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We’re Listening!

March/April/May 2017


incere thanks to everyone who filled out our readers’ survey. We are reading them all with great interest; we want to know what is on your mind, and your feedback helps us plan for the future. This is your magazine, after all, and we are working hard to bring you the very best of rug hooking. We love to see what you are doing through our From Our Readers page on the RHM website. In each issue, we invite you to show us your work. You are certainly a creative bunch of fiber artists and it is a treat to see what you send in. Keep on sending us your great photos. Our long-running column, “Colors to Dye For,” has morphed into “From My Dye Pot.” Dyeing Diva Wanda Kerr is taking a break while she works on some other projects. We are grateful to her for the many years of excellent dyeing instructions, recipes, and humor. In the meantime, I know you will enjoy hearing from the excellent dyers who will be writing the new column during 2017. Breaking news: many of our RHM books are now available as eBooks! See page 85 for more information on how to purchase and download your favorites. Now you can take your RH library with you on your mobile device wherever you go. Do you subscribe to our weekly newsletter, Rug Beat? It’s free—and it is a great way to hear about special offers on books and subscriptions. Check it out on the RHM website, and be sure to share it with your other fiber friends. And speaking of friends, students, and fellow rug hookers, I want to shout out to our readers who do not yet subscribe to RHM. This is the premier fiber art magazine devoted to the remarkable art form that you love. RHM is dedicated to bringing you high-quality rug hooking instruction, history, patterns, and designs; to do so we need a healthy support system of subscribers. We know that you, our subscribers, value this magazine, and because you do we hope that you will help us spread the word. Subscribing is easy: visit our website, follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our free newsletter, Rug Beat, to receive offers and information. Join the RHM family—we celebrate each and every new subscription and renewal. Rest assured that you are our favorite people in the whole wide world. As you can see, we are busy developing new projects and we anticipate even more exciting offerings in the upcoming years. Come along and join the fun!

Vol. XXVIII, No. 5


Graphic Designer CW Design Solutions, Inc. Advertising Director Keith Kousins Customer Service and Store Sales 1 (877) 297–0965

EDITORIAL BOARD Norma Batastini Linda Rae Coughlin Susan L. Feller

Jeanne Field Deanne Fitzpatrick Cynthia Norwood

Norma Batastini EMERITUS Jeanne Field BOARD Linda Rae Coughlin Deanne Fitzpatrick D. Marie Bresch Jane McGown Flynn Susan L. Feller Cynthia Norwood Jeanne Fallier Marion Ham D.RUG Marie Bresch (ISSN 1045-4373) Jane McGown Flynn five HOOKING is published Jeanne Marion Ham times Fallier a year in January/February, March/April/May, June/July/August, September/October, and November/December by AMPRY PUBLISHING, LLC, 3400 Dundee Road, Suite 220, Northbrook, IL 60062. Contents Copyright© 2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without the written consent of the publisher is prohibited. Subscription rates: one year (5 issues), $34.95 in the U.S., Canada, $34.95 plus $5 S/H and applicable taxes (payable in US Funds only) (Canadian GST #R137954772), Foreign $72.95 (payable in US Funds only), $94.20 Overseas for express shipping (payable in US Funds only). Periodicals postage paid at Northbrook, IL, and additional mailing offices. INT’L C.P.C. Pub. Mail #0643289


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»» LOG ON TO “FROM OUR READERS” Have you ever hooked a humorous rug? Show us your work! It’s easy: visit our website, www., scroll down to the bottom bar, click on “From Our Readers,” and upload a photo. We can’t wait to chuckle at your witty pieces!

Check Out Our Website!

ON THE COVER: FLOWERS IN VASE, by Brigitte Webb. See more of Brigitte’s work, inspired by her beloved Scottish Highlands, on page 6. 2

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017 Check Out Our Website!

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Member National Guild of Pearl K. McGown Rug Hook­rafters, Inc.; Association of Traditional Hooking Artists; Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia; Ontario Hooking Craft Guild; The International Guild of Hand­hooking Rugmakers; Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, Inc. Printed in the U.S.A. | Rug Hooking


Volume XXVIII, Number 5 March/April/May 2017

Contents 26



6  Rug Hooking in the Scottish


“On Alert” Horse

I nspirations from the Land by Brigitte Webb

Hooking, Coiling, and Shirring Come Together by Tracy Jamar


Rug Hooking Serendipity


A Love of Wool


Hutchinson Humor


A Discovery of Parallel Projects by Catherine Heilferty

Hooking the Trials of Life ...With a Twist by Kathy Wright


Torn Blooms

Hooking a Garden in Torn Wool Strips by Tamara Pavich

36  Creative Confines and Loopholes

Working with Repurposed Wool by Nadine Flagel 4

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

An Artist Interprets Americana Primitives and Antiques by Chris Coslet A RUG HOOKING EXCLUSIVE

46  Arundel Crewel/Joan Moshimer  by Lisanne Miller/W. Cushing & Co.


DEPARTMENTS 44 Destinations

Canada’s 150th Celebration by Wendie Scott Davis


Ask the Experts

A Firm Foundation by Green Mountain Hooked Rugs

66 Dear Beginning Rug Hooker The Golden Egg by Karen Larsen


Reader’s Gallery

Francine Even: An Abstract View of the World by Linda Rae Coughlin


76  Canadian Connection

In a Little Cabin in the Woods: Alberta Haslett’s Hooking Heaven by Sandy Oravec

82 From My Dye Pot

Funky Leaf, Funky Backgrounds by Nancy Jewett/Fluff & Peachy Bean


First Rug

 My Cats Mij and Zipp/ Sally Stepath by Melinda Russell

76 66



Editor’s Frame


Date Book


Ad Index | Rug Hooking




eople ask what inspires me to hook and design a rug. The answer is as varied as life itself. Almost anything can and does inspire me—the color of the fields, trees, and mountains; a memory; seasons; wools gathered or gifted; and other artists’ and rug hookers’ work. Here in the Scottish Highlands, I am never short of inspiration.

I Wish, 24" x 18", #3-, 4-, and 5-cut wool, silk, yarn, and roving on linen. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2012. My love of gardens and teaching flower arranging for many years was the inspiration for this rug. Hooked directly on linen backing without any drawing, I started by hooking some flowers inside the border line at the bottom in the middle, working upwards and outwards, choosing colors and textures as I hooked. Those who know me will recognize in this piece my love of using bright and happy colors in rugs. I was pleased that this rug was chosen for Celebration.

Lesson: Be inspired by all around you. Do not be afraid to enter shows or competitions— nothing happens unless you give it a try! 6

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

See two more of Brigitte’s hookings inspired by her gardens and love of flowers in “Torn Blooms,” which begins on page 26.


Mafdet, 26" x 26", #3 through 6-cut wool and sari silk ribbon on rug warp. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2014. Inspired by a family holiday to Florida and a visit to Animal Kingdom. I sought shelter from the heat for a time in a covered area with a large observational glass window overlooking the cheetah enclosure. Whilst quietly observing these magnificent cats, taking lots of photographs, I noticed that on the walls surrounding me were resin/plastic cartoonish Egyptian reliefs. Eureka moment! I knew that the cheetah was often portrayed as an Egyptian Goddess, Mafdet. So I decided to hook an Egyptian body with a realistic cheetah head, using some of my own photos as reference. I researched Mafdet, drawing a rough sketch of what I wanted based on information gathered. I sent these to Leonard Feenan, asking if he would design this for me on rug warp. Then I consulted with talented animal rug artist Judy Carter on the wool to use. She sent me a selection of wools for the cheetah’s head. Some folks may feel this is cheating to ask someone else to gather wool or color plan, but I don’t. Having an expert on call is always a help. When I receive wool from Judy my first thought is always: Oh, my goodness! What do I choose, where do I use this, and how? Living in the UK it is extremely difficult to obtain enough variety and textures for hooking realistic portraits of animals and birds. Using Judy’s book, Hooking Animals, reading and re-reading her articles in Rug Hooking magazine, I took her advice: use great visuals, hook what you see, hook in directions shown. I color planned the rest of this rug myself. I dyed colors for the headdress. Mafdet was said to be a goddess for protection, particularly against snakes, so I gave her a snake amulet. I truly loved hooking this rug. Although the original idea was mine, this really was a result of great partnerships along the road to creation.

Here are my five key suggestions. • Hook what is meaningful and important to you. • Be open to helpful, constructive advice and don’t be afraid to change things if it feels right. • Never be afraid to seek advice and help with your work or researching your subject matter. • Hook from the heart—love what you create and share it with others. • Don’t be afraid of color—it brightens our lives. • Be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone.

LESSON: Never be afraid to seek advice and help with your work or in researching your subject matter. | Rug Hooking



Flowers in Vase, 14" x 20", #4-, 5-, and 6-cut wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2015. I admire the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Scottish architect, designer, water colorist, and artist. This rug is my tribute to him. Some work is governed by what is found in my stash, particularly as most of what I use is imported from America and Canada. This rug was determined by the size of a piece of backing material I had left over. I often draw directly on my backing, as any mistakes will be covered up with my hooking.

LESSON: Be open to helpful, constructive advice and don’t be afraid to change things if it feels right. 8

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Needless to say, I am influenced by the magnificent highlands of Scotland where I live. This rug is my tribute to the work of artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I find his work to be beautifully stylized, with a wonderfully deceptive simplicity, often featuring flowers and geometric elements. I wanted to create my own design that would be recognized as being influenced by him, but in no way copied. Most of my designs are drawn directly onto my backing material, but in this instance, I drew freehand onto red dot, then transferred onto linen. I confess I did make alterations as I hooked from the first draft pattern. I admire people that color plan their work before they start, but I am not one of them. I use my stash, choosing colors, textures, and shades that I have on hand. I am not afraid to change my mind, or take out something that does not work for me. This is how I hooked my version. Adapt your colors and hooking techniques to suit your own vision. 1. Tulips: The tulips in this piece were a good place for me to start, as I love reds. In keeping with my Scottish theme, I used plaids and tartans in these flowers. 2. Roses: I originally hooked the roses in a bright purple, but on advice from Susan Feller, who pointed out that the values were too close to other elements and did not have enough contrast, I changed them to hand-dyed orange spot wools.   3. Other flowers: The smaller flowers gave me the chance to use some hand dyed purple wools. 4. Outlines: Mackintosh used strong outlines in his work, so I followed his lead and used dark greens for the leaf outlines, a mixture of dark greys and dull blacks for the flowers, and navy for the vase. I did this partly to stay





true to his designs, but largely to make this design pop. Vase: I hooked the simple vase shape in shades of blue spot-dyed wool to compliment the orange roses. As I hooked the vase I noticed it had no depth, so I added a bit on one side to make it more three dimensional. I hooked horizontally for strength and to direct the eyes to the flowers. It is reminiscent of hit-or-miss style, but in this case I hooked horizontally to make it look more geometric. Background: I did not want to detract from or overshadow the simple floral elements with the background. Since I hooked the vase in a geometric Mackintosh style, I used a subtle repeat of that design in light soft beiges and tans. I did not draw in the background sections; I hooked in a semi-random manner, as I looked ahead and visually planned each section. My large selection of close values of wool allowed me to choose values that sat well next to each other. I kept the block shapes and sizes in mind, creating balance as I worked. This is a nod to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as he often used shapes and colors in a similar fashion. It works well because of the subtle changes in the color shades, and this faux geometric background acts as a foil to the vase. The background is my favorite part of the design. Tablecloth: The tablecloth echoes the leaves, adding weight and grounding to the vase of flowers. The dots in the design pick up colors in the flowers. I used a duller green to create a bit of a grounding shadow where the vase sits on the tablecloth. Beaded edge: I hooked a beaded edge, used a combination of a plain red and a red plaid (my Scottish influence again!), repeating the reds of the roses.

HOW TO ADD A BEADED BORDER 1. Start with two strips of wool in different colors or textures. In this design, I used a #8-cut plain red and a strong red plaid for the beading. 2. Bring the two strips up together, through the same hole in the backing, to the top of your design. 3. Beneath the backing, hold the two strips of wool in one hand; hold your hook in other hand above the backing. 4. Stick your hook through the backing where you want to begin the beading line. 5. Pick up and place first color onto hook. Pull it up through the backing, creating the first loop. 6. Under your backing, drop this wool strip and pick up the other color. Place this second strip on your hook and pull it up to create a loop. 7. Repeat this process, alternating the colors so you get a boxed or beaded effect. 8. When a strip runs out, bring the end to top of the rug and pull the end of a new strip of that color to top, through the same hole, and proceed as before.

Incorporating the red plaid with a similar red fabric makes the beading much more subtle than it would be with a different color choice. This beading treatment created a unity to this design. | Rug Hooking


Flowers in Vase, © 2015 Brigitte Webb. Enlarge this pattern to your desired size; for one-time personal use only.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Geometric Rug, 21" x 39", #3- to 8-cut wool on rug warp. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2015. I enjoy hooking a less arduous rug in between challenging ones—it allows me to relax and have thinking time for the challenge. Each square in this design is four inches in size. This rug was hooked using mostly worms (strips of wool) of different cut sizes left over from other projects. Deciding on colors and their placement were the most thought-provoking part of this piece. This rug is draped over the back of a small settee and it brightens the darkest days.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid of color—it brightens our lives. | Rug Hooking


Save Our Planet, 32" x 20", #3-, 5- and 6-cut wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2016. A local Womens’ Institute launched a group exhibit titled “Look to the Future.” This hooked rug would be one of five different crafts featured. I drew my design directly onto linen backing and hooked the rug using recycled wool, some as-is, some new wool, and some hand dyed wools. I start by hooking Mother Earth in the center, as the tree of life with roots on our planet. I strove to make the meaningful words as clear as possible. The only color planning was in my head. Our planet is so important to all living things, and this rug is a plea to all of us. During the hooking process, I photographed each day’s work, reviewing and altering the design as I progressed. This is a meaningful statement from my heart.

Lesson: Hook what is meaningful and important to you.

Lesson: Be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone.

Tribute To Klimt, 24" x 18"-, #4-, 6-, and 8-cut wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2016. An item of furniture was a great inspiration. This Lloyd Loom chair was drab and uncomfortable. I pondered for two years about what could be done to make it functional and attractive. I came up with this tribute to Klimt, whose art work I love. I removed the old cover, using it as a rough template for sizing my new covering. I drew the design directly onto the linen backing. I sprayed the chair itself with a special purpose white paint several times. I started hooking in the center. As the work progressed, I regularly placed it on the seat area to check for sizing, color balance, and design elements. I photographed it frequently as I went to assess how it was developing. It is important to photograph your work to see clearly what is not working and what is glaringly wrong and needs to be changed. When completed, I took the chair and the hooked cover to a local upholsterer who completed the job.

I belong to a local craft group, and I found that the members were not aware of hooking rugs other than the rag rugs their granny used to make. So I started bringing my rug hooking work along. Some of the members have caught the bug and have hooked rugs of their own. To further promote our art, I have also given “show and tell” talks on rug hooking to several craft groups and demonstrated at fiber festivals. Rug hooking is my joy and passion, bringing so many wonderful likeminded friends into my life. Whilst I do largely work on my own here in the Highlands, I am far from alone. I have a world of other fabulous rug hookers to share with, learn from, and be inspired by. There are lessons to learn and inspirations to pursue. Just love what you do and do what you love—it is a very personal journey. RHM

Brigitte Webb lives in the Highlands of Scotland in the town of Dingwall. She began rug hooking in 2005 after her youngest son fell in love with a Nova Scotia girl and that girl’s mother, Gayle Wynn, introduced Brigitte to the craft. She has exhibited her collection of work twice, has been in Celebration, and works to spread the word about rug hooking wherever she goes.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017 | Rug Hooking


Serendipity RUG HOOKING



hat are you working on? That’s always a good first question for rug hooking friends who haven’t seen each other in a while. We speak our own language: It’s a primitive. A geometric. A fine-shaded floral. I’m hooking with “as-is.” With hand-dyed. It’s a story rug. To hang. For the floor.

