New/Old Rug Hooking Project

I do like to hand quilt, but doing the same hand motion repeatedly can lead to pain and carpal tunnel, so I thought hooking would be a nice break. The project I talked about doing in this post turns out not to be something to do while watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics. Soooo I dug around for something else, and I came across this rug which I have started twice! The designs originally were for first time hookers and are reminiscent of sampler quilts that I have done over the years. I liked the idea of a sampler rug and if I teach beginning hooking again, I can point at the squares and ask “which one would you like to do?”. Teachers of any sort of craft end up with a lot of (useless) samples. Here you can see students working on the heart and flower pattern in the middle row on the right.

When I began the rug, we lived in Illinois and I was into dark colors. They don’t appeal to me now (in South Carolina). So I ripped out the squares I had done and started hooking some marbelized dyed fabrics, which I think are so fun.

Then I stopped because I wasn’t happy with this square – is it too busy? I’ve decided to try another square and mull this one over.

You can see in the picture of the whole rug that there are empty squares between the patterned ones. And of course, in the tradition of these sort of antique rugs, I need to decide what to hook in the alternate squares. I looked at rugs for sale online and stole these to show you and consider for myself.

This is a beauty!

Here is a real log cabin look.

Stripes would be the easiest and use lots of wool strips up. This makes me think of a runner in my grandparents’ house that I’ve wonderred about since I began hooking. I wish I knew if it was a hand made one.

And the caption on this wonderful design said it is made of vintage ladies wool bathing suits! I really like the scallop-y nature of this filler…

Lots of fun choices!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Peter is starting to prepare the game day food as I write this…




















Hand Quilt Along…hmmmm….

Hand quilting is slow and steady work. And when you match the quilting thread to the background as I usually do, it is very hard to see. In last month’s post, I told you that I have divided the quilt into quadrants so that I can see the progress I am making. The center of the quilt was done when I pulled it out of the closet. I have completed this quadrant – can you see the line I drew? (I just discovered that I can mark up photographs with the new High Sierra upgrade…)

Now I will be moving over to the next area. Perhaps you can actually see my quilting on the right hand side?

This is such a great time of year to hand quilt! The temperatures in northwestern South Carolina have been so cold! Night time has been in the teens and the daytime hits freezing – – – very cold for this area. The quilt draped all over me keeps me quite comfortable as I stitch. The cats are happy in their buttercup beds, for the most part, so I continue to make progress.

For those of you not so interested in my hand quilting report, here are some New Year updates on what I am doing! I have put away my Christmas cross stitch project as I am not in the mood and I have an issue to deal with. With the upcoming NFL playoff games and the Olympics next month, there will be lots of time for hand work. To rest my quilting fingers, I am tempted to resume hooking this project, by Angela Foote, from several years ago…

And here is a teaser for you – I am auditioning colors for my next quilt project. Can you guess what pattern I will be making?


Here are the other quilters participating in the quilt along. Do check them out and leave an encouraging comment!

Kathy, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Susan , Jessisca  ,  SherryNanette, Sassy and Edith





















The 21 Year Old Rug Is Completed!!!

Perhaps if you have worked at a project on and off for many years, you will understand my surprise when after clipping and clipping and filling in skipped spots, I realized that The 21 Year Old Rug was finally done! How could that have happened?

I did a little happy dance and then started the finishing process. First I laid a piece of plastic and then a towel on the wooden floor. The rug went next and then I laid a sheet on the top. I filled the iron with lots of water and steamed over the sheet/rug many times. This is called blocking and if you work with any sort of fiber, you know what an incredible process this is. I took some photos, but you really can’t see the difference. I hook quite evenly, but even so, it becomes so smooth as the wool blooms. It certainly “could” be finished as is, but I think the braid will really make it special.

I googled adding a braid to a hooked rug and my blog came up! And not much else. Though I do remember how to do it, I did not want to do it the way my instructor showed the class. She lines, or covers, the whole underneath of the piece with flannel and then adds the braid. I asked her if she did this for floor rugs as well and she replied that she did. For many reasons, I don’t want to do this but the main one is that the flannel will be covered with cat fuzz the minute it lands on the floor! And how would I get the cat fuzz off of the flannel on the rug back? It’s tricky enough to vacuum the front of a hooked piece.

I did a lot of measuring and trimmed the burlap. I serged the raw edge and then carefully folded the edge using many pins, so there was a thin edge to lace the braid on. Then I hand sewed twill tape on the back. This would have been a lot simpler if the backing were not burlap, which is fragile and reacts badly to wet and heat. But you remember, this is a 21-year-old rug and I think I probably bought the pattern 25 years ago…

Almost done!


