Monday, April 30, 2007

Rug Hookers Hint for Today

Sometimes I'm asked about turning an intricate design into a primitive or wide-cut rug!
It really is very easy if we simply decide what we can cut out and still keep the essential theme! In the above copyright-free image we might decide to cut out the ballerina and the man in the background on the right, get rid of the figures on the left and turn the striped cloak on the left into a tree trunk.
The wide-cut image of the dancer looking into her mirror could be set beside a wild and fanciful tree on the left and perhaps an added curtain or simple backdrop on the right would add to the theme of the Theatre! Enlarged to a rug pattern size, the lines of the dancer are easy and flowing without too much detail. Also using wild colours would help the overall celebration of a theatrical production!
I love the Dover books with the permission-free images and images from antique rugs and decorations! When I use or adapt them, I know that I am not infringing on anyone's copyright and we can all use these images to design from!

Rainy Monday turned Sunny!

It's turning out to be a nice day in the Northeast Kingdom after a rainy start!
I'm still finishing up the background on the Fraktur Angel Floral rug as I keep stopping to do a few other things! Part of that rug is shown in an earlier is the one with the brown background with 12-14 different wool colours.
Tomorrow is our Happy Hookers Group where we meet for hooking and good conversation..and the first Saturday in May-the 5th- we meet at Quilters Quisine, a local quilt shop- for those rug hookers who do primitive rug hooking. We are fortunate to be able to get together and learn from each other! It is always a joy!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rug Hooking Hint Today

I enjoy making starry skies and this is a fun technique!
Using shorter strips of wool and selecting several colours of blue and choosing golds, yellow, etc. for stars you can hook the sky in swirls or waves. The mountains here were hooked with a dip-dyed piece of wool and I was delighted with how they came out. This rug - Home At Last- is in a private collection.

Happy Sunday!

Antique Angel Doll copyright sunnie andress 2005
A cloudy and rainy Sunday here in the Kingdom today! A nice day to be inside hooking!
This is one of my small rugs shown in the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild's rug show last year. We were fortunate to have our rugs featured in two books showing the variety of rugs being hooked today. Everything from old favourites to new abstracts!
This was a tribute to my Mom who made a small rag doll for me when I was very young. The doll is now stained and straggly, but I hooked her as a primitive angel. I loved using all the blues in the sky...these early rugs were all experiments and each one contributed to the colour range I use today.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rug Hooker's Hint for Today!

An illustration of a background using 12 to 14 different colours of wool!

I love working with many colours of wool. I believe the backgrounds have a richness and interest not seen in a flat, one-colour-background. Of course, the background should be appropriate to the rug design and the cut of wool. After all, it is a -background-and not the dominate feature of the rug! LOL
You might want to try a primitive background using this technique and see how you like it.
Also, do you see that I let the red on the large flower blend into the background instead of outlining it in a more contrasting colour? As I've said, I like the look of old painted furniture that has darkened and faded over time and this more undefined technique gives that look.

Saturday Thoughts!

I mentioned earlier that I change motifs a bit in my rug designs so that they are not exact duplicates or really symmetrical!
The above pictures from my -Be My Love-a Sampler Valentine rug shows what I mean. These vases, one on each side of the rug, are really very much the same on my pattern. But as you can see, I've done them differently and certainly not in a precise way. Purists will be shocked at my goofy technique...but as a somewhat goofy personality myself, it is typical of the whimsical work that I do. I find it all such fun!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rug Hooker's Hint for Today

Posy Circle footstool cover - please feel free to copy this pattern and use it!
Just a little reminder though...We artists love to share our work but we appreciate all of our viewers respecting the copyright laws and not copying our original designs. If you are interested in any of my rugs, please contact me through Sunnie Andress Designs until I get my rug hooking website up and running. Thank you so much!
Sometimes simple designs are the best! I used this little footstool in my Beginner's class to show how simply cutting paper and using the cutouts for a pattern can make an easy design. I just grabbed a sheet of copy paper, chopped off the end to make an 8 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch square, folded it into fourths and cut out a freehand leaf shape. I have a few different-size poster paper circles for chair pads so I just put a circle pattern on Monk's cloth, drew around it, laid the paper 4-leaf pattern in the center, drew around the leaves, , used a straightedge to draw the center lines and cut out a small poster paper circle. I drew around the small circle for the posy heads and we had a footstool cover !

Happy Friday!

As I continue to organize my studio, I thought you might like to see the type of shelving I use. I know many other rug hookers use the same system!

