Saturday, January 29, 2011

First Rugs Progress

The red dot tracing paper along with some wool arrived in the mail at the beginning of the week. I transferred my rug design on to the tracing paper from the paper pattern with a pencil. The next step was to transfer it on the linen burlap by laying the red dot tracing paper on top of the backing and drawing over the design with a Sharpie. The marker goes through the tracing paper right on to the backing. I checked in one of my hooking books to make sure I was doing everything right and read that I needed 4 inches on the outside of each side so that it would fit on the frame. Guess what? I didn't have a large enough piece!  So back to the computer I went, ordered Scottish Linen and today I was finally able to draw my design on my background!

Now I will go to my sewing studio and sew around the very outside of the background and just outside the finished line of the rug. I would normally use a serger for the outside edge but my daughter has mine so the sewing machine will work just fine.

I have wool in the washer right now being felted, and more hand dyed wool on it's way. I'd like to say I think I might run out so I keep buying more but we all know that's a lie. I just love wool.

So anyway, I'm almost ready to start hooking. I have a few more wool strips to cut and I will be on my way!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Strips Cut

This weekend I decided to use my wool stripper and cut some of the wool for my rug. I am using size 8 or 1/4" strips.  Unfortunately, my photography skill is lacking, so you can't see any of the colors the way they really are but I think you get the idea. The point is to show my progress on the rug anyway, right?

I have several more blacks that I have ordered so the background will have interest. The blues are more of a teal color and the pinks are not so pink. I have more shades the greens and pinks ordered too. The applique blocks around it are some of the 'unironed" wool blocks I have been appliqueing from Laundry Basket Quits, Applique Affair. I have two more blocks to finish out of 25 and some of the border blocks left to applique. I am making the rug to coordinate with the quilt when it is finished.

After I cut the strips for my rug I divided the quantity in half. Since my design is symmetric and I've never hooked before I wanted to make sure that I had enough strips for the whole rug. Now, if I run out of a color I can cut more or get more ordered. Someday I can just dye the wool I need but I'm taking baby steps right now.

My tracing fabric should arrive today so I am hoping to get my design drawn on my linen soon.  Once that is done and all my edges sewn so my linen doesn't fray, I can start the process of hooking.

I don't know anyone who hooks in my area so I have learned everything from a few books and on the Internet. Thanks to great sites like Red Jacks Rugs I was able to see first hand how to hook. Gene Shepherd has a wonderful blog and a virtual camp to learn rug hooking and wool dyeing. I have also gone to YouTube to watch videos. I joined a Yahoo rug hooking group who are so great for giving advice and I am following several blogs of rug hookers.

By studying quilts at places like Virginia Rug Fest and several rug hooking sites I have learned what styles I am attracted to, what colors I prefer, how to shade, and making interesting backgrounds.

One of my favorite places to purchase wool has been Ram in the Thicket. Susan Sylvia has the largest selection of colors and values of anyone on the Internet and the best part is that you don't have to spend a fortune getting what you need. She is beyond gracious, a pleasure to work with and her wool is wonderful.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rug Hooking Adventure Beginning

My friend Susan Sylvia at Ram in the Thicket, who I buy a lot of my hand dyed wool from, thought it would be a great idea to document my adventure of learning to hook rugs. It never occurred to me that anyone would be interested in seeing this even though I would love watching someone else's progress. I haven't started the actual hooking yet but there is a process to getting ready to hook, just like any other craft.

 One of the tools on my list was a rug hooking frame. The one I chose is from Hopewood Crafts and I LOVE it! (This is their picture by the way, not mine) I do a lot of researching before I jump into a purchase I know nothing about and this one had everything I needed. A floor frame with adjustable height and swivels 360 degrees.  I read these are very important features. I wanted one that looked like my hand would easily go to the underside without hitting anything and I wanted it to be sturdy.

I looked at one rug hooking sight after another trying to find the right design for my rug. It's funny because in my mind it was like I thought it was the only rug I was ever going to make. Then one day I realized that I will be making many rugs, just like I have made hundreds of quilts. Realizing this helped but I still wanted it to be the perfect rug after all wool isn't cheap you know. I decided to design a rug that would compliment the quilt I am appliqueing out of wool.

After studying rug after rug I also realized that I would want a black background instead of the camel color I originally thought I would use. I had to move my thinking from quilt mode to rug mode. I felt that the black or dark background grounds the rug more. Some might think it is a clean factor but in my bedroom where the rug will be going won't get much dirt, so it was all a design decision. Since I didn't have much black wool in my stash that was the next move. Ordering and buying more black in a variety of shades.

This was the initial drawing of my rug. I do have a border added and I have tweaked it some. I was quite interested in reading that so many designers draw their designs small and simply enlarge them. Cindi Gay describes how to enlarge your design on your PC rather than having to go to a copy store. I was so amazed at how easy this was to do. I didn't even know my computer had this feature! When I had my finished drawing I scanned it. and enlarged it to 275% which came out perfect. 16 sheets of paper taped together and I have a life size drawing!  If you click on her name it will take you right to the page on her blog where she tells how to do it. Her blog is very interesting as well and she is so helpful.

So, I have my hook, Scottish Linen for backing, a design, a frame, a fabric cutter, ambition, and desire. Next step will be washing some of the wool I bought to felt it, and getting my linen ready with the design.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Next Year's Christmas Gift

I was looking at felted clogs in a catalog the other day, thinking about how much I would love a pair when I ran across a blog where a woman was talking about how she had made several pair for gifts. She showed the HUGE pair before felting and then the adorable pair after felting.

I immediately wanted a pair. No buying them out of the catalog for me, no sir. I want Hand Made! But there is a problem with that. I can't knit, and no it isn't that I don't just know how to knit, I really CAN'T knit. I've tried and it just isn't something I can do. However, my first born daughter can knit! In fact she is knitting me a felted purse right now that is almost finished. It is my Christmas gift for this year. She is finishing the handle right now.

So...I ordered the pattern from Fiber Trends and I ordered the children's size too so that my granddaughter Kenzie can have a pair. Then I called my precious knitting daughter Jenny to inform her that I found my gift for next Christmas. She didn't seem overly thrilled but at the same time she didn't say no either so I'm pretty sure she can get them done. I told her they must be easy because some people have made something like 20 pair. I neglected to tell her that they might not work full time,  have children that had to be taken to dance class, a 10 month old that just learned to walk, and all the things that being a young mother entails. No. I just told her I ordered the pattern and I'll even buy the yarn. After all. I don't want her to be bored or anything.

You birthday is in April....Nah..that's too soon.