8:30 am when the gates opened on Saturday anyway!  I think that's part of the fun!

There were many new patterns added to my website over the past year...including two new pattern collections!  I am proud to be representing the artwork of Robin Leuschen as rug hooking patterns.  I have always loved her whimsical, wonderful designs and I could see a hooked rug in each one.  I can't wait to start hooking my first "Robin" rug!  There are so many wonderful patterns to choose from...but I think I really like "Just Keep Swimming"...oh wait!  I love her little snowman in a snow globe too....or what about the turkey design...or the "Farmhouse Christmas?"  I can see my summer is going to be busy hooking away!

I have also taken over drawing the patterns for Red House Wool Studio/Cathy Greschner.  I have always been a fan of her Orange Sink blog and her lovely designs, so I was quite honored when Cathy decided to turn the sharpie marker over to me and enjoy her retirement!

I do hope you'll shop the Maryland Sheep & Wool Marketplace...look for my virtual page and check out my website.  I plan on shopping too!  I've had my eye on some yarns that are just delicious.  I think it's important to support the other small businesses, especially now.  The pandemic is not quite over yet and I know that every small business needs a little extra support until they can get back out on the road again.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

More progress on Notforgotten Flowers

Notforgotten Flowers
Design by Lori Brechlin/Adapted by Spruce Ridge Studios
Hooking by Kris Miller

 Just one more leaf to go and then it's all background!  

I used a lot of textures and values of gray but threw in some gray blues and that wonderful pink and gray herringbone for the flower on the far right.  It's more of a salmon pink, or maybe a brick pink.  The scalloped leaf on the lower right was outlined with a gray herringbone and then filled with a grayish windowpane plaid.  It had a lot of cream lines in it and I picked out the strips that were mostly creamy and just hooked the gray strips.  Much to my surprise, the gray hooked up looking a little pink too, so it is friends with the flower above it.  A match made in primitive, neutral heaven.

Do you love to hook background as much as I do?  I know some people do not but I find it very relaxing and rhythmic.  It doesn't require a lot of thought so I find it perfect to work on while watching a movie or a program on Netflix.  I don't normally hook squiggles into the background, rather I just echo around the shapes, like the ripples a stone makes when it's dropped in the water.  However there are a few squarish shapes...I call them "blocks"... and if I continued to echo around those they would not look like they had any movement.  Just a big old blob.  A few squiggly lines hooked there should break up the area.

I am so happy with this color plan and honestly, I think it is my favorite version so far.  Isn't it funny how a dumb drawing mistake ended up being such a great learning experience and such a fun rug!

You can find the pattern here (no drawing mistakes, I guarantee it!):

Friday, April 2, 2021

Notforgotten Flowers update


Lots of progress on my neutral color plan for Notforgotten Flowers!

I started calling this the "Goldilocks" rug because I've hooked in certain textures/values and then ripped them out again. Several times! 
Too dark, too bright, just right!

You can see in the picture that half of the gray petal of the big tulip is outlined in taupe.  I left it that way temporarily to show you the difference between outlining vs. not outlining.  I think that the photo shows the outline just a bit too bold.  In real life, it looks more like a soft transition between the light gray and dark gray.  I really like the way the outline looks so I'm going to go ahead and hook the rest of it.

The large oak leaf was fun to color plan.  It also needed to be outlined and I think the light gray was just the right touch.  I'm not sure if I'm going to use the leaf texture again.  It is sort of a wait-and-see situation.  

Next up is hooking the flower on the right.  I need to get that completed before I finish up with the leaves.

Have a great week-end and a beautiful, blessed Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Rug of the Day - Notforgotten Flowers

Notforgotten Flowers
Design by Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm, adapted by Spruce Ridge Studios/Kris Miller

I hooked this fun, cheery mat many years ago when I first started adapting Lori's artwork into rug hooking patterns.  Now flash forward to 2021....

A customer had ordered the larger size of Notforgotten Flowers and as I was drawing it, I made not one, but two stupid mistakes.

I have been drawing patterns for over 20 years....I could probably draw them with my eyes closed!  haha!  I am quite picky about having them straight so when I am drawing the outside border line, I always try to use a very fresh Sharpie with a nice sharp point.  When the tip starts to jump the ditch, I know it's time to switch to a new marker.  Sometimes a slub in the linen or a piece of lint will make the pen jump too.  If the overdraw is just a small line, I feel there is no harm done.  I correct the jumped line and keep going.  I think we all understand that it happens sometimes and it doesn't affect the outcome.  But when I drew out this pattern, my Sharpie jumped badly.  In two spots.  I tried to correct and made it worse.  I thought it looked sloppy and I just could not send this pattern to the customer.  So I drew another one that was pretty and perfect and without blemish.