Colours are easy to see and the air circulates around the wool too.
I purchased the dry sink from Primitive Country Workshop -their store- on eBay. Great people to work with and they will customize items for you! I ordered the piece without the door so I could show the wool. It sits at the end of my sewing table.
This morning we are having cloudy skies and are expecting rain. But we stay cozy inside today!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Primitive Rug samples for future Patterns

1. Chicken in the Garden
2. a portion of Fairy Cottage
3. Leaping Deer-Autumn
all three original rugs copyright sunnie andress 2005
I have been busy since 2005 working up designs and hooking rugs to use as samples for my own group of hand-drawn patterns. I've also been working on a rug hooking website where my patterns will be for sale, but it is still in progress. Too few hours in the day!

It's really been a delightful journey and I focus on patterns that are easy and fun for beginning hookers to do. Most are my copyrighted originals, but a few are my versions of rugs in the public domain and I certainly don't claim any copyright on them! I also do one-of-a-kind rugs for customers and I really enjoy that.

I love rugs with a folk-art feeling and those with a lot of deep colours as you can see in my work. The rugs I am working on now are also in deep rich colours!

A Nice Porch for Rug Hooking in Summer

Unlike Santa-making I can take my frame out on the porch in summertime and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. This is what it looks like in husband is just batty for hollyhocks and I love them too!

Cassie - Relaxing

My husband and I are not the only ones who are a little odd!

Our cat seems to enjoy sleeping in the IN box on my husband's desk!

She is so of the most interesting and talkative cats we've ever owned.

Rug Hooking Hint Today

One of the best things, and the most helpful items I have in my studio is a fabric-covered plywood board...about three by four feet.

When I take a rest from hooking while having lunch, etc. I clip my in-progress rug to the board, lean the board up against one of my tables and view it from a distance. Seeing it flat - not curved over a chair or sofa back-lets me see if my design is working, if a colour is fitting in or I need to zip a strip out, etc. Also it gives me some time to study the design and decide what I am going to do for a border. Since I don't plan my rugs, at least in the accepted sense of the word, I usually wait until I have finished the rug without the border to decide if a border is really needed.

I always leave room for a border, however, when I draw my pattern on. Also, I usually don't zigzag around the edge of my design before I start hooking so I can change my mind about size, borders, etc.

Happy Thursday!

Sunnie's Original Santas
Another nice day in the Kingdom.
I thought you might enjoy seeing the other things I do.
I don't only design and make hooked rugs. I was, before I discovered the delights of rug hooking, a Santa-maker. I also do orginal one-of-a-kind witches and other folk figures. They are really fun to do but take a lot of power tools, glues, fiddley bits, etc. and although a joyful pastime certainly not what you would call -peaceful-!
Last year I made several small Rug Hooker's Santas for my November show. They carried hooks, a small hooked piece and a basket or armful of wool strips. A lady from the midwest bought three and she wasn't even a rug hooker!
For those of you who hook your rows close together like I do, you might consider steaming your rug more times than at the end of all your hooking. From the very beginning of my hooking life, I was not fond of the technique of leaving wide unhooked spaces between rows. I know several wonderful hookers who do this but it is just not my style. I place the rows as close together as my large hook can go through the backing easily. If it is too hard to push through the Monk's cloth or Linen, I know the loop is too close.
I steam my rugs about three times...once when I finish either the center motifs with the background worked around them or finish one side of the rug, once when the entire rug is finished and the -holidays- filled in... but before I start on the border... and a third time, on the back and on the front, when the rug is entirely finished.
I find that this makes my rugs lie quite flat and lets me know early if I have crowded anything and need to take a strip out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rug Hooking Hint for Today!

If you like a touch of whimsy and quirkyness in your rugs as I do, consider making a few changes in your design or your purchased pattern. I am not fond of precise symmetry so I make small changes on each side of my pattern as I hook. I change leaf or flower shapes just a bit, change colours in the pattern or even change the size of a motif just a small amount so it looks freehand. When studying the old Frakturs, I have noted that they have many motifs that are a bit odd or off!

That is the look I like in my rugs. Perhaps you do too!

Wednesday's Child!

Strong Women rug copyright sunnie andress 2006
We are thankful for the pleasant weather and today was no exception! I was able to work on the Fraktur Angel Floral rug today and it looks like it will be finished by the weekend. Hooray!

