Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thinking out of the box....

What can we as rug hookers do to help others? In addition to the rug pattern business, I work in a prosecutor’s office in a local county building. Sadly, one of the gals in another office was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is customary in our building to have monthly or bi-monthly, "Take a Break" lunches. All the offices take turns and make lunch for everyone in the county building. People donate to eat lunch. The lunches support different causes like Christmas gifts for underprivileged or American Cancer Society. On Wednesday, our office with along with other people in the building had a fund raiser for this gal and in addition to the luncheon, we had a silent auction. Our office asked people to donate gently used items for the silent auction. I had donated a few items and really wanted to donate a rug but only received two days notice and did not have any ready that I could donate. So wanting to do something rug hooking related, I came up with another idea. I displayed a couple of rugs at the auction as examples (this sunflower rug was one of them)and auctioned rug hooking classes including pattern, wool, hook and instruction for 4 people. The auction was a success and 5 people are going to take the class. The 5 gals paid between $30 to $35 a piece to take the class and it generated close to $200. Collectively, the building raised over $2000.00 for this gal and her family in just three hours. Isn't that just the coolest thing!

We can all make a difference in small ways. If asked to donate a rug to a charity and I’m given notice, I’ll try to tailor a rug to the audience. People love to bid on rugs because they are a little different than what is normally in a charitable auction. I know that many of you do the same as I have read about it in rug hooking boards, blogs and magazines. But remember in addition to the rug, you can also donate your knowledge and talent to teach others to hook rugs as well.

Because it is still cold and wintry here in Northern Michigan, I'll post another spring rug to remind me that warmer days are just around the corner. This is a rug that I hooked last year which I sold on Ebay. Maria

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Upcoming Auctions

Isn't this banner just great? I just had to share it with you. Shelly Auen, a member of Blestb designed this banner for Blestb. I'm busily hooking up some new items just so I can use this banner. What is Blestb? Blestb is a group of artisans who strive to produce items that have an early time worn look. By typing in BlestB into the search engine of Ebay, you can find stitcherys, quilts, hooked rugs, paper cuttings, needle punch, candles and handmade wood items from this talented group of artisans.

As you know Spring is on my mind, so here is another rug that reminds me that it really is right around the corner despite this bitter cold.

I've also been working on another unfinished project from my studio. If all goes well, I'll have it done by the end of the weekend and share it with you. The pattern is from a free insert in the rug hooking magazine from a couple of years ago. It is Sally Kallin's pattern of an eagle. The finished rug will go in my office at work as the name my co-workers call me is Eagle.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I came across another rug that I hooked and sold years ago but thought you would enjoy seeing it. It is another one of my spring rugs. This morning when I was digging through my basement looking for some gently used items for a silent auction, I found the first rug I ever hooked. Boy, have I improved. Do you have the first rug you ever hooked? I’m so glad that I didn’t sell it or give it away. It is priceless as it reminds me of where I started and how I’ve evolved. I’m going to hang it in my studio. Do I dare show you a picture of it? No laughing! I can't remember whose design this is but I do love that funky rooster!
Woo Hoo! I listed a rug on ebay tonight (it only took me two hours to figure out how to use the template!) using my new template....I just love it! It has two sheep on it with the knit hats...How cute is that? The rug is a design out of Lori Brechlin’s books called a "Garden Remembered". It has such neat designs. I've been wanting to hook this one for quite some time. Here is a picture of the rug.

Here is the link to my ebay auction.

Thanks, Maria

Saturday, February 23, 2008

~*~New Spring Patterns~*~

The sun is shining here today and gets me in the mood for Spring and all the wonderful treasures Springs brings. Hyacinth, Tulips, photo by Ian Britton,

photo by Ian Britton,

Chicks, Bunnies and Lambs just to name a few.
photo by Ian Britton,
Oh, I can almost smell Spring in the air. Not really....we still have a ton of snow on the ground but a girl can dream!
Because I've got Spring on my mind, I'm offering two new "Springy" patterns. The first one I previewed a few posts ago, Chicks and Daisies.

It is 9 x 20 and sells for $28.00.

