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.

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.


Cozy Evening Projects

My evening projects of late have been planned to keep me warm. Though South Carolina is not experiencing the frigid temperatures of the Midwest (it was never that cold when we lived in Illinois!) the house is definitely cold at night. Not sure if it’s all the windows or the kind of heat that a heat pump puts out, but I always add another layer when the sun sets. Last night I started to crochet the edge on a fleece for a new-ish baby we found out about in a Christmas card. This little throw and a gift card will make a nice present for a new family.

Baby fleece

And I am continuing to quilt the Livingroom Rug quilt. The batting is a very low loft for ease in hand quilting and I’m not sure you can see anything…. I’m hopeful that when I wash it, the quilting will show more.

Progress on hand quilting

And I’ve unearthed the Vermont Shells hooked rug – we need rugs in this house full of wood floors! Something looks funny, doesn’t it? In the blue area…

No outlines

I did pretty well at remembering everything that I wanted to work on while we lived in the motel last Summer. I brought all the wool I needed for the rug – except – the brown which outlines all the shells. I debated what to do about it and finally decided to use another color to outline and then pull it out when I could find the brown wool again. I really wanted to get a lot done on the rug and decided that re-hooking a few rows wouldn’t take that long. I find it interesting to see just how important that outline is to the design.

During the day, the patching and painting continues.

All About Eliza

I finally have some free time to write about Eliza, the rug that I started in the class with Donna Hrkman in March!!! Although I wasn’t doing anything as complicated as a face, dear Eliza is giving me a challenge! The first question I had for Donna, was should the birds be hooked realistically or in a fanciful folk art style? Donna felt that they should be fanciful to go with the Fraktur nature of the design. My other big concern was I might use for the background of the center of the rug and happily we both liked the “parchment” colored plaid that was among some that I had chosen to audition. {whew} Finding a background can be A Big Deal. The wrong color can kill a design, for sure.

I love/hate the birds and as they are the central part of the rug design, I need to get them right first. The flowers will be fun and easy. Their necks and funny heads appeal to me, but the tails and wings seem so like peacocks, which is not the sort of bird I want to hook. Donna and I sat down on the floor with my big container of colored wool and picked through it. There really is a lot of area in each section of the birds and they are about equal; the neck/breast, the wings and the tail. Here’s the first color try during the first day.

Peacock colors˜

Foxy Ladies meets in Lisle, IL, which was at least a 45 minute drive for me. On the way home, zooming along in traffic, I thought about what I had hooked on Eliza….. By the time I got home and Peter asked if I was happy with what I had hooked that day I said “No!”. Here’s what I told him – The plaid/texture in the wings as well as the gold I’d chosen to highlight them was too “dull”; my colors are pretty bright and clear. And though I did not want to hook a peacock, somehow I had chosen what screamed to me as peacock  blue-green for the head/breast area. I needed a new plan. That night every time I woke up I puzzled over the color dilemma. And the next morning I had another 45 minute drive to think some more. When I arrived at the workshop venue, I spread the rug and wools all over the floor again. Below is the next experiment. I love purple and the breast/neck is now hooked in two over-dyed houndstooth fabrics that I bought from Donna. They are mellow but happy colors. You can see just how different the two color plans are! She suggested that the eyes pop out and I always like birds that have crazy and kooky waddles or eye colors, so that went easily.

Pretty purple

Then I started to play with the wing area. In Asia, I saw a lot of blue greens and yellow greens put together and I like the sweet/sour aspect of that, so I tried a section. Notice I did the feather area… I’m not sure whether I like the criss-cross area of the wing. Then it was time to decide on the tail colors. Donna pointed out that I had used all cool blues, greens and purples so far…..I hadn’t done much in the pink/orange families, so I chose another of Donna’s over dyed houndstooths in magenta. I like the idea of incorporating every color I want to use in the rug in the birds and then the flowers and leaves will relate well to the middle. Looking at the magenta, it just seemed so strong. I don’t want the bird to be all about the tail!

Too much magenta

I made some time, the week after the workshop, to dye some more of the colors I thought I would want. I also ordered some back up colors from Donna. What to do? What to do? The tail is giving me fits!