“It’s a map of the historic ceramic tiles in the New York City subway system,” I say. For most, this resulted in confused looks and more questions. But for one person, the response was a look of intrigue, then surprise, then knowing nods—and finally a laugh. Weezie wasn’t confused. She was nodding her head in understanding, waiting for me to finish telling her about the trip my daughter and I took that summer: five days in a rented five-story walk-up in the Lower East Side, determined to use only the subway to get everywhere we went. More nodding. More smiling. I stopped mid-sentence when Weezie seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. Now I was the one looking confused. “You are not going to believe this. I am making a rug of the Paris Metro.” “You ARE?” “I AM!” “NO!” “Yes! Come see!” Weezie Huntington and I hadn’t seen each other in about a year. We are both members of the Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild, but I work on the days the Guild meets, so we get to see each other precious few times a year. After nearly a year, our paths crossed in October, 14

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

2015, on the occasion of the Hooked Rug Festival at the Mill (Prallsville Mill in Stockton, New Jersey). Four guilds in our area host this wonderful event to show a wider audience the creativity and skill of rug hooking artists. Weezie stopped by the demonstration area where I was hooking to say hello—and to ask what I was working on. “This is so strange. I can’t believe we are working on the same thing.” The funny thing was this: we realized at once that while we were working on the same subject, we appreciated the differences in the work instantly, too. Weezie was working on a glorious representation of the map of the Paris Metro in a way that was so different, yet so similar, to my map of NYC’s subway. We laughed. We paused and stared. Then we blinked, shook our heads and laughed again. We deconstructed each other’s works by telling its back story. We were like two new mothers who saw each other’s beautiful kids for the first time: so different and so interesting. In mine, the central focus was meant to be the ceramic tiles built into the walls of the NYC subway stations as both art and guides. I placed the tiles in the rug pattern at the locations of the corresponding subway stations. Weezie’s use of color and line highlighted the simplicity

NYC Subways circa 1905: An Appreciation, 41⁄2’ x 51⁄2’. Hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Catherine Heilferty, Yardley, Pennsylvania, 2016. | Rug Hooking


Photos found on the Internet of a few tiles, placed in the context of the subway map circa 1905. The lines were marked with the linen flat on the kitchen floor.

The entirety of the hooking done at Rugs by the Sea, a weeklong camp in Cape May, NJ. Most of the week was spent thinking, listening, and translating what I saw in my mind to the linen. I started with three favorite tiles—favorite for their shapes, colors, and meaning to me and Lydia.

As I got more tiles done, I craved seeing what the background would look like. Filling in some of the sidewalks and rivers sustained me when the chaos of tile work was out of hand. I worked the background as a kind of respite.

I miscalculated the amount of wool I needed for the background. I had to dye more “river” months after the original dyeing. It did result in interesting variations, though, that are now my favorite part of the rug.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Sometimes we choose simplicity, other times simplicity layered with complexity: in design, in color, in texture.

inherent in the graphic representation of the complexity of the Paris subway system, Le Metro. She told me recently, “The original plan was to use the colors of the doorways of Paris to make the map have a sort of stained glass effect. It ended up being a lot less involved as a pattern than I had first imagined it because it was a lot more involved to work with the silk I used to designate the train lines. It was a really fine silk ribbon, 1⁄2" wide. My fingers are rough and split, so very often when I touched it, the loops would pull out. I tried packing the loops. That did not help. Every time I moved my rug on the frame the loops pulled out. Finally, I pulled them all out and started over. This time, each time I pulled a loop I stitched with a needle and thread through it, just on top of the linen so it could not pull out. Talk about time consuming and painstaking! I had estimated the amount of silk I would need and had the Wool ‘n’ Gardner order it for me. And, in several cases, I ran out of silk at a point where I needed only a few more inches. In some cases, I dyed a scrap of silk to finish the line, and in some cases, the map became a little smaller. As a result, by the time I finished doing all the route lines, I was tired and frustrated, and just wanted to get on with other projects. So I dyed some background and did it all the same. The original plan was to use the colors of the doorways of Paris to make the map have a sort of stained glass effect. But, I love how it looks.” My story is a bit different. As my daughter and I zoned out on the seats of the subway cars, looking up for something to focus on, so as not to make eye contact—we were trying to travel as New Yorkers, not tourists, after all—I found strange and interesting ceramic tiles at the heights of many of the subway stops. These tiles inspired me to question their placement in the walls, and in history: the who, what, why, where, how. Many are familiar with the more modern mosaic tiles found in the station stop near the Natural History Museum at 81st and Central Park West. The tiles we noticed that summer were something altogether different: Arts and Crafts style and colors; high enough to be an afterthought today; and most with the grunge of a hundred years and millions of miles. I scoured the Internet when we got home. Searches with “NYC subway tile history” opened a vein of sites that allowed me to connect the few individual tiles we noticed into what I learned was a larger story about immigrants, benefactors, and civil engineering and architecture during the Arts and Crafts movement. A few references I found were websites dedicated to preserving these historic tiles in photographs; others described the contribution of architects Heins and LaFarge to the true

craftsmanship of the decorative design of NYC’s subway stations. Weezie chose silk as one of the central elements in the rug. Her artistic and design decisions about color and dimension were influenced by the importance of this idea—come what may, she was determined to make that silk work. I related to that in a very pragmatic way. To me, it was important that the placement of the tiles be consistent with their location at the respective stops. The beaver tile, representing John Jacob Astor’s association with trading beaver pelts, needed to be found where Astor Place station is on the map, in the Lower East Side. I learned that understanding the importance of the tiles to the history of the NYC subway system was both interesting and essential. Immigrants traveling the subway system in the early part of the 20th century, unable to read English, relied on the tiles as important markers for getting off at the right stop. When first imagining the rug, I pictured a grid of squares and rectangles with some border lines in between. Soon I realized that viewers would then be seeing the tiles out of context, organized in a way that would be both overwhelming for the eye and difficult to understand. To me, a map of the subway system would give the tiles a home, a logical placement that allowed viewers to connect each tile with its place as the architects intended in the actual subway design. This meant if the tiles were going be large enough to hook and display, the map would have to be quite large. I began with right-sizing the tiles I wanted to hook. They would be 4" by 4", 4" by 6", 6" by 6", or 6" by 8". From there I could extrapolate the dimensions of the rug by enlarging a subway map circa 1905 or so, which meant the total rug size came to roughly 5' by 5'. Some have asked if I traced the map lines onto the linen backing. I had wanted to that, but I couldn’t seem to find a way to enlarge the lines enough to be able to trace. So, I enlarged them to the point where I knew that if I multiplied each line segment by 3, I could get there, albeit slowly, and on the floor. If the subway line was 3" on paper, it needed to be 9" in the backing, etc. This was the first rug I did that required the geometric skill of a draftsman, the artisanship of a designer, and the flexibility of a yoga instructor. Once the tile outlines and map lines were drawn, it became a large piece with many small projects inside it. I was determined to take it one tile at a time, “bird by bird,” as Ann Lamotte described in her book on writing. I placed the first loop in Jen Lavoie’s class during Rugs by the Sea, in September, 2015. The Brooklyn Bridge tile was first: for its colors and simplicity, and because my daughter and I had some laughs that summer trying to walk the bridge without get- | Rug Hooking


Le Metro, 18" x 26", hand-dyed silk and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Louise Huntington, Allentown, New Jersey, 2016. WEEZIE HUNTINGTON


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

ting mowed down by bicyclists and fellow pedestrians. Jen’s help was tremendously valuable. She asked a series of questions over the week. Each question helped me think more deeply about what it was I was trying to accomplish. “Who is the rug for?” and “What is most important about it to you?” These questions, that on the surface seem simple, kept me engaged with the larger project while I began work on the individual tiles. Decision after decision had to be made over the year that it took to finish. You see evidence of some of them in the photos. How could I maintain a sense of harmony when the colors are so varied? The first background I placed, which seemed ideal when I dyed it, looked too bright and cheerful for what I wanted to be the sidewalks of New York. I wanted the background, these streets and sidewalks, the Hudson and East Rivers, to appear faded, allowing the tiles to remain central to the viewer’s focus. Decisions about tile placement were fairly set from the start, but deep in the middle of winter, at a time when the linen hadn’t come off the frame for quite a while, I hooked the same tile in two locations without realizing it. Only weeks later, when I laid the beast on the floor, did I see the 33rd Street eagle done not just in two places, but in two very different color schemes! Sometimes we choose simplicity, other times simplicity layered with complexity: in design, in color, in texture. I suppose this is the way Weezie and I found our way to such different ends from such similar ideas. Anyone who has participated in a themed mat swap knows what I am talking about: one idea, many styles. I have known from the start that in the rug hooking universe, there is room for everyone. I have admired works of all kinds. But for a long time, I felt that marching to the beat of my



• L  amotte, Anne. (1994 ). Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Lif e. New York: Pantheo n Books. • N  ew York Architecture . (2016). Retrieved Se ptember 26,. 2016 from http://w m/ ARCH/ARCH-HeinsLa Farge.html • P  adwee, Michael. (20 12). Architectural Tile s, Glass and Ornamentation in New York. Retrieved September 26, 2016 from htt ps://tilesinnewyork.blo gspot. com/2012/08/subwaytiles-part-ii-heins-and-l afarge. html • S  tookey, Lee. (1994). Subway Ceramics: A His tory and Iconogrphy. Bratleboro VT: L. Stookey.

own drum artistically would leave me in a parade of one. The moment that I identified with Weezie, when she told me what she was working on, will likely never be relived, but it sure was comforting that day. For a long time, I had respected Weezie for her sense of creative daring and individuality. Knowing we were separately creating something so unique and so similar in concept left me with a sense of comfort that I cherish. RHM

Catherine Heilferty has been a rug hooking artist since 2000, when she returned from the Elizabeth Laforte Museum in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. She sent heartfelt thanks to Jen Lavoie and Susan Schulz for their inspiration and support before, during, and since the 2015 Rugs by the Sea workshop. | Rug Hooking




he first time you come across a Hutchinson hooked rug, it makes you giggle! Then it makes you reflect on life experiences—those events and conditions that we all share. Where did these unique rugs come from and who is responsible for them? Over the years there have been many rumors, but until recently the true story and the vast collection had not been uncovered. On August 17, 2016, the doors opened to Sauder Village’s Rug Hooking Week exhibit—and the very first exhibit to feature a collection of hooked rugs attributed to James and Mercedes Hutchinson. The exhibit was accompanied by the debut of the book Rug Hooking Traditions with James & Mercedes Hutchinson, which tells the story of their lives and their art. Watching and listen-

RUG HOOKING WEEK Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village is the largest rug hooking event in the United States in the number of exhibit rugs, classes, and attendance. August 14-19, 2017 will mark the 21st anniversary of this event, which includes both contemporary and historic work, the exclusive Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs annual award-winning rug exhibit, and this year’s special tribute to the “MEN” of the rug hooking world. Week


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ing to the people viewing the exhibit, as they read the humorous inscriptions hooked into these rugs, and hearing their laughter and comments, must have been the exact reaction and response that the Hutchinsons were hoping for.

James & Mercedes Hutchinson Exhibit The Hutchinson rugs have been quietly collected by the wealthy and famous, and by celebrities like the Rockefellers, Johnsons, Havemeyer Webbs (Shelburne Museum), Fendelmans (American Folk Art Museum), Lightners (Lightner Museum), Mellons, MacMurrays (Fred & June Haver), and many others since the 1920s. But it wasn’t until the 1970s when Joel and Kate Kopp brought Hutchinson rugs into their America Hurrah antique shop in New York City and featured them in their book American Hooked and Sewn Rugs (1975) that the rugs were spotlighted. The rugs drew interest from the general public as well as contemporary hooking artists, and sparked the attention of a new group of private collectors, antique dealers, and museum curators. At that time, the Kopps and other leading authorities on hooked rugs knew very little about the Hutchinsons or their collection. As director of Rug Hooking Week at

Sauder Village, I gather and exhibit the work of contemporary and historic artists. The hope is that attendees will study and learn, understand and incorporate elements in their art today, and develop a more astute eye as collectors. More than 10 years ago I started research on the Hutchinsons, digging through archives and conducting interviews for this exhibit and book. Repeatedly, people would ask, “You mean the circus rugs?” They would go on to say that they heard the rugs were made by circus employees as they traveled from show to show, so that the workers were generating income between shows. That’s a wonderful story, but there is no evidence to back it up; in fact, there is much evidence to deem it untrue. So why the “circus” connection and confusion? It stems from the name James Llewellyn Hutchinson, of which there were three. James, Sr. was the “Circus Man,” James, Jr. was the “Rug Man,” and James III was an “Industrial Model and Prototype Man.” James, Sr. owned his own circus and was extremely proficient at promoting. Later he

Laughter is the closest distance between two people! Victor Borge

Pictured here are some of the rugs attributed to the Hutchinsons, which were on exhibit at Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village in 2016. These rugs were on loan from private collectors, antique dealers, and museums. The smaller pieces are photos of original Hutchinson rugs. The words inscribed in these rugs are filled with humor—the wonderful images convey humor as well, all based on the trials and tribulations of life.

Caption to come | Rug Hooking


became partners in the Barnum, Bailey, and Hutchinson Circus. In 1887, he sold his share to his partners, retiring a very wealthy man at the young age of 41. There is no evidence of the making or selling of the Hutchinson rugs until the 1920s, and James Sr. died in 1910. There is also no evidence of James, III having any connection to the rugs at all. So that leaves us James, Jr.; documented evidence ties him and his second wife Mercedes to this hooked rug collection. In the 1920s, James Llewellyn Hutchinson, Jr. sailed up the coast of New England and Canada collecting more than 1,300 new and antique floral and geometric hooked rugs, which they sold in notable auction houses in New York City. This was before Grenfell mats were brought to New York City, Philadelphia, and New England in the 1930s and sold to Americans. Later in the 1920s through the mid-1950s, James, Jr. and Mercedes designed and commissioned more than 870 rugs. Many of these had humorous inscriptions, which is what the Hutchinson rugs are famous for.

A day without laughter is a day wasted! Charlie Chaplin

Research revealed that James, Jr. took the leading role in both the collected rugs and the commissioned rugs. He is credited as the major influence or contributor for the inscriptions or wording in the rugs as well as the designs. However, we don’t know to what level Mercedes was involved. She may have just taken his designs and inscriptions and simply transferred them to the backing, or she may have been the polisher of the wording and designs, or she may have taken his rudimentary or basic ideas and developed them into the wonderful motifs, complex themes, and distinctive inscriptions. Mercedes may have played a minor or a major role—we just do not know. Once the designs or patterns were on backing, they were dispersed amongst commissioned artists to hook and finish. All we know about the commissioned hookers, so far, is that James, Jr. may have met them during his early “collecting” of rugs, which gave him a chance to see the quality of their craftsmanship and the timing of their production. 22

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Recurring Themes After documenting the more than 870 commissioned rugs, Janet Conner, a rug hooking artist, instructor, and restorer of hooked rugs, joined me on this book project. She assessed and categorized the recurring themes. Most, but not all, of the commissioned rugs have inscriptions and these four themes predominate: • Family relationships, such as courtship and love, warnings, betrayal and heartbreak, elopement, advice to brides, marriage, families and children • Special occasions and activities, such as holidays, travel and outings, work and play, cooking, and drinking • Colorful characters, such as sailors, ships, mermaids, firemen, dreamers, widows, Adam and Eve, literary and historical personages, and animals • In-laws have long been the butt of jokes and they are frequently depicted in Hutchinson rugs. (This leads to the question: If you owned an in-law rug, would you bring it out when your in-laws came to visit? Or would you hide it? Interesting question!) Whims and quirks of human relationships and experiences are all fair game in Hutchinson rugs. The wry humor is reflected in the melodramatic expressions and actions of the

These black and white photos from the 1920s-1950s Parke-Bernet auction catalogs, show Hutchinson rugs with amusing, poignant sayings aimed at in-laws. | Rug Hooking


Laughter is an instant vacation! Milton Berle

More Hutchinson rugs to make you chuckle. For more information on any of these rugs, contact Kathy Wright at RugHooking

leading characters and the common foibles of daily life. The Hutchinson designs provide universal insights into the human condition—all of which are expressed so well through the medium of hooked rugs! For 30 years, even throughout the Great Depression, the extraordinary Hutchinsons continued to design and sell their distinctive rugs, which were so different from the conventional and popular florals, geometrics, and animal rugs. The couple and the rugs are simply remarkable. To date, this is the largest collection of hooked rugs documented in the United States. The humor and uniqueness are what continue to make these rugs collectable, interesting, and unfortunately, even copied. RHM Kathy Wright is the co-author, editor, and publisher of the Rug Hooking Traditions book series and the director of Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village. She also conducts presentations and workshops based on the artists and works featured in the book series. For more information:


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THREE BOOKS OF INTEREST Rug Hooking Traditions Book Series documents historic collections and provides an in-depth look at rug hooking artists, their lives, and their work. The books are filled with stories about the artist’s family and experiences, photos, and provenance for individual rugs, and a close look at elements such as design, color, and techniques. Each book has debuted with an exhibit of the featured artist’s work at Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village. To date, there are three books in the series: • Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdalena Briner Eby • Rug Hooking Traditions with Patty Yoder & Esther Knipe • Rug Hooking Traditions with James & Mercedes Hutchinson For more information on the books: www.RugHook or | Rug Hooking


Torn Blooms




ooking with torn strips of wool harks back to the earliest days of rug-hooking history. Usually, we think of such rugs as primitive, with quiet colors and an antique, time-worn quality. Here is a story of eight rug hookers who accepted a torn-strips challenge, using colors that are anything but quiet.

