Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Color Studies

Making a small hooked mat is a perfect way to experiment with color. Maybe you are in-between projects yet feel the need to have wool and hook between your fingers, so you grab a small design and commence with the hooking. Perhaps you have a large pattern and want to experiment with the colors on a smaller scale, before you commit to using them in a large rug.

These scenarios were just the case for me, earlier this summer, when I was finishing a rug. If you are like me, you most likely have another project vying for your attention, before you have even completed the current one! I had a big rug design/idea in my head and sketch book yet I had not quite settled on the lay-out of the elements. I also had a couple of color ideas, inspired by antique rugs that I was trying to decide upon. So, picking up a small design to hook seemed like a good way to take care of my desire to hook, and to experiment with the design and colors.

As I hook a small mat, I am experimenting with many aspects of the rug. There are several questions I try to answer when I first begin to hook. It's not a stringent strict test, but more like an eye-opening exploration of ideas. A flow of give and take, a journey, with a hopeful open-mindedness on the road of discovery. There is a feeling of anticipation and excitement as I begin.

What design elements "work"? Do I want part of the motif to fade into the background. Should I use a thin strip or beauty line to outline an area of the motif to make it stand out more than another area? What wools do I want to use. Do the textures I hook with "read" darker or lighter once hooked? If I use an as-is texture, is there a dyed-wool or one of my marbleized wools that will also work with it or could be substituted to add interest and depth to the piece? Do the values of the wools reflect the feeling I am trying to achieve. Do I want my neutrals to lean to a warmer or cooler tint? What hooking techniques will I use? How about using hit-and-miss (as a way to use up already cut strips). Will non-directional hooking for the background be a viable choice as a way to give a naive-sort of look to the piece, and as a way to move color, or will I use a blending technique. Do I need to dye wool, or will my stash be enough to complete my rug with the color choices I am hoping to use? Do I want to finish the rug with a crocheted edge or a different finishing technique?

Below are some photos that show how I hooked some of these ideas into my mats.

My large, yet unnamed rug, is 28" x 50". I am excited to get hooking on it. I really had high hopes to use my already cut wool worms, as a way to deplete that ever growing pile. Yet, I have to confess, I suffer from an affliction of wanting "just the right color", so the dye pots are never far away in case I need to augment my wool supply.

These little color studies are so fun to hook! They can be used as home decor, wall hangings, mug mats, or to use as gifts or donations.

Happy Hooking!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Forget Me Not

My latest design, Forget Me Not, was inspired by an antique rug. The original piece featured several flowers with a narrow border. I wanted to simplify the array of flowers, and add a geometric aspect to play off of the organic shape of those flowers. Above all, I wanted the design to look muted, time-worn, washed out, soft and faded. The large rose-like flower with the oversized leaf, surrounded by different flowers reminded me of a vintage-type postcard, which made me feel sentimental, hence the name, Forget Me Not.

Once I decided on offsetting the two large flower-filled squares, the diamond and triangle shapes surrounding those flowers followed! To add a geometric portion to border the flowing-flower shapes seemed so right. Maybe that is why we like fences with flowers planted alongside them, an arbor covered in roses, or a checkered pathway with a riot of flowers on either side. The uniformed with the unruly, the tame with the wild!

I knew I wanted the rug to look antique, instant OLD! This was achieved by using medium values for the background, flowers and diamonds, so that they blend into each other. I did use lighter and darker values with neutrals too, but I tried to use these sparingly. I found it interesting that the diamond/triangle shapes didn't need to be the same exact colors that were used in the flower portion, but rather, keeping them within a range of medium values was what mattered most to make the whole rug feel balanced.

The rug measures approx 20" X 40". The two squares of flower bouquets are similar but not exact replicas of each other. Drawing them slightly different and hooking them that way too was my way of knowingly adding some charm to the rug. The lines for the diamonds and triangles are also purposefully slanted or crooked in some spots to add a feeling of naïveté. The edges are drawn on the straight of the grain.

Forget Me Not, other patterns, and hooking related items are available at my ETSY shop

Step back in time with Forget Me Not!