WIP Wednesday 1/30

Slowly, but surely, I’m making progress with my WIP’s. When Peter is on the road, which he has been for most of the month, I seem to have an extra hour or two in the late afternoon. In these hours I get restless and want to snack or get into some other trouble, so I make myself sit down and sew. I have been diligently working on the livingroom rug quilt (and the leader/ender half square triangles project). I am happy to say that I have made progress!

Livingroom quilt in progress

Here is Toby Lischko’s quilt so you can see her design; I am not duplicating her quilt. Can you see the corner detail? She changed colors in the squares and also hand appliquéd some geese flying in the border. She was making a show quilt and I am making one to cuddle under, so I have decided to keep mine simple. I need to get this particular piecing project done and soon – it is very messy. I am not going to show you pictures of it, but I have a very large pile of fabrics that I cut pieces of for the red flying geese and the green Lady Liberty’s. When I paper piece, it always looks like a hurricane has been whirling around my sewing machine!

Geese on the Loose

I continue to practise quilting with my Bernina stitch regulator. I have filled 12″ squares with designs and am trying to relax and move smoothly. It’s interesting; the BSR does regulate the stitch but I can still make long jump stitches and unpleasant looking designs. It certainly doesn’t “do” the work for me!

Quilting practise

At night, when I am watching a show that doesn’t need my full attention, I am hooking on the Vermont Shells rug. I have made some good progress since I finished dyeing the new wools.

Vermont shells progress

Here’s a cautionary tale for my fellow bloggers. I printed a book of my 2012 posts with blog2print. It’s really fun to have a book with everything you’ve written for a year. As I was looking through it with Peter, I noticed a problem. On the last 10 pages of the book, all the photos had been replaced with my blog header. I had a bad feeling but I did call customer service. Of course I was supposed to look through all 200 pages online and then approve the book and pay for it. I did not. It is my fault, but I do think there might be something they could do. I’m certainly not going to pay to have it reprinted. Next year I will be more diligent…

Foxy Ladies 1/12/13

It’s been several months since I was able to attend Foxy Lady Rug Hooking Guild’s meeting. It’s always fun to see what the ladies are working on. Hooking rugs is slow, so one of the nice things about going to a meeting is getting encouragement and being inspired. Here is some of what was going on.

I had a finish to show! In December, I worked hard on the mat I started in a class with Susan Quicksall. I love the design, and her colors, though I did tweak it a bit. It still needs some trimming and perhaps some more steaming and then I’d like to make it into a pillow.

My Susan Quicksall done!

Here is Pam’s progress on her geometric rug. It looks great, doesn’t it? She has several containers of cut strips and is coloring each section as she goes.I really like it!

Pam's geometric

Beth went to a rug camp in the Fall and this is the rug that she started there. They really do look like individual tiles, don’t they?

Beth's new rug

Barbara is working on this rug, which I was most interested to see because I also bought this pattern. It’s called Sebring Circles and it is from Searsport Rug Hooking. They have two versions of this rug on the front page of their website and they are quite different. Barbara is wondering about the background she chose, which is on the left between the two circles. From this shot it looks like it’s linen colored but it’s a bit warmer. Backgrounds are tricky and can make the pattern sing or dull it down; whatever you want. Finding the color you want is not easy.

Barbara's progress

A new member, Carol, finished her rug during the meeting! It is so exciting to complete a project and we all celebrated with her. The roses and the border are really yummy red plaids.

Carol's finished rug!

Another new member, Vicky, was sitting next to me. She was starting her first original design! The paper at the top of her hoop is what she is working from. She is using bits of wool from previous projects to create each square. It will be a fun exercise to see how colors work with each other.

Vicky's start

{Isn’t 1/12/13 the craziest looking date? Being in the 21st century still boggles my mind..}

The Grove Fest

The Grove Fest is an annual event held in Glenview IL. You can read about the history of this beautiful former farm on their website.  This is the second year that we have demonstrated and we Foxy Ladies again teamed up with the Loopy Ladies rug hooking guild. And, just like last year it was really cold! We have a lovely space under a roof and there is a big fireplace there, so it is a great spot to get warmed up. We had quite a good show of hooked pieces! In going through my pictures, I noticed that there are a lot of Foxy Ladies finishes. Barbara finished her amazing fox runner and Pam brought a foxy rug that she had made as well!

Pam completed her lovely Oriental rug. Isn’t it impressive-looking? I’d love to see it in her home.

