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!


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


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,



Exploration into Proddy


I recently re-discovered the proddy technique. I had always thought of proddy as a way to make pretty little flower pins, but why not think outside the box?  What else could I do with proddy?

Being an avid rug hooker and a dyer of wool, I had some leftover pieces of  pretty pink wool fabric from another project.  Reusing leftovers for an experimental project is something that frequently piques my interest, so I thought “why not make a very large proddy pillow?”.   For my experiment, I designed and made a Dahlia pillow (pictured above)

To make my Dahlia pillow, I first drew a circle in the middle of my backing material and then a smaller concentric circle within the larger circle. Then I started working the center of the flower. I used my Oxford Needle Punch (from The Oxford Company)  to place a combination of yellow yarn and yellow wool strips.

The next step was to rip my wool into usable size proddy pieces.  For that, I used my lovely wooden  Proddy Tool and Gauge  


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To do this, I snip along the salvage pieces every 3/4 of an inch and rip into long strips. I then wrap the strip around the proddy gauge and snip. This results in beautiful petal like pieces of wool.

Working from the back of the fabric backing, I then poke a hole with my proddy tool and poke in one end of the petal and then poke a second hole next the the first and insert the other end of the petal. This goes round and round until you finish to your desired size.

It is a satisfying feeling to poke and poke and poke and then turn the piece around to see the front of the flower pillow.

This is  second pillow I have finished recently.  I plan on sending the piece to Canada to a church that is being converted to a fiber arts center.


You can find two Dahlia Proddy Pillows on my Esty shop Ellen’s Hooked Rugs

Priscilla Primitive

2018-09-26 18.29.53PricilliaPrimitiveI recently finished my rug named Priscilla Primitive. Priscilla has been sitting in my stash for several years. I knew I would get to it eventually and recently I heard it calling to me….”hook me now! ”

In May I had plans to attend the Ragg Tyme School in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada (Ragg Tyme Studio.) And I knew Priscilla would be the perfect rug to hook.  I had contact with my lovely teacher Beatrice Grant and she agreed that I could dye all the wool I wanted and she would help me color plan when I arrived.

I researched this pattern by looking in rug hooking books and on the internet how others had color planned and hooked this rug and the few I had found had light backgrounds.  I thought it would be a good challenge to hook a dark background and I knew the Antique Black from Dorr Mill   would be perfect, and better yet I wouldn’t have to dye three and a half yards of wool.  I dyed a bunch of wool and used recipes mostly from Vintage Colors by Karen Hahle of Primitive Spirit and a few from Holly Hill Designs  by Susan Quicksall. the pinks and blues were soft, the greens were lovely, and I over dyed on different colored wool to make uniform and nicely blended flowers and leaves.

Bea was very helpful and I learned useful tips and techniques, such as the difference between Wide Cut and Primitive design, that I can do shading, and hooking with a large primitive shank hook is a must. I enjoyed this rug so much I finished in five months. The pattern, I believe was designed by Joan Moshimer and currently can be purchased from  Cushing Company

Trip To Waldoborough

2018-08-09 12.25.24This summer I traveled to Maine with my friend Kathleen Herbert, a Rug Hooking Historian, to visit the Waldoborough Historical Museum in Waldoborough, Maine.   This museum contained several Waldoboro Style Hooked Rugs and we were very excited to see them.

Waldoboro style rugs have raised and sculpted motifs. The motif has loops that are pulled higher than normal and then clipped and sculpted creating soft beautiful designs.  This is a lovely example containing raised roses and scrolls.  2018-08-09 12.38.27You can see a bit more detail in the photo below. I am especially taken by the hooked basket.

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This is another fine example of a hooked rug with rose buds, and blue and white flowers.

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Reading about and seeing photos of Waldoboro rugs isn’t the same as seeing them in person; they are truly remarkable specimens . This road trip has inspired me to add the Waldoboro style of hooking to my “must do” list of hooked rugs to accomplish in the future. If you have the chance to visit Maine, I would encourage you to see the Waldoborough Museum.

Happy hooking,



Pineapple welcome hooked rug

Welcome!  The photo above is the very first rug I hooked upon returning to New England after living in the Midwest in 2001  I found a group, a teacher and I walked into the room and said I wanted to hook a New England themed rug, a pineapple welcome.  The following week Jessie presented me with this 22 x 40 inch half round pattern.  I started to hook and have never looked back. It did however take me almost two years to complete as I had three small daughters to attend to and a farm. This pattern is called Pineapple Threshold from the W. Cushing Company and measures 22 x 40.

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