Two dogs ready to run.

Sydney and Whiskey are ready to go home to their owner.  I worked like crazy to finish up the hooking and binding this week.  Not without some changes in my plans, however.

I had dyed some wool for the background using the Blue-Red-Yellow dye plan.  I enjoy doing this kind of dyeing, because it’s done in one pot.  First add the blue dye with citric acid, stir twice and leave it alone until the dye is taken up by the wool.  Then add the red dye with a bit more citric acid, stir twice and leave alone until that dye is taken up. Then do the same process with the yellow dye.  The end result is wool with a beautiful spotty richness showing primary and secondary colors. 

I was pleased with the dyed wool, but when I held it up to the dogs, it was much too distracting.  I put so much blood, sweat and tears into hooking the dogs that I did not want to make them vie for attention.  I decided that I liked the dogs against the natural color of the linen, so I found a beautiful neutral herringbone wool, named Winter Wheat, from The Wool Studio’s most recent swatch mailing.  While I was at it, I also ordered some similar wool with very subtle color stripes in it, named Fruit of the Loom, which I used for the border.

Another change in plans was that I had thought I would use the antigodlin, or higgledy-piggledy, kind of hooking for the background to give interest.  [Nancy Parcels wrote an informative article on this method in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine].  I found the neutral background wool was so soft and blended so well, that the antigodlin loops would have gotten lost.  So, I did my usual method for doing a background- hook a shape, fill it in, hook another shape, fill it in, etc.

All that is left to do is to have the rug photographed and then mail it on its way.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the successful finishing of another hooked rug.

Sydney and Whiskey all set to go home.

Sydney and Whiskey all set to go home.

Seeing spots.

I have admitted in the past to being a reluctant wool dyer, and that’s the truth.  Now that I have hooked the dogs’ heads, necks, and collars, it’s on to their spotted chests.  That will require some spot dyed wool.

I pre-soaked some natural wool and accordion-folded it in a casserole pan.  I put citric acid into the hot water in the pan, so the dye would go into the wool quickly and not spread out too much. I made up some chestnut dye and sprinkled it here and there on the wool.  Into the oven it went for half an hour, then a cool down and a rinse and dry.  It looked promising, but the test will be when I cut a few strips and hook some loops.  Fingers crossed!

The spot dyed dog-spot wool works.  I am using a wider #8 cut, so the spots will appear larger, and I’m happy with the look it gives. As soon as I hook Whiskey’s chest and all four paws, it’s on to the background and the hooked frame border.  Colors to be determined.  I like to see a piece evolve and emerge as I hook along.  One thing leads to another.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the unfolding of one’s artistic vision.

Spot dyed wool makes dog spots.

Spot dyed wool makes dog spots.

It takes a village.

My work in progress [WIP] is a work in progress. 

Judy Carter’s book, Hooking Animals [© 2014 Stackpole Books], is bookmarked and often referred to as I go along. Judy mostly hooks with narrow #3 and #4 wool strips, but I am hooking these dogs with wider #7 wool strips.  That’s as narrow as I like to go, so I have used Judy’s book as an inspirational jumping-off point. 

It has taken me years to realize and accept that I hook the way I hook.  Although I have learned and incorporated many helpful hooking tips through the years, I must have confidence in my own abilities.  I plan to look to my friend, Nancy Parcels, for inspiration as I do the background. 

It does indeed take a village!

Another lesson that has been obvious as I hook, unhook, and re-hook this dog rug, is that I need to employ a bit of good old, Artistic License.  I have certainly done that in the past.  In this case I tried many colors for the eyes and although the eyes of these dogs are usually brown, in the photo there is a definite yellow/gold cast.  I settled on a rusty-orange wool, which gives the eyes more definition and helps them stand out.

 I shall be jumping over to do Whiskey’s head next.  After that, the rest of the rug should be less stressful.  Don’t quote me on that.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in channeling the hooking tips of expert rug hookers.

Sydney, the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a work in progress.  I'll do Whiskey before making any more changes.

Sydney, the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a work in progress.  I'll do Whiskey before making any more changes.