Now, I will tell you that I HATE to waste linen.  It is expensive.  What was I going to do with this imperfect pattern?  My choices were to discount the pattern price and sell it as an "oops" or to turn it over and draw a different pattern on the other side just for myself.  But wait!  I started thinking that I could hook this pattern again...but in all soft neutral tones.  A little challenge to myself since I had already hooked the small version in a colorful palette. 
I think I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but I started gathering up some textures that I considered "neutral," piled them up on my work table, and let them "stew" for a few days.  I would walk by and glance at them throughout the day.  Sometimes I'd find another piece of wool that I thought would work and threw it in the pile.  Other times, I would eliminate a piece that would somehow seem out of place or just didn't catch my fancy anymore.  
This is what my pile looked like.  I had three piles for the three flowers in the pattern and there are multiple leaves to color plan too.  The dark taupe-like texture that is scrunched up at the top of the picture was a candidate for the background, but I realized later that it was not dark enough for what my vision of the background should be, so I used it to hook the flower pot.  A nice dark chocolate brown is working great for my background.

Even as I have been hooking, I have pulled some wool out and switched it to a different texture. But I think I am still on track with my goal to keep my mat in the neutral "neighborhood."
Here is the start of my rug and I am very happy with the progress so far!  I am outlining all the objects with one row of my chocolate brown texture.  This holds the shapes in place and gives me a good idea of how the background works with my other color choices.  I am considering another brown texture to mix with my chocolate brown but will try it out later when I am hooking the rest of my background.  I am so focused on hooking the flowers and leaves so I don't want to lose that mojo by filling in background right now.  Stay tuned!

You can find the small pattern for Notforgotten Flowers here:

and here is the link for the larger pattern, which I am working on now:


Monday, March 22, 2021

Rug of the Day - Matilda Hornbuckle

Matilda Hornbuckle
Hooked by Kris Miller
A Notforgotten Farm/Lori Brechlin design, adapted by Spruce Ridge Studios

Here is the adorable Matilda Hornbuckle!  She was my unfinished project that I mentioned in my last post...I had some background to hook in and I had not completed her face.  As is often the case, once her cute little face was completed, I had a smiling and mischievous friend looking back at me!  She really made me happy and the rest of the hooking was a snap!

When I hooked the shoe, I pulled up some scrap pieces of wool (just a tail and then another tail) to mark the spot where I wanted to sew the shoe buttons after my mat was steamed.  I could have hooked them but I have a small collection of old shoe buttons just for this occasion.  I think they add just a bit more whimsy to my mat.

I had quite a collection of light colored, textured left-over pieces so I promised myself that I would cut up, mix up, and use those scraps instead of cutting into a new piece of wool.  It's pretty strange how you can plan to do that and still have a bunch of scraps left over when you are done hooking.  

This little mat is a fun, quick project.  She could be displayed all year round and not just in the Fall or around Halloween.  I'm going to smile every time I see her!

You can find the pattern here:


Friday, March 12, 2021

Rug Of The Day Update-First Heavy Snow

First Heavy Snow
Designed by Cabin Creek Designs/Faye Schilling
Hooked by Kris Miller

I have been trying to wrap up some unfinished projects and here is one of them.  I just hooked the last loop on Monday's not steamed yet but will be soon.  Then I'll bind the edges with the crochet finish, using the same Christmas plaid in the border.  

This was so much fun to hook! I think my favorite part was figuring out how to dress up the snow people.  I can't wait to hang it up next winter when the snow starts to fly.  In the meantime, I've got another UFO (unfinished object) on my frame....mostly just hooking the background but oh how I love hooking backgrounds!!!

You can find the First Heavy Snow pattern here:

I know most of you don't want to think about snow, now that the weather is warmer and the flowers are starting to poke their sleepy little heads through the dirt, but I think I could hook winter patterns all year round because they are so much fun!

