Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Pictorial Rug

The Pictorial Rug by Jane E. Halliwell
Copyright 2000

After beginning "Tis and Taint", I was able to purchase this book on pictorial rugs.  Jane states that these rugs can be hooked in 3 styles: primitive, realistic, or impressionist.  Primitive art lacks detail and pays little attention to scale and perspective.  The strips used to hook them are usually a 1/4 inch or larger.

Briarwood Folk Art Pattern Inspired by Magdalena Briner Eby

 Realism is representing the subject truthfully.  It has details, shading, and perspective.  Jane says rugs portraying Currier & Ives prints are good examples.  These rugs are often hooked in a #2 or #3 strip. (1/16th inch or 3/32 inch).
Small Town USA, circa 1940s, based on the Artwork of George Kovach
Hooked by Roland Nunn

Impressionism is somewhere between primitive and realistic.  Impressionist rugs lean toward realism but lack some detail and are hooked in a #4 or #5 (1/8 inch or 5/32 inch).  Using Jane's definitions, I would categorize "Tis and Taint" as an impressionistic design.  Most of the strips I've used have been cut in a #4.
From research I was able to find that "Tis and Taint" (no.912) was created and published on July 20, 1978.  I still haven't seen a completed rug.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Learning the Hard Way

"Tis and Taint"

I've read and been told that old burlap patterns can be brittle.  I've read and been told that we should never fold a pattern to be stored for long periods of time, rolling them up is a better idea. (Gene Shepherd recommends not to use old burlap patterns at all, except to display them unfinished.  He says designs you like should be transferred to more durable linen.)  Well, this pattern is old and had been folded.  Before I started hooking, I thought I had carefully checked the strength of the fibers......pulling on the burlap around the design...... the burlap seemed strong enough to me.
As you can see in the photo, once I got over to the right side of the design, I found weak spots that needed some reinforcement.  I attached linen patches on the top of my pattern (I didn't want them to show underneath) and hooked through the two layers of fabric.  The horizontal threads were weak....from being old and folded.  
If I was smart, I would probably abandon this project, but... guess I'm not smart.  I'm not really hung up on it's "standing the test of time" or the "heirloom quality" of the project. This mat is not ideal, but at least I will have something, if treated gently, that will last for a time.  It's imperfections will make it unique. 
More of the fragile fold will need strengthening.  I'm hoping that if the burlap is letting go in one place, it won't let go in others.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Another Stash Shrinking Project

"Tis and Taint"

This is a vintage pattern by Pearl McGown called "Tis and Taint".  I haven't been able to find out the history of the pattern nor have I seen a completed version.  It's been in the stash for a while and is the next endeavor.  The pattern is marked as a Sturbridge Village pattern, and I do know that Pearl McGown sold her pattern business to Sturbridge Village in 1970 and continued to work for them for the next 10 years.  
The pattern will be challenging because of the many trees - How to hook the foliage?  Will the trees be green?  How to manage so much green and make the piece interesting?  How to make each tree an "individual"?  What colors to use for the grass and hills?  How will I do this pattern with the wool colors I have in the stockpile?
Here I've completed the foliage on the first tree.......the delightful task begins.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

November Progress


Progress to date with filling in the background.  Someone viewing the mat from a distance thought the background looked like lace.  I'm thinking now on how I'd like to finish the edges......

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

s's and c's

Wool for the Background


The background is being hooked in s's and c's (I drew these on the linen with a Sharpie). I echo the shapes until the hooking rows meet and fill in the spaces. By hooking this way the viewer's eye doesn't settle into a pattern.  Using the dark wool above in s's and c's will space the color around the background.  Remember, I'm using what I have in the stash to hook this rug. Using this pattern allows me to easily introduce a new dark wool and mix it in, if I don't have enough to complete my background.

Monday, March 21, 2016



Here is the design with a small part of the background hooked.  The dark wool adds contrast and makes the design jump forward.  Because I'm using what wool I have in my stash, I chose this wool even though it's fairly thick.  I needed to cut the black into #3 strips to make the loops easier to pull.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

November Progress


This is the design completed.  The colors have been placed around the pattern to keep the eye of the viewer moving about the design.
Most of my color combinations favor using complimentary or split complimentary colors. Complimentary colors are two hues exactly opposite on the color wheel, ex: red and green.  A split complimentary color harmony is a variation - the base color and the two colors adjacent to its complement, ex: red, blue-green, and yellow-green.
Here I've essentially used a harmony closer to a, yellow-orange, and blue-green.  Or, yellow, and blue.  Triads are three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel.
Next is the background.  I have some antique black wool that will make the colors of the design pop.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Paring Down

Thinning the Collection

When I started rug hooking about 6 years ago, I was really motivated to build a stash and find projects without a large monetary investment.  When someone would offer a bag of worms they no longer wanted after completing a rug....I grabbed it.  Small (and a few large) rug patterns that were offered inexpensively (or free) were nabbed up, too.  It's been a case of "my eyes are bigger than my stomach".  I now have a more than healthy stash of wool and patterns, and I've decided that I should use what I've collected.  It's become a challenge.  
First, I needed to tackle the mixed collection of worms. I sorted them by color, for example, yellow greens, blue greens, golds, blue reds, etc. and place them in bags.  Now I had a range of shades for a color family - not really swatch colors.
Here are a few samples

The first pattern I've tackled from the stash is by Jane McGown Flynn,  "November".  I needed to be able to get a sort of shading without using swatches - using my bags of related colors.

This is how I treated the first leaf in the mat.

Here I've added some reds and greens.

When I'm hooking a pattern, I'm always thinking of where my colors will go. I apply the "rule of odds" from composition that suggests an odd number of items in an image is more interesting, more naturalistic.  An even number of subjects produces symmetry which can appear less natural or even dull.  Though there are more than 3 red objects in the design, because of their close placement, they make 3 groups of red.  The odd number causes your eye to move around the design.  I've only hooked 2 gold leaves, so I will need to pick up the gold color at least in one more place to give me an odd number.  You'll notice in the artist's design that Jane has added 3 acorns, 5 leaflets on the large leaf on the left, 3 leaves in the grouping on the top right, and 3 berries on each stem above the large leaf.... the rule of odds.