Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week – the class!

Though I love looking at hooked rugs, Archbold OH is a long way to drive. Several years ago I went to Sauder Village and took some workshops. I’ve been hoping ever since to find a class I liked and was delighted to see this one by Ellen Banker – The Unconventional Rug Hookers Guide to Samplers. If you read Rug Hooking Magazine, you have seen her work and read her articles. I’m a big fan so I got signed up.

As part of the class, all the hookers {I know many of you are smiling…} got a sampler to practise on. Ellen demonstrated a variety of techniques and then we hooked them on our sampler. Another project to be continued…

For the next part of the class, we could work on a design of our own or use one of three sampler designs offered by Ellen. Most of us decided to work on an Ellen Sampler. {Though I do have a sampler design, I thought it best to work on Ellen’s and play with mine another time.} Here is one of Ellen’s sampler designs….No. 10. I debated getting this one as I very much like the big carrot and the bunnies. Aren’t the carrots delicious looking?

But in the end, I chose Sampler No. 3 because I like the flower pot and all of Ellen’s quirky birds. I’ve been trying to hook a bit each day and have been playing with the flowers and stems and leaves. The birds are under design review right now. There is a lot of background and I am also wondering if I might add a border. I have done lots of counted cross stitch samplers and they usually have a border. {Less background to hook!}

Should you be interested, Ellen has written a book, Hooked on Words.

As well as a how-to guide, it’s filled with wonderful and quirky samplers she has made. She also researched rugs hooked by other artists and so many inspiring examples are included. An interesting rug often has a story behind it and Hooked on Words is a good read!

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!

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???

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!

All About (Animal) Faces; with Donna Hrkman

Donna showed us many of her beautifully designed and hooked rugs. I loved this one,which she made while working with a friend who was getting a teacher’s certificate. All the wools are dip dyed or what the fashion world calls ombre. To shade and highlight the flowers and leaves, you manoeuvre the strip of wool to get the lights-to-darks where you want them. It gives the rug a very soft feel, I think. In the front of the picture, you can see three hooking frames lined up. We were there to get lots of work done!

Donna's tulip rug

Barbara was hooking her dog, Leo. She spent almost a whole day working on getting his tongue, which is so key to the design, to look right. Isn’t it great? And Donna helped the animal lovers get that dot in the eye to make them look realistic. Can you see those tiny pieces of white wool hanging from his ear? They are a 2 cut, which is the teeniest tiniest piece of wool you can cut. I can’t wait to see her progress on Leo.

Barbara's dog

Pat was hooking her dog Karen. What a sweet face! The design was from a great close up photograph of Karen begging. I think this is the second piece of rug hooking that Pat has done – wow!

Pat's Karen

Donna is holding up Susan’s design of her dear departed cat Daisy.

Donna Hrkman & Susan's Daisy

And here is Daisy at the end of three days! The drawing of Daisy’s face is so sweet, but then adding the garland of the flowers underneath is such a great touch. Hooking since she was in her teens (;-D) Susan is very accomplished.

Susan'a Daisy almost done

Here is a room full of The Foxy Ladies, hooking away! It was pretty tight fit, so when anyone needed to audition colors, they went into the other room. In the other room, Donna set up a “store”. She had a lot of beautifully dyed wools, including many pinks and beiges for skin tones.

Foxy Ladies hooking

I suppose that my Eliza rug fits into the animal category, though I was hooking easy eyes and just fretting over color, not realism. Here’s my first try… There will be more on all my trials later, of course!

Eliza start

And again, I am missing the photographs I took of Diane hooking her darling dog pulling a wicker basket! Send me a photo and I will add it.

All About (Human) Faces; with Donna Hrkman

The past two weeks have been so busy; readying the house for the painters to come, getting wool and supplies collected for the Foxy Ladies’ workshop with Donna Hrkman and then starting to get the house re-organized and cleaned….. I know some Foxy Ladies have probably been waiting for this post!

We had Donna working with us for three days! I’ve never done a rug hooking class for that long and you get a lot done and learn so much. If you look at her website, Donna’s speciality is faces, both human and wild ones. This rug was designed and hooked by Donna for the annual Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week challenge. The rules were that the pieces had to show an athlete and include all the colors in the Olympic rings in the piece. Isn’t this a fabulous design ???

Donna Hrkman Olymoic Spirit

As I mentioned in another post, with all that’s going on now, I just couldn’t do anything that required much thought or originality. There are several family photos which I would like to hook some day, but this isn’t the time.Though I wasn’t hooking facial features, I did enjoy listening and watching as people’s “subjects” appeared. Some of the patterns were drawn by Donna from photos that were sent to her, but several of our group drew their own designs. They are all going to be such fun and special pieces.

