Ellen’s Winter Rose Basket

Dear rug hooking friends,

We are into the month of February and the winter, although mild here in New England, continues.  Yes, the sun is starting to rise earlier and set later, but the sky during the day is overcast and heavy with clouds.  I believe my location and seasons strongly affect my design and color choice of my rug.  Does this happen to you?

This new rug is called Ellen’s Winter Rose Basket.

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Ellen’s Winter Rose Basket was designed with a black and off-white color plan. The off white is a spot dye that has soft golden browns and a tinge of antique green. It is hooked with a #10 strip and so it gives a soft plush feel under foot. This makes the rug perfect for stepping on with bare feet and we all need to pamper our feet in the winter. The darker spots were selected to give some sense of depth and shading of the rose petals.  The stems are a lovely antique green and with the basket I use the same wool as the roses.
This pattern is so easy to hook – it’s relaxing and enjoyable.  You can take this pattern and use your own color scheme to complement any room in your house. Perhaps a pink rose and gray-green background for a young girl’s room or colors to complement your kitchen.

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Take a look at the interesting border of this pattern. It was hooked higher than the other loops in the rug. The loops were pulled high and at different heights then cut. The cut loops make the rug look and feel soft and plush.

I use this rug in my guest bathroom which is decorated predominately white and black. I will post the pattern in my Etsy shop soon.
I hope you have fun hooking Ellen’s Rose Basket.

Star of the East

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Dear fiber friends,

I though you might like to see the finished rug called Star of the East.  I wrote about it in a previous blog, so this is just a follow-up.  The Star of the East is from the no longer active Heirloom Pattern Company.

Why did I hook this rug?  Well a while ago I realized that I hadn’t hooked any seasonal rugs. I don’t have a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Passover, July 4th, or Valentines day rug.  I tend to lean toward floral, leaves, and animals.

So, I  decided to add more seasonal rugs to my rug hooking “To Do” list. And the Star of the East is the first.  How about you?  Do you have holiday rugs? Do you plan on hooking any?

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and a happy new year.

With love, Ellen

 

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

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Hello rug hooking friends,

Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue. No I’m not talking about marriage. I’m talking about the cute pillow pictured above and the best of friends.

Something old:  I purchased this pattern in November 2018 from the Sea Side Rug company owned by Laura Kenyon and Debra Walland.  The pattern is called Waldoboro Bird & Nest    Waldoboro style rugs were hooked in the 1880’s and have a unique raised wool technique. After purchasing the pattern, I put it away knowing that I would eventually hook it.

Something new:  Fast forward to November 2019.  I was packing to attend a hooking retreat in Maine with a lovely group of friends.  I brought along a large pattern and threw in the Waldoboro Bird & Nest “just in case” I needed something extra.  I’ve found that if I get stumped on a rug motif, or color while working on a pattern it’s often a good idea for me to stop hooking, take a break and hook something else for a bit. So, out came the Bird & Nest. I didn’t want to hook every motif in the Waldoboro style, so I used crushed velvet for the eggs, flowers and buds.  Using velvet was new for me and I loved it The birds’ wing was hooked in the raised Waldoboro style and you can see the velvet eggs and flower in the closeup below

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Something borrowed: rug hooking friends are wonderful caring and sharing people. We give advice when asked, ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over finished projects and give a helping hand when needed. I had put together some wool for the Bird & Nest but I didn’t have just the right colors for a few of the motifs.   I borrowed the brown branch wool from Judy, gold wool for the bird’s beak from Dawn and purchased the background from Jenna. My pillow top was now perfect. Thanks girlfriends!

Something blue:  Of course the bird is blue! However, I have to say hooking this whimsical pillow top also chased away my blues from being stumped on my first project. The bird is just so happy and cute, who wouldn’t have their blues chased away while hooking this?

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  No wedding bells, but a fun little project completed with help from a few happy hooking friends.

Where Do I Begin?

Dear rug hooking friends,

I’ve been a rug hooker for many years and I’ve hooked and taught many different size rugs and many different styles. And one thing they all have in common is the question  “Where do I begin?”

Well, there is no single answer to that question.

Sometimes, when I’ve been away from hooking for a bit I feel rusty and I dont want to begin on the most important part of my rug, the main motif. So I’ll find a smaller design element in the larger pattern and begin there.

IMG_2647 Perhaps the rug pattern needs some type of outline. The pattern shown here has many flowers and I wasn’t up to tackling them right away. So I needed to ease into the pattern by starting with an outline. That also helps me to see if my loops are pulled high enough for the style I am looking for.

IMG_2649There are times when it is obvious where you need to start. This happens for example when you hook a flower. You should always start with the petal on the top and work your way to the last almost hidden parts of the flower.  That does not mean that you have to begin with the biggest flower in the rug as your first item to hook. I would like to suggest that you start with a smaller flower, hook that and build your confidence, style, technique, then move on to your larger images.

Do I begin with my background? No, but I might put a bit in here and there next to a motif to see how it works. And it’s OK to jump around a bit, especially when you attend a workshop or class so you can get instruction for all the places you will need help with.

So, where should you and I begin? It’s our choice. Just begin where you are comfortable and your rug will soon be done.

