Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Pumpkin Vine" and "Eat Ham"

I just finished these two hooking patterns recently . . . both were quick and fun to do. The Pumpkin Vine was placed in a frame made for it and 3 other seasons from Anita White.

I loved the Turkey pattern, I could go through all my tidbits of wool and use them up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

German Santa Claus

Well! I have not posted in quite some time, I see. However, I have been hooking away. I have hooked this charming little rug "German Santa Claus" by Sandra Hershey that I found in an older Rug Hooking Magazine. The beard was hooked first and then I added the wool roving.
I am also working on some more "Snow Folks" . . . I love making those. I found the free pattern for them in Jennifer Manuell's blog "Fish Eye Rugs". One was finished and given as a door prize at the Atlanta Dogwood Guild's Hook-In a few weeks ago. It was a fabulous hook-in, by the way!

I am also working on some patterns I bought at the hook-in from Kathie Meyers, owner of the Woolen Rooster in Sharpsburg, Ga. One is called "Eat Ham" by Kathie and the other is "Pumpkin Vine" by Anita White. Both are adorable! Hope to finish them really soon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Forest Secrets Challenge

I hooked this mat for the "Forest Secrets" Challenge on RHD. The challenge presented by Sunnie was to think of secrets that a forest might have and add a rock, a ring, and something royal purple. It could be any size and we had two months to complete the project. We were to S-T-R-E-T-C-H our imaginations and think creatively. I wanted to do this challenge to learn just how to do that.

The rugs and mats were just so wonderfully creative and clever. Actually, I learned more from seeing the finished rugs than from working on my own. I could see things differently after seeing them all.

One rug was a castle in the woods with a sword in a rock and a ring on the handle. There was another of an owl in a birch tree and and little bird holding a ring in its beak. I loved the one of a tree showing the roots growing, and a cross section of the tree with it's rings behind the tree and a few scattered purple flowers (hard to imagine that one, isn't it?). There was one of a hand with a purple ring gathering mushrooms by a rock. A sweet little frog and a purple salamander surrounded by a ring of moths was another. A cute one was of a little girl by a tire swing. There was a bag made of a mat hooked with a little purple fairy. Sunnie did the "Spirit of the Forest" . . . so creative, and one of a walk in the forest with the pet dogs. It was all so much fun to see how hookers think.

We also had to write a story that went with our rug and I was NOT prepared for that! So here is my 'short' story . . .

My 'Secrets of the Forest' is 28"x10". I used mostly #8 cuts of my leftover strips and I only had to cut wool for some of the sky.
When I first read of the challenge, all I could think of was trees. I guess you could say, I couldn't see the 'forest' for the 'trees'.
The trees were so much fun to do, especially since blues and greens are my favorite colors.
I love a crescent moon on a clear night because if you look hard enough, you can see all around it with a tiny bit of light on
the shadow side of the moon. The ring around it reveals the secret that the moon isn't a crescent after all.
My rug is more about . . . not what you see, but what you hear when you look at it. I hear serenity, interrupted only by the noise of the cicadas and the trickling of the nearby brook. . . with shadowy purple rocks. A quiet noise that is soothing and peaceful.

Our next challenge will be in January.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Max Rug . . . continued

With every rug I hook, I learn a little more. I have always liked the look of the primitive antique rugs that I see in books and magazines. They have an innocent charming appeal, some are whimsical and fun, others have intricate designs with wonderful colors, there are those that tell a story, and some are very utilitarian and plain. I love the whimsical and fun and so I chose to make our cat Max with a folk art look.

From what I have gathered from my hooking books, rugs were hooked for necessity and the fact that commercial rugs were not affordable to everyone. Hooked rugs were used, worn out, thrown out, and another was made to take it's place. Because of this, not very many hooked rugs survived. It is so wonderful to see the ones that did survive, and it makes me curious about the creative person who hooked them.

We can tell a lot from the antique rugs that have survived. What backings were used, if they used wool or cotton fabrics (or other things for that matter), the colors that were used, and how the rugs were bound. It is a look back into an era of what was available to the hooker at that time.

Most think that hookers of the past used dull and washed out colors of fabric, however the back side of antique rugs reveal that much brighter colors were hooked into the rugs. The color had faded from sunlight and wear, so a truer picture of the rug is seen from the back.

I liked the worn and faded look of the antique rug and I tried to make my project resemble that look. My first attempt at the Hit and Miss boarder was a little too bright, so I pulled out strips and re-hooked other colors. Here is a side by side before and after picture of the left side.

I continued around the rug with lambs tongues, squares and fans. The background is various white and cream wools, then I added an old date that I pick out of the blue.

The rug and Max . . . .

And now the true test, does the rug wear well . . .

I'm guessing this is what the rug would look like prodded.