The second pattern is called "Chick Parade"
and is one of my whimsical primitive designs which is fun to hook. It is 15 x 20 and sells for $40.00. Since I'm in the spring mood, for all of you who order one of these patterns by Tuesday, February 26, 2008, I'll give you $5.00 off of each pattern. Have a great weekend. Maria

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Unfinished Projects

So do you have any? Now I’m not talking rug patterns that you haven’t started hooking yet. That will be another subject for discussion. How many of you start a rug and for whatever reason set it aside whether it be for color issues or scheduling issues. My MO is to pull all the wools for a rug, start the rug and once I get it to a point where I am comfortable or am having trouble with it put the rug with the wool in a basket and start another rug. Now I know many of you are probably cringing at the thought of starting a rug before you finish the last one. Right now I have five active rugs that I am working beside me on the couch.
The reason this subject popped into my head had to do with my studio and how out of control it is. The other day I was looking for some wool that I was certain I had but couldn’t find anywhere. I remembered using the wool in a rug that I started in the summer but couldn’t locate it. After searching for about a half an hour, I finally found it in one of the baskets with my unfinished rugs. I have so many baskets full of wool and unfinished projects in my studio that I made a promise to myself that I was going to finish at least one rug a week. So far, since Sunday I have finished three rugs. Now when I say finished I mean that the rug has been hooked not bound. If I can finish these rugs, I’ll be able to put all the wool away, get the baskets up off the floor and straighten up my studio. So how many unfinished rugs do I have? Oh, I’m embarrassed to admit this but at least 30. As I complete them, I’ll post them here for all to see. Maybe knowing that I will be accountable to you for finishing my uncompleted projects will motivate me. This first rug is from a workshop I did with Barb Carroll in Columbus, Ohio during a From Our Hands show. It was such a great time.Click on this link to see some more of these hooked rugs in different colors.

The next rug is a pattern by Kelley Belfast which she sold on ebay last year. I just love this pattern.

The link to her blog is Finally, the last picture is a Potted Pear design. This is a sweet little pattern. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these completed rugs. Maybe gifts for friends and family.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wishing Spring were here

We were greeted with rain today. Our poor little River Birch tree is taking a beating. I do love how it makes the trees look but am not fond of what it does to driving conditions and what it does to the POWER. Luckily, we still have power, at least for now. Here's a picture of my driveway. It looks like an ice rink.

I've been hooking away on my Mr. Rabbit rug. I love the design but yes, I am struggling with color. Here is a picture of the wools that I pulled to use in the rug.
Wow, had I seen this picture before I started hooking, I wouldn't have even attempted to use these wools in a rug. That pink wool is ok for bubblegum but not my rug! When you are hooking a rug and have hooked some of the design and come to a halt because of color issues, the experts suggest you take a picture of the rug and study it. The experts say that the picture of the rug can give you a different perspective and help you see the wool colors that you need to use. Now that tip makes sense to me having seen this picture of my wool for my Mr. Rabbit rug. Had I taken a picture of the wool before hooking, I wouldn't have even attempted to make these wools work.

Here is a picture of a rug that I hooked several years ago. Don't you just love the little chicks. I'll be adding this pattern to my website soon.

Have a restful Sunday. Maria

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hooray for the weekend!

I have a three day weekend and am looking forward to hooking on some of my new patterns. The other day I came accross some of my older rugs that haven't been seen in a while. So I thought I would share a few with you over the next couple of days. If memory serves me correctly, I also hooked this pattern in a green and blue color palette which was kind of neat and different. I probably hooked this rug 7 or 8 years ago. The yellow wool is some of Wendy Miller's butter mustard. Oh how I wish I still had a bunch of this wool. I have bits and pieces of it left and I covet it as it is the neatest color. She has the recipe in her new Dye Book which you can order on ebay or her website, There are a lot of other wonderful recipes in her book as well. Enjoy the weekend! Maria

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I thought I would share with you one of my heart rugs to honor the day.
Happy Valentine's Day! Maria

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Design Process

I've been working on some new designs for Spring and hope to have them on my website soon. The other day I was drawing out one of my new designs and thought I'd share with you my creative process. When I design a new pattern, I just start doodling and tweaking until I come up with a design I like. You can see from this partial line drawing all the eraser and smudge marks this design has gone through while tweaking it. I am still trying to decide what Mr. Rabbit will be pushing in his wheel barrel. Maybe a chick or a pot of tulips.