I have been using the quarter background method I spoke about for this background as I was not sure how many deep red-orange-brown tones of wool I had. It looks like I will have enough and will not have to add another wool in my open spaces. I love hooking this way as I never have any anxiety about running out of background wool! Since hooking is such a peaceful pastime, anything that stresses you out is counter-productive!

My rug designs, colours and hooking style have changed over these last three years. I really like creating the vision of an old piece of painted wood that has darkened and faded over time, translating paint into the softness of wool. I am fortunate to be able to live a very tranquil life, with the time to create these works of folk art. Rug hooking is a simple craft to learn but it has such possibilities! When I study the antique images, I feel like I'm held in the memories of times past...and it gives me great joy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rug Hooking Hint for Today2

If you are not fond of red dot tracer or net, etc. for transferring patterns to your backing material, perhaps you would like to use a light table. I prefer this method and, at first, used a round patio table with a glass top that I happened to have. I placed a couple of small lamps under the table and it worked just fine for small rugs or chair pads.
However, it was not very useful for tracing the larger rug designs.

I have 2 inexpensive rectangular dining tables in my studio and was walking by one last month when it suddenly struck me that I could turn one into a larger light table. I purchased a piece of clear acrylic sheeting a bit smaller than the table top and asked my husband to cut out the top of the table to accomodate the acrylic. We did this and it works perfectly! I use one small accent lamp under the table at one end and an inexpensive clip-on light under the other end.

I have heard of other hookers replacing the leaf in a dining table with a piece of tempered glass or acrylic sheeting and putting a lamp underneath!

Sunny Tuesday in the Northeast Kingdom

Kitty's Fantasy Garden-rug design copyright sunnie andress 2005
Another beautiful day in Vermont with sunshine and a cool wind blowing. Our cat was anxious to get outside this morning as she has been staying inside during our early Spring cold, snowy and stormy weather. We love cats and also love birds and we feed the birds all Winter. Of course, that puts us in a bit of a pickle as you know what a combination cats and birds are!
I will continue my sorting and organizing work in the studio today and it is so nice to see it coming back to a cleaner and more orderly space. I tend to throw fabric around when I work- on both rugs and Santas- so the studio gets pretty messy as the year progresses. I am not always good at putting things back in their proper places very quickly!
I will hook some today on my current rug - Fraktur Angel Floral - and hope to have it finished and ready to bind and edge-whip by the weekend. I have such fun doing all my rugs but this has been delightful. I've used about 12-14 different plaids, mottled dyes and as -is wools in the background of this rug! Whew!
I also must return to the second rug I am working on...
Be My Love - A Sampler Valentine it is also a fun rug to hook and would be appropriate for an anniversary, wedding or engagement gift for yourself or someone special!
Almost all of my rug designs can be done by beginners. They are done in a freewheeling folk art style and have a lot going on in the design, but the shapes and images are themselves large and easy to hook. Only the faces and small accents are done in a number 5 cut...everything else is in number 6, 8 or hand-cut.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rug Hooking Hint for today!

Many beginning hookers worry about having enough wool for backgrounds in their primitive or wide-cut rugs! Collecting several different pieces of background wools close in value and colour, rather than using a single wool can help. Divide your pattern background into fourths. Divide your wools into four piles and work in each section of your background. Leave some spaces open...don't fill all your background in. If you have enough wool, that's terrific! But, if you need to add more background wool simply select or buy another colour close in value, add some to each of your four sections and -voila!-it looks like you planned it that way!

April Morning-Spring in Vermont

Granny's Old Blue Vase-copyright sunnie andress 2005
Thoughts on a Monday morning.

A beautiful Vermont Spring morning here in the Northeast Kingdom. We are especially thankful for the warmer temperatures, having had a very cold, wet and stormy Spring!
I am in the process of sorting and rearranging my rug hooking studio. It is a peaceful pastime although I am anxious to return to my hooking. However, I am finding wools I had forgotten I owned which is, in itself, a delight. I am working on two rugs at the moment, both are inspired by and/or adapted from old Frakturs and Samplers. I do original work for the most part but use motifs from antique sources, blending them together in my own way. My work is almost always whimsical and colourful...and I work in wide-cut -numbers 5,6 and 8 cut- wool strips.
Although my rug themes are not grand or political or precise geometrics, I enjoy painting with wool small pictures of our rural life, the designs of past folk artists and the joys of home and family relationships.
I was able to hang the clothes outside to dry for the first time this year...and the songs of the birds seemed a little sweeter this morning as they, too, enjoyed the sunshine.