My Max Rug

I am back to working on the Merit Program. Looking over the list of projects, I have decided to hook a Primitive rug with a Hit and Miss border. The Primitive rug is on the list of projects from the Garnet Award list and the Hit and Miss border is a project from the Ruby Award.

There are so many terrific rug hooking books that I have used to help with this project. I've just about worn each of them out looking at all the fabulous old rugs, reading about the back ground of each one, and learning how to hook and choose colors to make mine look as old and authentic. Here is a list of the books that I used (no particular order). They are all so wonderful and a great addition to any rug hooking library.

I chose Max as my subject for my rug. Max was our barn cat. I say 'was' because he once lived in our barn at our old house. He spooked a horse late one night and was kicked by it, breaking his hip. We brought him to the house and nursed him back to health. Max decided he liked our 'barn' better than his and became our house cat. He is still with us, ruling over us like a king.

Max is a tuxedo cat with markings on his face which makes him look like he is frowning. He isn't really, but it gives him the appearance of a disgruntled superior feline. I wanted to try to capture that in my folk art rug.

I will show more pictures as I progress.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nancy Butts Thompson

My very dear friend and hooking leader has passed away to be with the Lord our Savior Jesus Christ. She was loved by so many and has left us with her legacy of her love of hooking. The Crescent Lane Rug Hookers all morn her loss, but the angels in heaven are getting a really good lesson in rug hooking about now. I will miss her so much. Here are only a very, very few of the wonderful rugs she hooked.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Replica of 1910 Hooked Rug

My version


WELL! I finally finished a rug that I have been working on. It is a replica of a pre 1910 hooked rug that I saw online. It really looks more like 1920's/30's to me from all the rugs I have seen in that era . . . the hookers of that time liked to add an outline around the design. I'm hoping that it will pass for a 1920's rug for the Topaz Award in the Merit program, and I'm thinking who really knows for sure what era the rug is from anyway.

I fell in love with the rug the moment I first saw it. I loved the flowers and turquoise vase, but I think that I was drawn to the background the most. It is a stripe using gold and cream, hooked straight across like the Grenfell rugs. I was thinking that it would hook up easily since it was mainly straight rows, but I forgot that the stripes would have to meet eventually. That was tricky, especially since I had hooked the flowers and vase first. I tried to place the rows at the same place on opposite sides of the vase and then used my hook to 'run' across the canvas to find the same row of holes to hook in on other areas of the rug.

I used a #7 cut with a #4 cut for the outlines and used Michele Micarelli's hairless linen canvas because it has such an even weave to it. It is a little more expensive, but it hooks fabulously and I really loved the even weave. The background wools were plaids used 'as is'. You might notice that the cream plaid looks a little 'dirty' in places. That is the darker parts of the plaid which gave it that "I've been used and loved" look or, just plain "OLD" look. I bound it using the technique of whipping the binding tape on as you go. I learned that from Nola Heidbreder at a workshop. One of my friends from RHD told me pictures of how to do it are on Gene Shepherd's blog.

I loved working on this rug and I love it more now that is it finished! Now, on to something new.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Topaz Award, Merit program, McGown Pattern

One of the requirements of the Topaz award for the Merit program is to hook an early McGown pattern. To learn more about McGown patterns, I found (on the internet) an old copy of Pearl McGown's book "YOU . . . can HOOK RUGS". It was reprinted in 1953 and smelled like it had been in someone's basement since 1954, but I read it anyway to learn more about the woman and her patterns.

Pearl was definitely my kind of woman! In 1930 she hooked her first rug and took off running from there. Although she loved hooking, her interest was more into creating patterns (she had well over 1,000) and her business had gotten so big that she enlisted help from her son, two sisters, and her father-in-law. She bought the larger house across the street (she named it the 'Rose Cottage') just so that she could hold her patterns and swatches, and have a place for hookers to get together and share their rugs and discuss the aspects of technique, color, and teaching others. She and her helpers would hand draw on burlap the patterns that she designed.

Pearl McGown was very much into an artistic effect when hooking a rug. She realized that the only way to achieve this effect was to use a graduation of hues to hook flowers, leaves, or to accentuate a scroll, all with using fine cuts of wool. Her book is a wealth of information! She covers all aspects of rug hooking, my most favorite is the drawings which illustrate where to put each value in different leaves and flowers to help you 'see' that particular item in a realistic way. It is such a shame that the majority of the beautiful rugs in the book were not in color. However, the ones that are were beautiful.

