Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Praise Every Morning

Praise Every Morning, size 28" x 50" is a rug I designed last summer that has taken me until now to finally complete. Up until a few days ago, I always referred to this as my "big rug". Usually, a name comes to me as I hook, or often before I even start. Yet with this rug, taking over nine months to complete, I was surprised that a name hadn't jumped out at me. Then I remembered backed to the summer when I was thinking about making a big rug.

As the ideas for my rug were coming together, there were several mornings when I would awaken with the song "Morning has Broken" dancing around in my head. The lyrics (praise every morning) now seem like a fitting, positive, uplifting name for this rug. Perhaps like many of you, I grew up loving this song, which was made popular by Cat Stevens, yet it is actually a hymn first published in 1931. The words are by English author Eleanor Farjeon and are set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune. Who knew?!

My design was inspired by an antique rug that had intriguing hit-and-miss sections along with flowers set within diamond shapes against a light greenish background.

I find it interesting that something as simple as hooking repeated hit-and-miss lines can create unity in a rug. I love how the hit-and-miss repetition keeps drawing my eye in, inspiring me to look longer and see more. The parallel and perpendicular lines are hooked in soft browns and golds on the straight of the grain. The diamond shapes are hooked a little quirky here and there to compliment the homespun feel of the rug.

Sweet birds, blooming flowers, bold roses, and vining hearts are the focal points within the diamonds that all come together creating a garden theme. I like to think that my little birds are "praising every morning" as they greet the day with song, flitting amongst the flowers in this hooked garden

Of course, my goal was to use up several of my already cut worms, but this never seems to be the reality for me. I was surprised that I didn't have too many worms left over, but I'm thinking I will have to find another way to design a rug if my goal is to use up wool worms.

I am so happy to finally have my "big rug" on the floor. The lovely soft colors, the hit-and-miss lines, the garden flowers and cheerful birds are reminding me to "praise every morning" too!

This pattern and other items are available in my ETSY shop.

Thank you!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marbleized Magic

These past few weeks I have been lucky enough to spend time in the dye kitchen experimenting with this wonderful dye technique. Marbleizing, the blending of colors onto wool that uses no dye. The technique was invented over 15 years ago by Karen Kahle of Primitive Spirit. I still remember the day she called me to come see the amazing results produced by having colors bleed out onto each other, using no powdered dyes. The wool was breathtaking. Now, years later, as I marbleize my own wool, I am still ridiculously giddy and inspired by the results as I take the wools off the stovetop and unroll them in the sink, seeing the magic unfold before my very eyes.

I think what I love most about marbleized wool is the varied color changes that wash over the piece of wool. The base layer can totally change in color depending on what wools were layered next to it. The colors can be soft and muted, or dramatic. Each piece of wool is so versatile because of the coloration, with warm and cool colors that flow over it. Marbleized wool is most often reversible, one side can be very different than the other. Marbleized wool is perfect for blending wools, for a background or motif, because of the depth in color. Those subtle color changes in marbleized wool can be the "bridge wool" that blends readily with other colors, values and texture as you create your hooked rugs.

Look at this soft and romantic color combination. I am envisioning a light background with pink budded roses and greens for leaves, reminiscent of an old quilt pattern.

This color combination might be used with a dramatic red barn, smokey grey sky, and furrowed fields. The possibilities are endless!

Currently I am marbleizing wool for two classes that I will be teaching this year. The first class this coming May, with Shelley Lencioni, of I Love Rug Hooking. It will be a two day workshop May, 5 and 6. There is still room in that class, and she has more information posted on her website at under "Classes". This will be a fun workshop, nestled away at Shelley's Auburn California studio. I'm excited to teach, share some new patterns, and my dyed and marbleized wool.

The other class is a four day workshop in September in Texas. That class is already full. I hope to have more marbleized and dyed wool to add to my Etsy shop and for vending at some local Hook-Ins. Wow, I better get back into the dye kitchen!

While I adore the results of marbleized wool, there is a lot of work that goes into choosing the wools, preparing and processing. It takes a long time to get the wools rolled, tied, twisted and up to proper temp, without over processing the wool. It really does seem like magic that this beautiful wool is created without adding dyes. However, my tired feet and stiff back are a good reminder that as in all good things, effort and hard work bring about good results, NOT the flick of a magic wand!

Please check back to my ETSY site for patterns, new designs coming, and I hope marbleized and dyed wool too. Thank you!