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Rug Of The Day - Puddle Duck

Puddle Duck
PJ Rankin-Hults design, rug hooking pattern adapted by Spruce Ridge Studios

Here is a totally adorable design that is in my pattern queue to be hooked very soon.  I have always thought that this would be really cute hanging in a nursery or in a child's bedroom and now that I have 2 grandchildren, I want to hook it!  It should be a very simple and straight-forward color plan...I think I'll stick close to the colors in Pam's artwork but I still have to figure out a background.  This pattern should be a quick hook because it is only 12" x 18".  I'm going to pull out some textures and see what speaks to me.  Sometimes I pile or stack them on my worktable and let them "stew" awhile.   By that I mean that I'll walk by and take a glance at the the pile, sometimes I rearrange the order of the colors or pull one out and add another.  It gives me time to think and plan.  This one shouldn't take too long to speak to me.

I have another pattern, too, in which I made a drawing boo-boo and instead of scrapping it or discounting it, I decided to challenge myself and hook it...I'm going to keep that sort of a mystery for now because the color plan and hooking would make a good blog stay tuned and I'll walk you through it someday soon.

You can find the Puddle Duck pattern here:


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Rug of the Day - Have Ye Any Wool

Have Ye Any Wool
Designed and hooked by Kris Miller/Spruce Ridge Studios (c) 2009

I just finished watching all 7 episodes of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS.  I don't know why the PBS app let me watch all seven shows before they have aired entirely on TV, but I couldn't help myself but binge watch all of them.  
I have never read the books but I have been to "James Herriot" country, the Yorkshire Dales, 3 times so I was anxious to see the beautiful scenery portrayed on screen.  When you are there, it is so beautiful that you feel like you could be looking at a seems almost unreal and you just can't fathom that you are actually there and seeing it for yourself.  A "pinch-me" moment at every turn of the head.  

The TV series is charming and gave me the warm fuzzies.  It has animals, of course, but deals so much more with human emotion and the feeling of belonging and togetherness.  I can't wait for Season 2!

All of this reminds me of my Have Ye Any Wool pattern.  I designed the rug for a workshop where we learned various techniques but the rug has a much more personal meaning behind it.  The sheep is inspired by my pet Wensleydale sheep, Emma.  Wensleydale sheep originate in the Yorkshire Dales and they are beautiful creatures. I was fortunate enough to visit a farm that raised Wensleydale sheep.   You might have heard me talk about Emma...she was seriously a sheep with a queen-like attitude and so full of antics!  However, it is not Emma's fleece that I have hooked into my rug but Mikko, my pet Finn sheep that crossed over the rainbow bridge at an early age and I used his roving to commemorate his short life in this rug.
The goat is inspired by my beloved goat, Zack.  I don't have any chickens but I thought a rooster should be up at the gave me the excuse to use some fabulous black and white, honey-comb textured wool.  
This design is the classic folk art of stacked animals but made extra personal because I portrayed some of my very special creatures in the pattern.
You can find the pattern here:


Monday, January 25, 2021

Pattern of the Day - Basket of Hearts

Basket of Hearts
Artwork by Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Pattern adapted for rug hooking by Spruce Ridge Studios

There are times when I am hooking on a project and I find myself overthinking the color plan for the design.  I end up making things much more complicated than they need to be.  Often this leads to frustration because I can't quite figure out what I'm going to do next.  I have learned to stop and tell myself "you need to simplify!"  By scaling back all the "busyness" and making things less fussy....keeping it simple...I find more creative satisfaction and joy in my project.  

So!  When I look at the Basket of Hearts pattern, I see lovely, sweet simplicity.  You don't need to overthink the color plan.  Just yummy shades of reds (hearts), greens (leaves) and browns (basket).  I envision the background as being light because it gives a fresh, clean look.  

If you want to switch up the hearts a bit, you could use some lovely plaids with pops of red, along with some textures in warm barn red.  Use several values of greens for the leaves. You could use the darker green values for the leaves closer to the basket and then choose the lighter values for the leaves toward the top.  

You could also use the basket-weave technique for the basket or eliminate the wicker lines all together and hook the name of your favorite Valentine in the middle of the basket.  You are still keeping it simple but making it more personal.

The original size of the pattern is 20" x 26" but I had a friend who requested a larger size of 27" x 35" to fit a space in her house.   I have to say that if I hooked this pattern, I definitely would do the larger one...terrific for those wide cuts!  The smaller version is perfect for those of you who like a quicker project or smaller cuts of #6 and #8.  However, I am a #8.5 girl and I'd find a way to work those cuts into the background somehow ! Haha!