Pansy Cushion, 23" x 23", torn wool strips on burlap, designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2016. “I had not hooked hand-torn fabrics before or hooked large flowers,” Brigitte said, “so this was quite a challenge for me. Right away, I found it hard on my wrist and hand, as I only had burlap. All my other backing fabrics had been used up. Tamara advised me to pull up the loops at an angle, which helped a bit. But then I thought to use my metal prodder (which I use for rag rugs). This enabled me to make larger holes in the backing where I wanted them as I worked. I found this was the best way for me.” Brigitte’s torn strips were a half-inch to one inch wide. 26

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Tulip, 19" x 21", torn wool strips on linen. Designed and hooked by Dana Psoinas, Woodbury, New York, 2016. Dana used dip-dyed wool, casserole-dyed wool, and dyed swatches of wool, all from Loretta Scena, and she tore her strips approximately three-quarters of an inch wide, the width of her thumb. “I wanted a simple, bright parrot tulip. I searched “tulips” on line, made a simple sketch on the linen, picked some of Loretta’s gorgeous wool colors and started ripping. I love the joyous feeling and sound of tearing wool strips! It was just what the doctor ordered. I love how fast hooking with hand-torn strips goes. “I looked at the color wheel for my background, picking several hues of blue (the complement of orange) to mix together. Loretta suggested that I separate each piece into fourths, using one-fourth at a time, to make sure the blues were equally distributed over the background. I loved how it came out. I made it into a pillow to brighten a dark area of my family room. I think it looks abstract, but also Impressionistic in style.”

Abstract Rosebud, 21" x 21", hand torn strips of 100% hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Loretta Scena, Deer Park, New York, 2016. EILEEN HARITONIDES

“This was my first attempt at using hand-torn strips. I found it relatively easy to do with very pleasing results. It was satisfying to see how quickly an area was hooked and to see the lovely texture that this technique creates. Sarah Guiliani taught the hand-torn technique to our Guild in 2015, and I drew my own pattern, paying homage to my McGown training by drawing a rosebud. “I am usually drawn to what I call the magic triad which is purple, orange, and green, but each pattern requires a new box of crayons. For this rug, I used yellow, which is purple’s complement. I selected luscious pieces of Sarah’s wool in rich purples and added my own yummy greens, yellows, and yellow-orange spot-dyed wool. The result is a soft yellow rosebud on an abstract purple background—a whimsical piece, which is a nice change from the realistic art that I usually hook.” | Rug Hooking


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Hydrangea, 23" x 17", torn wool strips, torn batik cotton fabric, and dyed seam binding on linen. Designed and hooked by Tamara Pavich, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 2016. “With our oaks, we don’t have enough bright sun to grow hydrangeas,” Tamara said. “But I dearly love them. I thought of Roslyn Logsdon as I worked on this hydrangea. Rather than hook all the little star-shaped flowers, I put in just a few in lighter colors, visually suggesting that pattern. Roslyn always says that the viewer will take the hint and fill in the rest of the pattern mentally. I love blue-green hydrangeas, and it was a pleasure to use pale yellow greens and some deeper bronzy greens, along with cool blues. I wish that I had cropped in closer on the flower. It would have made my mat so much more interesting. Live and learn. “Just a word about using torn strips of cotton batik fabric: Although I tore my batik strips widely, the strip wrinkles and crumples when hooked, and the loops pull up very narrow, much like sari silk or seam binding. It tears beautifully, by the way. The cotton batik did add color and helped with putting shadows into the hydrangea blossom, giving it depth. But even wider strips of batik will become narrow when hooked.”

Sunflower in the Wind, 18" x 18", hand-torn strips on primitive linen. Designed and hooked by Sarah Guiliani, South Portland, Maine, 2016. “When I saw the primitive pieces people were doing with hand-torn strips, a lightbulb turned on. Why can’t we do the same with wild colors and bright colors? The idea ofa sunflower blowing in the wind spoke to me. Most sunflowers are yellow, so that was where I got my color plan. I wanted the background to be bright. I love to challenge myself, and I really enjoyed this project. I already have students wanting to hook their own flowers.”


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TIPS FOR TORN-STRIP HOOKERS From Dana: “Hooking with torn-strips is the perfect cure for hooking too many fine shaded portraits! I love how fast hooking with hand torn strips goes.”

Our story begins at a Sarah Giuliani workshop. “When I saw the primitive pieces people were doing with hand-torn strips,” Sarah said, “a lightbulb turned on. Why can’t we do the same with wild and bright colors?” In the workshop, Loretta Scena took to her task with relish. She drew her oversized rosebud and began pulling the big squishy loops, combining Sarah’s hand-dyed woolens with her own in a surprising palette of intense and saturated hues. Afterwards, she pondered the results. Loretta felt that by playing with scale and enlarging her rosebud, she had abstracted the image, made it less recognizable. On seeing Loretta’s finished mat, her student Dana Psoinas drew a large and voluptuous tulip and hooked her mat in complements—varied oranges on a dazzling blue backdrop. Oh, the pleasure of lavishing so much attention on a single flower! Dana began a second flower, the purple iris. Loretta drew a lily. Dana discovered an irresistible coneflower in her neighbor’s garden. And then, it was as though a Great Underground Vine began to spread out from New York State, where the two rug hookers live. Shoots came up in a variety of species. Poppies and hydrangeas appeared in Nebraska and Iowa. Way over in Dingwall, Scotland, a magnificent thistle bloomed. The exotic and tropical Bird of Paradise burgeoned in, of all places, Connecticut. Ultimately, eight hookers participated in the challenge, producing fourteen different kinds of flowers, all in their own large-scale glory, thanks to the seeds planted by Sarah, Loretta, and Dana. I wondered why a torn-strips mat appealed so strongly to each of us who participated in this challenge. Every hooker included here is versatile, ranging easily from narrower to wider cuts, depending on her

From Sarah: “Draw a flower you love, and plan your colors around it. If you have never done a hand-torn mat, then I say challenge yourself. You will end up hooking more than one!” From Loretta: “Make it large enough to be able to have your wide strips define your work, or use smaller hand-torn strips on a smaller piece. Cut some of your hand torn strips lengthwise to get a very narrow strip for detail. You must make sure that you have enough wool for the project. This method of hooking uses up a lot of wool, especially if your strips are as wide as your thumb and pulled up high.” From Tamara: “My teacher, Cathy Stephan, gave me this tip. Some wools don’t tear easily. If you attempt to tear narrower strips, the wool will shred. Cathy recommends tearing strips about two inches wide, and then cutting those double-wide strips down the middle with scissors. This allows us to use some of our highly textured wools without shredding them.” From Brigitte: Because she was going to be traveling, Brigitte hooked her three mats in a short period. “I started hooking the pansy on June 29,” she said, “and finished with the rose on July 18. I do not recommend working this quickly on hand-torn rugs. It was hard on my hand and wrist; however, for me it was worth it to be part of this challenge.” From Karen: “I suggest tearing your strips as you go so that you know what you have. Pull the loops really high so that the wool will curl, giving you a wonderful texture and look. Don’t try to control the wool. Let it speak for itself.” From Dana: “I used a Clover hook that opens the hole in the linen nicely and makes it much easier to pull the loops through. This makes it easier on your wrist and fingers.” From Tamara: “At first, I included some thick woolens because I liked their color. But in the end, I pulled them out. Thick wool was too bulky. Towards the end of my hooking, I selected thinner wools that I could tear into narrower strips, about the width of my thumb. Even wider strips worked fine and nestled into each other, if the wool fabric was pretty thin. I like varying the width of my strips for visual interest. So my tip is to consider thinner woolens that can be torn in wider or narrower strips, and save the bulkier woolens for your cut-wool mats.” From Karen: “A torn strip of wool behaves very differently than a cut strip. When torn, the weave may become looser, thinner, and fuzzier. One edge might be different from the other, or even different from the one torn previously. Don’t cut the fuzz off. Let it be and enjoy it. Fibers in the weave that were not visible to the eye may come forward when the wool is torn. The wools will come alive in their own way.” | Rug Hooking


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My Vision of Prairie Poppy in a Beautiful Nebraska Sunset, 20" x 20", hand-torn strips of wool with sari silk, glass beads, crystals, and alpaca yarn on linen. Designed and hooked by Holly McMillan, Roca, Nebraska, 2016. “I chose the prairie poppy, using photos taken from our family ranch in the sand hills of Nebraska. I used the camera on the phone and moved the screen around to cut off some of the flowers. If I didn’t crop, I was afraid it would turn out to be an area rug! I usually do not use technology like this, so I was happy with the outcome. “After using #3- to #5-cuts in fine-detail reproductions of family photos, I was looking for the artistic freedom that comes with wide hand-torn strips, where the fabric makes the magic. I think of this as a celebration of color. “This is my first hand-torn project. Although I have a #10 blade for my cutter, I elected to abandon uniformity and tear by hand. Not all fabric can be torn, so to use a specific color and fabric, I had to be flexible on what size of strip I could get. It’s difficult to pull consistently straight loops in nice rows, which can be very irritating for a perfectionist. But I was letting go! “It was like painting with wide strips. I used my stash, fabric I had dyed, but I think a spot-dye might have been easier to use. My favorite addition was the orange/ terracotta, as it was a little unexpected.”

Blue Himalayan Poppy, 36" x 24", hand-torn wool strips, silk, velvet, and yarn on unbleached linen. Designed by Pris Buttler and hooked by Karen Greenfield, Elkhorn, Nebraska, 2016. Karen tore the wool strips at about one inch. The centers of her flowers are silk velvet, overdyed in mauve, torn at about a #9-cut. “It tears beautifully,” she said, “with fun fuzzy edges. “When I was a little girl, my mom grew the most beautiful red poppies,” Karen said. “We always waited for them to open. I love sky blue, so Voila! A blue Himalayan poppy! My rug was already in progress when Tammy told me about this challenge, so I was inspired to finish it. I thought I wanted a perfect realistic poppy, but this process took me on a different path towards letting go, less control. “Torn strips lend a different and wonderful effect to a rug. They create a fun movement that catches the eye. The torn wide strip has a life of its own. My rug-hooking journey began with the primitive style. I have always been in control of the wool—width, color, height, stacked rows, spacing, etc. Wide-torn strips of wool do not let you have as much control, so I just went with it, which for me was a release, and very satisfying.”


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Purple Iris, 19" x 22", torn wool strips on linen.Designed and hooked by Dana Psoinas, Woodbury, New York, 2016. As with her Tulip, Dana used wool dyed by Loretta Scena. “I picked the purple iris because I love seeing them in all of their glory early in the summer. This one is in my garden. My husband Bob has the green thumb in our family. Our yard is his masterpiece. “The challenge in hooking this flower with hand-torn strips was in capturing the details and shading, to make sure there was some contrast between the petals. It wasn’t easy, but I had to remind myself that it is impressionistic. It was also difficult for me to decide on the background color. The foliage behind the real flower is a bright green, but when I tried it and looked at it in the grey scale, it was a big mush. There was no contrast. Again, I looked to my color wheel to find the complementary color. At first, I found the bright yellow/orange colors to be too bold, but I kept hooking and it grew on me.”

current projects and passions. So why torn strips? Four of us—Dana, Karen, Holly, and I—felt that it was a relief to “go wide” after laboring on the minute details of portraits. Like Dana, I’d been hooking portraits for about a year, working at the narrow end of my own spectrum, the #5

cut. For me, portraits require concentration. At least while rendering facial features, there’s a fair amount of lip-biting, head-scratching, reverse hooking, and second-guessing. So I was more than ready to relax into a meditation mat, and a big beautiful flower seemed just the ticket. To be perfectly honest, I puzzled over

my big flowers, too! I kept Dana’s tulip photo near me as I began. It had been years since I’d hooked with torn strips, and I was surprised at how much detail is possible if we choose thin woolens and place our loops carefully. There’s a learning curve, pulling those wide strips at an angle through the linen, and finding | Rug Hooking


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Mary’s Cone Flower, 19" x 20", torn wool strips on linen. Designed and hooked by Dana Psoinas, Woodbury, New York, 2016. Dana used Loretta Scena’s dyed woolens for this pillow, too, along with her own stash. “Once I started making these flower pillows,” she said, “my eyes became drawn to all of summer’s glorious flowers. I had a lot of lime green wool that I had meant to use for my purple iris background, so I looked to the color wheel again to find its contrasting color. For this flower, I had to be able to use wool in my stash, which is dwindling. “My friend Mary has a beautiful garden. I fell in love with one beautiful coneflower and took a photo. Shading wasn’t as easy this time using my limited wool supply, but I did my best. Now I have these three bright pillows to look at during the cold winter months to come. I like seeing them all next to each other, like a bright little garden in my family room.”

Coleus, 36" x 23", torn wool strips, sari silk, and dyed seam binding on linen. Designed and hooked by Tamara Pavich, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 2016. “The coleus isn’t a flower,” Tamara said. “But when Dana invited me to join this challenge, I went outside to look for a pretty species, and my eye lit on those brilliant leaves in our hanging basket. I also used a couple of reference photos found online. “When I started, this rug was looking so bright, it scared me. It ended up very bright indeed, but it has grown on me. The design had to be simplified in order to render a likeness in torn strips. Maybe I could have tried giving the leaves more dimension and depth—a lesson for next time. The width of my strips varies quite a bit, depending on how the wool tore. My wider strips worked just fine if the wool was thin, but I ended up pulling out some of the thicker, wider strips I’d hooked at first. Thick wool was too bulky. Towards the end of my hooking, I selected thinner wools that I could tear into narrower strips, about the width of my thumb. I asked Dana if I could use some sari silks and dyed seam binding for detail and still be true to our challenge. She said ‘Go for it.’ I found it satisfying to put in some dots and squiggles with those fibers. This sure was a learning project for me.”


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r A Rose by Any Other Name, 23" x 28", hand-torn wool, velour, and velvet strips on burlap. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2016. Brigitte used Scottish tweeds and tartans here, along with other fabrics listed above, and she tore them into strips ranging from a quarter-inch to an inch wide. “My design is based on the style of art deco roses depicted by the Scottish artist Charles Rennie McKintosh whose work I love and admire,” Brigitte said. “This design came to me in the middle of the night. Next morning when I got up, I prepared my backing and drew the design onto the burlap. I started hooking in the center of the rose with a lovely dark velour fabric, choosing other shades and textures as I worked. I used a navy wool for the outlines, giving a softer effect than black, but keeping in the style of the artist. “To give the rose a more interesting effect, I sculpted some of the segments by hooking very high, giving the design a 3D effect. This used much more wool, but it was well worth it. I love the clean-cut simplicity of this stylized rose.”

ways to nestle them against and within each other. Once we become proficient at pulling double-wide loops, it’s downright impressive how fast we can complete a torn-strips project. Brigitte Webb of Dingwall, Scotland, completed all three of her flowers in just over two weeks’ time. “Being part of this lovely challenge has increased my knowledge of this type of hooking,” Brigitte said. “I am grateful to be part of this exciting and oh-so-talented group of rug artists. It is always a joy to be able to share this process with like-minded enthusiasts who love our wonderful art form.”