 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Hello Friends,

September is here and Fall as arrived. The air is cooler, children are back in school, apples are crisp and my latest rug has been finished.  The rug pictured above is Skaket #109C, Cranberry Bog, a pattern from Heirloom Rugs, designs by Louise Hunter Zeiser. To my knowledge this special pattern is no longer available.

Many of the rugs I hook are chosen because they have a special meaning to me and my family. This rug is special because the place where I live, Sisters Three Farm, has a 100 + year old cranberry bog. This bog was created by the settlers who lived here over 350 years ago because it is a natural depression which collects water.  It is surrounded by an old field-stone wall to keep the livestock out.  At the end of winter it fills with melted snow and rain, it then comes alive with the first peeper frogs signaling that spring has arrived.

My Bog has a life cycle all it own and come fall the wetness has dried enough that I can walk out upon the peat-moss and around the wild cranberry bushes.  I have fond memories of my children and I gathering enough cranberries to make relish for Thanksgiving, taking our favorite goats for walks, and finding my girls floating in a tub in the deepest part of the bog. This is a special place and holds special memories.

Skaket Cranberry Bog ( 2.4′ x 3.9′) was hooked using a #5 cut and two 6 value swatches of green. The green swatches were from a finished project and I did have to dye some more to complete this.  The background was several ugly pieces of brown wool over dyed with a recipe called Compost.  Thrift is important it me so using leftovers is a good thing.

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I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me. And I hope it will inspire you to hook a rug that reminds you of your special memories.

Happy rugging,  Ellen

Too Cute Bunnies

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Hello Rug hooking friends,

I wanted to tell you about my latest finished rug and the process I used to create this pattern on the spur-on-the-moment.  This rug, Too Cute Bunnies,  was started in Canada. I had signed up for a “Wide is Wonderful” class with Tina Cole and completed the hand torn project with time to spare.  You can see the completed hand torn rug on my last blog.

I wanted to make a small table topper project as a birthday gift for a special friend. But how could I do this while I was away from home and all my pattern making tools? this is a brief description of what I did.

masking tapeFirst I purchased a piece of linen from the rug school store and put masking tape around the edges so it wouldn’t unravel while I worked on it.

 

Then I googled what a Netherland Dwarf rabbit looks like so I could free-hand draw the rabbit on a piece of notebook paper. The notebook paper limited the size of the bunny I would draw, but that was fine with me because Netherland Dwarf rabbits are small.

template (2)After drawing the bunny on the notebook paper I cut it out on the line, creating a paper silhouette or template.   I then choose to make a pattern with two rabbits facing each other so I made sure I knew where the middle of the rug would be and placed the template so it would be on one side of the middle. Using an industrial sharpie marker I trace around the template on the backing. and then did the same for the other side.

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This is a paper pattern showing where the bunnies were placed and drawn. I hooked the original pattern before I could get a photo of it on the linen.

I enjoyed this process of using templates and have done similar patterns using templates that I have hand-drawn. I would encourage you to give it a try. Of course you can find this paper pattern on my Etsy shop.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Happy hooking! Ellen

 

Finishing a Round Rug

Dear Rug Hooking friends,

I was recently at a the Ragg Tyme Rug Hooking School in Canada. I had a lovely time and would highly recommend going if you get the chance. It is run by Ingrid Heironimus of Ragg Tyme Studio of Ontario Canada.  While there I took a wide cut class taught by Tina Cole. I truly believe that we can learn something new from each class we take, and Tina’s class was no exception. I enjoyed my time with her and follow classmates enormously and learned more about spacing my loops on my hand torn rug. My project was a small 22″ round mat by Woolen Memories called Bee Skep. In the following paragraphs below I will tell you step by step how I finished this round mat.

 

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First I measure out 2″ from the hooked edge of my rug. I make a dot with my industrial marker from Sharpe. I mark the 2″ dots completely around the edge of the hooked motif.

 

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The next step is to connect the dots with the marker making a complete circle.  I do this by hand. and its easy when you dot close together. 

 

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The next step is to apply a thin bead of fabric glue to the completed drawn circle. Make sure you use a glue that is specifically made for fabric. I find my glue at my local fabric store.

 

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After the fabric glue dries, cut the excess backing off on the outside of the marked and glued circle.

 

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This is a photo of the scrap linen backing that I removed. I pull off many of the threads and save them to use for sewing. They blend nicely into the backing and are nice and strong too. I use them to sew the prepared edge onto the hooked backing.

 

 

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This photo is of the linen thread wound onto an empty spool, and of the needle I use to sew with. 

 

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I next baste around the entire edge of the rug and gently gather the material by pulling gently on the linen basting threads, making a ruffle. This is when the gathered edge when pulled is turned toward the center of the back of the rug . You can see the hooked back and how it is gathered.

IMG_2114 After I gather the edges and distribute  the ruffle evenly I turn under the raw edge and steam it. This step keeps everything in place while I sew the steamed edge to the bottom of the rug. I know many of you dislike finishing your rugs and the way described above is nice and easy.  Hope you give it a try.

 

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This is the finished Bee Skep rug. It’s happily residing in my up stairs bathroom and my feet are happy when I stand on this soft and squishy rug.

Happy hooking,  from Ellen’s Hooked Rugs.