Sunday, February 23, 2014

February's Snowy Hook-In

The snow was coming down at a pretty steady rate yesterday but that didn't stop the dedicated Wild West Hookers who showed up at the Park County Library. I was the only local hooker so I must thank the other four who traveled the treacherous frozen highway to enjoy a day of hooking.

Barb and Craig Pearson are always such a delight to have in our group. Barb was working on her own design taken from elements of Laurel Burch's art. She uses a size 3 cut, and for those who don't know, that is a strip that is 3/32nd of an inch wide. That's really narrow! And she hooks with it perfectly!
I adore the cats and the dogs she has tucked in the flowers in her design. Her background fabric was dyed by her teacher using all the colors the teacher dyed for the rug. The dyes were watered down, and gently poured on the background wool with a tablespoon. It's such a great idea, and the background fabric will automatically "go" with the rest of the rug since it is the same colors but a different value. When finished, this will be a large pillow for a bed.

Carol Messerli is on the very last edge of her rug too! I am so proud of the progress she has made. This is her first big rug. She is a beginner hooker. She chose all her colors and I suggested, well more like insisted, that she use the natural windowpane wool from Dorr for her background. Patty and I had seen the windowpane in a rug by Pat Horn at the rug show when we were at Prairie Rose Rug School last August.

As you can see, she only has one more corner to hook and this beauty is hooked. She is thinking of spinning her own wool, from sheep she raised, into yarn and doing a crocheted edge for the finished edge. It is such a creative idea for such a beginner.

Carol's next rug is going to be an elk. I can't wait to watch that rug unfold.

Patty Tyrrell is almost finished with her "Cat Tails" rug. I think she is keeping it a secret until it is finished, which will be very soon. She took the pink heart out after seeing it on the blog and completely changed  the wool she used. It is the PERFECT wool for the job and I can't wait to show you the picture. Next time.....

I (Sylvia Gauthier) went back to my Black Dog rug that I had started before the Button Basket. I struggled so much with the outer border. You can tell by the 4 different designs drawn out with marker. Thank goodness I have a selection of different colored markers. I finally got so frustrated that I pulled out all of the background behind the dog and dyed a different color. I drew a free-hand vine design, and started hooking. The other borders were all scrappy borders using a multitude of different worm colors. I hated every one of them. Now I'm just going to keep on hooking until I can get this rug off my frame.  I loved hooking the dog. The rest of the rug, not so much.  I can enjoy it now and only hope that my son enjoys it when it's finished. It is his dog Buck so my son Randy automatically assumed it was his rug.

I didn't get a picture from Patty of Craig Pearson's Mola rug he is working on. Next month I'll get one though. Craig makes wonderful hooks, which I should post pictures of on here. Everyone who picks one up seems to have to have it. They fit perfectly in your hand.

We had a few visitors and two seemed VERY interested in hooking rugs. I hope they both join us and enjoy rug hooking as much as the rest of us do.

Post written by Sylvia Gauthier

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rug Hooking Rules

I read a post on Cindy Gay's blog that I found to be very interesting. It basically stated that the main rule in rug hooking is to do what feels right to you.

I heard a comment once about a famous hooker who's work I adore. The woman making the comment said that she had a friend who saw one of Miss Famous's work once and it was technically horrible. I remember thinking that the way Miss Famous hooks is what makes her rugs so unique. As Cindy Gay mentioned on her blog, no one ever criticizes and artist on how they painted a painting or looks at the back of the painting.

There is always more than one way to hook a tree, or a sky, or a chicken. Each individual will find their own style. As a beginner I believe there are basic techniques that need  learning.  We can't say, for instance, that all stitches "have" to be the same height, for on a Waldoboro style rug the loops are sculpted.  Sometimes the tails need to be hidden, other times it really doesn't matter. If the tails bother you, hide them. If not, don't.

We should all try to learn as much about a craft as possible, but rules are meant to be broken. We learn to use only 100% wool, but yet in Patty Tyrrell's rug, Quaint Town, the church window was hooked with a sparkly ribbon that made the stained glass stand out. The Greenfell rugs all use nylons. Rug hookers are learning to use other fibers besides wool to create the desired effect they want to achieve.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with perfection. Seeing a perfectly hooked rug is like seeing a famous painting. But next to it can be a rug that broke all the rules, which is just as breathtaking. It all boils down to doing what makes you happy.

Post written by Sylvia Gauthier

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Prairie Rose Rug School Rugs

I (Sylvia Gauthier) finished by Button Basket rug! The pattern is designed by Susan Quicksall. I chose this design to take to Prairie Rose Rug School at Assumption Abbey, in Richardson ND. It was so hard to pick a design to take to the rug school. Patty Tyrrell and I were headed into the unknown of rug schools and camps. Neither of us had ever been to any kind of hooking events and quite honestly we didn't know what to expect. You would have thought it was the last rug either of us would ever make! Patty finally chose Quaint Town by Karla Gerard and I chose the Button Basket.

Button Basket had several lessons I wanted to learn at rug school, especially the Bead, or Seed Stitch. That is the stitch on the basket and in the flowers that looks striped.

Once the pattern was picked, it was time to choose the wool colors. I dyed several colors and several shades of each color. With the help of Michele Wise, our teacher, I made sure I had a light, dark, bright, and dull.

I have worked on this rug since August. While I was binding the rug I laid it on the floor to have a look at my work and my son's black lab laid right on top of it, of course. I decided right then that it wasn't going on the floor. I will hang it on the wall. I love it too much for it to be covered in hair, and he really loses hair!

Patty's choice of Quaint Town was the perfect design to take to rug school too.
Karla Gerard's patterns are on paper, which makes it really nice if you want a larger rug like Patty did. She had the pattern enlarged, drew it on her linen, sewed around the edges and started picking out, and dyeing wool.

During our class, Michele gave Patty some sparkly ribbon like stuff to try in the church window. It truly looks like stained glass. I think I'm most impressed with how the moon glows, which is another lesson from Michele.

Patty finished her rug long before I finished mine. It was smaller but she is faster and more experienced than I am.

Patty and I both have plans to attend Prairie Rose Rug School again this year. Two of our other members, Barb and Craig Pearson, attend Friends by the Sea Rug School every year. They have attended Friends for something like 15 years. No matter how long we hook, or how many classes we take, there is always more to learn.

Post written by Sylvia Gauthier.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't Get Enough

One thing I've notices about rug hookers is that we just can't get enough when it comes to looking at other hookers work, either in progress or finished.

I (Sylvia Gauthier) have a Pinterest addiction and one day pinning hooked rugs I came across a rug that I knew I HAD to hook. Unfortunately, on Pinterest not all pictures have information on the hooker and/or designer, which is really sad. That was the case when I tried to find the designer of the rug Angel of the Morning.  I finally sent an email to the guild in Canada where the photo was taken. The woman who answered my question thought it looked like a Beverly Conway design. GREAT!!!  I had a hard time finding Beverly but once I did I was ecstatic when she sent me her book of designs to order from.
Since this was my second rug, I had a lot to learn, for example, I had never hooked a face and hands. Even though this is a comical rug I still wanted it to be recognizable. I still want to take out the white steam and initials and replace them with something more muted.
I had the most fun hooking the bunny slippers. I found slippers on the Internet I loved and changed the faces just a little.
My grandson Vince said the lady in the rug kind of looks like me. I think it might....
A site to find great rug designs is Encompassing Designs. That's where Patty Tyrrell found her adorable Cat Rug that she is working on.
Don't you just love how the cat tails make hearts? What an appropriate rug for the month of February. She had her picture in our local news paper while hooking on this rug at our monthly hook-in after the photographer for the Enterprise showed up to find out more about our hooking group.
We are hoping that the little article in the newspaper will catch the interest of people who either want to learn to hook, or already know how but didn't know anyone in our area hooked too. 
Post written by Sylvia Gauthier.