The braid is a bit tricky to begin, as you need to make blunt ends for butting at the end. Because of the way the corners are handled, I braid and lace and braid and lace and then do the special corner braid. Here is my little frame, which holds the wool strips firmly so that I get a tight braid. I can hear some of you saying “ahhhhh…” and it is fun to do!

Braiding frame


The ending – butting both ends of the braid – is SO not fun! I spent more than an hour trimming the wool pieces on the right and then sewing the ends and then trimming again and sewing. I was so anxious about cutting them too short. Not the end of the world, but it would have been nasty to repair. I was able to get a “perfect butt” {don’t laugh!} meaning the colors matched, but I am not happy about where the seams are butted and sewn. I may go back and sew them some more.

Butting the braid

So here it is! It will sit by Peter’s side of the bed as he always said he wanted it and kept encouraghing me to finish it. O happy day!

21 year old rug completed


The 21 Year Old Rug Update…

Because I have whined so much about the Vermont Shells hooked rug, I promised myself that I would not discuss the rug until it was done – but it is in the home stretch! While filling in some “holidays” and cutting ends, I was mulling over what sort of yarn to whip the edge with. And then I decided to make a braided edge. It will probably take longer, particularly as I don’t quite remember how to attach the braid, but it will be a lovely finish. {I’m so ready to be done with this rug…}

Here are some of the fabrics that I auditioned. The fabric on the left is the one that I used to hook the dark edge of the border, and I could certainly use three lengths of that, but braiding is much more interesting when several fabrics are used. The plain brown is the fabric I hooked around each of the clam shells and I liked the idea of adding some green, so I ripped 2″ strips of the first three wools and braided a quick sample.

Braid ideas

Sampling is important as it is impossible to know 1) how the fabrics will look when they are folded and braided and 2) how the braid will look against the rug. It looks pretty good.

Braid one

For the next sample I subtracted the plain brown and used the blue plaid. I liked the idea of echoing (in very dark values) the main colors of the shells. I like it!

Braid Two

Braiding is a good project to do while watching the Olympics because I can start and stop easily. {And can you believe the amount of commercials??? Holy Cow I am glad that we are watching a day behind. Peter says he is getting a sore thumb from fast forwarding and even with handwork it would drive me mad to watch so many inane commercials.}

The other project I am working on while viewing the Olympics is the Halloween Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. I haven’t worked on it in quite some time… It’s getting to be that time of year. Maybe I will try to finish it for Halloween of 2017… {It could happen.}

Halloween GFG

The Twenty Year Old Rug…….

…turns twenty-one!

I had the best intentions last year – I did plan to finish the Vermont Shells rug! Once it was December though, I was diverted by Santa making and I started to work on a Christmas cross stitch project as well…

Vermont Shells border

I have been working on the green shells (upper right) during the NFL play-off games and they are done. Now to work on the border and clip the tails I have left hanging. After I complete the front, then I turn the rug over and look for “holidays”, which are areas where I need to add some hooking. It’s pretty tedious but it must be done. Then I can find some yarn to bind the border. {sigh}

Hooked rug "holidays"

This is the project I was stitching in December instead of the hooking. I really enjoy working on Christmas during the “proper” month… These two stocking counted cross stitch patterns are from Birds of a Feather. I bought them because I love the designs, although I wasn’t sure what I would do with them as I don’t make stockings. Then, while perusing Pinterest one day, I noticed that many people combined patterns, a mash-up of ideas. I will show you my idea in December when I work on this again. I thought I would go blind while stitching the snowman, and I am glad that he is done!

Birds of a Feather snowman

I also discovered this annoying cross stitch project as I was cleaning and organizing the studio and I am adding that to the current to-do list. It is also a Birds of a Feather Design. I cannot do it while watching T.V. Not only have I enlarged it, but you can see that I have cut or marked the pattern in pieces so I can keep better track of where I am.

Birds of a Feather toile rooster

You Northerners will laugh, but here is the unusual view from the back porch today! It snows in South Carolina once or twice a year and so it is a novelty and quite terrifying for some. It’s been snowing, but mostly “snow pellets” are falling. It’s windy and there are waves on the lake and the birds are frantic for seeds and the suet cakes.

Lake Robinson 1/22/16

Hope you all survive The Big Storm and find fun and creative things to do. I’m heading downstairs to work on the rooster…

Hooking at the Florida Harbor Hookin’

The room at the Florida Harbor Hookin’ was – obviously – filled with women hooking. Between classes, the vendors and people to talk to, many seats were empty, but still, there was a lot of hooking going on. Here are some of the fun pieces I saw.

My table mate, Suzanne, was working on this great runner. The photograph that came with the pattern showed that the designer had hooked it in browns and beiges, but Suzanne asked her teacher for bright colors. These really do sing, don’t they?

