Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mr. Dapper Snowman

January can seem like a long, bleak month following all of the holiday lights and glitter of December. January is the month when the winter cold sets in and is here in earnest.

To celebrate the season, I decorate the house with an assortment of snowmen to cheer me up. My design, Mr. Dapper Snowman adds a happy spark to my collection.

Mr. Dapper Snowman is now available in my etsy shop as an instant downloadable PDF.

It is a light-hearted, fun pattern to hook. Or perhaps you would prefer to make it into a wool appliqué piece. The heart can be sewn on a pillow, or be made into a wall hanging. I've also included a smaller version suitable for punch needle embroidery.

Don't bother waiting for the mail carrier on this one. Download the PDF files now, and start creating your own snowman collection. This is a great weekend project and suitable for the beginner or experienced crafts person!

Please visit my ETSY to view Mr. Dapper Snowman as an instant downloadable PDF, a pattern printed on linen, and other hooking relating items.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trees Beyond Christmas

'Windswept Sentinel' is the name of this design. Many of my favorite places to hike or camp are surrounded by forest lands, beaches and inlets with windswept trees. This tree reminds me of being out in the wild. Is it sunrise or sunset, dawn or dusk?

This time of year, many of us bring a Christmas tree into our home, to celebrate the holiday. I love having a real tree in the house. The smell of pine, or whatever that good-tree-smell is officially called, makes me happy!

I grew up on a farm, and I have many memories of climbing trees, planting tree seedlings, making forts in stumps of trees and hiking along trails where filtered-sun shone through the tree branches onto our path.

I continue to have good feelings about trees and have hooked many rugs that use trees as a backdrop or focal point.

In 'Apple of My Eye' the tree branches dance across the rug. The brightly colored motifs reflect the heartfelt emotion and sentiment of the wording. A concrete reminder to cherish the loved ones in your life.

In 'Bunny Lullaby' a rabbit naps serenely in a fruit ladened orchard.

Fir boughs and foxgloves decorate this little nuthatch's nest in 'Expecting'.

In 'Sanctuary' the roots of the tree spread out to cover and protect the salmon below, while the branches reach out to surround and watch over the bird above.

So, while it is great to have a real tree in your house for a month out of the year, consider hooking some trees in your rugs, so you can have them indoors, year round.

Please visit my ETSY or contact me to learn more about my patterns, designs, or hand dyed wool.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I hooked this small mat a few years ago.

My intent was to use everything about this design to point me or you, the viewer, in the direction of feeling at peace.

You will notice the use of the peace symbol as part of the tree.

The sleeping baby bird is meant to pull at your heartstrings. Whether you are a mom, an auntie, a grandmother, have been a babysitter, or perhaps worked with young children, you know that a sweetly napping baby always fills you with peace.

The muted colors and dark background, again, are meant to make you feel calm and serene.

And finally, if you or I missed all the other cues, surely the spelled out word, "peace" will give your brain the message...breathe, relax, be at peace.

This wall hanging has been grabbing my attention a lot these past few weeks, and a couple of lines from a song keep popping into my head.

"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

Peace my friends!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

International Rug Hooking Day

This Friday, December 4, is International Rug Hooking Day! Who knew? Right?!

I first heard about it last year. However, I think it has been around for over 20 years. It is about time!

What a great idea to take a day to celebrate our art!

What are your plans for honoring the day?

Can you meet hooking friends at a coffee house, or library?

If you work that day, can you bring in some of your rugs to show coworkers or hook on your lunch break?

I am planning to hook in a public place, as a way to share with the general public, the art of rug hooking. I have sent an email out to members of my Rug Hooking Guild in the hopes that someone will meet me at a neighborhood coffee house. What could be better than to sit, hook and visit for several hours while sipping tea or coffee and celebrating the day that honors our craft? Maybe I will put a little sign on the table that says, "Ask me about rug hooking!"

Most people know about quilting and knitting. Now, I mean no disrespect, but I am weary of folks thinking that what I do is similar to latch hooking. It truly is time to educate the public.

I know it is a busy month. Yet, please consider taking time to celebrate and share rug hooking!

I am curious, what are your plans for the day?


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grateful for family, friends, good food, and a day to relax!

Well,...after all the baking and cooking is finished!

Wishing you all good things!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Salmon & Wild Roses

This rug marks the beginning of my "fish phase" several years ago.

The inspiration is all about a quiet little bay in Washington State, where my family camps each summer with my dad, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Salmon & Wild Roses is a compilation of images and memories from my visits there. I admit, it seems like an odd topic, to have salmon and wild roses together in a rug, but for me it works, as I will explain.

The beach is narrow in some places where the meadow with it's wild roses and beach grass come right down to the logs and rock-filled shore. When I stand on that beach looking out at the water I imagine that salmon are swimming out past the inlet, on their way to the mouth of the river that is right around the bend.

The undulating edges of the rug are meant to suggest the waves lapping on the beach.

Having a lot of movement in the background was important to me. I wanted to convey the rhythmic motion of waves coming into shore.

I like how the roses dance around the background with the salmon. As if I had grabbed a handful of blossoms and thrown them out onto the water's surface to watch how the tide dispersed them.

