Thursday, July 30, 2009

Scrappy rugs & wonky perimeters

The recycling and 'use it up' nature of scrappy, hit-or-miss rugs and mats is very appealing to me. They are like fun snacks rather than a full meal or formal banquet of a pictorial or fine design rugs/mats. They are less work, requiring very little thought and I find them mostly cheerful and charming. Having just finished my first biggish [2 ft by 4 ft] scrappy rug, Live simply, in an effort to use up my woolly worm leftovers, I was interested to see a lovely hit-or-miss rug on Gene Shepherd's blog. A friend of Gene's wrote in, asking for advice, as her simple oval was losing its regular shape, partially due to the use of different widths of wool strips from her scrap basket. Gene had several very good ideas on how to correct the problem and restore the rug to its original oval shape.

The problem of rugs with wonky borders/edges is one that most of us have probably faced, and this is a great lesson on how to deal with it. I went looking for a hit-or-miss rug from our Quoddy Loopers group to illustrate this, and realized that either no-one else in our group likes doing scrappy mats or else I don't have enough photos, because another of mine is the only one I have--Live, love, laugh.

It illustrates the wonkiness of the outline [now pressed and hung, looking much straighter!] as well as using hit or miss in the log cabin border and to a lesser degree in the background, with different darks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Celtic Knot tote bag

Celtic designs move me - must be my Irish and Scots forebears... and the sinuous charm of interlocking curves and lines. I'd had it on my to-do list for ages to do a Celtic rughooking, and finally found the perfect project. I bought a new to me [and unused] tote bag at one of our local Frenchy's stores [treasure troves for rughookers, with woollen clothes ready for recycling], and used a classic Celtic knot from a book of designs that a friend gave me [thank you, Mary!] -- the Ulbster Stone from Caithness, Scotland.

I hooked the Celtic square with nylons, rather than wool, so as not to add too much weight [as-is, handcut, on monkscloth]. It hooked up quickly. Lots of pockets, a good wide strap and light [until I get it loaded up]. The thing I learned from this first time hooking with nylons was that I don't like cutting rings across the legs [too many ends], but rather cutting spirally, like paring an apple, to get continuous strips to hook with. Also you have to be careful not to twist underneath, just like with wool, but the idea is to keep the rolled edge of the nylon strip uppermost, not the cut edges.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free patterns!

There are numerous websites with free patterns, some specifically for hooked rugs and others that are easily adapted to hooking. Try P&B Textiles - meant for quilting, but many would make lovely rugs. I particularly like Bella's Blooms and there are many geometrics that would be great either in hit-or-miss or in a planned colour scheme. Here's a page with 1295 sites, all offering free patterns, and categorized by theme, holiday or subject [Fish, Frogs & Bugs or Snowmen, for example]. Again, this is a quilting site, so some of the paper piecing patterns might not translate so well, but for anyone who is shy of drawing their own pattern, these are treasure troves!

Donna Hrkman, a talented rughooker, shares a free snowman pattern on her site: at Blue Ribbon Rugs; it may change seasonally. Her Women of the Congo rug was featured in RHM/ Rug Hooking Magazine (Jan/Feb 2006) and is a powerful work of art and compassion.

Stained glass patterns are also ideal for hooking; though this 'fantasy' site has a strong cartoon and juvenile bent, it does have many free stained glass patterns! And yet more, at Spectrum, where you are asked to log in with a password, but it's quick and easy, and free patterns are searchable by category.

For some fun free primitive patterns, Jennie Baer at Homeberries has 'freebies' - just click on the category you are looking for - seasons, ornies, nursery rhymes and everyday (e.g. "A Happy Home is Early Heaven"). They are meant for embroidery but I think would make sweet mats.

Ship to Shore

Well, that was my browse for today. Here's a doodle of mine that you are free to hook, if you like, but as with most free patterns, it's for personal use only, please.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finally on the floor! Live Simply is finished

It has been way too long in the making, but I finally finished whipping my Live Simply rug last night. Not steamed / pressed yet, but I couldn't wait to get it on the floor and it did make me smile when I woke up this morning, which was the whole idea in hooking it. Most of my other mats are on the walls, chairs or tables, rather than on the floor, but this one was always destined for the floor by my bed. It did use up a fair amount of woolly worms in the hit-or-miss portions, but not as many as I'd hoped, so I'll be starting another scrappy rug soon.

There are so many wonderful rugs out there, and inspiration at every turn. The first border of this rug echoes the quilt pattern 'flying geese'. There are thousands of quilt patterns and many of them would make great rugs. I've always loved paisley, so the final side borders are paisley-ish. It's been a fun rug to hook; mostly in #6 cut wools, with some #8 and a bit of woolen yarn, here and there, when the colour was right. It's approximately 3 ft wide by 2 ft high, on primitive linen, bound in wool yarn from Cottage Craft Woollens, right here in St Andrews, NB [Canada]. They didn't have any black in stock, so I overdyed some darkish purple with Cushings black dye. It kept looking navy to me, so I added more black and was finally happy with the colour - it actually has some liveliness, rather than being a flat black, which was a happy accident.

I love the feel of the cushy soft wool under my feet as I get out of bed. So long as our cat Katie doesn't think that it is a new thing to scratch at, all will be well.

Christmas in July

Here's a cheery winter scene - Christmas Village, a Deanne Fitzpatrick design, which Carol has hooked in brights (28" x 8" framed). Carol is one of our newer members, and has done some lovely mats. She mostly works in #4 to 6, and also uses woollen and novelty yarns......................................

The striding Santa is designed by Monika Brint; Carol has accentuated the elongated trees and tall Santa with a vertically hooked sky in novelty yarn, with a festive metallic glimmer. He looks like he's in a hurry! (16.5" wide x 14.5" high)

We may not be celebrating Christmas, but we don't seem to be experiencing summer, either. It has been relentlessly cold and damp, and we've had way more fog than we are used to, in the last three weeks or so. It is sunny right now... long may it last.