Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant! Yes, here is the color gray, AGAIN!

Really, truly, I had no intention of experimenting with gray for awhile. (see past post about my gray phase)

I'm already playing with other colors in two smaller hooked pieces that are "on the frame". They are both more than halfway hooked. I have two small rugs I need to finish designing and then hook before the end of summer, and one large design spinning around in my head. Again, I say, I had no intention of hooking anything with gray.

That was, until I received an invitation for a baby shower. I could tell by the online registry that the theme for the new nursery was white, gray, neutrals....and elephants! I have loved elephants for as long as I can remember. In second grade I had a Dumbo notebook. I didn't like the movie, but I loved Dumbo. I can think of some great children's book with elephants as the main character. Dumbo, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Babar, and Dr. Seuss' Horton the Elephant to name a few!

Over 25 years ago, I saw an elephant rug called Jumbo. It was a reproduction of a rug from the collection of the Shelburne Museum hooked rugs. It was charming! A simply rendered elephant in the middle of a wreath of flowers! I always thought it would be a fun rug to hook.

So, back to my Baby Elephant. The registry had crocheted elephants and stuffed wool elephants on a baby mobile that were truly sweet. Yet, upon seeing those items, I thought to myself. I could hook a little elephant wall hanging or table mat. Once I had that thought, I knew gray was back in my immediate future.

When I hook small pieces I don't always put a wool backing on them, yet, since this was a gift I felt it would look more finished with a wool backing. All of these were great choices.

I wanted to sew a label on the back, since I didn't hook my initials or date in the piece. Now they know this was made with love, just for them!

Baby Elephant, measures 9"x 10" and is a good rug for a beginner or as a weekend project for an experienced hooker. Maybe the color gray is in your immediate future too!

You can find Baby Elephant and other rug hooking related items at my etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Out to Pasture

This Little Cow wanders out into the pasture, unsure of whether to smell the flowers or eat them. The technique of directional hooking and use of many different wool textures imparts the surrounding hills with a feeling of movement.

Sometimes with small pieces I like to frame them in different ways. This classic style frame has a rustic antiqued finish with a gold leafed inner edge that beautifully compliments my work. The Roma wood frame is made in Italy and assembled in North America. These mouldings are made using only woods from active reforestation programs. Now that is a good thing!

Little Cow, is a fun, sweet pattern to hook and make into a table topper, pillow, or to frame. It would look great with rustic barnwood for the frame. I wouldn't recommend this as a beginner rug, but if you have hooked a few pieces, then this could be your next rug to experiment with hooking directional lines for the hills, leaning flowers framed in their own little hillocks, and one happy Little Cow.

You may find this Little Cow and other patterns and hooking items at my ETSY

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet Me At The Garden Gate

What is so enchanting about garden gates? Why does it seems magical to peer through a gate? It is as if you are viewing a distant land. What other world of flowers, vines and shrubs lie beyond the gate? Maybe it's because gates are the point of "in between". They literally and figuratively are the threshold from the known to the unknown.

Whether the gates are made from wrought iron, wood, repurposed antique doors or hand-built with whimsical parts such as, old discarded garden tools or driftwood, they beckon us into the hidden world that lies beyond. Standing in a garden's entryway reminds me of the quote from the children's book, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, "If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden". What a happy thought!

I wanted to recreate in this rug, Garden Gate, that welcoming feeling that I get when I walk though a gate into a garden. The shape of my Garden Gate rug has the arched top and shape just like a real gate, along with lines, curves, flowers and of course, hearts! It measures 30" by 32 1/2". I was still in my "gray phase" when I color planned and hooked this muted tone rug. I like how the grays can seem warm or cool depending on the lighting. (please see earlier post of when I was stuck in reverse from April 15 for more discussion of this piece)

If you are interested in purchasing this Garden Gate design, other patterns or rug hooking related items, please visit my etsy shop

Please click on my etsy icon in above right sidebar or on below etsy link. Thank you!


Final photo has the patented seal of approval!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ode to Spring

Spring 2012 was the beginning of my gray phase.

One might think with a rug titled Ode to Spring that the colors would include an array of bright greens and a palette of the renewed earth! That it would scream new life, colorful unfurling buds and lengthening days. However, this rug's initial concept was more about experimenting with design and colors from a quilt and vintage hooked rug that I had seen earlier that year. Later, the birds busy in flight, won me over. They demanded to be a part of this design and suggested the title as a poem praising the emerging spring, hence the name, Ode To Spring.

I snapped a photo of this quilt pattern from a book or magazine while haunting the thrift stores. It was the initial catalyst for my new design.

I was entranced by the black and white blocks of this quilt. The way the black diamond was encircled by the roundish shape fascinated me. Immediately I wondered, what would it look like, if the circle shape instead were leaves encircling a flower?

The vintage rug, hooked by a dear friend's grandmother, was my inspiration for color. I loved the symmetry of this old pattern, but more importantly, what mesmerized me was the use of gray, red, black and white.

I was curious about how I might use these colors in an updated range of subtle grays, warm and cool in tone, warm reds, antique blacks and others neutrals.

Then came the bird element to this design. I treasure the feeling of wonder in early spring when the newly arrived flocks of vireos, bushtits and swallows return! I wanted to use birds in this rug, to capture their movement, yet not overpower the other design elements.

When I saw this metal wall sculpture at a local bakery, I realized that birds in flight, in a swirling motion, would compliment and mimic the encircling leaf motifs in the rug perfectly. *(I haven't been able to locate sculpture artist's name as of yet.)

The three birds in flight in the center panel of the runner shows my interpretation of that motion.

I designed the Ode to Spring Runner, yet wasn't quite ready to hook it when I was planning a couple of road trips. The runner measures approximately 23"x 52". I needed a small project. The center panel of the runner seemed like it was a rug that could stand on its own. I wanted to hook the small rug, differently than the runner, but with a similar color plan. I reversed the color placement and used antique blacks as the background, softer orangey-pinks, blue grays and warm greenish golds for the motifs. This smaller version is listed as Ode to Spring Center.

If you haven't designed or hooked a runner before I hope your interest has been piqued. A runner has many uses, such as in a hallway, at the foot or side of your bed, or in front of a buffet to name just a few.

Of course, I will be curious to know what design or color palette you will be experimenting with in YOUR next project!