You can find the smaller pattern here:

And the larger one here:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pattern of the Day - Be Still My Heart

Be Still My Heart
Artwork by Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
Rug hooking pattern adapted by Spruce Ridge Studios

This is a really darling design and a sweet, sentimental Valentine!  I have seen it hooked up several times but I must not have saved the pictures because a search of my computer files does not come up with anything.  I knew it had appeared in the ATHA magazine several times, too, but I could not put my hands on which issue (or issues) have featured it.
  However, a Google search came up with the following link:

Lori wrote a really nice blog post in 2014 about the ATHA article and Marguerite Evans' rug.  I love the plaid for the rabbit which easily creates "instant" fur, and also the soft plaid for the background which adds a lot of interest and movement. The rabbit's red dress is perfect and using red again in the lettering and the tulip moves the color around the rug.  Wouldn't we all agree that red is THE perfect color for a Valentine!?!?

You can find the pattern here:

Just a note:  Marguerite was an exceptional and kind woman who loved the fellowship of rug camps and rug hooking.  She passed away in 2015.  It was an honor and a privilege to know her and see her wonderful rugs.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pattern of the Day - A Bushel & Peck


A Bushel & A Peck (Lori's)
Cross stitch by Lori Brechlin/pattern adapted for rug hooking by Spruce Ridge Studios

I drew up this pattern for an order last week and I'll admit, I had forgotten how truly cute this design is.  As is often the case when I am drawing out a pattern, I start color planning in my head and get pretty excited about the results.

This sweet little mat is 28" x 20" so the bird is drawn pretty big on the rug pattern...however if you are a wide-cut hooker, this is the perfect size to use your 8.5 and 9 cuts (bird and background).

I can envision a light background, maybe more parchment or creamy colors.  My first reaction would be to hook the bird as a robin (our state bird) but after I thought about it for a few minutes, I think the colors of a bluebird would be really lovely!  I would consider using a medium brown plaid or texture for the basket, and if you are feeling really creative, you could try the basket-weaving technique.  I'd have lots of fun with the hearts...either several values of primitive reds...throw a couple of purple textures in there!  Or maybe various shades of dirty primitive pink would look lovely if you hooked a robin.

The words are important but you don't want to upstage the bird and the basket so I would choose a soft brown or even a soft charcoal.  

If you have hooked this design, please do let me know!  I would love to see your version.

You can find the pattern here:

Lauren asked yesterday about my favorite plaid that was used in the Three Hearts kit, so here it is:

I don't remember what the original name of the plaid was, but I call it Flower's Friend and you can buy some here on my website:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Happy New Year and a new Rug Of The Day

 Happy New Year!

The holidays were busy here at our home.  My grandson was weaned off his oxygen at the beginning of December which means more babysitting time for me.  When you add in all the duties of Christmas, such as decorating, wrapping, cooking, baking, it meant that my blogging had to be set aside for a while.  I also did quite a bit of knitting over the holidays.  Knitting was my first fiber hobby that I took up, maybe at the age of 10 or so.  It really feels good to get out the knitting needles and yarn every once in a while.  It is soothing and meditative...and hey!  I'm still using wool and textures and color!

But now it's back to rug hooking!  Hooray!

I still have to take down some Christmas decorations but lately I've been really inspired by Valentine's Day.  Somehow those little red hearts are speaking to my heart...and in contrast to that, I have been really inspired by all things white too.  I know this is the way a lot of people feel at this time of year, but I have not always been so inspired by Valentine's Day.  

So the next few blog posts are going to be either "Rug Of The Day" or "Pattern of the Day" with the theme of valentines, hearts, and spring.

Three Hearts Kit

I created this kit a couple of years ago for a customer who was asking for a simple kit with hearts.  Those of you who know me will smile when you see that I used my favorite plaid with colors of red, turquoise, and just a touch of gold.  A lovely charcoal background makes the hearts sing!  The wool is just a bit lighter on one side and darker on the other, so I mixed them all together and I didn't care which side was showing when I hooked it.  This gave a subtle variation and movement to the background.

I really loved hooking of those projects that practically hooks itself!

This would be a wonderful project for a beginner or a quick and fun project for the more experienced rug hooker.  The mat is 10" x 10"... just the right size to use as a mat/hot pad for your favorite tea pot!

You can find the kit here, with the wool cut into #8 strips and a basic hook:

If you would like a Three Hearts kit with uncut wool and linen pattern (no hook), please contact me through my website and I can put one together for you.