Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My First Hooked Rugs

My first hooked rug was this fine-cut pansy chair seat/table mat.

I got the kit, hook, a frame and Rigby double-bladed cutter all for under $25. My brain cannot be remembering that correctly! Maybe I got the used cutter later. It WAS over thirty-five years ago!

All of us have a history, a creative journey, of how we got from point A to point B within our craft. I believe our journey is always evolving. What we choose to hook is shaped by so many varying aspects in our life. There are ever-changing color plans we want to explore or are drawn to use. The circumstances in our lives that we are experiencing influence our work. We may want to commemorate a joyous time, such as an arrival of a new baby or wedding. Perhaps it's a time of struggle when we need our craft to ground us, as we create a piece that reminds us of beauty and hope. There may be a long list of rugs on our hooking "bucket list", or workshops that we want to attend with rugs patterns that are the instructor's specialty.

Those many years ago when I first began my journey, I adored the pansy motifs in the kit, but learned early on that I am NOT a fine-cut rug hooker. I appreciate the look of these rugs and the skill it takes to make them, but creating them did not play to my strengths. However, working with colorful wool and the "simple" act of pulling loops through a backing to create a useful, lovely rug was something that I wanted to continue to explore.

Almost all the rug hookers that I knew at that time were doing fine-cut rugs. I had worked in an antique store and admired the antique wide-cut rugs that were for sale there. My next rug that I hooked was a primitive-style rug called Cape May Primitive by Joan Moshimer. At the time, a five-cut was considered wide (the size 8, 1/4" cutter blade would come shortly thereafter)!

I was hooked! Somehow the relationship between the design elements and making color choices that had nothing to do with realism to create a charming rug, spoke to me.

It is fascinating to look back on our creative journey. To wonder about how we got from there to now. I was lucky enough to hook with some talented rug hookers, designers and color artist's that influenced my work.

As artists, we must pay close attention to what we LOVE to do. That is how we stay true to ourselves and create our best work. Is it a fine-cut or wide-cut rug that makes us happy? Do we prefer working with muted, soft-colors or vivid, saturated colors. Do we like to design our own rugs, use commercial patterns, or reproduce antique designs? So many more questions you can ask yourself, because, you are the only one with the answers.

Whatever, and where ever you are in your creative journey is perfect for you! Listen to that inner voice that drives you to create. Listen to what YOU want to do. Try not to compare yourself with others, they have their own path and you have yours.

Keep exploring and experimenting with what makes your heart sing!



  1. You have come a long way, never would I pick those rugs to be yours. I can't even imagine hooking the large floral in a #5, still too small. What ever you do, MJ, it is beautiful.

  2. Thank you Marie! Those rugs were the beginning of my creative journey. I was in my early twenties and still making macrame owls no doubt!