Saturday, September 10, 2022

Rug Hooking!

I've recently been interested in rug hooking as an art form and wanted to learn how to do it. I bought a special hoop and started watching tutorials online. As the world works in mysterious ways an email from Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman mentioned an upcoming Rug Hooking Workshop in Lancaster PA. Not too far from me and a lovely drive. This is my fourth workshop there (sewing, silkscreening, and fraktur drawing). Off to Lancaster a couple of weeks ago to learn how to hook rugs!

My hooptie

We worked on bird coasters. When I got home I sewed some more material on it so it would fit into my hoop. The backing that you hook into is heavyweight linen which feels really nice to the touch. AND apparently lasts forever. It takes a long time to finish a large piece so you really don't want it to fall apart. Apparently the ones from years ago were made on burlap which does fall apart. 

After a few tries, this was my best coaster, and once it was cut out and the back put on it was mailed to a special friend. I'm not even going to show a picture of the teacher's sample! I kept threatening to take the it home and brag to my family "Look what I made today!" 

After finishing the birds, I just went crazy thinking of all the possibilities for integrating this into my art, and started assembling all the materials needed to make large pieces. Serious rug hooking is a big production.  

Say hello to this professional nifty gadget that cuts wool into noodle strips of varying sizes, depending upon which blade you use. Thank God for my dear husband who figured out how to change the blades. (Of course I bought a used one with no manual). I already bought the beautiful hoop that allows you to hold it in your lap and put your hand underneath to feed the strips into the hook that you hold in your other hand and pull up.  I've amassed a good stash of wool including blankets, skirts, big mens suit pants etc from thrift shops to cut up. They have to be washed in hot water and dried in dryer to prepare for cutting and hooking. Eagerly awaiting the first issue of a rug hooking magazine subscription, also bought several books on how to hook and how to dye wool, plus ordered some high quality linen. As soon as the linen gets here a big piece will be coming down the pike!

Right now it's all practicing, making coasters for my family whether they need or want them or not, but the master plan is to use my own images from paintings and drawings to create large wall pieces. One of the best features of rug hooking is that it is completely portable and can be worked on anywhere. These coasters were hooked while shlepping aprons at our local farmer's market today.

I have high hopes to do something spectacular to justify the expense,  having invested about $500 (yikes!) at this point (which includes the workshop). The medium is so relaxing and gratifying. I'm also learning punch needle which is a different process and look but similar and mostly uses yarn (plentiful at thrift shops). 

The teacher at the workshop told us that she used to do all kinds of art but when she got hooked on rug hooking that is all she wants to do now. I get it!

No comments: