I've had the good fortune to have my custom sewing work published in shelter magazines but this is the first time I've had a hooked rug published. What fun!
This was an exceptionally satisfying project to hook and I was so honored that others enjoyed my interpretation of the design and use of the materials sent from other hookers around the country. This rug now occupies a prominent place on the floor of my studio right in front of the shelves stacked high with hand dyed wool……appropriate, don't you think?
The rug is my adaptation of Maria Barton's Star and Two Sheep design that I hooked as a participant in her ingenious online challenge. You can see the full article, challenge details & rugs from other participants in the March/April/May 2009 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine but I thought I'd share the text of the notes I wrote for Maria when she was writing the article:
"This challenge motivated me to try three "new-to-me" techniques which I'd been thinking about for some time. I'd had the idea of a sheep hooked from roving rolling around in my head & even had a bag full of several beautiful colors of natural roving sitting in the closet. I had been inspired by Karen Kahle's hit & miss technique at a workshop a few years ago and by Pris Butler's lettering techniques.
When Maria proposed the challenge and graciously allowed the participants to modify the designs to suit their own needs, I knew that this was my opportunity to try all of these techniques. And I adore Maria's Two Sheep and Star design…..perfect in its simplicity and whimsy. I was so excited to get started that I had the pattern all drawn up and on to my linen before Maria had the chance to send all the strips out to us.
Adding the block at the bottom was just one of those middle-of-the-night things…..easy to do once I had the idea (and thank goodness for modern computer technology, big sheets of paper and Scotch magic tape).
The hit & miss block was a lot more fun than I thought it would be….I used most of the 200 strips from my hooking friends in this area. I do confess that when the strips arrived I laid them out on the floor and thought "OMG….how am I going to make this work???" (It was a great education as to how others prepare their strips for hooking!) But, in my obsessive way, I began to group them into collections, first according to value and then, according to hue. Before long, I began to see how it could come together. The hooking had a bit of a Zen-like quality….mostly just hooked what felt right. One conscious hooking decision was to hook both the left & right sides of the block at the same time….I wanted the block to have fairly even tones across the width and felt I could best accomplish this by hooking the sides simultaneously.
As a professional dyer, I find joy and inspiration in knowing that my hand dyed woolens are hooked into beautiful rugs by hookers all over the country. I feel a special fondness for this rug….perhaps it's because participating in this challenge allowed me to feel the joy of adding the creativity and inspiration of others into my rug. "
If you have the opportunity to get involved in a rug hooking challenge I highly recommend you go for it..... It can be a great learning experience!