Sunday, January 29, 2012

This weeks rug progress

I'm showing this week's progress on my rug. I started hooking around the stems and flowers with 2 rows.
It's such a contrast to hook the black/brown wools against the cream foundation. These rows are pushing the other loops into place, so the leaves and flowers are even more defined.

After finishing the outlining, I took a Sharpie and drew some squiggles. I'll hook around the squiggles to add some movement into the background.

Here's one small section that's done. The 3 wools give a black/dark brown and a hint of dark blue and tan. Very stubtle, but I like it. Now that I see how these 3 wools look together, it's given me an idea of how other colors might look. I'll be looking for more plaids to use in other projects.

~*~ Laura ~*~

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dollar Saturday

I stopped into my local thrift store yesterday. All orange tag items were only $1.00. I found a green plaid wool skirt for only $1.00. I also found a Woolrich plaid pair of shorts for only $1.00. Not too bad for wool items. I think the green (very pretty in person, I just don't want to mess with my camera and adjusting colors now) will look great as leafs or grass in a rug.

We didn't have a snow day on Friday, but did get about 7 inches of snow by Saturday morning. So, I spend Friday evening hooking my new dark wool. I did an experimental row at the bottom of the rug, just to see what a row of each looked like. I wanted to make sure I was going to use all three plaids. (which I am)

I then started outlining the edges with 2 rows, then outlining the flowers with 2 rows. I cut equal amounts of each wool, threw it into a basket, and am randomly pulling out worms to hook. I like the look of the black/brown ~ it's very subtle. I'm hoping to get more done today. Once done with outlining, I'll add some interest to the background by drawing some s's or c's and going around them. I haven't attempted that before, so yet something new to experiment on.

Have a great weekend!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hoping for Snow

While thinking about my floral rug, I started a snowman rug. Its was in an older issue of Create and Decorate. I've always admired the hooked rugs, and kept certain patterns in mind. (I've also used them for punch needle) I used a tan/grey/brown mini plaid for the scarf. This plaid was previously a Talbots skirt that I found at a thrift store for cheap. Because the plaid is so small, it hooks up very textured/bumpy looking. I'm not sure that I like the brown for the twig arms. It's a piece of reclaimed coat wool. I have a darker piece of brown that I might try on the other arm and compare them. I also needed a light pink for the cheeks. All I had was some left over hand dyed wool from a penny rug.

I also needed a light pink for the cheeks. All I had was some left over hand dyed wool from a strawberry penny rug. I was thinking the pink was a bit too deep, so I tried some dyeing without dye. I threw the piece of pink wool into a pot with some off white wool, and let it simmer. I now have a light pink wool to try. (I'm getting closer to really trying some dying)

I got home from work today, and found a package that I had ordered from Designs in Wool! More wool. Dark, primitive wool. I really like the wool on the right. I can't wait to see how it hooks up. The wool on the left I wasn't sure about when I ordered it, but am giving it a try. It's so much darker than in the photo when I ordered, which is a good thing. It's a dark blue, but almost looks black. It might give a different color once it's cut and next to the other darks. (thanks for suggesting it, Mary) Now to wash it to full it, cut, and hook.

I also ordered a cream/beige plaid. It has softer colors than I expected, but again, that's a good thing. I want to use it for the snowman and have subtle variations.

All this new wool will keep my busy. All I need is a snow day tomorrow, but it's not gonna happen. We do have a winter storm heading our way tomorrow, but not enough to close schools. But, I can hope.

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday's Finish

I just finished my little (12x15) rug. I really liked how this one turned out. I didn't do any color planning, just followed the photo on the pattern. I wish all color planning was that easy!

I love the grey border and roof on this rug.

The back. I used strips of wool fabric instead of twill tape. It's a bit softer than twill tape. Since it's a small rug, and will most likely be put on a wall, I'm not worried about the durability. The binding is matching wool fabric strips.

This is the wonderful striped wool fabric that created the roof and border. The photo shows it a bit brighter than it actually is. It hooks up grey, with hints of brown/gold and blue. This has made me re-think about mill dyed fabric. I'm now going to search for more plaids that can be used in other rugs.