And Karen finished her matrix design runner, though at least half of it is missing in this picture….. The rainy day ladies above Karen’s piece were hooked by Diane (I think!). Click on the photo to see the details – they are very fun.

Susan is working on another partially hooked piece by her mother. This is a really pretty bird design.

Here is what a Loopy Lady looks like! {;-D} This woman is working on a portrait of her mother from an old photograph – it is amazing! Ann (?) is also a quilter so we had a good day of chatting about  the may crafts we love to do.

This is always fun – to see the same pattern hooked in entirely different styles. The one on the left was hooked by Linda and I believe the one on the right is by Beth.

Here is Leslie, on the home stretch of hooking a great floral rug. Can you see how many layers she is wearing? There was a mighty cold breeze blowing…

I believe the floral rug was hooked by Diane. I don’t know who Calvin’s owner might be! Isn’t he dear?

This is a great grouping, really highlighting the variety of hooking designs and styles.

Santa belongs to Susan and was very popular with the kids. I saw one pair trying to carry him off!

This is just a sampling of the rugs on display and being hooked. The people who attended the fair really got a great overview of the craft of traditional rug hooking.

My apologies to the Loopy Ladies and anyone else I did not credit! If you would like me to add your name to your rug, please leave a comment! I am bad with names and did not actually know who hooked each piece….

More Rugs From Indiana

There were some great rugs to admire, both in the Woolkeepers Hook In show and in the process of being hooked. This was a vendor piece. I was admiring the bright lollipop-like flowers and then I saw the bunny! Can you see his whiskers?

And while we’re talking about animals, here’s a very cute flock of sheep. It’s a DiFranza design hooked by Angela Thomas. The sheep colors and textures are really good.

And more animals. There was a group of ladies discussing backgrounds, as you can see. I really like this design with a farm animal on each edge. And the size of them is quite large so the hooker can play with some fun texture.

Another animal with vegetables! This show rug was probably hooked in a 4 (smallish width) and had wonderful detail. I particularly like the border of Fall leaves and bittersweet. It’s called Harvest Blessing, designed by Kaye Miller and hooked by Jyl Clark (?).

This woman was hooking a 3 or 4 cut Oriental. It’s going to be magnificent when she’s done. I asked if she had a spot for it and she said in her entryway. But she was worried about her dogs ruining it. I do put rugs on the floor and use them but not in the entryway! I hope hers is large enough so that visitors can walk around it with dirty shoes!

This snow family rug was in the show and I bet it really is her family! It was a cutie. The design is Let It Snow by Barbara Carroll and hooked by Becky Chenault (?).

Here’s a fun way to finish a hooked piece – as a neck roll.

Oh – just one more! This piece is going to be lovely! The flowers and perhaps the leaves are being hooked using dip dyed fabrics. That sort of dyeing gives a water-colory, batikish look. It’s a bit fussy to hook, but is well worth the effort. It makes me want to get my dyepots out….

I hope you enjoyed this hooking show and tell. The result of all this is that I want to do nothing but hook!!!

A Room Full of Hookers!


This was the scene on Saturday at the Woolkeeper’s Hook-In in Camby Indiana!

The photo above is of the hooking area, but what struck me funny, was that it was pretty empty all day! There was so much to do – classes to take, the show to admire,

and most importantly, lots of vendors –

and more vendors! This was my first hook-in, but they are fairly common events. They are organized by rug hooking groups or shop owners and rug hookers from miles around attend. Groups set up at a table and spend the day talking and sharing rugs and hooking away. And shopping.

Rug hooking stores are few and far between. Because of the need to order on the Internet, we all get pretty excited to see wool and patterns and supplies in person. This vendor had some wonderful rug patterns. I saw the washer woman several years ago at another rug show and really admired it. The colors are lovely and it’s quite realistic for a rug done with wider cut wool strips.

Most of the booths featured dull colored primitive wools and designs, and of course lots of fun Fall pumpkins and witches, but this lady was into brights! I thought this was a fine-looking rooster.

Bev Stewart is the show organizer (on the right), pictured with her niece. She has a business called Whispering Pines Designs, but has no website. This is definitely a show to remember for next year if you’re within driving distance of Indianapolis. There were more rug hooking vendors there than I have ever seen and I got into a good bit of trouble…

More photos coming…