Friday, November 29, 2013


Some of my favorite stores are offering discounts or free shipping but for a limited time during this Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. 

Heavens to Betsy is offering an additional 15% off wool above their tiered pricing special.  So hurry before all the wool is gone.  I placed my order early to ensure I got what I wanted.  One color was Donkey Cabbage which is hooked in that square center section, the top part surrounding the light colored odd shape.   I purchased some at her rug camp and since I liked it decided to buy yardage of it.  There is a little red spark in it which I think plays nicely off the red and tones down the brightness of the other red. 
Spruce Ridge Studios is offering a Small Business Saturday discount on patterns, so check that out as she has some great designs.  My friend adores all Lori Brechlin's patterns and plans to buy more during this sale.

Also Searsport is offering free shipping to people in the USA who place their order before Monday.  It also included frames, etc.  So take advantage since shipping isn't cheap.  I took this opportunity to order the Townsend-Beeline #10 blade (1/2"). 

Woolley Fox is offering a 50% sale off a select number of patterns.  That is quite a nice sale also.

For you newbies, this is a way for you to save a little if there is something you want.  And as far as tips, I'm in the process of binding the Long Island Farm rug and am taking pictures of the process so that will a future post for you to check out.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know that I came home from my son's house with a full belly.  And, came home with the dark meat and bones (they only like the white meat) so plan to make some soup.  So Thanksgiving turkey is a gift that just keeps on giving.  Warm wool wishes.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cleaning Hooked Rugs and More

The other day I was asked about cleaning a hooked rug and would it ruin the rug.  This Eat Crow rug has been on my kitchen floor in front of my kitchen sink since 2003.  As it is probably the most stepped on rug and in the most vulnerable spot of all my rugs, I'd say it has held up well.  Yes, I have dribbled or dropped liquids on it but all has been cleaned up without a problem. 
Just a few days ago there were a couple spots which I took care of.  They were small so all I did was take a clean cloth, wet an area larger than my finger, put a little detergent (no bleach) on the cloth and rubbed well.  Then took another clean area of the cloth, wet it and rubbed as I was trying to clean out the soap in the area.

When I was a red meat eater I did dribble probably half a cup or so of 'red juice' if you know what I mean, on the rug.  Immediately I took it to the laundry room and ran clean water on the area, then put it on the floor with towels and stepped on it to try and remove the moisture.  I ran more water on it and repeated.  I was trying to dilute the stain.  Then my final step was to use a mild detergent and water and scrubbed lightly with a brush.  Rinsed and repeated the towel step on technique. There was never a permanent stain thank goodness. 

Afterward cleaning a rug, in the summer you could put the rug on the back deck face down to dry or in winter in the laundry room face down on towels.  I happen to have a dryer which has a rack that prevents the cylinder to spin. So I could have used that too.

I have a friend (who will remain nameless but she knows who she is), even put a whole rug in the washer.  She said she had nothing to lose because her pet had an accident on it.  So it was either put a hose on it to remove the worst of the incident and wash it or toss it in the trash.  So she figured she'd put it in the washer and give it a go.  Cannot remember what type of backing but know it was NOT burlap.

Yesterday's post I commented about starting with a tail up in the circle and ending with the tail up in the same hole.  Someone asked if you always start and end with the tails up.  The answer is YES.  Then you would snip off the end of that remaining piece of wool even with the other loops. 

Feel free to write me with additional questions any time.  I have a feeling everyone is going to be quite busy from now until Friday so I'm wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Thanks to a couple of my newbie rug hooking followers I've had a couple questions asked.  This is great to be able to actually help with subjects presently in the mind of someone.

Question:  "How do you hook a circle... do you start on the outer edges or in the middle".

Answer:  You start the circle just inside the line drawing (not on the line) so that the circle or motif won't swell to a larger size.  Here are two rugs to demonstrate; first is Lollipop Bouquet, a design attributed to Magdalena Briner (with a flash).  The circles (all 66 of them) measure between 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" in diameter.  They were all hooked using #8 wool strips (1/4" wide strip).
And a close up of some circles shows some closer hooked strips if the wool was thin and more rounded if the wool was a nice lofty strip. 

Since I used wool from my worm basket used what was there so there was a fair amount of thinner wool which I wouldn't normally use to hook with but had it so used it.  After all, that is what Magdalena would have done.