I almost want to make another one just to see how quickly it can be made. I do have a piece of monks cloth large enough to make another one. I'll have to see if I have enough of the wool.

~*~ Laura ~*~

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Here it is ~ the penny rug that's on my dining room table. This was one of my first attempts at a penny rug, and it was designed to be used. I wanted something that would fit in the center of the table, but still allow plates, silverware, and glasses to fit on the table without going on top of the rug. So, I put some paper on the table to see how large to make the runner. No magic formula, just measured to suit my need.

I then took the measurements, and traced a rectangle on freezer paper. I used the freezer paper to cut out the background. It helps give a really sharp edge, plus, it helps give an exact backing size. (more on that later) I used wool felt for this one, but now I only use 100% wool. (had to start somewhere)

I used various colors of pennies and layed them out so the bottom color goes diagonally. I didn't use freezer paper to cut them out. I used an idea on another blog of using a Sizzix machine with a circle cutter. Yes, it did give exact circles. But, I found using this machine wasted a lot of wool felt. Now that I use wool, it would waste WAY too much. If I was doing this again, I would trace my circles onto freezer paper using a circle template. The circles can touch edges (very slightly), as then there would be no wasted wool.

I stitched them in groups of 3, then blanket stitched them to the background. After I made this penny rug, I found a wonderful tutorial for blanket stitching. You might want to check out

After stitching the pennies onto the front, you can finish the back with either wool or cotton quilt fabric. I used cotton. If you are using wool, use the freezer paper from the top of the runner. Cut exactly, and you will have an exact copy of the top. If you are using fabric, iron the freezer paper onto the fabric, and cut, leaving a 1 inch border on each side of the freezer paper. Then iron the edges of the runner exactly on the edge of the freezer paper. An easy way to get an exact size of the top. You will now be able to stitch the bottom to the top, and not have the cotton fabric ravel. I didn't know this trick when I made this runner. Yes, the edges do have a button hole stitch, but the quilt fabric still ravels slightly.

I've seen other ideas for the background instead of wool. I've seen aged weavers cloth, quilt fabric and ticking. Walnut ink crystals are a great way to age the fabric.

I did have to start a project to use my new frame. I started a snowman rug with some scraps that I had on hand. The white/tan is a few worms of wool that I sprayed with walnut ink. I love the color of walnut ink to age fabric (not too orangy, not too drab ~ just a wonderful shade of brown). I wanted to see how it would look for the snowman. (the color is lighter than in the photo). Now to decide if I go for tan or grey to age the snowman....

~*~ Laura ~*~ (still warm in Chicago, but that's gonna change soon)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Here!

Yesterday, my new rug hooking frame arrived! Merry Christmas to me. (yep, I chose my own Christmas gift this year) The box wasn't very large, but the base and 2 gripper tops all fit inside. As I opened it, and it smelled like freshly cut wood~ mmmmm. I did have to assemble it, which was a total of 2 screws. Easy enough to manage ~ just have to be careful of the sharp gripper strips.

Here is the octagonal frame top. I went with this over a larger rectangular one, as I thought I would be easier to maneuver in circles. Since I have nothing to compare it to, it will be tons easier than the hoop I'm currently using.

I also got a smaller square frame top (it came as a set). I put it on top of the octagonal to compare the sizes. The square might be nice for a smaller mini rug, or even punch needle. I chose the lap base, as I hook sitting on the couch. I can always get a floor frame attachment, but at this point, I don't think I would use it enough.

Thank you for the nice comments on the penny rug that's on my dining room table. I will get some photos, and write up a tutorial. There are a few things that I would do differently if I make another one. This one gets a lot of use, and gets crumbs/spills, as we eat in our dining room every evening. I really don't mind if it's gets dirty, as it's to use. I can always make another one.

It was back to work/school for me on Monday. Our district gave 2 full weeks off, but we had to go back on Monday, when the rest of the area was off for the holiday. I didn't mind going back, as I like my job this year. (I didn't say that last year!)

~*~ Laura ~*~