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.

Welcome to my rug hooking adventures

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Hello rug hooking friends,

I am thrilled to tell you about my latest adventures in the rug hooking world.  Pictured above is the rug I designed and hooked for Wool Works, a magazine for wool lovers.  

This wonderful opportunity fell into my lap and before saying yes I had to ask myself several questions. Would the pattern design be easy for beginners?  Nice enough for experienced hookers to want to do it? Would I be good a making a deadline or taking photos? I was a bit worried.  But I also love a challenge and said yes!

So, here I am with my first published work, and I may have a few more. Thank you Melanie for giving me this opportunity.  If you would like to see the article and rug it can be purchased at Wool Works.  In June you will be able to find the pattern on my Ellen’s Hooked Rugs @ Etsy

Another exciting adventure I had recently was when I attended an open house at Lucille Festas at her Lollipop Farm in Vermont. The Open House was held in her rug hooking studio and we all know how much fun it is to see others’ work space. The walls of dyed wool were beautiful to look at.unnamed  I also attended the  Hook-in the next day at the Manchester Country Club and met old and new friends. Well that’s all for today.  Happy hooking,

Ellen

 

Dyeing Wool at Home

Dear fiber friends,

March has rolled in here in Massachusetts like a lion; winds, snow, ice and bitter cold. So whats a rug hooking person to do besides hook? Well, dye wool! I usually dye with a project in mind and I have several rugs planned for the next few months. So I thought I would show you what it’s like to dye in my home.

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First I prepare my wool for dying and I’ve found its easy to rip my desired wool into fat quarters. I often use the same textured wool and dye it in two or more values of the same hue. I also like use the same texture with an entirely new color. I use my kitchen counter to lay out and measure my yardage. My counter top is nice and large and flat so accurate measuring is possible. I always soak my wool in Synthrapol to open the fibers in preparation of dying.

 

DyeAreaThe next area I use in my kitchen is my stove top and the area next to the cook top. I cover the counter with a piece of cardboard so spills will be less likely to hit my counter top, make stains and contaminate any future food preparation. If the cardboard surface is damp it helps to trap any dye particles that dont make it into my glass mason jars. I place my kettle full of water and set it to boil and fill my white enamel pots. My dye equipment ( enamel pots, mason jars, measuring jars, and dye spoons) is only used for dying and never for food use! 

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I often use W. Cushing dyes or Prom chemical and refer to dye book recipes to get an idea of the end product. Dye books have been a good resource for me and I recommend them as a good foundation for your dying adventures.  I often want to reproduce a hue and keeping notes is important. But for me, as well as others, city or well water changes and can effect your end results. Don’t forget to replace the plastic dye packet into the correct paper packet.

 

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This is a photo of what my work area is like. You can see the cardboard, glass mason jars for holding dye, dye spoons and my special Bluette gloves which allow me to touch hot wool without being burned.  when I’m done dying I clean up my dyes, swish my dye spoons in salt, wash my enamel pots with a little bleach and wipe my counter tops with a dilute bleach water solution. Done, safe and ready for regular kitchen use.

 

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This is some of the fat quartered dyed wool that I’ve prepared for a special project I”m teaching this summer.  I love to dye wool and wool yarn for punch needle and it brings my happiness level to a 10 out of 10, and dying at home is safe because I prep my area well.

Happy dying from Ellen’s Hooked Rugs.

Valentine Up-Cycle Silk Heart

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Hello Fiber Enthusiast Friends,

Happy Valentines Day! You deserve to be loved. And in keeping with this months’ theme of love and friendship, I thought I should make an up-cycled project that would be fun, easy and use found fibers.  And so here is my Friendship Sachet. A cute little lavender sachet hooked with silk. It’s a hooked heart that you can easily make from your own stash or from my kit on Ellen’s Hooked Rugs @ Etsy

Most people probably have some unused silk ties hanging around their closet or at least can buy some funky extra wide silk ties at their local thrift store.   It’s a bonus if we rescue fabric from landfills in these projects because the apparel industry  is a significant polluter and we want to leave our planet a better place than we found it.

After collecting my used ties I began to deconstruct them. First, I ironed the fabric to remove the wrinkles and make the fabric easier to cut.  While doing this, I thought why not use the lovely red die in the ties and transfer some of the red die to my smaller pieces of natural wool and use it for the backing of the silk sachet hearts. I was very pleased to find a second way to up-cycle. img_1635colortransfer

Pictured above is the fabric roll I used for transferring dye from the silk tie to the natural color wool, and the end results. This material is a perfect match for the silk sachet hearts.

Next I drew a small heart onto my backing, cut the silk ties with my #10 cutter and hooked my small silk heart. After my hooking was complete, I put some fabric glue around the edges, let it dry, and cut. This step is to prevent the backing from fraying while hand-sewing.  The next step was to sew on the wool backing by hand turning under the seam allowance and leaving a small opening to insert the batting, lavender and leftover pieces of wool snips from your last hooking project. Up-cycled material again!  If you dont have snips and scraps, of course use batting.