Suzanne's runner

It was fun to be in Florida and see what colors and motifs the ladies chose! This woman was finishing up a project that her friend had started. What a cute bunch of frogs.

Frog hooked rug

This is a great start to what is going to be an interesting piece. The hooker wasn’t at her seat, but from the drawing on the linen, it has a very Zentangle feel to it. What a fun project to hook!

Zentangle hooked rug

This was a pillow design I found in the Heavens to Betsy booth. For those of you who are not rug hookers, at the bottom you see what a design drawn on linen might look like, when you buy it. It’s like a coloring book. This was hooked using very wide strips.

Heavens to Betsy pillow

This wonderful piece was also designed and hooked by my dip dyed scrolls teacher, Angela Foote. I asked if this was dip dyed wool as well, but she said that she hooked with variegated wools (dump dyes). I really like the intensity of her colors.

Angela Foote design

These next rugs were designed and hooked by Carol Feeney, whose work I was happy to discover! She and her husband moved to Florida some years ago and she said that her designs and colors are greatly influenced by the area. I seem to have photographed many of her tile series; this is called Aesthetic.

Carol Feeney  Aesthetic


This is Flower Medallion Tile. Her colors are so rich and her hand dyed wool adds such texture. This piece is probably larger than it looks at 39″x39″.

Carol Feeney Flower Medallion Tile

This is Funky Flower Tile. I was really drawn to the lacy leaves and asymmetry of this piece. Click on this photo to see the many fibers she uses – funky yarns, sari ribbons and even buttons and beads.

Carol Feeney Funky Flower Tile

And just one more – this is Double Trouble Tile. This piece has lots of interesting fibers hooked in the design as well.

Carol Feeney Double Trouble Tile

I was inspired and delighted by all the rugs I saw. And now, I have added the heart scrolls piece to my rugs-to-finish list!

A Rug Hooking Re-do Project

I am in the midst of trying to finish up the Vermont Shells hooked rug and it’s bulky to move around. I have joined a local rug hooking group and need something to take along with me to work on, so I dug around in the rug hooking bin and found this rug! This is not a new project, you can see the part I ripped out, but one that I started in Illinois and was not happy with. I was teaching rug hooking at various places and kept designing little 8″ pieces that seemed like a good size for students to complete and could be made into something. I liked the designs, most of which were quilt-y sort of designs and came up with the idea to put them all in one sampler rug. You can see that I started to hook the heart square and I am fairly sure that I was using dark reds and trying to choose a black and white tweedy background and I didn’t like any of it! I am so glad I stopped working on it. Now that we live in South Carolina, I am not so interested in dark, wintery sort of colors. I am always very affected by the colors where we live and dark just doesn’t sing to me right now.

Sampler Hooked Rug

So, what colors to play with next? I was sifting through my shelves of hand of dyed wool and came across the basket with marbleized fabrics in it. Wow! I really enjoyed dyeing them but they are so different and I wasn’t sure where to use them. How about using them in the re-do?

Marbelized wool choices

So here’s the start of the hooking. I designed this pattern for a quilt store class (called Katie’s Leaves) and here it is in the Primitive Colors that they liked so much! I know I am going to love my version…

Katie's Flower re-do

I am now very pleased to have such a fun portable hooking project.

Florida Harbor Hookin’

This is the reason I’ve been traveling to Florida – to attend this  hook in. It is sponsored by Searsport Rug Hooking, a store in Maine which relocates to Florida in the Winter. I get their newsletter and suddenly noticed their workshop listings and event details and it sounded like fun. My brother lives in Florida as well, so there were two good reasons to go.

This is what a room with about 300 (mostly) women looks like! It’s hard to see, but there are many vendors set up around the edge of the ballroom, who came from all over. Fun!


It was a two-day event, on Wednesday and Thursday, and I had a workshop on each morning. On Tuesday the class was about various ways to finish hooked rugs. Though not the best teacher, the woman did have some (new-to-me) ideas. She had pre-made samples so we could try some of her ideas. I must admit I did not envy her having to explain to 15 women with varying degrees of expertise how to do picot beading or crochet!

Hooked rug finishes

On Thursday morning I had a class on using dip dyed wool to hook scrolls. I know my rug hooking teacher taught me how to do this, but that was a very long time ago – plus I really like the pattern and colors! The teacher was Angela Foote, a former Home Ec teacher who provided a lovely kit and who gave clear and precise directions. Here is what I accomplished on Thursday.

Angela Foote heart scrolls

It’s Friday morning and  the weather is grey and cool and rainy. I had hoped to do some beach walking, but instead I will find something drier to do. Eventually, I’m heading north, to Bradenton Beach where my brother lives.