Once the line drawing is finished, I enlarge the pattern and transfer it to my linen and start hooking. Oftentimes when I hook the pattern, I change the pattern as the line drawing doesn't always translate from paper to hooking as I had planned. When I'm done hooking the rug, I trace over the design using freezer paper and redraw the design. Maybe a little unorthodox but it works for me!

As for hooking the rug, rarely after I organize the wool for my rug do I use all of it in the rug. Actually, you should see my studio after I start hooking a rug. It is a disaster! I find myself pulling more and more wool to try in the rug and doing more reverse hooking than hooking. After 15 years , you would think it would get easier to color plan a rug but color continues to be a daily struggle for me. When I begin to hook this rug, I'll post some pictures of the rug in progress and the reverse hooking. Maria

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Challenge Rug

Oh is it cold here today! It is only about 1 to 2 degrees outside. I just came inside from snapping these photos and it was cold.. Brrrr! To date this is one of my most favorite rugs that I have hooked. In November of 2007, I challenged hookers from the Primitive Rug Hooking Group, PRHG, on Ebay to a challenge. The challenge was simple....send me 5 worms of similar color for each participant that joined the challenge. Over 40 women signed up, so each participant had to send me a total of 200 worms. Thankfully, most of the women had separated their bundles the 200 worms into bundles of 5 worms. This is a picture of what the worms looked like preshipping. They covered a queen size bed! Next, I separated all the worms into groups of 40 and each participant received the same set of 40 bundles (200 worms). The challenge was to use each of the 200 worms in the pattern I sent them. The participants could choose from either a snowman or sheep pattern. They did not get to see the pattern until they received it via email. It was up to each participant to enlarge the pattern to whatever size they desired and were able to change the pattern as well. To motivate the participants to finish, they would receive the second pattern if they finished by the deadline (January 6, 2008).

This is a picture of my finished challenge piece which is 54 by 18...BIG!

I love it not only because of the colors in the rug but because of how much I learned from hooking this rug. From the beginning, I knew that I wanted my sheep to be dark and also my background. While at my local fair this summer, I fell in love with a sheep and wanted to hook a rug of her. Isn’t she wonderful? So the struggle for me in this rug was to use the white, lavender, blue and taupe colored wools. I planned on using them in the curly Q’s in the sheep coat but they looked terrible against the dark wools. They also didn’t look good next to the primitive hues in the border. Finally, after much struggle, I decided that I would use them in the faces of the sheep. I love the faces..If you look at them closely, you can see that I used light blue, light lavender, taupe, grey, and cream colored wool in the face. Mixing the colors in this way, gives the faces of the sheep much more depth. Had I not be challenged to use those wools, I would have never hooked the faces with these colors. In my opinion, the colors make the faces special.

The star and red half circle at the bottom of the rug also taught me a lot about combining colors. From the beginning, I planned on hooking the star mustard but I had wools from the challenge that I couldn’t incorporate into the face of the sheep or the triangles. So I had to hook them into the star. There is some gray/black textured wool along with some purple and even orange wool and it all blends nicely and makes the star much more interesting. For the red half-circle, I just hooked all the red wool that was left from the challenge along with some of my own reds and incorporated a few worms of purple from the challenge. Using the wools in this manner, made me realize that using many different wools of similar value, create interest and depth in a rug.
Oh one other tip that I’d discovered while hooking this rug that I would like to share with you. The bodies of my sheep blended into the dark background. So to make the sheep more prominent, I outlined the sheep in a lighter colored wool to help the sheep stand on their own without disappearing into the dark blue background. One other tip, I used about 12 to 13 different colors of blue wool in the background which gives the background a lot of interest and movement. In this picture, you can see I used purple, green and many different colors of blue for the background.
I bound this rug last night and am hanging it in my studio today. It is a pleasant reminder of how to incorporate color into a rug. In the next coming days, I’ll share with you some of the pictures of other rugs from the challenge.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My First Post

Well, I finally made it to the blog world. I so enjoy reading other people's blogs and check in daily to see what my friends have to say. So I got to thinking....Maybe I should create a blog as well. In my blog, I plan to share with you my daily life as a rug hooker. From my daily struggles with color planning rugs to the finished product, I'll journal my thoughts so that you can see my creative process. Please stop by and share my journey in rug hooking. My hope or goal is to post at least three times a week. Oh and I mentioned my friends who blog, here are some of my favorite bloggers Kelley at Tammy at , Lori Brechlin at Betty at . Maria