Karen was working on her own design of her son swimming in Lake Michigan. We all loved his towhead and also the great sand and water texture that Karen was busy hooking on the third day. The background is going to be all about texture and color and movement. {I bet she has it done by our next meeting!}

Karen's son

Carol was working on these four bathing beauties drawn by a friend. She is using a wide cut of wool and eye-popping colors in this stylized design. If you look closely, you can see that Donna drew some cute patterns on the bathing suits. It will be fun for Carol to hook.

Carol's bathing beauties

Lynette was hooking her kindergarten school picture. In this shot you can see how everyone was working from a photograph, or several. Donna called this the source material and used it to help each hooker decide where to put what value. Many people had the photos posterized, which lessens the colors and makes the image more graphic so it is easier to see, draw and hook the values.

Lynnette's self portrait

Linda had a challenging design with three faces! You can see that she has a great start on them.

Linda's faces

Pam was working on a self-portrait of herself hiking some years ago which Donna drew for her. Pam’s face was one of the smaller ones being hooked and required less detail but bolder values for her face to emerge.

Pam's portrait

And I do like the way that Pam works. She fills these baskets with all the wools she is using. They are so appealing and make it easy to choose the next color. I am afraid that the cats would find them appealing as well…

Pam's baskets

Donna did several demonstrations and here she is hooking a human eye. Trained as an artist, she had so many great tips about how to paint with wool. Here she is talking about adding the white dot to make the eye look real.

Donna's eye

{Sorry ladies – I missed a few human projects – I know I photographed them but I think my camera was not working, and if you want to send me a picture, I will post it.} In another post, I’ll share photographs of the animal portraits being done.

Beth, who was sitting opposite me, was hooking a portrait that she drew of her grandson Will and she kindly sent me his photo to add to this post! This is his school picture and I think she’s doing a great job with him. Can you see the white dots in his eye that make him look so animated?

Beth's Will


“Eliza” Hooked Rug Pattern & a Finish!

This hooked rug pattern, called “Eliza”, was designed by Joan Moshimer, one of the doyens of the rug hooking world. It’s folk art/Fraktur quality is what still attracts me to the design. I bought it in the late 1980’s at her studio/store in Kennebunkport, Maine and it’s been tucked away in my rug hooking bin. I periodically get it out and look at it. I love the design but am not sure quite how I want to hook it. The flowers and hearts are so sweet and will almost hook themselves, but it’s the birds. There’s a little too much detail for my taste and I keep wondering, do I hook them realistically with plaids and earth tomes or should they be fanciful as the birds are in a Fraktur piece?

Joan Moshimer's Eliza rug

I am about to get help with that! Foxy Ladies Rug Hooking Guild is having a national teacher, Donna Hrkman, come for three days to work with us. We will all have different projects going and she will work with each of us several times a day, I would think. There will be some general teaching as well on topics we’ll all be interested in knowing more about. I am really looking forward to finally working on this project, as well as eavesdropping on what the other ladies are doing. ;-D Back in January, when I was trying to get messy things done, I dyed up a color family I want to use. They are primaries with a bit of black to tone them down. My first big question will be what color background I might use. There are two background areas, one in the middle and one on the border, so I am thinking light in the middle and dark all around. Another burning question is how many kinds of wool can one hook in a rug and not make it too busy. You know me – more is better! Lots more on this topic coming soon.

Cooking wool

Any rug hooker will tell you that one issue we all deal with is how to store all the wool for a project. This is my latest idea – here you see a divided container that is meant for Christmas ornaments. I think this will be great, but we’ll see how it works once I start cutting the strips and hooking madly… (Now I’m wondering if I should have two of them.)

Hooking strips organized

And here’s a finish! I debated how I wanted to use the piece I made in Susan Quicksall’s workshop. I do not need anything more to hang on the walls, so I wanted to make it into a pillow. I am one of many hookers who finds finishing wool mats as pillows very difficult, so I bit the bullet and took it to an uphoslery store. They of course charged me more than I really wanted to pay, but the man agreed that it was no easy thing to do. Here is the completed pillow, looking wonderful in the livingroom! Yippee for me!

