A Class with Susan Quicksall

I learned how to hook may years ago when we lived in Massachusetts in the late 1980’s. The class was at the Worcester Center for Crafts and met once a week. I was taking classes there to be certified in Fiber Arts and was there many days each week, so it was easy to attend. Then we moved to Pennsylvania and I continued to hook. When we moved to Singapore, I took my supplies with me and did a bit of it, though since Singapore  is 50 miles from the Equator, it was a very hot activity. Then I stopped. I started up about 3 years ago because the director of the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair asked if I could teach a beginning class and I am so glad she got me hooking again. (Interestingly enough, someone asked me in a recent class what my favorite craft was at the moment and I said “rug hooking!”.)

Barbara Sleeper was the name of my first (and only) instructor and she was a very accomplished colorist and dyer and I learned so much from her. But until last week, I have never taken a class with anyone else. I looked through the classes offered at Sauder Village’s Rug Hooking Week and saw a pattern I really liked filled with wools of the most wonderful colors and I signed up for Susan Quicksall‘s class. The description said that we would be learning some fun hooking techniques, several of which I have been longing to know how to do, so I ordered the pattern and the wools for the design area and background.

Here are some photos of Susan’s work in the show and I think you will see why I jumped at the chance to learn from her. This one is “Courting Sampler”. Look at the very bottom of the sampler at the very darling mouse! I took some detail shots of this one but they were too blurry and very dark… Check on her website for much better photography!

And this one is “Cow Lady Sampler”. Isn’t the border nicely designed with the vine dividing the two colors?

Susan calls her work “refined primitive”. The designs may lean towards primitive with not a lot of shading but her colors are wonderful! Primitives tend, as you saw in the last post, to have very low contrast. Susan definitely has contrast and she uses lots of colors – I think there are 24 in my kit!!! Take a look at the table of hand dyed wools that Susan had for sale! Is your mouth-watering??? (Unfortunately the lighting skews the color and even when I tried to edit it in iPhoto, it’s not right, but you get the idea!)

The project we were all working on is called Seed Basket. One of the techniques we learned was two color beading, which means hooking with two colors at the same time. You can see it in the basket and around the flower’s middle. The technique I was most anxious to learn is called Waldoboro. That is the wonderfully fat and juicy middle of the flower. You hook, hook, hook with a fine-cut of wool successively higher and then trim it. A bit daunting, but if the shape doesn’t turn out well it’s easy enough to pull it all out and start again. Mine probably needs to be trimmed more, but I’m going to see what the whole piece looks like. Here is what I completed in class. Very fun!

Here is something Susan is working on now; perhaps she’s using it as a class demo. The pattern is called “Fantasy Garden Mini II” and I did buy it. Look at the sweet little bird with her striped belly and skinny legs, and you’ll see why I couldn’t resist. Love those flowers too!

Thanks so much for a great class, Susan!

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