Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hooking Without Hooking

I was feeling really scattered today and I suddenly realized why - the photo shows my work table. It was a complete blank at noon when my mother's nurse came for a home appointment. Ever since, I have been doing a little here and a little there - sort of "grazing" on my various non-hooking but hooking projects. I went through Linda Rae Coughlin's Contemporary Hooked Rugs and was inspired by the tremendous variety in the amazing rugs inside. I re-read the chapter on rug hooking in the 1927 Home-Craft Rugs by Lydia Le Baron Walker - I really enjoy her history of rug hooking. She traces hooking back to just after the Colonial period - which I enjoy because I want rug hooking to be an American craft, not a British Colony craft. She also talks about home-made backing used for rugs before burlap was available. I also spent a few minutes in Cheticamp with The History of Cheticamp Hooked Rugs and their Artisans by Chiasson, Deveau, and LeBlanc - the story of hooked rugs rescuing a poverty stricken community is compelling, but the book is not easy reading, perhaps because it was not written originally in English. I put it down in favor of How to Make Hooked Rugs by Mary Perkins Taylor, written in 1930. She works with hand-torn strips and makes some very detailed rugs, but I was not happy with my attempt at her technique, so I was looking for clues to what I had missed - I think I just tore my strips too wide because I wanted them to be wider than I could cut easily with my cutter.

What I really wanted to do today, and will perhaps do when I am finished writing, is design the rug I will make with Deanne Fitzpatrick's Big Boned Girls patterns. I have decided to not use a photograph of my Grasshopper friends, I'm going to use Deanne's drawings as a basis for drawing my own impressions of those friends - which means they are not going to be the women who are gracefully ageing and talking about how Medicare works, they are going to be the young women I remember - Ann in her tennis shorts, Diane in a red and gray field hockey tunic, Georgia either on a horse or in a swim suit...and four more to go...

I also have a pack of rainbow colored fleece from Peace Fleece. I'm probably going to use some of it to make felted beads and some for texture in my Grasshopper rug - I wanted to buy something from the Peace Fleece website because I was really impressed with their attempt to bring peace to the world by purchasing fleece from farmers in countries that were former enemies. I find it hard to imagine people who spend their lives nurturing life, in the form of crops and livestock, going to war to kill people - but then again, I have heard some pretty vitriolic statements and political threats from local farmers around here (of course, this isn't real farm country anymore.)

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