Hardly Hooking…

In truth, until two weeks ago, I hadn’t pulled one loop since we moved into the house last September! The outdoors, the new locale, getting the studio set up all took precedence. Now that it’s football season, I’ve decided to get my two very old rug hooking projects completed. {Actually, I really would like to start something new but I am not allowing myself to do that until I finish Vermont Shells. Each time I get it out and look at it I wonder why I haven’t completed it!!!}

The first thing I had to do on the Vermont Shells rug was to rip out and re-hook some lines. When we moved to The Residence Inn I found that I had remembered everything I needed except the brown wool that outlines the shells. I decided to use the bright blue as a “placeholder” and pull it out and re-hook when I had the brown wool.

Bo brown

It looks much better with the brown outline…

Vermont Shells Outlined

And look how much progress I’ve made! It’s amazing what can happen when one sits down and hooks.   ;-D

Vermont Shells Half Done?

The next issue is the border color which I have been thinking about as I hook. Before we moved I had a marathon dyeing session, trying to get every color I needed to finish the rug. I wanted the outside border to be the darkest purple in the middle. I pulled out said wool the other day and I don’t know why I thought that color would work…. it is more of an indigo than a blue purple and does not relate to any color in the rug.

I’ve been mulling over why I could not match the purple and then I remembered that when I planned this rug and dyed the middle colors, we lived in Shanghai China. The water there was undrinkable. One day I’d turn it on and it smelled dreadful and was a brownish color. Another day I’d turn it on and it was so full of chlorine that it made my eyes water. Those purples in the middle are unique and because of the water, I will never be able to duplicate them!!! I dug around in my wool stash and came up with these plaid options. It’s impossible to tell just by looking, so I will cut and hook some strips.

Vermont Shells border ideas

And of course the second project to finish is Eliza. I don’t know why I am having so much trouble with being so picky about the colors in this rug.

Eliza progress

I’d like to mention some blogs about rug hooking that you might enjoy as much as I do. Sarah at The Paisley Studio has a list of many rug hooking blogs and kindly put me on it, though I have been MIA recently! Sharon at Off The Hook Wool Rugs found me and I’m so glad. I have seen her wonderfully designed and unusually colored rugs at several shows and wondered who she was. Both ladies have websites where you can admire and purchase their creations.


What To Do…What To Do….

Some upcoming fiber shows:

I love taking workshops and going to galleries and talking fiber to anyone who has an interest. Last year was all about relocating and I didn’t have the time or energy to go to workshops or conferences. This year all bets are off, and I thought some of you might be interested in some events on my list.

I began my fiber journey by taking weaving lessons with my mother when I was in college. We both took to it immediately. I was a Second Grade teacher and did not have the money or the time to get as involved in the craft as my mother did, but we both joined The Handweaver’s Guild of America and attended many of the biennial Convergence conferences across the US and Canada. Weaving was hugely popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s but not so much these days, so the group now embraces all manner of fiber crafts. The 2014 version is in Providence, Rhode Island, the home of the amazing Rhode Island School of Design and an area rich in textile history. I just downloaded the class and workshop list. {..sigh…} There is a lot going on! This is on the maybe list.

Long on my bucket list has been to attend something at Asilomar. Many moons ago they had a rug hooking week, but popularity for that craft has waned. The winters are now filled with quilting workshops, called Empty Spools Seminars. The locale, on a peninsula near Monterey CA, is supposed to be amazingly beautiful and of course any time you can immerse yourself in a craft you adore with like-minded souls for 5 days is heaven indeed! I wanted to attend a workshop with Melinda Bula and do a flower of my own (remember the wonderful zinnia top that’s waiting to be completed???) but this isn’t the year. They always have the most amazing teachers….

The big rug hooking event this year will be rug hooking week in Ohio at Sauder Village, August 13 – 16. I very much enjoyed it when I attended a few years ago. It’s always a treat to see a lot of hooked rugs on display, but this year an exhibit of woven coverlets will be included! On my to-do list when I started weaving was to make a coverlet…… not so much now, but I still love to look at them. This is another maybe…

The American Quilt Society has added two shows to their list this year, and since they are nearby, I am sure I need to go to them! One is in Charlotte NC, on July 30 – August 2. The other is in Chattanooga TN from September 10 – 13. I am hoping to throw Peter and his bikes in the car and have a little vacation there; it looks like a lovely spot. And maybe I should enter the quilt I’m working on in one of the shows???

There are all sorts of small, local events that I will be attending and will share with you. One of the many reasons we chose this area (of SC, NC and TN) was because there are many craft related events that seem to be well supported and attended.

This is just a sprinkling of fiber shows you may not have heard about. Where are you headed this year to feed your creative spirit???