Salmon & Wild Roses measures 31" x 52". It can be found in my ETSY shop with other patterns, hand-dyed wool and rug hooking related items.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crocheted Loop Edging

Making hooked pieces into pillows is a wonderful way to expand your hooking repertoire!

A hooked pillow sitting on your couch or chair is a ready invitation to come and sit a bit.

Often times when I hook a pillow, I finish it by sewing on a wool backing then stuffing the pillow with batting; or I will make an envelope-type closure to fit over a pillow form. I know some rug hookers save their wool snippet, (cut ends from their strips) for stuffing pillows.

This pillow, Abby Cat, was hooked as a gift for a friend who's 16 year old cat passed away earlier this spring. Abby, was a small white cat with two different colored eyes and loads of personality. She would not be denied the chance to sit on your lap when you came to visit. Also, she loved to eat flowers, so my friend had to keep the vases of flowers on high shelves where Abby could not reach them.

In designing this rug, I wanted it to convey a happy light-hearted feeling. A design that would evoke sweet memories of a dearly loved pet. My friend adores the flowers, Lilly of the Valley, so putting those in the design was a nice balance to the white cat motif. I knew Abby needed to be surrounded by flowers, since in life, she seemed to have a "thing" for them! The arching leaves above the cat give motion to the piece, and lead your eye back to the cat, as you take in the other motifs and lettering.

I thought the pillow needed some sort of fringe around the edge. I love the look of a proddy fringe, but was concerned it would be too "heavy" for the feel of this pillow. I have used a wide strip of wool, tacked in random fashion as an edging for a small pumpkin pillow of mine. I like how it added a little bit of fancy feel to the pillow. So that's how the idea to do something similar, a crocheted loop edging, for this pillow was born.

I had some lovely hand-dyed wool yarn that perfectly matched the background of the pillow. The idea was originally to use a single chain stitch, but I found that I wanted more substance to the crocheted loop edging. What finally worked is a chain stitch that is approximately 2 times longer than the perimeter of the pillow (plus about 8" to allow for loops at corners), that is turned and single crocheted back across the chain. (Big thanks to my crafting friend Trish, she rescued me as I tried to figure out this technique. She sweetly ended up making me the edging.)

I tacked the crocheted loop edging to the pillow edge, between the hooking and the wool back fabric, with the same yarn that was used to make the crocheted loop edging. I did this in random fashion because I like how that adds character, and frankly, I'm too impatient to try to measure everything just so.

The Abby Cat pattern can be ordered from my ETSY shop. It can be personalized for your cat, or the name space above "CAT" can be left as a blank background.

Tomorrow this pillow with the crocheted loop edging, goes to live with my friend Kim.

Abby Cat will sit on the couch, chair, or just maybe... snuggle on a lap.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015


We make hooked rugs in all shapes and sizes.

The biggest rug I have hooked is 40" x 52", the smallest have been punch needle, broach size, and I have hooked many rugs in between those sizes.

Sometimes I like to hook small pieces to give as gifts or to use as auction items for fundraisers. Hooking little mats is a great way to play with color, to experiment with an idea you may want to use later in a bigger rug.

The dove and squirrel mats were my most recent take-a-break, have fun with color and design, and see what might happen pieces.

I know there are a lot of creative folks out there. What sort of small project is on your hooking "to do" list?


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Is In The Air

Fall has arrived late this year.

Slowly leaves are turning color yet still cling to the trees. Some afternoons have even been too warm for wearing long sleeves. And yet, there is that overwhelming sense that fall is in the air.

There is the early morning chill, when the furnace needs to be turned on. The faint whiff of woodsmoke from fireplaces when I am outside with my dog. The bountiful bins filled with local pumpkins, squash and apples at the farmer's market.

My garden is also telling me that the season is changing. It's time to cut back the dying plants and flowers. (But remember to leave hollow-stalked plants for bees to hibernate in.) Time to throw leaves and mulch over the soil and let nature have a rest, to have it's time to renew.

The days are getting shorter. The sun slants at a lower angle. Nature is slowing down. For me, it feels good and right to be nested inside and to creatively lose myself in a hooking project.

There is this juxtaposition of Nature inviting us to slow down, to cozy-in, to rest. Yet the holidays loom ahead with a flurry of activity. An expectation to shop, bake and attend parties. The slowing down of the season seems to be at odds with the gearing up for the holidays. This disconnect can make me feel out of step with myself if I am not careful.

My goal in the next couple of months is to find a balance. To find time for self care which is my creative hooking and crafting time, so that I can enjoy the shopping, baking, and partying, while still feeling grounded and unstressed!

Fall is in the air. I am taking notes from Nature on how to slow down. I hope you can too.

Please visit my ETSY shop to find newly listed hand-dyed wool and hooking related items. Thank You!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Do YOU Color Plan?

Do you have favorite color combinations that you gravitate towards because it fits with your decor? Maybe your colors are dictated by your hooked piece because it is seasonally themed, using warm browns and golden tones for fall, or reds for a Christmas rug.