Karen Greenfield of Elkhorn, Nebraska, expressed her experience beautifully. “I learned that if my loops were low and hooked in a row, they didn’t do anything for me. So I started pulling the loops higher, and they bloomed. I started hooking ‘higgledy-piggledy,’ which was yet another challenge for me. All of a sudden the wool started to turn and curl, creating a great texture and surface. In the past, I have always been in control of the wool—the width, color, height, stacked rows, spacing, etc. Wide torn strips of wool do not let you have as much control. So I just went with it, which for me was a release.”

If your group is looking for a challenge of reasonably short duration, allow the Great Vine to sprout in your part of the world. Though you may be accustomed to hooking an overflowing urn, a garden view, or even a meadow of wildflowers at a distance, choose a single flower this time. You’ll find it surprisingly difficult to select your species, and you will take delight in learning what your friends decide to hook. If you’re lacking bright colors, get busy expanding your stash. And keep an open mind to other fibers and materials to adorn your blossom. Goodbye, winter. Spring is here! | Rug Hooking


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Mango Calla Lily, 17" x 23", hand-torn strips of wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Loretta Scena, Deer Park, New York, 2016. “I wanted to try to hook a hand-torn rug that had a little more definition than my abstract rosebud,” Loretta said. “This is from a photo I took of the mango calla lilies in my front yard. I tried to match the colors in the photo and added a rich dark green background. Using these saturated and bright colors is not my normal palette. I am always surprised at the results when I step out of my color comfort zone.” Loretta feels that this mat is both realistic and impressionistic, and maybe “a tad abstract.”

Bird of Paradise, 21" x 21", hand-torn strips of hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Michele Micarelli, New Haven, Connecticut, 2016. “At the young age of eighteen,” Michele said, “I had my second child, a beautiful son born one year after his fabulous sister. I felt my life was perfect. My husband brought a dozen exotic bird of paradise flowers to the hospital, and I was amazed! “The hand-torn strips are a challenge for me, as I love detail. However, it does move along very fast. You need some loose linen and a big hook. I left my ends on the back, as this mat will be hung. The edges are finished with wool and thick cording.”


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r Very Scottish Thistles, 21 1⁄2" x 28", torn wool strips on burlap. Designed and hooked by Brigitte Webb, Dingwall, Scotland, 2016. Brigitte hooked her very Scottish thistles in an Impressionistic style, using recycled wools in tartans, plaids and tweeds. “Thistles are a national symbol,” Brigitte said, “so I was enthusiastic to create a design using Scottish fabrics. They are far from easy to use because of their tendency to fray at the edges, making for a not-so-neat rug at the back. “The most challenging part was the ‘bright’ aspect of our task. However, although more subdued than my pansy, I tried to achieve the brightness by using a lovely dark Blackwatch tartan for the background to make the thistles pop. This rug was very much influenced by where I live. I do think it is more of a cross between Realism and Impressionism, my own take on our thistles and our identity.”

Remember: The key is to zoom way, way in on your species. Draw one flower or cluster and hook only that. I wish I had cropped in closer on my hydrangea, to achieve the kind of drama that others

achieved. When we crop or truncate images, we can end up with flowers that are easily recognizable, or we can watch as abstract art blossoms under our hands. As you pull your loops and meditate on

petals, their contours, and colors, the hours will fly away. And when your challenge is met, may you find a whole garden in bloom. RHM

Tamara Pavich of southwest Iowa writes frequently for RHM. Her book of design ideas for rug hookers will be released in June 2017. She warmly thanks Sarah, Dana, and Loretta—and all of the Torn-Bloom Hookers for their inspiration. | Rug Hooking




ou can tell a lot about a person by how they play board games. Some people learn them as they go, making up rules on the fly. Some get moving quickly but never really read the fine print. I scrutinize the rules and probe them for weakness through play, figuring out where the loopholes are. I don’t just want to exploit those loopholes (although I do like to win). Rather, I want to rewrite the limits, identify all possible contingencies. It is precisely the confine or the limit that is the challenge for me. Rug hooking is like playing board games, too: you can play within quite a few external limits. The most important limit of my rug hooking practice is that the colors, textures, and quantities of woven fabrics are dictated by what I have in my stash and what I can find at thrift shops. I love the thrill of the hunt. I only use woven fabrics, with at least 80% wool content for their durability. Color limits are alleviated by marrying colours in the dye pot and raiding stashes of other hooking artists. The question, “Will I have enough wool to finish this rug?” is the thrilling and suspenseful question any hooking artist has lived with at least once. If you are a rugmaker who chooses to work with reclaimed wool, then you work with that question on every project with every wool. Many rug hookers buy and dye new wool, so they don’t have these limits. I


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aspire to the “make do” quality of the only antique hooked rug I ever owned. The creator started out with olive leaves on a twig, then ran out of olive. One half of a leaf was a beautiful teal, and it shouldn’t have belonged, but it did. I enjoy the unpredictable juxtapositions of texture and color reclaimed wool brings. A stubborn devotion to sustainability doesn’t slow problem-solving creative people down. Rather it generates other aesthetic and stylistic connections and adaptations. There are more loopholes than we think: in my work there are at least 15 loop holes per square inch.

Reasons to recycle wool: Sustainability and Economy Rug hooking’s demographic is older than that of quilting or knitting. If rug makers want to generate a younger, appreciative audience and grow potential rug hookers, we need to work to our great strength,

which is rug hooking’s emphasis on sustainability. We have the opportunity to practice an art that has little to no detrimental impact on the environment, if we are re-using materials. Producing new wool on a large scale requires many resources. It does not resemble the stereotypical image of sheep peacefully grazing in front of a rustic barn. For wool, the carbon footprint (a measure of greenhouse gases that are produced during manufacture and that contribute to climate change) of wool depends on a number of factors, but averages about 5-6 kg/CO2 per kilogram of finished wool product. By comparison, reusing wool has a carbon footprint of zero. Large-scale wool production has other negative impacts on the environment, including soil erosion, decreased biodiversity, and waterway pollution. It also involves unethical treatment of animals, including “mulesing” (removal of skin

Lego Lives Here Now, 46" x 46", #8-cut recycled wool on burlap. Designed and hooked by Nadine Flagel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2005. I created the design knowing that I had about a skirt’s worth of each of eight different-colored wools, and smaller amounts of four other colors. In the repeat, each of the four wools got one row, and each of the eight got two rows. I had leftovers of all the fabrics.

around the genitalia) and inhumane slaughter. Repurposing makes better use of the energies invested in creating fabrics: we lengthen their lifespan. It’s also cheaper: good quality new wool costs about $35 US per yard. I estimate that I harvest a yard

of recycled wool for between $10-$15 US per yard. Moreover, it is always more efficient to divert materials out of landfill or incineration. (Never put clothing in the garbage—even if it is worn out. Donate it and it can be re-sold or recycled.) It is true that rug hookers—even

collectively—work on a fairly small scale. We won’t have the impact that industrial changes can have. But I believe our intervention in the consumer culture that tells us to buy new and cheap and fashionable and to throw away the old is crucial. By rug hooking with reused wool, and by us- | Rug Hooking


MARRYING WOOL: AN EASY COLOR MODIFICATION WE ALL LOVE Marrying wools is a dyeing process that uses two found wools and no powder dye. Dye from each wool comes out into the dye pot, the colors blend, and then each wool absorbs a bit of the other wool’s color. This is what happens: If you marry a light color with a bright or dark colour, the light color will absorb the bright color while the bright color will dim slightly. With pinks for the peonies (page 40), I married the darker pink wool with two lighter pinks to generate three additional shades.

Tulips (Pink) and Tulips (Yellow), 21" x 39", #4- and 8-cut recycled wool on linen. Adapted from a fabric design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and hooked by Nadine Flagel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2013. The dark bubble motif in the background uses at least 10 different fabrics and makes the rug more dynamic. I obtained some new wool from other rug makers for the lighter colors in this rug. 38

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Windy, 321⁄2" x 18", #8-cut recycled wool on linen. Adapted from a design by an unknown Art Nouveau artist and hooked by Nadine Flagel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2006. The original design had lines indicating ripples. By using a light blue tweed for the crests of the waves, then a grey with a metallic sparkle behind that, and finally a dark blue plaid, I was able to follow up the ripples and divide up the bottom of the rug into three different fabrics.

ing sustainably sourced wool, we stage a critical interruption of consumer culture and we join the so-called “slow” movement. We model the principles of thrift and teach practical skills that embody those principles. Here I address common questions about reusing wool for those who might like to experiment.

How and where do you get wool for repurposing? Start with your own sewing fabric stash and closet. Then let friends and family know that you can use wool and they will sometimes pass it on. (As much as I would like to, I do not tell strangers, “I’d like to make a rug with your jacket!” Although the comment is truly a compliment, it may be perceived as a threat.) Learn which thrift stores might make deals and which do not. Learn

which are expensive and which have sale days and which are cheap. First check women’s skirts, thin woolen blankets, and scarves. These have the most fabric in the most colors and the least amount of work involved in deconstruction. Then check women’s pants, jackets, and suits, and men’s pants, jackets, and suits. Choose garments that are moth-eaten, stained, ripped or otherwise in need of love. To build a stash, choose some basic colors, such as black, navy, gray and brown. You should be able to find red and green, too. Tweeds are versatile. Plaids are great because you can generate several different colors from one garment: if you cut along the stripes and sort the worms, each group of similarly colored worms will have a slightly different emphasis but they will always complement each other nicely. If there are colors you need but can’t find, people

on Etsy or local rug makers will sell small amounts of specially dyed wool. Choose midweight fabrics. Scarf or skirt weight is usually good. Superfine merino is too thin, and coat weight is sometimes too thick. Choose garments made out of at least 80% wool. That amount can include some cashmere or other animal fibers. If an item does not have a label but feels like wool, do not conclude that it is wool unless you are extremely experienced with textiles. I often think a garment is wool by touch, only to discover the label states it contains a lot of acrylic.

How do you prepare the wool? The first thing to do is thoroughly wash it. Wash similar-colored garments in hot water with gentle detergent. Reds especially may run. Use a vinegar rinse for stinky garments. Dry similar-colored garments in | Rug Hooking


Peonies, 12" x 12", #4- and 8-cut recycled wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Nadine Flagel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2015. At least half-a-dozen different greys were used in the random-style background. Greys always make a great background, and you can always find them at the thrift store.

a hot dryer. Make sure to check your dryer lint trap, because you will be generating epic fluff. (Fun fact: you can needle felt with the dryer lint.) Deconstruct the garments. Cut off waistbands and cut along all the seams. Cut out zippers, shoulder pads, 40

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

pockets, and buttonholes. Cut off buttons, without cutting the fabric underneath. Some people tear out seams and unpick darts, but I find this too time-consuming and the fabric too wrinkled. If a hem or pleat is really deep, then it might be worth unpick-

ing. (Hint: certain charities or your local elementary school may have a use for buttons and other scraps, so you don’t need to put them into landfill.) Interfaced fabric can often be stripped of the fusible interfacing, but this requires time and an iron guard to

protect your iron. Jackets do have a lot of interfacing, which is why they are low on my list at the thrift shop.

How do you fill an area if you don’t know if you will have enough wool? First, choose or create a design that does not require too much of any single wool. If you look over the designs here, you’ll notice that most of them have a balance between the areas devoted to subjects and backgrounds. No rug has half of its area devoted to a single-color background. There are important variables, but for each square inch of hooked surface area you will need about 4 to 5 square inches for fluffy wool, 6 to 7 for thinner wool. Test swatches of hooking to find your personal ratio. Consider that ratio when planning your hooking, to ensure you have enough fabric for each part of the design. If you source a lot of fabrics with similar hues and values, and group them together either by blending (as in the background) or alternating, you should have plenty of wool. 1. Outline any subjects and the boundary/border in your fill color. Keep outlining the subject, moving out from the center. Each time you finish a row of outline, change the wool. The change might be one of texture only, with no change in hue or value, or it might be a subtle shift in value. This approach creates a rippling visual impact. The more you see the directional lines, the more the effect is enhanced. 2. Introduce new and subtle objects or shapes into the “negative space” or fill space to add complexity, depth, and movement. Outline these instead of the major subjects. These other shapes can echo other shapes or themes in the rug’s subject. The effect can provide balance and harmony to the rug. Each row of

hooking involves a very slight change of hue, value, or texture. 3. Use the random technique. Hook 1-3 loops in one direction. Switch direction, crossing both a warp and a weft thread (e.g. moving diagonally). Hook 1-3 loops. Switch direction again. Never turn more than 90 degrees when you change direction. For backgrounds, choose one type of wool and scatter these randomly hooked worms every few inches within your hooking area. Choose another wool and work the worms near (but not along the length of) the previous worms. Keep the worms heading in different directions. 4. Alternate between similar shades in the fill areas. In the Tulips rugs, for instance, the original outline offered only swags of single hues. I filled in the stem or leaf areas with overlapping leaf shapes or elongated candy-cane swirls. I also introduced some shading to the tulips. This list of suggestions is not exhaustive; for instance, RHM published rugs by Sally Mello and Jeanne Day (November/ December 2015) in which those artists demonstrated a more geometric approach to the challenge. They divided backgrounds into many angular shapes, so no single wool would be required in large quantities.

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How do you approach shading if you don`t do precision or dip-dyeing? I almost always use a primitive or #8 cut (1⁄4"), one of the wider cuts and associated with folk art or primitive rugs, which tend to use color in very simplified, blocky ways. What I am trying to figure out is how to play with color and dimensionality without using the tradition of fine cuts and realistic shading. After I have deconstructed garments, I do any dyeing techniques required. I try to use fabrics with as little chemical interference as possible. | Rug Hooking


Antidote, 321⁄2" x 32 1⁄2", #8-cut recycled wool on linen. Adapted from a design by Rene Beauclair and hooked by Nadine Flagel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2007. One piece of wool came from another rug maker, and the rest is reclaimed. The leaves have light-colored ends (like new growth or buds), and they also have darker stems in some places. That meant three wools instead of one. The flowers include plaids and blue reds with hot pinks and warm pinks. (It felt good to find a hot pink wool blazer from 1986 with the biggest shoulder pads I had ever seen and remove it from circulation!)

Working sustainably Generally, working with entirely reclaimed wool can be challenging because the textures and weaves change so much from wool to wool. You may need to experiment with the space you

leave between loops in your rug. Additionally, some wools tend to lose threads (just snip them off) and some are more likely to fold. Having said that, I find that used wool is much more pliant (and easier on the hands) than new.

Some of the most impressive artistry comes from finding uses for discarded items. I think you will be surprised how much repurposed wool you can find, how creative you can be with it, and how good it feels to work sustainably. RHM

Nadine Flagel hooks rugs and teaches English literature in Vancouver, BC. Her mission is “making art out of making do.” She shares a passion for sustainable rug hooking through education, posting on Instagram (check out @pretextstudio), and selling coordinated repurposed wool strips and stylish Art Nouveau patterns at


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017 | Rug Hooking



Canada’s 150th Celebration Ontario Rug Hookers celebrate April 28–30, 2017

Churches of Mahone Bay, 311⁄2" x 24", #3-cut wool on linen. Designed by Christine Little, Encompassing Designs. Hooked by Janice Daniels, 2009.


n 2016, Lonely Planet named Canada the top destination for travelers in 2017, when the country will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Talk about icing on your birthday cake!