Susan Quicksall pillow

No Neck Birds Rug

I was planning the free pattern for the Summer Gathering at Pieceful Gathering quilt store a few weeks ago. Said Gathering is now cancelled (family trip!) but the hooking goes on. I did not need another rug hooking project, but I was so enamored of these birdies that I have started a little rug…

I thought birds was a good Summer hooking project, but I wanted to keep them simple for my (mostly) beginning hookers. I looked through my files of inspiration and my Pinterest pages and searched for shapes that didn’t require shading and could be “serious” or “whimsical” birds. Some wrapping paper gave me the idea I wanted: a simple rounded shape with no neck and a fat sort of beak. Wrens look like this and also some birds I was checking out when I bought cat food the other day. I drew and cut a bird body and then several tail and wing variations in colored paper. Then I spread them out on the marked linen to see about the size. The ladies at the Gathering will probably only want to hook one on a small piece of linen, but I wanted a flock!

I was very pleased with this design: the size is good (not too much fussy hooking for a size 6 piece of wool) and it’s a good beginning design project for those who have never designed. So I drew out one bird to hook.

For each Gathering, I try to introduce the ladies to one technique or idea. For this one I had promised to teach them what is called two color beading. Translation: hooking with two pieces/colors of wool at the same time. It’s a fun technique and adds the folksy, whimsical feel that I am so fond of. I learned how to do this in a class with Susan Quicksall last Summer. She uses it a lot on her wonderful birds. In the photo below, you will see it in the bird’s breast, the flower stems and outlining the fat flower middles. Isn’t it fun?

So here is the first no neck bird for your approval! I used plain colors in each area (no shading or detail) though I think there’s enough room should I choose to do that on another rug. I am using scrap wool {sigh} which is not so easy! It turns out that these shapes take more wool than I realized. The background will be dark wools, though I think I could have used lights as well. And I am going to try using a wider cut to fill in the large areas of background.


Working on Hooking

Saturday was another Foxy Ladies rug hooking meeting. There were lots of interesting projects to admire! Linda finished her textured hanging. Aren’t the button flowers fun?

Beth has begun a new project with such pretty Spring flowers.

Pam got lots done on her beautiful Oriental rug and is thinking about how to finish it.

And Susan unearthed yet another project that her mother started! It’s interesting that she chose to hook a background that uses one of the values of the pansy; I wouldn’t have thought that would work.

Diane took a workshop in how to use up noodles (worms, strips) and was working on the edge stripe. It’s such a fun piece.

I worked on the Vermont shells rug during the meeting, but I have a finish as well. My project at night the last several weeks has been hooking the Welcome Tulips runner. It went pretty well, though as you can see, I tried a few border ideas before I made a decision.

Here it is blocked and ready to get a braided edge. I have picked out that border green, a beige plaid and then I want to dye a beige stripe either pink or orange. Obviously the dyeing will hold up this project for a bit!

And speaking of finishing hooked projects, I want you to see the amazing rug that Jen at has just completed. Isn’t it incredibly beautiful? She plans to put it in some shows, but I have been imagining a room designed around this very special rug….

A Hooker’s Gathering 3/24

Saturday was a busy day! I had two events at Pieceful Gathering; one was the second meeting of Primitive Rug Hooking and the other was A Hooker’s Gathering; our attempt to get the ladies who have learned how to hook, together. PG has many clubs and we are hoping to get one going for the hookers. I thought it would be fun to give everyone a free pattern each time we have a Hooker’s Gathering. If they like it, then we can get it traced onto linen and color plan the design. Here is what I have completed of the Spring design. It’s a runner I called Welcome Tulips!

I was very pleased that my hooking buddy/student/fellow blogger Laura said she’d like to do it as well. Laura loves all colors and designs primitive and I knew hers would be dramatically different from mine. And here is Laura with a brighter than usual palette! (She must have been feeling Spring-y too.) She is using a wider cut of wool, so her overall design is larger.

Laura has done a lot of hooking since taking a class with me. Here is her latest rug next to an antique rug of mine.

Nancy came to the Gathering and brought a new piece she’s started.

This woman came to the Gathering with lots of projects she had hooked. I am sorry I don’t remember her name! This was a pattern she said she’d designed herself. Very sweet!

And this pattern I think she said was supposed to be a runner. She didn’t want to do it that way and divided it and made two pillows. Clever idea!

Two ladies from former classes have been working on the Katie’s Leaves pattern. Julie is done and was trying to decide how to finish her piece. She’s thinking of making a pillow.

Brenda worked on her pattern during the Gathering and class and got quite a bit done.

I thought the Gathering went well and am hoping for a good group attending on June 16th.