Monday, December 31, 2007

A Happy 2008 to Everyone!

I am going to make a New Years resolution: I will finish my dog rug!

I started the dog rug at Sauder Village in 2006 and have been completely frustrated by the sky and water ever since. When I visualized the rug, I saw a pinky/red sun setting on a distant horizon where the water meets the sky. I hooked the rug half a dozen times with different colors, different cuts, etc. and didn't like any of them. I have hooked the sky so many times I am afraid the linen is worn out - I don't like the sky I have now but I don't think I dare take it out. I resolve to finish the sky and then do the water - and, like them or not, I resolve to leave them in. In fact, since I did my partying last night, I am going to stay quietly at home on New Year's Eve - maybe I'll hook the water in tonight.

Great hooking to everyone in 2008!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Great Antique Rug Hooking Book

A wonderful book came in the mail today. Handmade Rugs by Ella Shannon Bowles was written way back in 1937. The author learned about rug hooking from her grandmother, who was probably making rugs in the last part of the nineteenth century. Mrs. Bowles researched rug hooking, mostly in New Hampshire, and shares what she learned about the old rugs and the old methods. Reading her research puts the reader right in contact with rug hookers and collectors who knew the rug makers who hooked before burlap came to America.
A couple years ago - using my first copy of this wonderful book - I used the pattern Mrs. Bowles uses to explain how to hook, to create a challenge. Each person who accepted the challenge received a sheet of paper that had templates printed on it for the flower and leaf shapes and the basket found in the color photo above. They didn't get to see the photo so they wouldn't be influenced by it. They had to create their own flower arrangement and color plan with only those motifs and the rug size as their instructions. The rugs they created were really wonderful, each one similar but none the same.
I have set up an internet store with rug hooking stuff - mostly to celebrate Yahoo Rughookers. The url is

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

I have explained in past posts that I moved to my mother's house last April and brought my mother home from the nursing home. She has been getting better and better ever since she came home. These are photos of her celebrating Christmas today - between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day she went to three celebrations and then we came home and opened presents. She had a wonderful time, but one of her presents was a large fleece throw and she threw it over herself and was sound asleep in minutes. I haven't been able to hook much since my mother and I became housemates, but I wouldn't trade this opportunity to be with her for anything. I will probably never find another person who thinks that every rug I hook is wonderful.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Primitive Rug Hookers

I found a great book in the Rug Hooking Magazine booth at the ATHA Biennial in New Orleans. It was written by Jenny Rupp (of Sauder Village Rug Show fame) and Lisa Yeago, owners of The Potted Pear - a rug hooking business. The book is Designs for Primitive Rug Hookers, part of Rug Hooking Magazine's framework series. There are 19 projects in the book and each one is thoroughly described with pattern, supplies, great color photos, instructions, etc. The projects are presented by different designers, including Kris Miller and Keith Kemner who are both from my part of Michigan. There are some unusual projects, like a "handbag slipcover", a tea cosy, and even a belt. I have looked at a lot of rug hooking pattern books over the years, but this is the first time I've seen a hooked belt. I might not ever hook any of the patterns presented, but each time I look through the book I have new ideas for rugs and patterns , so I suggest this is a good book for inspiration.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Great New Book: Basic Rug Hooking

I just finished reading a new Stackpole book: Basic Rug Hooking edited by Judy P. Sopronyi, with rug hooking consultant Janet Stanley Reid. It's a perfect book for beginners - all the way through the book I kept thinking it would be a great text book for a beginning rug hooking class, but I think students would be shocked if they were asked to buy a text for a rug hooking class.

Usually when I read a book that introduces rug hooking I find I disagree with some of the instructions, but this book covers everything in about the same way I would when teaching a class - I especially like the way pulling up loops is explained and illustrated with good photos.

There are five hooking projects included, with pattern, instructions, supplies list, etc. They are all good beginner projects - I really like the first one, a unique little rooster that could be hooked easily in one class since it doesn't require any background. The last project is making hooked flower pins, and that's another project that could be easily completed in a single class.

Now that I think about it, this book would make a good guide for a beginning teacher!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Brief personal update

I haven't visited this blog in a long time - I have been too involved with taking care of my mother. When I started this blog, my mother was an independent 94 year old. Since then, she has spent 8 months held prisoner in a nursing home, had all of her money embezzled and almost lost her home of 40 years, been rescued from the nursing home by my attorney, and is now sharing her home with me, now her 24/7 caretaker. I have spent so much time in court in the last year that I have finally decided I made a good choice when I gave up going to law school and became a teacher - I could never have loved being a lawyer the way I have loved being a teacher.

Rug hooking has taken a back seat to caretaking. I still think about it all the time, plan rugs in my head, and sometimes wake up in the morning with my hooking hand sore from somnabulistic hooking. Somehow, the quantity of stuff required to hook - the floor frame, the wool, the big sports bag I carry it all in, plus the bag of hooks and the pattern - just takes too long to set up and is too hard to move if I have to jump up to help my mother. As my mother shakes off the bad effects from the nursing home, she may relax more about calling for help - at the home, the technique to get help was to yell as though death was imminent if she wanted to go to the bathroom. Yesterday, at breakfast, she started to talk about "the fight" and when I asked what she meant, she said, "the fight with the people who were here before, the fight to get the house back" and then she realized it was a dream. How awful to have to dream about something akin to a civil war battle because her greedy relatives wanted her home. She can't damn them when she's awake, but she can fight with them in her dreams. I could almost make a rug of that dream, but I think I would grind my teeth too much while hooking.

I want to find a way to warn people like my mother about being ever so careful when granting a power of attorney to a loved one. My mother loved her youngest nephew, especially after his parents moved away when he was a young man and my mother let him live with her for several years. He paid more attention to her than her own sons, a lot more. When her oldest son seemed to be making some poor choices and ignoring his mother, she had her nephew do more and more of her business for her - at first writing out checks to pay bills and then having her sign them, and then eventually putting his name on her checking account so he could sign the checks himself. She had her attorney draft a power of attorney that had a safeguard - it could only become effective if my mother was declared incompetent in writing by two doctors or by the court. My cousin was able to ignore that activating clause and used the power of attorney to take out five mortgages on my mother's home, while he was draining her cash and savings by cash ATM withdrawals - with his name on her account, he had received an ATM card and started using it almost daily. Last July and August, he persuaded my brothers and their children that my mother was bankrupt and her home had to be sold. They immediately started emptying the house. When I saw that all of my father's things had been thrown away and found my Great Aunt's quilts in the trash, I filed a petition with the probate court to stop them. My oldest brother was/is furious because he had already made plans to take my mother's property, tear down her house, and build condominiums. He lives right next door and hasn't spoken to me or my mother, even though we've been back here for two and a half months.

Mother calls, have to go