Lonely Planet’s Canada destination editor says the country took the top spot for 2017 because “. . . there’s so much happening” in the year ahead. “It’s the country’s biggest birthday party in recent memory with the sesquicentennial next year, and they won’t be shy about celebrating. Now


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

is the time to start planning a trip.” “It’s great that Canada won. It’s a country that is known for being humble, yet it’s #1.” For those of us in the Canadian rug hooking community, it’s going to be a big year and a big party. Having just celebrated the 50th Anniversary

of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild (OHCG) at Deerhurst Resort in 2016, one would think we would be hard pressed to find a suitable way to follow that. Luckily, Canada’s birthday has given us the perfect platform for another whizz-bang celebration. Take a look at our mascots for

Constable Jacques and Constable Jill, 11" x 37", #6-cut wool on burlap. Designed and hooked by Rosemary Malone, Newcastle, Ontario, 2016.

the 2017 Annual in Cobourg, Ontario and you can see that it will truly be a celebration of “all things Canada.” What do you get when you combine our iconic Mountie and a moose? A perfect pair of mascots for the 51st OHCG Annual and Canada’s 150th Celebration.

The 51st OHCG Annual Theme: Images of Canada “Our theme in keeping with our country’s 150th birthday is very fitting: “Images of Canada,” and we’re expecting a large number of original entries in this category,” says Madeline Thibault-Smith, one of the co-chairs of the event. The three-day event from April 28–30, 2017 is an action-packed mecca for rug hookers with workshops, vendors, and an incredible display of more than 500 rugs. Although much of the weekend is reserved for OHCG members, the display is open to the public on Sunday. The setting for the Annual in historical, picturesque Cobourg, Ontario is just what Lonely Planet is talking about. No matter where you live in Canada, there’s something beautiful to look at. And to hook. To get an early start on entries for next year’s show, eager students quickly filled the samenamed “Images of Canada” class at the recent Ontario Hooking Craft Guild School in Ancaster, Ontario. You see here two of the inspiring images, hooked by teacher Janice Daniels. “The emphasis for 2017 is to show our Canadian pride through rug hooking!” So says Liz Brock, the other Cobourg co-chair. Let’s face it: you only turn 150 once, so we had best make the most of it. We look forward to this celebratory year, knowing that our rug hookers will more than rise to the challenge and commemorate the 150th in fitting style. And we will be thrilled to share the fruits of their creativity both at the 51st Annual and on our website Come to Ontario in 2017 and help us celebrate! RHM

Proctor House Museum, 19" x 14", #3 cut leftover wool worms on rug warp. Adapted from a photograph. Designed and hooked by Janice Daniels, 2005.

Wendie Scott Davis was captured by rug hooking with her very first loop, and it continues to romance her some 14 years later. It’s the community. It’s the creativity. It’s the artistic expression. It’s the joy. It’s why she is a passionate hooker, teacher, volunteer and writer about all things hooking. | Rug Hooking




Color swatches used in Arundel Crewel


rundel Crewel, designed by Joan Moshimer, is a classic pattern that, when hooked as shown, is a traditional crewel color plan. At 15" round, Arundel Crewel is a pattern that allows you to “taste” or “test” a new color palette, try new techniques, and even explore new binding options. Small projects like this are good for creative explorations. I found this pattern was the perfect “travel” pattern for my long trips last fall. Arundel Crewel lends itself to being hooked in tones and values of one color: bright or muted, or any color play you choose. For this version of Arundel Crewel, I chose traditional crewel colors. The soft and light background has a bit of variation; it is a spot dye called Mother of Pearl. Once I chose this light background, it was easy to settle on the wonderful shades of violet, turquoise, and rich greens for the motifs in the design. This pattern and its manageable size allows you to work from your stash, using up


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

those small pieces we all save “just in case.” Put those orphan bits of wool to good use in this small piece. Let them shine in a lovely crewel design. With a crewel pattern, the key for movement and grace is in the small details, such as the veins in the leaves, the different fabrics in the strawberries, and the four colors used in the tree trunk. Arundel Crewel has a detailed border for such a small piece. This sophisticated border ties all the pieces together, and uses wool the same colors in darker shades than you use in the interior. Notice the sequence: there is a border line, the background, the border itself, and then a repeated border line. These details complement the design and allow the piece to look completed and well-finished. When finishing Arundel Crewel, you can completely back the piece with wool or use a corresponding binding tape. Aurndel Crewel hooks up quickly and will soon be ready for your spring table. RHM

Arundel Crewel, 15" round, #3- and #4-cut wool. Designed by Joan Moshimer and hooked by Lisanne Miller, Wells, Maine, 2016. | Rug Hooking




JOAN MOSHIMER’S RUG HOOKER’S NEWS AND VIEWS We are pleased to take a quick look back into our archives with this piece. Actually, this piece appeared in print even before RHM had archives. You may know that RHM has its roots deep in Joan Moshimer’s Rug Hooker’s News and Views. As you also know, rug hooking has progressed and changed over the last 35 years. We love looking back to see what was popular “back in the day” as we enjoy our current styles and designs. You can see and read here how Joan suggested this piece be hooked. In fact, the chair pad we show here is hooked following Joan’s instructions in the original article from 1987 (Rug Hookers News and Views, V.15, #3, pages 50-51). Now, we all know that there are multiple ways to hook a rug, and rug hookers change and tweak and revise all the time. We all love the look of traditional crewel work. But these days we are much less likely to follow a step-by-step color plan, laid out by someone else. After all, we all have favorite colors and color combinations, so let’s celebrate that! How would you hook this piece? What color plays suit your décor? Are your rugs bright and splashy? Soft and muted? Realistic or fantastic? Follow your muse, and show us what you have done! We’d love to see your rendition of Arundel Crewel. Send us a photo and we will post it on our website.


from Rug Hooker News and Views Issue 83, V. 15, #3, March-April 1987 Here are the color suggestions from Joan Moshimer, describing how she hooked the piece in the traditional crewel colors, with traditional crewel shading. These instructions are for experienced dyers and hookers.

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

• J oan used the lovely transitional formulas from Anne Ashworth’s “Chroma Craft” dye book for her transitional dyed wool. • The background shown is off-white. As this is a light background, take care to use a medium or dark value at the edges of all details. Attractive alternatives to the off-white background are soft yellow or creamy old ivory. • The main flower is in a transitional wool, ranging from rose to purple-blues. This wool also is used in the center of the “shamrock” flowers and in the border. • For the “tear drops” on the center flower and the “shamrock” flower: outline with crimson, then fill them with various values of the yellow-to-mahogany transition wool.


af • T  runk: hook this in shades of the yellow-to-mahogany transitional wool. • T  he large leaves are hooked in all the shades of a transitional green from light to dark. The veins are medium blue. • T  he small leaves use just the lighter shades of green; veins for these are a dull red. • Hills: use lighter values from the green transition.

HOOKING TIP FROM JOAN: After you are finished hooking, study your work. Ask yourself: are the leaves and petals gracefully pointed? It is easy for them to become blunted, especially when putting background next to them. If they have, tuck in a few extra loops so that they regain their points.

Main Flower

Keep the points sharp

Large Leaf

Leaf: Transitional green from light to dark


Shade from dark outside edge to lighter inside

Dark outside Medium inside | Rug Hooking


A RUG HOOKING EXCLUSIVE PATTERN Strawberries Light green dots, added last

Medium light outside edge to light inside


Dark greens Top: dark Center: medium dark Bottom: medium

• S  trawberries and the trunk use the same yellow-to-mahogany transitional wool. For spots in the strawberries, use the lightest value of the green; put them in last. • Strawberry sepals: use a dark value of green.

Large Leaf


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Dark outside edge to medium


Border background medium

• Border: shades of the rose-to-purple blues on shades of the mahogany wools. | Rug Hooking



Shamrock Flower

• T  he outer part of the “shamrock” flowers is hooked in a yellow-tomahogany transitional wool. Medium outer edge to light inside Dark edge to medium Medium green stem

Designed Exclusively for Rug Hooking Magazine Arundel Crewel/W. Cushing & Co. Joan Moshimer Design

Large Leaf To order the pattern or the kit for The Shelburne Mermaid, contact Rug Hooking magazine, 1-877297-0965. Or order online at www.rughookingmagazine. com. The cost for the pattern on linen is $28, plus shipping and handling. A kit with the pattern on linen, wool for hooking, color picture, and binding tape: $95 plus shipping and handling.


Pattern on linen: $28, plus $2.75 S&H Kit with pattern drawn on linen: $95 (S&H $6.00) Kit includes pattern on linen, wool for hooking, color picture, and binding tape.

Call 1-877-297-0965 to order or order online at

Arundel Crewel, 15" diameter

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

See page 46 for article. Offer expires August 31, 2017.

(940) 531–4002 | Rug Hooking



A Firm Foundation Which backing is best for you? BY GREEN MOUNTAIN HOOKED RUGS


friend recently told us that he “never argues religion, politics, or backings.” Spoken like a true rug hooker, don’t you think?

While we agree that people tend to have their favorites, there are some backings that are better suited for certain projects. It is important to understand the features of each as you make decisions on which one to use. The purpose of this article is not to tell you which backing is best because there is no right answer to that question! It all depends.

Budget Budget is important because it’s possible to do anything on any

the loops in place as you go. You can also split the fibers in monk’s cloth to pack— in more loops per square inch, but be careful of packing too much! If you overpack your loops on monk’s cloth, you run the risk of a warped finished product. Rug warp is a good alternative because it does not stretch like monk’s cloth. Larger cuts (#7-10) are better suited for linen, as the holes in linen are larger and open up more easily. If you are hooking a #5 or 6 cut any backing will suffice.

backing. As you can see from the table, your backing can range anywhere from $10–$40 a yard—and that’s a big difference! But there is more to the story than what the backing will cost.

Size of Cut If budget is not an issue, then the size cut you are hooking with becomes most important. In general, it is easier to hook a #2, 3, or 4 cut on monk’s cloth because the fibers in those backings are tighter and will hold

Behaviors and Characteristics of Each Backing Bleached linen: Linen fabric is not as stretchy as monk’s cloth (think of a piece of linen clothing vs. a cotton

BACKING FACT SHEET Scottish Burlap Monk’s Cloth Rug Warp

Unbleached Bleached Linen Linen

Cost per yard $10-$12 $18-$20 $20-$24 $30-$32 $37-$40 Fabric





58"/60" 59"/60" 60"


Threads per square inch


24 x 26

12 x 12


Brown White White Brown Off-white



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11 x 13

Linen (flax)

12 x 12

Linen (flax)

Double ply t-shirt—the backings behave the same way). The holes are slightly larger so it will be tough to pack a #3- or 4-cut into linen tightly enough. But linen is perfect for larger cuts. Keep in mind, though, that not all linens are created equal. Look for two characteristics when choosing a linen: • Look at the size of the holes. Is it a primitive linen or a traditional linen? The easiest way to tell is hold it up at arm’s length: if you can see outlines of objects through the linen, it is likely primitive. If you can’t see much of anything, it is more likely a traditional linen and made for smaller cuts.


Single ply except for the color. Because of that, think about the composition of your pattern. If you have a lot of small sections in your pattern, it could be difficult to see your lines on this linen once you get hooking. Some people notice a stronger smell to unbleached linen as well, so give it a good sniff before you buy it and make sure you won’t mind. Monk’s cloth: This backing is made of 100% cotton, but what differentiates it from its rug warp cousin is its double strand (as opposed to rug warp’s single strand). These two strands provide monk’s cloth with its best and worst

• L  ook at the individual strands. Some are a double ply, some a single ply. The single-ply linen is less expensive and more fibrous and therefore can be pulled apart if you get your hook stuck in it. If you see a rug with linen fibers pulled through to the front, it was likely hooked on a single-ply linen. The single ply can also make it harder to pull your wool through the holes. If you pull a strand off the linen and untwist it, you can determine if it is a single or double ply. Unbleached or natural linen: This is exactly the same as bleached linen


• D  on’t skimp on backing. There are better places to save a few bucks, and skimping on backing won’t save you all that much anyway (unless you are hooking an enormous rug). • Don’t try to hook small or detailed images on unbleached linen. The color of unbleached linen makes it more difficult to see the motifs and lines, and could throw off your entire design. • Don’t look for backing in big fabric stores. People often ask, “So I can just buy backing at a Jo-Ann fabrics, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby, right?” No. These big fabric stores do not carry backing. You will need to find a rug hooking retailer for good quality backing, worthy of your time and wool. • Don’t buy burlap. If you want your rug to last for a long time to come, burlap is not the right choice. • Don’t confuse the words “strand” and “ply”.


• D  o experiment with all of the backings. Decide what you like best and what will work for your projects. • Do understand quality. If you are unsure of the backing quality, test it out first. Discounted backing is usually discounted for a reason and may have knots or a missing strand, or some other problem. That doesn’t mean you can’t cut around the flaws; ask why it’s discounted and understand what you are purchasing. • Do buy old burlap patterns. Transfer the design to a different backing; this does not infringe on the copyright of the pattern as long as you do not use, resell, or return the burlap pattern. • Do ask questions! Most backing retailers understand the differences and characteristics of each backing and can help you make a good selection for your project. | Rug Hooking



quality. On the positive side, the double strand allows rug hookers working in very small cuts to split the strands and gain even more detail for their piece. On the negative side, it can stretch and buckle if you pack your loops too tightly. Monk’s cloth also does not hold or regain its shape as well as the other backings. Rug warp: This is slightly more stretchy than linen, but not quite as stretchy as the monk’s cloth. With fewer threads per square inch than monk’s cloth, it works well with a larger cut, yet you will also be able to pack in a #3- or 4-cut. You can tell rug warp apart from monk’s cloth because monk’s cloth has a white stripe and rug warp does not.

Scottish burlap: You might be enticed by the low cost of burlap, but if you go with burlap you will sacrifice durability and longevity. The jute strands have been known to break, and burlap will not stand the test of time. In dry attics burlap will dry out and crack; in humid conditions burlap might mold and disintegrate. Specialty backings: There are many different variations on the four main backings that we’ve outlined

above. Possibly the most notable is “mixed linen.” This linen has one brown strand and one white strand, which makes your pattern line slightly easier to see without the added cost of all-bleached linen. Most linens come in the primitive style, but you can find some traditional linens which have more threads per square inch, which means the holes are smaller. The Dorr Mill Store carries this traditional 13 x 13 linen. RHM

Green Mountain Hooked Rugs is a five-generation, family-owned business. Their retail store is in Montpelier, Vermont, where they sell a wide variety of rug hooking supplies including bolt wool, hand-dyed wool, patterns, and equipment. They own and operate Green Mountain Rug School, an annual event in June. While honoring the traditions of the past, they are focused on expanding traditional practices and exploring new techniques in rug hooking.

For Five Generations



All Ruckman Mill Farm Patterns, Design-In-a-Box & Dye Recipes Offered Exclusively Through Green Mountain Hooked Rugs! 56

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017 | Rug Hooking



Fiber artist Tracy Jamar has a new book! Just released, Coils, Folds, Twists and Turns is an appealing guide to the world of standing wool, shirring, and other traditional wool techniques—with a contemporary twist. Along with step-by-step instructions on how to construct perfect coils, attach these coils and wool caterpillars to the backing, and finish pieces for the floor and the wall, Tracy shares 15 projects and designs to inspire you. And, to top it off, the book includes a gallery of amazing works from artists around the world. We are pleased that she shared one of these projects with RHM.


ince I knew I was going to hook part of this pattern, I used my usual hooking foundation, monk’s cloth. Whatever you normally use is fine. I hand cut all my strips and they were in the 1⁄4" (.6 cm) range; the bias-shirred mane was cut about 1" (2.5 cm) wide.