Now you have a lovely silk sachet, enjoy!

I hope you liked reading about my up-cycled silk heart.  If you are interested, you can find a few kits posted on my Ellen’s Hooked Rugs @ Etsy

Happy Valentines Day!  Ellen

 

New Year Resolutions 2019

Dear fiber friends,

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I haven’t in a long while but this year I will and the resolutions I would like to share with you are fiber art related.

First, I resolve to manage my time more efficiently and effectively so I can work on my projects more often. More often, because when I am working and moving forward it brings me joy, satisfaction and physical well-being. Living in the cold dark New England area can be challenging to my mental health happiness and this should surely help. 

I intend to reuse all my fiber waste in small hit or miss rugs, table toppers and use scraps as backing for pillows and for stuffing. I plan on weaving leftover cut wool strips into my  loom projects too.

I plan to explore more ways to use recycled fabrics and fibers into my projects. This should be a fun ongoing project. And the one I’m working on right now is pictured below.img_4421 (1)

Locally, I hope to bring rug hooking awareness to my  immediate area by sharing my knowledge with others through small local classes and events. And lastly, use locally produced wool yarns to support and showcase local farmers. 

So, what are your fiber new resolutions for 2019? Chime in and let me know.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and creative year!

Ellen

Christmas Rug: Past, Present & Future

Hello rug hooking friends and fellow fiber enthusiasts ,

I recently reviewed my hooked rug collection and found it was lacking in holiday themed rugs. I have flowers, dragons, deer, chickens, pigs and goats,  but I dont have holiday rugs. So, I am trying to remedy that small problem by beginning a long term project to hook a rug for each major holiday, beginning with Christmas and a Star of the East.

This is a peek at my Christmas themed rug  Star of the East and like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol it has a past, present and future.

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The Star of the East is a 28″ x 37″ pictorial of the three Wise Men on horseback following the Christmas star. I purchased this rug pattern designed by Louise Hunter Zeiser many years ago from Heirloom Rugs.  This company is no longer printing patterns and the last catalog appears to have been printed in 1994. The pattern it is no longer available and cannot be copied due to copyright restrictions. The first and only time I’ve seen this rug completed was in the home of my rug hooking friend, Thelma Floyd.  She hooked the piece in a tapestry style with elegant colors and background of a simple green.  I loved the pattern the minute I saw it.  But when I purchased this rug I wasn’t confident in my ability to hook this very detailed pattern so into my stash it went.   Now, years later, I felt it was time to hook Star of the East as the first of my holiday themed rugs.

This pattern is unique, not only it its lack of availability, but in that it is an Anglicized version of the Wise Men, or as my daughter said “where are the camels?”.  I thought this pattern had beautiful horses with stunning tack and lots of detail to explore. I  also thought that with its small details it would be good for bright hued value swatches that I could dye at home and contemporary fabric  with sparkle purchased from Ania Knap at Ania’s Creative Design .  So, I began my journey with the Star of the East at Betty McClentic’s who is also hooking this pattern.  I have to say it looks very different from mine!

I believe this rug will be finished in the near future and at some point hope that Betty will allow me to photograph her rug and share it with you. It would be awesome to see these two rugs side by side and let everyone see how differently we both explored its design elements. I hope that some day some other hooker will have the opportunity to hook this beautifully challenging pattern and make memories of their own.

 

So, that my story of the Star of The East, it’s past, present and hopefully it will have a future. May the story of this beautiful rug continue.

I wish you all a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas.

Hugs, Ellen

 

Giving Thanks

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the States and a belated Thanksgiving greetings to my Canadian friends.  With this blog I would like to share a story of the pocketbook pictured above and give a small gift to you.

I like to do a bit of travel in the rug hooking world and attend classes, guild meetings and workshops. I like to hook other peoples patterns and compose my own patterns to hook, and I love to learn from other hooking teachers. I am blessed with an inquisitive mind and the ability to travel.

Over a year ago I signed up with the Olde Cape Cod Rug School  with teacher Betsy Reed and her lovely helper, daughter Erica Tracey of Heavens To Betsy .  At this time I did not want to start hooking a large rug because I am currently working on a large, finely shaded one and I knew hooking another large rug would be too much for me. Having a small project would give me peace of mind for not having too many unfinished projects.

So I examined my goals for this weekend:

  • Small project to be completed in a few days
  • Self-created
  • Approach this project like a teacher would
  • use teachers wool selections and color pallet
  • Complete a project of utilitarian design

I drew a pattern on paper, traced it to linen and what you see is what was created in my weekend workshop. I am truly thankful for the fantastic time I had at the Olde Cape Cod Rug School, with my Teacher Betsy Reed, seeing and socializing with old and new friends and reaching my rug hooking goals.

This Pattern is my Thanksgiving gift to you all. I am available at Ellen’s Hooked Rugs   Shop for $1.00 as a PDF download with directions on how to make it.  I know I am thankful for the good things I have, for family and friends, for warm hospitality, and for your good company.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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