For my project, I chose one of her chair pads that I squared off for a pillow. Recently, our rug hooking group offered a workshop with Nola Heidbreder, a certified McGown teacher, so she helped me with my pillow. Nola is a fabulous teacher! She is so into the 'fun' aspects of hooking and embellishing. So I wouldn't miss out on the fun, I would hook on my pillow for a few minutes then go and do some of her fun things she taught us in hooking. If you EVER get the chance to have a class with Nola, I HIGHLY recommend her. Anyway, I got the jest of hooking the McGown way. There is a lot to learn and my attempt is puny at best in comparrison to rugs in Pearl's book. I used a #4 cut with some of the Palette Dyed swatches I dyed from April DeConick's virtual class "Palette Dyeing' on RUG HOOKING DAILY.
I may also get credit in the Garnet Award for using a fine cut. I'll check on that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grenfell Style Hooking for Garnet Award Finished

I have finished the Grenfell style mat. I love the style (straight rows across), but do not like working with the flannel strips as much as I like working with wool strips. Wool is so much more forgiving and fills in and fluffs out to make a more smooth look whereas flannel stays put where it is hooked. Even after a little steaming, it just stays where it is. Also, it is not as soft to the touch or to stand on. It does seem very durable and if it were not for the burlap that was used, I think it would last a very long time. I do like the fact that the Grenfell style looks as pretty on the back as the front. (I think I remember reading that the Grenfell mats were mostly used with the back side showing and then flipped over to the front side for guest or special occasions.) I would love to do another rug using the Grenfell style in wool strips and on an even weave linen canvas.
Moving on, I have started reading about Pearl McGown and I am hooking one of her original patterns.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grenfell Style Hooking for Garnet Award

I am bouncing around to hook one of the projects of the Garnet award. One project is to hook a Grenfell style mat. I didn't know what that was so I had to look up a little background history on the Grenfell mats. (Brief History) Dr. Grenfell started a medical mission in the impoverished Labrador fishing region in 1882. He wanted to help the people supplement their income during the cold winter months when no fishing could occur by teaching them a trade. Jesse Luther came from America and helped Dr. Grenfell start a cottage industry by teaching the women to hook mats (or rugs) which in turn would be sold. (NOTE: we think of mats as being very small, however the Grenfell mat was a full size rug.) Most of the women already knew how to mat, but a matting club was started in 1908 and "the Industrial" began. It rose to a peak in the 1920's and 30's but fell during the Great Depression. CLICK ON PICTURES TO SEE A BIGGER VIEW.

The matting style is unique and simplistic. The canvas was burlap. They used flannels, wools, and when times got really tough Dr. Grenfell called for people to send their silk stockings to use as a hooking material. (For a facinating article on hooking with panty hose, and a view of a wonderful rug hooked using them, please read Judith Dallegret's blog "Just Go Hook It- Rug Hooking", How to Hook with Nylons, or click here.) Every hole of the burlap was hooked in straight lines and the strips that were used were cut very narrow (1/4 inch). The stockings were cut on the bias and then pulled tight so that the strip would roll up before hooking it. Designs were normally scenes found in the area; dog sleds, polar bears, boats, houses, or snowy scenes from the area. The finished mat looked as if it were a needlepoint and the back was as pretty as the front. This is mine from the back.

For me to achieve this look, I had to play around with various materials. I wanted to hook a mat as closely as possible to the way the Grenfell mats were hooked, so I decided to use burlap as the canvas. I played around with various fabrics and widths of those fabrics. Here are a few things I tried hooking on a sample piece. The first one (kelly green) is a felted wool sweater. It hooks up fabulously. Next 13 strips are flannel, next three strips are pantyhose, next is yarn, and the last one (turquoise) is fleece (another fabulous one).

This is a close up on the flannel. I didn't like the raw edges showing on some.

This one is panty hose that I cut up to see what it was like. Silk stockings are a premium and the places you have to buy them from . . . I don't visit often. Actually, pantyhose was fun to hook. It rolled up nicely and has a little stretch to it as I hooked.

After a week of playing around, I decided that the only way that I would achieve the Grenfell look was to use flannel. AND, the only way I could use flannel was to run it through a bias maker and iron it so that the raw edges would not show. Time consuming to say the least! I cut strips 1/2 inch wide on the straight of the grain and used a small bias maker to make the strips 1/4 inch. Cut the strips.

Pulled it thought the bias maker.

And ironed it as I pulled it through.

Hooking in every hole made my loops push together and the burlap spread out, so I hooked every other hole in the burlap, and every other (and sometimes every third) row. One would think that hooking in straight rows would be easy. The Grenfell style formed perfectly straight rows vertically and horizontally. I found that I would mess up occasionally, not matching up vertically. (Hooking in every hole would have resolved.)

After hooking the Grenfell style for a while, I can truly say how much I admire the Grenfell women. Their hooking looks so delicate and fine, mine is crude and primitive. They somehow mastered a technique of allowing the flannel to roll as they hooked, their strips being much thinner and the look of their hooking was smooth. They truly have my admiration for their diligence in creating a beautiful mat.

One more thing that I would like to mention. Instead of binding their mats, the Grenfell women would fold the burlap back at the edges twice and hook through all thicknesses to finish the edge.
UMMMM, I'm not going to be doing that! The next Grenfell mat I do will be using a different canvas and wool strips!