As all design lines would be covered, I marked the pattern on the foundation with a permanent marker. The pattern is small, so I mounted it on a frame, though using a regular hooking frame would have been fine too. Mane and forelock: I used remnants from a piece of old, homespun, plaid wool fabric. Plaids look great in bias shirring, as you see the variety of colors. For the mane to stand higher in relief than the other elements, cut the bias strip wider than double the height that the hooking will be. Fold it lengthwise and stitch close to the fold, then gather slightly to put some wave in the strips. I usually leave the ends of bias strips angled, unless the fabric unravels easily, in which case they can be cut square. The angled ends of

the strips are overlapped as they are attached to the foundation. When coming to the end of the design, fold and secure the ends. Outline: The blues and reds I chose are very close in value; I wanted something to define their separation better. Picking up on the light color in the plaid, I made seamed cording out of a cream-colored challis-weight wool cut on the bias. Cut bias strips 1" (2.5 cm), which is four times as wide as the finished cording. The hooking strips are about 1⁄4" (.6 cm). Fold each long side in to the center and fold in half again. Stitch the folded sides closed, tucking in ends to desired length. Bias cording will lie better around curves. Attach the cording to design lines along the horse’s outline. The bias strips are arranged on the pattern; even short strips are used by overlapping them.

To make bias-shirred strips: Fold strip in half lengthwise, run a stitch near the fold, and gather it slightly. 58

Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

“On Alert” Horse, 8" x 8". Designed and created by Tracy Jamar, NYC, 2015.


• H  ooking, coiling, bias shirring, and standing wool

• • • •


Scissors or cutter Threads Rug hook N  eedles—heavier, longer, and/or curved needle, or what works best for you

• F  abrics—as shown, made with new, repurposed, and antique wool and hooking foundation • Pliers are optional, but sometimes it is easier to pull/push with pliers than fingers. | Rug Hooking


Bias piping made from a damaged wool challis shawl. The edges of the strip are folded to the center, then the strip is folded again and sewn closed. The bias-shirred mane and forelock and the outline piping are in place; the hooking has started.

The progress of the coils filling in the background

Close-up of a strip of wool coiled and inserted into a tight space

Close-up of wool strips wound around the coils to fill in empty spaces

The back before the binding is folded back and sewn. The corners of the foundation are cut to eliminate more bulk. Right: The binding is sewn to the top before pinning and sewing it to the back. The corners are “boxed” then mitered on the back to make them less bulky. 60

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Horse: Hook a selection of reds to fill

in the horse. Do not hook too closely to the mane; the bias shirring will expand to fill in any small gaps that appear, as will the next rows of hooking. Background: With a selection of blues, make coils of various sizes and combinations and attach them to the foundation along the mane and cording. In oddly shaped areas between the coils, use the strips as standing wool and fold

them into spaces and around the coils to make undulating patterns. Attach as you go, and fill in until the background is covered. Binding: Cut or tear strips of wool (I tore them about 2" [5.1 cm] wide) to match the area that the binding will be next to, and sew in place. This can be made into a pillow or framed. RHM

Tracy Jamar is a fiber artist from New York City where she was head of textile restoration in a premier gallery. She taught and exhibited at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week and she teaches, lectures, and consults on a wide range of topics. She is the author (with Jan Whitlock) of American Sewn Rugs: Their History with Exceptional Examples. Visit her website at

Pattern outline | Rug Hooking


A Love ofWOOL



alk into her living room and you immediately get the feel for the style that inspires artist Jeannine Happe of Two Old Crows. Her love of antiques and primitives transports you to an era gone long ago. From Jeannine’s artistic flare for staging homes with her daughter to her felted animals and the primitive rugs she designs and hooks, what was once old is new again.

Jeannine’s first introduction to rug hooking was many years ago when she came upon a hooked rug while antiquing. She was fascinated by the detail, the colors, and the women who created these old rugs. And so it began. Jeannine did some research about these rugs and became both intrigued and sad at the same time. Unlike furniture which withstands time, the rugs which were hooked on burlap simply did not hold up. They were made for utilitarian, practical uses and did not hold up well with everyday wear and tear. 62

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Brooklyn Bridge, 48" x 30", #4- to #8-cut off-the-bolt and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Jeannine Happe, Blairstown, New Jersey, 2010. Adaptation of a very early oil painting.

Always interested in creative pastimes, Jeannine knew she could conquer this art form. Purchasing luscious wools was like finding the perfect antique. Jeannine says, “There’s nothing more invigorating than the thrill of the hunt.” Color and texture is what moves her spirit in everything she touches. Jeannine’s inspiration comes from her love of antiques and so she incorporates that into her rugs with everything from Americana wide-cut designs to the more intricate McGown-style rugs to the look of old tavern signs.

Her newest creation, which she premiered at a hook-in run by Heavens to Betsy, is her take on old coverlets. This coverlet design, which comes in at 40" x 69", is by far one of her largest creations. She is hooking the coverlet primarily in #8- and 8.5cuts with some fine lines here and there, and in only 3 colors (in keeping with the coverlets of the past). She said, “I’m attracted to big rugs because of the statement they make when you walk into a room. I’m into instant gratification and prefer to hook in wider cuts, simply because I need to move onto the next design exploding in my head. This coverlet was supposed to be a table runner. I quickly realized it could be gorgeous if it grew and I wanted to hook it myself, so it needed to be a floor rug. There is so much detail in antique coverlets that when my design started to come together I knew that I needed to leave out some of the detail in compiling mine.” Jeannine laughingly says, “The runner will make its appearance in 2017.” | Rug Hooking


Durham Cow, 22" x 16", 3- to #5-cut off-the-bolt and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Jeannine Happe, Blairstown, New Jersey, 2007. Adaptation of very early oil painting.

Mambrino Horse, 27" x 21", #3- to #6-cut off-the-bolt and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Jeannine Happe, Blairstown, New Jersey, 2010. Adaptation of very early oil painting. 64

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Jeannine, as time allows, will also help others create a rug pattern that is “all theirs.” She created a runner for one client using photos of her favorite pottery and hand carved Santas, and a Native American rug for another who loved to hook but just wasn’t finding what she wanted. She enjoys stepping out of her box and creating designs for her customers. Jeannine hand dyes her wools and will dye different base wools (solids, textures, and plaids) with the same color just to see what she will get. “You would be amazed by how different a color comes out, depending on the base wool. Even the type of water you have can make a difference. Well water verses town water can make a huge difference on how a color looks. I’ve dyed wool with my well water in the morning and followed the same recipe at night after doing laundry all day, and the color will come out differently. But that’s half the fun, and surprises are sometimes even better than what you expected.”

Winter at Red Mill Creek, 66" x 36", #3- to #6-cut off-the-bolt and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Jeannine Happe, Blairstown, New Jersey, 2013.

It is not unheard of when Jeannine gets in a wool-dyeing mood for her to have two pots of wool on the stove and four pots up on two propane camping stoves her husband found for her. Recently she dyed 17 yards of wool in just one day; those that dye wool know that is quite a lot of effort. Jeannine’s wool room, where old jelly cupboards display piles of various colors and shades, reveals how much she loves what she does. Jeannine says, “Pulling out my various dye recipe books and getting the pots up—this must be what a painter feels like when they open up their tubes of paint. It all begins to come together. My color palette is directly related to the color mood I’m in on that particular day.” When asked if she ever has bad color days she says, “There is no ugly color; even an ugly wool can be overdyed into something spectacular.

You can always add more color, going from lighter to darker. Even dark wool can be transformed into the perfect antique black. I enjoy pulling the hand dyed wools and color planning a project.” Jeannine’s love of wool doesn’t stop at her many hand-hooked rugs. She scours sheep and wool shows for roving that she uses to create her other love, felted animals. Jeannine studies the anatomy and overall appearance of real animals through extensive research in order to create realistic figures, whose expressions are brought to life with real glass eyes and attention to the finest details. Jeannine creates and hand sews their clothes, hand sculpts certain features (such as hands and feet), and adds just the right touches—so much so that the animals look like they could up and walk, hop, or scamper away. Many of her animals incorporate small

antique items, such as a mouse in an old leather baby shoe “boat” and a herd of goats pulling a pig in a cart, which was a personal favorite of Jeannine’s. She states, “I took this particular piece to a show secretly hoping that it would not sell. Funny enough, it was the first to go that day.” Jeannine’s felted creatures have been well received at shows and on her Etsy page, with repeat customers, some of whom collect a particular style or animal. Jeannine resides in New Jersey with her husband Glenn and their three dogs Maggie, Lizzie, and Miss Maya. She was selected as a Designer Craftsman by Early American Life magazine. Jeannine’s patterns can be found via her shop on Etsy “Twooldcrowsnj” or on her website www. RHM

Christine Coslet and her husband live in northern New Jersey with their fur kids. She works in HR and her husband recently closed his business while he awaits a kidney transplant. Chris began hooking in October 2012 when she was looking for a hobby for herself and her two sisters to do together. | Rug Hooking



The Golden Egg Wide strips, soft colors, and raffia


Backing: • Unbleached primitive linen: 28" x 42"

Wool: • Background: 1 yd. wool in several values • Goose: • ¼ yd. wool for goose • Beak, legs and feet: • 1⁄8 yd. wool • Egg: • small piece of gold fabric • small amount of quilt batting • Nest: wool yarn, raffia, and roving Finishing: • 3 yds. clothesline cord • wool yarn for whip-finishing the edges


’ve long been a fan of Aesop’s fables. They are succinct and come with a moral. One character in each fable, be it man or beast, falls prey to a trickster or perhaps is seduced by one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

In the tale of “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg,” a farmer discovers that his goose is laying very heavy eggs. Upon further inspection, he


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

discovers that the eggs are made of gold. He has hit the jackpot! But selling one of these precious eggs per day soon loses its luster and the

farmer decides to cut open the goose to get all of these precious eggs at once. I don’t think I have to tell you how that turned out. The moral of the

story is: “Those who want everything may end up with nothing.” The Golden Egg is a simple graphic design with just the goose and the egg in her nest. It was kind of a “chicken and the egg” thing, because I’m not sure if I had the design in mind first, or if I bought the beautiful dyed wool first. Regardless, that wool created the

perfect setting for this fable. The goose is hooked in a #8 cut. I bought the shades of pale pink, rose, and dusty lavender wool at the same time as I bought the purple/brown background wool. These amazing colors really pull the design together and make this piece sing. The background wool is several

The Golden Egg, 32" x 18", #8- and 8.5cut wool on linen, and wool yarn, raffia, and roving. Designed and hooked by Karen Larsen, Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania, 2016. IMPACT XPOZURES | Rug Hooking



values of a beautiful purple/brown color. I don’t know what to call this color, but I love it! I hooked the background in a #8.5 cut to allow the spot dyed wool to show itself off to its best advantage. I hooked odd-shaped areas with these wools, which give the background interest. I didn’t want the goose to look as if she were floating in space, so I used the middle values to create a platform for her to stand upon. I wanted the golden egg to be special. After all, it is the star of the fable. A kind friend shared a piece of gold upholstery fabric with a gold damask design, which was perfect to add a bit of shine. I cut an oval out of the fabric, added some quilt batting behind it, and stitched it on the linen for a puffed up, trapunto effect. I had left the linen unhooked in the area of the nest in anticipation of some special effects. The nest was the final step. I began with dark brown and tan wool yarn, which I stitched onto the linen in long stitches to form the base of the nest. Then I added raffia and un-dyed and purple roving for a three-dimensional look. The golden egg is nestled securely in the nest (that is, until the farmer snatches it away!). The Golden Egg is the fourth Aesop fable that I have illustrated in hooking. It joins The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Grapes, and Belling the Cat. With over 600 fables attributed to Aesop, there are plenty of future projects to keep me busy. RHM

Karen Larsen started hooking rugs in 2006 while living in Maine. Now living in rural south central Pennsylvania, she has combined her love of rug hooking with over thirty years of experience in graphic design to form her hooked rug pattern business, Crow’s Foot Farm Designs, LLC. Her original rug designs can be found on her website www.


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The Golden Egg, Š 2016 Karen Larsen. Enlarge 325% for a hooking approximately 18" x 32". For one-time personal use only. To order a pattern on linen, visit | Rug Hooking



Francine Even An Abstract View of the World STORY BY LINDA RAE COUGHLIN


eing “in the moment” is how many would describe Francine Even and her hooked art. Through her contemporary hooking techniques, she explores what she sees. Her inspiration might be a fishing village, a flower, or even the sun, but her hooked art comes out in a linear abstract form, full vivid colors. Shapes, hues, and concepts are important to her when creating, more so than creating a simple image or a photographic realistic representation. She is simply guided by what she likes—which can change daily. She finds inspiration in the simplicity and depth of the world she observes. Her artwork is influenced by just about anything: from looking through art books of her favorite artists, to gallery or museum visits, to seeing the different greens of trees while driving (and wondering how the diverse values work together), to observing buildings, roads, and bridges. She also admires all the great work shown in RHM, RHM’s published books, and Celebration. Francine’s hooked pieces start from a basic drawing or even a simple doodle inspired by something she sees in her day-to-day living: an amaryllis at Christmas time, a wall or door on a building, or a colorful rural field. She writes, “An idea pops into my head on how I want to draw what I just saw. Many of my ideas form themselves during the night while I am sleeping and I keep a little pad and pencil on my bedside table so I can draw my idea immediately and go back to sleep. I later make a better drawing, take it to a copy shop to be enlarged, or draw it directly on the


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Amaryllis in a Pink Vase, 151⁄2" x 301⁄2", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2016. PATRICK VINGO This piece is included in “The Power of Color” show at the Kershner Gallery in Fairfield, Connecticut. backing adapting it to the right measurements and proportions. Often my design will change as I hook. It is then that I select the colors and textures I want to use, but inevitably these too will change as my piece progresses.” An avid weaver for the past 15 years and a rug hooker for the past eight years, Francine started rug hooking in 2007. She was first introduced to rug hooking by Jane Berscherer in September 2007 by an article she read in

The Sun, 26" x 26", #8-cut hand-dyed wool and sari ribbon on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2015. BRAD STANTON

Portuguese Fishing Village, 20" x 19", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2015. BRAD STANTON

Ode to Klee, 23" x 23", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, 2015. In the private collection of Ramon and Jessica Acosta. BRAD STANTON

Landscape, 23" x 23", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2015.

Country Home magazine about Jane’s beautiful home in Wilton, Connecticut. There was a photograph of Jane’s hooking studio and one of her hooked pieces. Jane talked about falling in love with rug hooking and advised those interested to contact the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild. Francine did so and enrolled in Diane Burgess’ beginner class. “I hooked my little house, which I still have today.” By the end of the three-day class, she was, as they say, “hooked.” There


she met Susan Feller with whom she had a great conversation about rug hooking. Susan has from that day forward been a great supporter of Francine’s progress and Susan’s work has a great influence on Francine’s today. Francine does not have an art education but over the years has attended many rug hooking workshops with many great instructors who have inspired her and pushed her limits. She dedicated her first two years of rug hooking to | Rug Hooking



Stainglass, 22" x 22", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2015. BRAD STANTON

Patchwork, 21" x 21", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2015. BRAD STANTON

Concept #1, 151⁄2" x 19", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing mounted on wood. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2013. BRAD STANTON

Concept #2, 15" x 19", #8-cut hand-dyed wool on linen backing mounted on wood. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2013. BRAD STANTON


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Save the Planet, 11" x 11", #8-cut linen, wool, ribbon, twine, silk, crocheted flowers, beads, bells buttons, plastic bags, and needle felted birds’ nest on linen backing with cotton fabric. Designed and hooked by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2013. BRAD STANTON

taking classes on technique, technique, and even more technique and has no regrets for the time well spent. In 2009, Francine began weaving small woven pieces (about 4" x 4") using traditional materials which differ from her hooking where she has been incorporating diverse materials outside of the traditional wool strips: sari ribbon, silk, twine, yarn, plastic bags, knitting yarn, dogs’ poop bags, and whatever else is handy and will work. She also loves working with dyed and textured wool, and can’t get enough of the feel of it between her fingers. Currently she is working on a large piece (5' x 3' vs. her more standard size of about 20" square). Francine says, “There is no subject yet on my current piece—it will come when I put a name to it. The piece is free form, as I am not using a drawn pattern. I am playing with color values and textures, hooking uneven strips of different hues (each strip is hooked within the same color family). I am also experimenting with being freer with my ends. I am not cutting them all—I want to see what effect it brings when the piece is finished. I can always cut them later if I don’t like the effect.” A recently created piece is Amaryllis in a Pink Vase. She loves it and very few people can even see the amaryllis at all, but she does. As the piece progressed, Francine added the pink vase and really likes its subliminal look. Francine’s first focus has always been on her technique. She writes, “Having perfect loops, straight lines, etc., means a lot to me. I have a tendency to be somewhat anal. Color, texture, and design are what I concentrate on when attending workshops. Over the years I’ve hooked other people’s patterns, but now I design my own work. I enjoyed the hooking process but was never that madly in love with traditional patterns. I always knew that my taste in art veered towards the abstract. I am a great fan of Paul Klee’s work. One day it all came together: why not adapt my new craft with my love of the abstract? This was my big Aha! moment and I still thank all the gods and goddesses for turning on that lightbulb.