Perhaps you have found the perfect colored wools and are all set in your mind, that the background will be these colors no matter what, and you are willing to have the motifs be modified with the tones you use, because that color for the background is the driving force of the rug.

When I color plan a rug, it is both exciting and anxiety producing. Can I get the colors and values that are in my mind's eye to work in this piece?

Will the red wool scarf that I found in the thrift store work as well for apples as I'm envisioning?

Can I get the soft blue values of my dye formula, Pearly Everlasting, to work as a background and still have my kitten motif show up well even though it is light in value?

When I begin a new rug, I almost ALWAYS hook the background and motifs simultaneously. This is a big deal for me. I like to experiment with how all the colors, values, and tones blend together. My work area will look like a big mess because I'm often juggling one wool that reads too dark or too light and changing it out for a color that works better. This approach can make the beginning stages of the rug challenging and maybe even a little frustrating, but the trade off is worth it to me. I often consult my color wheel to help me figure out the possibilities. By working on background and motifs at the same time, I'm not left at the end trying to figure out what my background will be, nor do I need to change out my motif's values because they don't work with the newly chosen background.

I do not begin to believe that my way of approaching color planning is the only way. I have found a system that works for me. I tend to be a bit lazy, and prefer not to reverse hook more than I need to, so hooking motifs, backgrounds and borders all at once helps me see the big picture early on in my creative practice.

I hope you have a system for color planning that works for you. If not, maybe you can begin to explore an approach which makes you happy with your process and finished piece.

Happy Hooking!

Please visit my ETSY shop to view my rugs and other hooking related items.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dye Day

To dye or not to dye, that is the question I often ask myself when I am color planning a rug. Sometimes as I lay all the colors out, seeing how they respond to each other, I realize the colors I am using are not quite right. I need a wool that leans a little more to the blue green, or the red I want needs to be warmer rather than cooler.

Once I decide to have a Dye Day, it is a magical time. The whole process is inspiring! From choosing the wools to dye, mixing the dyes, and watching the wool take on color. My favorite part is when the wools come out of the dryer. I hurry with them to a nearby window to see what color they really are! It is amazing to watch how the colors can change like a chameleon depending on what sort of lighting you have to view them!

If you have not tried dyeing yet, I encourage you at some point to do so. Find a color palette that makes you excited and inspired. Invest in the dye spoons, dyes and wools and have fun being a chemist. If you are not ready to invest in the dyeing tools etc., there are a lot of acceptable ways to cut corners especially for cost by buying recycled wools. You can bleed out dye to alter that wool or save the dye to use on other wool. That process can be rewarding but hard to duplicate the results. If you belong to a Hooking Guild, maybe they will have a Dye Day to help you gain some experience.

In the meantime, please check out my ETSY shop to see some of the magic that I have created!

So much fun


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fall Hook In

It is time for our Fall Hook-In!

Our Guild, Dyed In The Wool, will be hosting it this Thursday October 8! I have been busy dyeing wool and drawing up patterns to vend.

I have memories of attending this hook-in before I had children, so that's over 25 years ago. I treasured getting to visit with other women who loved the craft just like me. This was long before internet and cell phones were a common way to communicate. Wow, I am dating myself!

I hope you have a chance to attend a Hook-In soon! All that creative energy in one room is exciting and electric! You will feel inspired by all the different styles of rug hooking, color palettes and pattern choices for weeks to come.

Happy Hooking!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Autumn's Smile

Today I'm feeling nostalgic about summer. I can feel the season change as Fall creeps in with the cool mornings and late in the day, finally warms up a sunny spot in my garden.

Last spring, when I first started blogging, I did a post about all the seasons.

Here is an excerpt from that post about fall and a piece I designed called, Autumn's Smile.

Autumn's Smile, was inspired by a bouquet I picked towards the end of summer. My favorite rose, a heady smelling repeat bloomer, still had a few buds, as well as rose hips forming too. It seemed so poignant to watch right before my very eyes, this summer blooming rose, surrender to autumn. Hence, the name, Autumn's Smile, obliquely refers to William Cullen Bryant's poem. "Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile."



Autumn's Smile is available in my ETSY shop


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Orchard and Lace Quail

Twice a day, the quail would venture out from the blackberry bushes and come up through the orchard to feed at my mother-in-law's well stocked bird feeder. There was a lot of underbrush near her feeder, so the quail, along with their chicks, must have felt safe and protected there.

Orchard Quail was inspired by those daily visits from the quail. The antique black background suggests that feeling of closed-in safety that surrounded the feeding quail. Orchard Quail also has an autumn feel for me, maybe because of the fall colors of red, orange, and warm browns spread throughout the design in the berries and mounded border motifs.

The second quail pattern, Lace Quail, is a spin off design from Orchard Quail.

I was asked to recreate the same feel, but instead of an oval format, they wanted the finished piece to be a rectangle. It was a fun challenge to revisit and hook a quail incorporating a lace-like oval shape within the rectangle. I framed it in an aged barn wood frame. The soft grays in the quail beautifully play off the frame's color and rustic look.

Orchard Quail and Lace Quail are available in my Etsy Shop!

Hooking Lace Quail on the Oregon Coast.