Weather delay.

As in many parts of the US, our area of Pennsylvania has been in the deep freeze with no letup in sight.  For that reason, I have not spent any time in my rug hooking studio.  Yes, there is a heater in there, but in this extreme cold, it doesn’t keep the room warm enough for my fingers to work.

I always say that I prefer to be cold than hot and that’s the truth.  Actually, I prefer to deal with being cold than hot.

Before this bitter cold hit, I managed to do the preliminary drawing for the dog rug.  [My blog from last Monday explains this project.] Next will come putting it on linen and then the fun part of hooking.  Stay with me as I go along. 

I hope you’re managing to keep warm.  Bundle up!

There’s a lot of beauty out there, but I’ll enjoy it from inside for now.

Sydney and Whiskey are ready to go on linen.

Sydney and Whiskey are ready to go on linen.

A New Year and new beginnings.

Back in October I attended the Brandywine Hook-in with my fellow Magdalena Rug Hookers.  It was a fun day filled with networking, shopping, reconnecting with rug hooking friends from near and far, and the winning of a door prize! 

I won a very substantial amount of wool, which was donated from a retired rug hooker’s stash.  It is all wonderful plaids and other as-is wool in mostly quarter-yard pieces.  I didn’t immediately undo the package containing all of this wooly goodness, but enjoyed looking at it and waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.  That opportunity arrived last month.

I donated a future hooked rug to an auction for the MSPCA-Angell animal adoption center on Cape Cod.  The excited winner emailed me with a photo of her two beautiful German Shorthaired Pointers, which will be the subject of her hooked rug.

The photo excited me and got my creative juices running and I ran for the package of the wool I had won.  I got busy washing and drying the wool and much of it will be perfect for hooking these dogs.  I love the idea that I won the wool and it will be used to hook a rug that someone else won.  Synergy at its best!

I will share my progress with the auction rug of Sydney and Whiskey [the dogs’ names] as I go along.  I know I’ll be consulting Judy Carter’s Hooking Animals book for tips.

Our son arrives today for a visit.  He lives on the west coast, so we don’t get to see him very often.  I hope he likes pork and sauerkraut, because here in PA Dutch country, we always eat that meal on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year.  I could use some good luck, how about you?

Happy New Year to you all and thank you for spending a bit of each Monday with me.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the pairing of the right wool with the right rug.

Just some of the wool I came home with.  Can't wait to see how it comes together in this rug.

Just some of the wool I came home with.  Can't wait to see how it comes together in this rug.

Hooked rug subjects, Sydney [l.] and Whiskey [r.].   [photo courtesy of L. Gulliver]

Hooked rug subjects, Sydney [l.] and Whiskey [r.].   [photo courtesy of L. Gulliver]

International Rug Hooking Day.

Today is the annual day to take rug hooking to the people! Where will you be rug hooking?  I am hosting my First Monday Crafters today, so I will be rug hooking with this group of knitters, crocheters, cross-stitchers, weavers, jewelry makers, and all around crafty ladies.  I’ll post a photo on the Rug Hooking Magazine Facebook page.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have been able to do a lot of hooking.  I finished hooking a piece that has been in the works for months.  It shouldn’t have taken me so long, but I kept putting it aside for more urgent projects.  I am doing a different kind of binding on it and will unveil it when it is completed.

I got a good head start on the Down to Earth2 circular meditation mat that I will donate to my granddaughter’s school auction in March.  I had plenty of background wool left over from the original mediation mat that I finished recently.  I also used up some wool that I dyed for a previous project for the snake’s body.  Kundalini is ready to rise!  Do you do seated meditation?  This pattern is for sale, although it’s not on the Shop page of my website yet.  I will substitute two animals that are special to you, if you’d like.  Contact me at for details.

December is here along with the annual holiday hoopla and hi-jinks.  I try to keep away from it and stay grounded and stress free, but I'm not always successful.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the celebration of the art and craft of traditional rug hooking.

A good start on my 36" diameter Down to Earth2 meditation mat.

A good start on my 36" diameter Down to Earth2 meditation mat.