“I create pieces that are me: what I see, how I see things, and how I want them to look. Sometimes I win and sometimes I miss. It can be a long road between my brain and the tip of my fingers. I created a piece in my head and on paper two years ago and bought all the shades of yellow wool I could find. I hooked every component of the piece (some 18 of them), but I couldn’t make it happen the way I had visualized it. All 18 pieces are in a basket and I know that one day I’ll find a way to make it work, most likely in a totally different way than I had originally planned.” Francine does not teach rug hooking. She taught a weaving class recently and now knows that teaching is not for her. She writes, “The preparation for teaching a class is just too much work and stress, and I don’t have much patience for the difficult students. Why should I teach when there are so many good teachers out there that do it so well?” She also does not dye wool for her pieces as she does not have the time or space and she feels that so many people dye beautifully and professionally. She wants to support that part of the business of the rug hooking community by purchasing her dyed wool. She appreciates the work of others who design and create their own work. She writes; “I admire many fiber artists such as Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, Sue Lawry, Wendy Wahl, Susie Gillespie, Judith Scott, Louis Bourgeois and many more. In the rug hooking art world, I have great admiration for the work of Liz Alpert Fay, as well as that of Linda Rae Coughlin, Molly Colegrove, Susan Feller, Leslie Giuliani, Tracy Jamar, Constance Old, Lori Laberge, Anne-Marie Littenberg, June Myles, Sharon Townsend, Mariah Krauss, Jule Marie Smith, Michele Micarelli and many more. They all have different styles that are their own.” Francine is currently working in the corporate world, so finding time to create is her biggest hurdle, but she is taking that one step at a time “with no stagnation.” She manages time in her studio only on weekends. She can spend 6 to 8 hours straight with her dogs, surrounded by her wool and treasures. “I don’t think of anything in particular—certainly not work or any other stressful matter. I just hook and listen to my books on tape. It’s a great meditation.” Francine saw her art as a craft or hobby until she joined the Connecticut Chapter of Surface Design Association (SDA). She writes, “I had never shown my work outside of family and a few friends. Some of my fellow SDA members convinced me that my work was worth showing and encouraged me to submit it to gallery shows. I hadn’t realized how much work I had until I had it all photographed and created | Rug Hooking



Petite Chose #11, 81⁄4" x 10", wool, raw silk, line, and waxed linen. Designed and woven by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2010. PATRICK VINGO

Petite Chose #15, 81⁄4" x 10". Twine, silk, and linen. Designed and woven by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2010. BRAD STANTON

my website. Some of my pieces were included in a wonderful fiber show in June of 2016 at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, and some of them actually sold. This is when I really felt I was a fiber artist. My work has been exhibited in galleries in Connecticut and New York.” What originally drew Francine to rug hooking was the look of a rug—the loops and the many different designs. What draws her now is the drive to express something that she says she didn’t know existed. Francine is taking it a step at a time, enjoying every wonderful moment of this initial recognition, continuing to design, create, network, putting her work out there as much as she can, and waiting to see what happens next! “Get out of your box and see if it works for you. It did for me.” RHM Francine’s artwork can be viewed and she can be reached through her website:

Linda Rae Coughlin lives in Warren, New Jersey, where she creates feminist fiber/hooked art from recycled clothing and materials. She exhibits her work internationally; she teaches and lectures on creativity; and she is the author of Contemporary Hooked Rugs: Themes and Memories and Modern Hooked Rugs. Visit


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Petite Chose #18, 81⁄4" x 10”. Raw silk, silk, and linen. In the private collection of Vicky Harris. Designed and woven by Francine Even, Norwalk, Connecticut, 2010. BRAD STANTON | Rug Hooking



In a Little Cabin in the Woods Alberta Haslett’s Hooking Heaven STORY BY SANDY ORAVEC/PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE ARTIST

Sugaring Off, 27" x 36", recycled clothing. Designed and hooked by Alberta Haslett, New Brunswick, Canada, 1995.


lberta Haslett lives New Brunswick, Canada, in a cozy cabin in the woods that she built, in large measure, herself.

“I have one big bedroom and one big main room, and I have my fireplace in the room. And off on the other end is my little dining room and kitchen. I burn wood, so I have the woodstove going, and it’s very nice. It’s lovely in the winter.” If you think this sounds like a rug hooker’s dream retreat, you wouldn’t be far wrong. It’s a


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Alberta’s home, the little cabin in the woods.

Close up of Sugaring Off.

Horse, 34" x 21", recycled clothing. Designed and hooked by Alberta Haslett, New Brunswick, Canada, 1995. This is one of Alberta’s earliest rugs. “I did that with men’s jogging suits. Remember when jogging suits came out, the first ones? The fabric was thick—smooth on one side and rough on the other? Well, that makes the best stuff to work with in rugs. It cuts lovely and has nice texture to it. Lovely and soft—you’d almost swear it was wool. That rug is made with just rags. And men’s underwear, if you want to put that in. The blue is men’s underwear.” busy life, filled with care of extensive gardens much of the year. But evenings when she can, and always during the winter, you’ll find Alberta hooking rugs. She averages one rug a winter, and last winter’s rug marked the end of an era for her. “I have macular degeneration, so

my eyesight is going quite fast. I can’t see the shading anymore,” and relying on others doesn’t seem like the best option. “Somebody else’s idea of what is pink and what isn’t may not be the same as mine. If I say to a person, ‘Is that a dark pink or a light pink?’, they might say, ‘Oh, it’s a medium!’”

But she’s not giving up rug hooking—no, indeed. “I think what I’m going to do is go toward the primitives. That way I can see what I’m doing; it’s not detailed. Do you know what I mean? You don’t have to do any shading with primitives, you can just do the poor little duck or toad | Rug Hooking



Pond Hockey, 37" x 26", wool and white cotton T-shirts. Designed and hooked by Alberta Haslett., New Brunswick, Canada, 2011. Alberta’s inspiration for this rug was a card. “I found that card way up in the country in an old, old house. I changed things around a bit. I put stuff in maybe that wasn’t in the original picture. I think I put in the dog and the cardinals.”

or whatever you want to do. Either I’ll go to the primitives or make a hitor-miss rug. I’ve got so much material—it’s all cut. It’s all different sizes, but it’s always in the same general area: It’ll either be a #3 or a #5 or a #6. I’ve got enough to make another two rugs—just bags and bags of little pieces of strings.” Alberta considers that she came to rug hooking late in life; she dates her early rugs from the mid-1990s. Her first rug was lost in a fire in an earlier cabin on the property. She still regrets that she wasn’t taking pictures of her rugs at the time. 78

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Detail of Pond Hockey. Another early rug, Sugaring Off, is her favorite. “Sugaring Off was done completely with rags. No wool. It was really just rags. And I really enjoy working with rags. Anything. There’s a lot of my father’s old flannel shirts in that. The smoke in that rug was a bandana I had that was different shades of gray.

I just kept turning it until it just made a circle, and then I hooked it in. I really do enjoy working with the rags. I like cutting them. I like seeing what they do. But now it’s just easier for me to work with the wool. So the rugs I’ve done in the last five or six years have all been wool—with maybe a bit of cotton in between.”

Latest rug, faces of skaters. Designed and hooked by Alberta Haslett.

October, 45" x 27", wool. Designed by Joan Moshimer and hooked by Alberta Haslett, New Brunswick, Canada, 2009.

She buys her wool from Sandy Dunning, whose River Gallery in Glenwood, New Brunswick, is a source of local supplies, and also orders patterns and wool from W. Cushing & Company, Kennebunkport, Maine. “They are absolute treasures. I can call down to Jillian and tell her what I need, or what I think I need, and she will send it up. And I have never had a piece that did not work out right. They’re perfect like that.” Alberta hooks some purchased patterns, mostly Pearl McGown and Joan Moshimer designs, but her inspiration also comes from greeting cards and photos. Sugaring Off, for | Rug Hooking



Temple Bells, 27" x 48 1⁄2". Designed by Joan Moshimer, hooked by Alberta Haslett, New Brunswick, Canada, 2012.

example, was inspired by a card she had enlarged at a local copy shop (in the days when it could only enlarge in black-and-white), transferred to reddot fabric, then traced on the burlap backing she uses for all of her rugs. The inspiration for her latest rug, a pair of skaters—she calls them “the twins”—came from a card sent by her closest rug hooking friend and adviser, Judith Hill, in Hampton, New Brunswick. “As soon as I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, what a pretty rug!’” It’s her first rug in which faces were a significant element. “I sat here, I’m telling you, for a whole week and I did those faces. I’d do two little stitches, and then I’d think, ‘Oh, that’s not right. I’ll put the other one up there.’ I was so taken with those faces. I had never, ever done them, and I was scared to death to even try. I kept looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, and finally one morning I just decided, ‘I’m going to try it, and if it doesn’t work out, well, I won’t do it.’ “I knew I had to start the faces first. I was doing the shading in the face, and I couldn’t see well. So I said, ‘You’ve got to do the faces. Even if

you never do the rug, do the faces right now.’ So when the sun was shining in the window, I took the rug and sat here and did the two faces. I certainly did not know how to do them, but when I got them done . . . little girl is cranky; oh, she’s a cranky thing. But the little boy is a sweetheart.” Alberta’s mother and grandmother hooked rugs, so she had an early introduction to the basics, but she has learned mostly on her own. She credits Judy Hill for what she knows about technique. She also counts on Judy as a sounding board for works-inprogress. For instance, on that Pond Hockey rug, she asked for advice. As she began tackling the rest of the rug, but she wasn’t happy with it. “I did a pretty good job on the water. Well, I thought, I’ll do the same thing with the boy and the girl. It didn’t turn out. I took it over to Judy, and we looked at it and looked at it, and she said, ‘It’s too busy, Alberta; you’ve lost your little boy and girl.’ If I go over and ask Judy, she will tell me the truth.” “I had put in too much color, and I should have left it white. But I didn’t have white at the time, and I thought

that blue-y color in Pond Hockey would work. But once I put it in, it didn’t work. So, my winter project was to take out the blue and put in all white. I think it’s going to be lovely when it’s done.” Some of Alberta’s rugs are with her three daughters, but about 15 of them are in plastic bags under her bed. “I can’t put them down on the floor, because I have a dog. And as soon as you put one of those rugs on the floor, the dogs and cats are right on top of it.” Two of her daughters have picked up rug hooking, so far in a more casual way, and she’s happy to see it. “It’s a very relaxing hobby, and if it doesn’t turn out right, it’s only you who’s going to see it. I think people are scared when they look at rugs because they think it takes a terrific amount of artistic talent. It doesn’t take actually any kind of talent; all you’ve got to do is put your hook down there and put up the little piece of material. When they do that, and they see they can do something with those little loops . . . I think that’s terrific.” RHM

Sandy Oravec is a central Pennsylvania writer and editor, former magazine assistant for RHM, an enduring fan of the magazine, and an admirer of the work of contemporary rug hooking artists.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

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Funky Leaf, Funky Backgrounds Creating backgrounds with textural interests BY NANCY JEWETT/FLUFF & PEACHY BEAN

Funky Leaf, 8" x 10", wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Nancy Jewett, 2016.


• D  ye pan large enough to accommodate 1 yd. wool. I use restaurant buffet pans. • Three 1 yd. pieces of wet wool. (I used Dorr Wool #42 for all these projects.) • Citric acid • Working space to accommodate your dye pan and the lineup of dyes • Several 1-cup glass measuring cups, and one 2-cup measuring cup • Dyes in these recipes use PRO Chem Dyes


love both dyeing and color planning and feel they go hand in hand. My time in the dye pots gives me more control and freedom in the color planning process for myself and my students. I love rich vibrant colors, which I like to set off with dark backgrounds. A dark background creates more contrast, “popping” colors in a way medium-valued and light-valued backgrounds do not. I’ve developed a method for these dark backgrounds that creates subtle textural interest with subtle color undertones. I’ve included three dye recipes with suggested alternatives to suit your preferences.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017


Wondrous Night Mix each of the dyes listed below in its own measuring cup with 1 drop of Synthrapol and 3⁄4 TBSP citric acid. The Synthrapol is not necessary, but it will hydrate your dye to help it dissolve more efficiently. • 1⁄8 tsp. #120 Golden Pear • 1⁄8 tsp. #811 Boysenberry • 1⁄8 tsp. #716 Moss • 1⁄8 tsp. #124 Gold • 1⁄8 tsp. #351 Bright Red 1. Mix 2 tsp. #401 Colonial Blue in a 2-cup measure with 1 drop of Synthrapol and 3⁄4 TBSP citric acid. 2. C  rumple your wool in the dye pan, making hills and valleys. 3. S  poon the first dye on your wool in a checkboard style.



4. Proceed with each consecutive dye, staggering dye over your wool. They should overlap when you are finished. 5. Pour the last dye in the 2-cup measure over the entire piece of wool, covering all of it. 6. With gloved hands, manipulate the wool to be sure you have all of the wool covered with this last dye. Cover loosely and bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Alternatives: • D  ye over natural wool, a light to medium value purple or blue. • Adjust dye amounts with each subsequent piece. You might increase the Boysenberry dye to 1⁄4 tsp.; or increase Moss dye; or after adding the last dye, spot it all with 1 ⁄4 tsp. Navy or Black.


Haunted Forest


Mix each of the dyes listed below in its own measuring cup with 1 drop of Synthrapol and 3⁄4 TBSP citric acid. The Synthrapol is not necessary, but it will hydrate your dye to help it dissolve more efficiently. • 1⁄32 tsp. #306 Turkey • 1⁄32 tsp. #199c Golden Yellow • 1⁄32 tsp. #425c National Blue Mix 2 tsp. #729 Evergreen in a 2-cup measure with 1 drop of Synthropol and 3⁄4 TBSP citric acid. Proceed as directed in previous dye recipe.

• D  ye over natural, Dorr’s Lemongrass (a lovely yellow green), or a light to medium blue. Increase dye #425c to 1⁄16 tsp. • After you have added Evergreen dye, add 1⁄8 tsp. of #119 Sun Yellow for some nice highlights, or use the #199c again. | Rug Hooking





Tuscan Red


Mix each of the dyes listed below in its own measuring cup with 1⁄2 cup boiling water, 1 drop of Synthrapol and 3 ⁄4 TBSP citric acid. The Synthrapol is not necessary, but it will hydrate your dye to help it dissolve more efficiently. In the dye recipe below I have used both cool primary dyes and warm primary dyes. • 1⁄8 tsp. #119 Sun Yellow • 1⁄8 tsp. # 333 Magenta • 1⁄8 tsp. #490 Brilliant Blue • 1⁄8 tsp. #199c Golden Yellow • 1⁄8 tsp. # 306 Turkey Red • 1⁄8 tsp. #425c National Blue Mix 21⁄2 tsp. #508 Mahogany in a 2-cup measure with 1 drop of Synthrapol and 3⁄4 TBSP citric acid. Proceed as directed in previous dye recipe.

• • • •

 his is very dark, so try using 2 tsp. mahogany. T If using less dye, spot over with 1⁄16 tsp. black. Dye over natural After adding Mahogany, spot over with 1 or both of the yellows You can apply the same methods to dyeing medium or light backgrounds. For light backgrounds, use 1⁄128 tsp. or 1 ⁄64 tsp. in the spot method before adding your last color, and cut the dye amount of the last dye to 1⁄8 tsp. or 1⁄4 tsp. (or for medium values, use 1⁄2 tsp. to 3⁄4 tsp.). This amount will vary, depending on the value you desire and the strength of each dye. It is so much fun to experiment with this method and the possibilities are endless. RHM

Nancy D. Jewett is the owner/designer of Fluff & Peachy Bean Designs, which she started in 2003. Nancy is best known for her hand drawn whimsical designs and her hand dyed wool. She is a frequent contributor to RHM, and lives in the quaint historic town of Brandon, Vermont. RH ads spex:1/12 9/8/11 4:25 PM


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017



A Rug Hooking Engagement Calendar

In each issue of Rug Hooking and online, Date Book lists rug hooking events, exhibits, and classes across the country and in Canada. In addition, information on meeting days and times for regional rug hooking groups (Gatherings) can be found exclusively on our website at Listings are in alphabetical or chronological order within the categories. Look for listings in your area under these geographic headings: International, Canada, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West. We categorize listings as follows: EVENTS: Attendance is open to the public and event encourages and expands the art of rug hooking. In addition to the dates, times, complete address, and contacts, please include a brief description, and we’ll print if space allows. INSTRUCTION: It is a goal of Rug Hooking to encourage individuals to learn and develop their skills in the art of rug hooking. As a service to our readers, all instructors are invited to provide dates, name of school, city, state, and phone number. This information, as space permits, will be published in the Date Book. GALLERIES: Information on exhibits of hooked rugs. Please provide date, time, location, contact information, and a brief description of the exhibit. GATHERINGS: These are local groups of rug hookers who meet on a weekly or monthly basis, and who welcome new members. Because of the extensiveness of this list, we offer it exclusively online at www.rughookingmag We encourage you to use this resource to connect with other rug hookers in your area. For inclusion in both the print edition and online Date Book (Gatherings will only appear online), please email Or send your information to Rug Hooking, PO Box 388, Shermans Dale, PA 17090. Listings appear until they are outdated. Upcoming Date Book submission deadlines are January 1, 2018 (for March/April/May 2018); March 30, 2018 (for June/July/August 2017), June 1, 2017 (for September/October 2017); August 1 (for November/December 2017); and October 1 (for January/February 2018). Rug Hooking reserves the right to edit all submissions. Date Book is the property of Rug Hooking. Listings are not to be duplicated in any publication or in any other form without the consent of the editor. NOTE: Unexpected changes do occur. Please contact each event to confirm details.

CANADA EVENTS April 28-30, 2017. Ontario Hooking Craft Guild Annual 3-day Conference, Cobourg Community Centre, Cobourg, ON. For more information: INSTRUCTION Edmonton Rug Hookers Guild. Pleasantview Community Hall, 109 St. and 58 Ave. First Thursday of each month (except July and August). McGown-certified instructors; supplies, and workshops available with membership. Contact: Janet McLean, (780) 554-9939, Mary Grant, Certified Rug Hooking Instructor. 232 Colonial Heights St., Fredericton, NB, E3B 5M1. Contact: (506) 459-8525, mary.e.grant.rughook;


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

May 7 – 12, 2017, Nova Scotia Rug Hooking School will be held at Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ten courses with instructors or on-your-own with no instructor. Complete course descriptions, information, and registration available at Contact: Director: Linda MacDonald, email: EVENTS August 5-12, 2017, The Ganong Hooked Rug Exhibit is slated to open the week of the annual Chocolate Festival, August 5–August 12, 2017, St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. GALLERIES The International Gallery of Hooked Rugs, 19 Lawrence St., Amherst, NS. Open Wed., Thurs., Fri., and Sun., noon to 4 pm. A unique gallery and market of new and antique hand-hooked rugs in a house from the 1870s. Rugs from many countries; free exhibit space. Contact: Avis Chapman, (902) 667-0988. NORTHEAST EVENTS May 6, 2017, Cranberry Rughookers Biannual Rug Show. Harwich Community Center, 100 Oak Street, Harwich, MA. Vendors, hook-in, refreshments available. Contact: Mary Lou Ricci (508) 392-9585; cran August 12, 2017. 8th Annual Champlain Islands Fiber Fest, North Hero Community Hall, North Hero, Vermont. Sponsored by Green Mountain Hooked Rugs. Contact: Lynn Soule, 802-373-0628 or INSTRUCTION Norma McElhenny. Monday morning classes at new location in Plymouth, MA. Contact: Norma McElhenny,, (508) 224-5969. SOUTHEAST EVENTS March 11, 2017. Spring Fiber Fling. Wildwood Community Center, Wildwood, FL. All weavers, spinners, fiber artists and rug hookers are invited! For information: spring-fiber-fling March 10-11, 2017.  The McMinn County Living Heritage Hook-In, at the Museum on 522 West Madison Ave., Athens, TN. Michelle Micarelli will teach a class on March 7 to 9, 2017. Vendors: Michelle Micarelli, Spruce Ridge Studio, Lakeside Rug Hooking, The Old Tattered Flag, From Hook to Crook. For registration and more information, contact: MCLHM at 423-745-0329. April 1, 2017, 15th Annual Virginia Rugfest. Rug show & hook in, 9 am – 3:30 pm, Cool Spring Baptist Church, 9283 Atlee Station Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23116. Join us for a full day of hooking & shopping! Featured artist & speaker Sharon Alice Smith. Beginner’s class, silent auction benefiting our fiber arts scholarship fund. Door prizes, raffles, lots of vendors! Contact: Mary Henck at (804) 334-0058 or July 28-29, 2017, Great Smoky Mountain HookIn. Brookside Resort, 463 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. This will be a two-day event. Cost is $50 per person and non-refundable. Price includes a champagne/dessert reception, coffee and cold drinks both days, lunch on Saturday, and vendor demonstrations. Door prizes will be drawn Friday and Saturday for those who have purchased a twoday ticket. $15 open-shop on Saturday afternoon. Contact: Rhonda Thistlethwaite smokeymountain

October 13-14, 2017. Hooked in the Valley, Wooster, OH. Contact: Kathy Graybill 717-7342307, November 3-4, 2017. Marietta, Georgia. Hookers Gone Wild in Georgia, Atlanta Hilton/Marietta Conference Center. $75 per person, non-refundable, deadline for registration May 1, 2017. Contact: Sharon Craig at, 770-207-7075. INSTRUCTION John C. Campbell Folk School offers adult courses in traditional crafts, including several different rug hooking options. Located in the mountains of western North Carolina, the school offers weeklong and weekend courses. Contact: (828) 837-2775; www. Rug Hooking Classes in Northeastern Tennessee, Tri-Cities Area. Beginners welcome. Contact: Joani Douglas,, (423) 753-2842. MIDWEST EVENTS April 7-8, 2017. April in Arrow Rock. Rug Hooking Retreat, Arrow Rock, MO. Contact: Sharon Hutchinson at 660-388-5166,; Judy Smith 660-837-3469, pickinstitchin@ April 8, 2017, 2017 Spring Vendor Show & HookIn, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Holiday Inn & Suites, Owatonna, MN. $10.00 admission (cash or check only). Vendors offering rug hooking, applique, and quilting supplies; hand-dyed fabrics, patterns, baskets, jewelry, accessories, door prizes and more. For more information: April 22, 2017, Hook-In St Louis Fiber Fest & Rug Show, Kirkwood MO. Contact: Donna at (314) 4227771,; www.thewooly April 27, 2017. The Cream City Rug Hooking Guild Hook In, Tommy Thompson Center, State Fair Park,

West Allis, Wisconsin. Contact: creamcityRHGuild@, or 262-392-2904. July 18-21, 2017. Nothern Lights Rug Camp, Crosslake, MN. Teachers will be Sally Kallin and Nola Heidbreder. Contact: Tracy Kellen, (320) 265-6319, August 15–19, 2017, Rug Hooking Week, Sauder Village, 22611 St. Rt. 2, Archbold, OH. Retreat, workshops, Rug Hooking magazine’s Celebration 27 Exhibit, vendors. Join mailing list at www.saud Contact: Pre-registration is required for classes. Sept 15-17, 2017. Michigan’s Apple Blossom Hooking Weekend, Hyatt Place Detroit/Novi. Hooking, dyeing, classes, fun! Contact: Anne Bond, Visions of Ewe October 27-29, 2017. Halloween Hook-In, Owatonna, Minnesota. Contact: Joyce at StraightRiver INSTRUCTION Susan Elcox, New World Rug Hooking. Certified McGown Teacher. Boise, ID. Group classes and private instruction. Contact: (208) 229-3319, new; www.newworldrughook Victoria Hart Ingalls. Classes and workshops in Traditional and Wide Cut Rug Hooking. Thirty-nine years of rug hooking know-how and 29 years of teaching experience. Classes. Contact: Victoria Ingalls, (816) 833-1848,; www.victoria

INSTRUCTION Open Rug Hooking Classes with Gene Shepherd. First Saturday of every month (except June), 9 am to 2 pm., and most first and third Thursdays of every month,10 am to 3 pm. Gene’s Studio, 108 North Vine St., Anaheim, CA 92805. Beginners welcome. Dye classes by request. Contact: (714) 956-5150, OCEANA To see what is going on in Australia, visit the website of the Australia Rugmakers Guild at http://    Sept. 14-19, 2017. Gallery K, Kichijoji, Tokyo.   2-4-14 kichijojihon-cho Musashino-city Tokyo 180-0004 JAPAN


NEW EARTH DESIGNS/LIB CALLAWAY DESIGNS—Please visit www.newearthdesigns. com for photos, info on gorgeous dyed wool, catalogues, teaching. 43 years of experience! Jeanne Benjamin, (508) 867-8114. TEACHERS

McGOWN GUILD offers help for people without teachers starting projects, locating rug schools, local groups. Send SASE to: Vivily Powers, 36 Fairview Street, Manchester, CT 06040,

WEST EVENTS March 4, 2017. Hook-In at Eagles Nest Clubhouse (Pebble Creek), Goodyear, AZ. Contact: Priscilla Sharp (623) 536-0182,

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Ali Strebel Designs for Kindred Spirits...........53 American Country Rugs..................................53 ATHA...............................................................68 Ault’s Rug Hooking Store.................................3 Black Sheep Wool Designs.............................57 Bolivar Cutters................................................84 Colorama Wool...............................................75 Cottage House Primitives...............................81 Country Inn Rug School..................................43 Designs in Wool..............................................13 DiFranza Designs............................................68 Dorr Mill Store..................................Back cover Ewe and Eye....................................................81 Finally Finished................................................52 Fluff & Peachy Bean Designs..........................75 Friends by the Sea..........................................43 Gene Shepherd’s Internet Rug Camp......................................81 Goat Hill Designs............................................75 GoingGray.......................................................41 Green Mountain Hooked Rugs.......................56

Halcyon Yarn.....................................................1 Harry M. Fraser Company .............................57 Heavens to Betsy............................................81 Holly Hill Designs............................................13 Hooked Treasures...........................................81 J. Conner Hooked Rugs..................................75 Jacqueline Hansen Designs............................52 Little House Rugs............................................81 L.J. Fibers........................................................13 Lone Star Quiltworks........................................3 McGown Guild................................................87 New Earth Designs.........................................87 Off the Hook Rugs..........................................43 Old Friends Woolens......................................41 Olde Cape Cod Rug School............................13 Pittsburgh Crafting Frame..............................13 Prairie Rose Rug Hooking School...................19 RHM Book Club..................... Inside back cover RHM eBooks...................................................85

Rug Hooking Store at Black Horse Antiques...................................52 Rug Hooking Traditions..................................86 Rugs by the Sea..............................................75 Sauder Village.................................................25 Searsport Rug Hooking..................................25 Seaside Rug Hooking Company.....................75 Spruce Ridge Studios......................................57 Spruce Top Rug Hooking Studio....................84 The Old Tattered Flag.....................................43 The Oxford Company.....................................53 The Wool Studio.............................................81 The Woolery......................................................3 The Woolley Fox & A Nimble Thimble...........57 Visions of Ewe.................................................41 W. Cushing & Company......... Inside front cover Wool & Dye Works..........................................57 Woolgatherings...............................................53 Woolsocks and Hollyhocks.............................84 Wooly Lady......................................................56 | Rug Hooking



My Cats Mij and Zipp/Sally Stepath STORY BY MELINDA RUSSELL

My Cats Mij and Zipp, 24” x 16”, #8-cut wool on linen. Designed by Laura Pierce and hooked by Sally Stepath, Portland, Oregon, 2015.


glance at Sally Stepath’s first completed rug reveals nothing of its rich cultural history. It is a pleasing rug, to be sure, with its image of two domesticated cats. But, oh, what a long tale these cats possess! They are the offspring of painted, printed, and embroidered images dating to the nineteenth century and earlier. Between 1832 and 1835, a young Vermont woman named Zeruah Higley Guernsey sheared some sheep, spun and dyed her yarn, readied a homespun wool foundation and embroidered a 156" x 147" roomsized rug. All of this work, vision and creative effort was done in anticipation of her future marriage. The chain-stitch embroidered rug, now known by Zeruah’s married name, the Caswell Carpet, is considered to be one of the very greatest of American textiles. It is made up of 76 blocks, sewn together, plus a small hearth size rug that can be detached or inset, depending on whether a fire is burning in the fireplace. The Caswell Carpet has been exhibited at the American Folk Art Museum, on loan from its current owner, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Most of the squares are stylized depictions of leaves and flowers. One block depicts a man and a woman, and three blocks depict domestic animals—dogs and cats. Young Zeruah almost certainly copied or adapted the leaves and flowers from paintings or published illustrations by artists unknown. Nearly 200 years later, when rug hooking artist Laura Pierce was sitting with her mother in hospice, she began sketching adaptations of various blocks in the Caswell Carpet, familiar to her from photographs. She distributed paper patterns of her sketches to rug hooking students in a project that she calls “Caswell Impressions.” At a rug hooking camp, Sally Stepath was taken with the image of two cats for the most understandable of reasons: she, herself, has two cats— Mij and Zipp. The background of the Caswell Carpet “cats block” and the Pierce/Stepath hooked rug is particularly interesting. In the 1830s, when Zeruah sketched an image of two cats on foundation, striped flat-woven carpets, known as Venetian carpets, were found in many New England homes. It is

To see a photo of the Caswell Carpet, go to www.metmuseum. org/art/collection/search/13576 Or enter the words Caswell Carpet in your computer’s search engine.

likely that Zeruah had seen two actual cats sitting and lying on a Venetian striped carpet and drew her block accordingly. So, the embroidered Caswell Carpet and the rug hooked by Sally Stepath reference yet another type of rug that has graced the floors of American homes, the flat-woven Venetian striped carpet. By now, all 76 plus hearthrug paper sketches have been distributed to rug hookers who are enthusiastic about Laura Pierce’s “Caswell Impressions” project. In the summer of 2017, many of the hooked blocks, including Sally Stepath’s, will be exhibited at Sauder Village. Creativity is a marvelous process of borrowing ideas from the past, reinterpreting them, and making something new. It can be a process of respecting and building upon our cultural history. The hooked rugs, adapted from the large embroidered rug made by a young and hopeful Vermont woman, remind us that she once lived. And that we rug hooking women, and men, are part of a long and rich textile making history. Sally Stepath’s hooked rug uses textile skills—creative skills—to pay tribute to an American rug masterpiece. RHM

Melinda Russell hooks rugs, writes, and cultivates her garden in Alderson, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.


Rug Hooking | March • April • May 2017

Now available on both Amazon and iTunes just for you Don’t miss out—select RHM books are now available as eBooks at a special reduced price:

Scrappy Hooked Rugs

Geometric Hooked Rugs

Wide Cut Primitive Rug Hooking

We are also pleased to bring you these eBooks:

Let us know on our Facebook page which books you’re most excited to see made available as an eBook, and look for even more eBooks in the | Rugfuture! Hooking 85

Rug Hooking Magazine, March/April/May 2017  

In this issue, a rug hooker living in the Scottish Highlands tells us how she is inspired by the landscape around her. Closer to home, we vi...

Rug Hooking Magazine, March/April/May 2017  

In this issue, a rug hooker living in the Scottish Highlands tells us how she is inspired by the landscape around her. Closer to home, we vi...