Another rug with circles is Crow Sampler, a design by
Ali Strebel.  I did, however, take some creative license as I put the circles all around the perimeter of the rug and not just the top half of the rug.  Here is the rug in full view.
Here is a close up of some hooked circles.  Again, the circles were 1 1/4" in diameter and were hooked using #8 (1/4") wool strips.  I hooked just inside the line, came around and ended my strip in the same hole where I started with the tail up.  Then I'd start my next color starting in a different location than where the other color was started.  Usually I go for the opposite side to start the other color.  Then the center was a tail up, loop and tail up.
And often people will ask if you start a star on the tip or where.  If you want a really sharp pointed star you can start and end at the point.  However, you don't know where the length of wool strip will take you and it might not end at the next point.  I don't get anal about it and normally start on the inside dent and hook until the color runs out and then start another strip.  Again you would want to start hooking JUST inside the star's lines so it doesn't grow.
Question:  Which cut is to be used for which design or is it personal Preference and what do the numbers mean?

Answer:  Cut size is a matter of personal preference..... HOWEVER, some designs do dictate how narrow the cut should be.  I like primitive designs but if it is an eye of a dog (take for instance Shadow) I hooked the eye in a smaller cut than the #8 I used for her hair, nose, etc. 
The numbers refer to the (width) of a wool strip.  Cutter manufacturers assign numbers to them and that is why I refer to the #8 (my first desired strip size) and my new favorite is the #8.5.  Here is a breakdown in incremental measurements that will help you understand the WIDTH of a strip:
·          #2 cut = (2/32-inch) = 1/16-inch
·          #3 cut = (3/32-inch)
·          #4 cut = (4/32-inch) = 1/8-inch
·          #5 cut = (5/32-inch)
·          #6 cut = (6/32-inch)
·          #7 cut = (7/32-inch)
·          #8 cut = (8/32-inch) = 1/4-inch
·          #8.5 cut = (10/32-inch)
·          #9 cut = (12/32-inch) = 3/8-inch
·         #10 cut = (16/32-inch) = 1/2-inch

And there is another part of Annie's question which I will answer on another post as this is getting rather lengthy. 

If anyone has questions they'd like answered, please feel free to write me at  Have a great evening everyone.


Monday, November 25, 2013

ALMOST TURKEY TIME (and Newbie Time)

Yup, people out buying turkeys or getting ready to refrigerator thaw them out to prepare for cooking the Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  This is a design I hooked and was enlarged from a Needl'love booklet .  It has been a favorite of mine and you can see the single "S" on it so this one was also a rug hooked betwixt and between the divorce and name change.   However, I do have fond memories of being with the rug hooking friends who comforted me during that time of hookit it at camp.   I can remember being in the corner of the class room at Cape May with Lucille Festa as my teacher.  In the class and beside me was my gal pals Deb, Char and Yahna.
Thanks for all the positive comments from people who have read and are now anticipating the "Newbie Rug Hooker Tidbits" section of my blog. 

Topics tonight are:

Do I hook in every hole?"

No, not usually unless you are using a very fine cut.  However, if you are hooking a #3 wool strip doubt you are reading my blog.

~ How many holes from the last loop do I pull the next one?

It depends on the type of backing/foundation and the size cut you are using.  So I use Dorr natural primitive linen and hook in either #8 or #8.5 normally, so I would hook PROBABLY in a space sequence of 3, 3, 2, 3, 3, 2.  Now in turning a corner or rounding a bend it might be just the next hole over from the X of the linen weave turn. 

The object is to not pack tight nor too loosely.  You want your loop to be like a tear drop where (sideways) you can see an open space at the top between the loop.  AND, when you hook the next row it would be normally 3 spaces over.  Again, it depends on the cut you are using.

You want your rows to look like little soldiers with their shoulders JUST touching but not crammed together.  You also want to see the roundness of the shoulders from the top so the light can catch the true color of the wool.

~ What prevents the loops from pulling out?

Just the pressure of the loops keeps them from coming out.  NOW, my girl Shadow would sometimes sit on the rug and turn to scratch or lick herself and perhaps a loop would come out.  Since I hooked it all I have to do is just replace the loop with my hook.

~ How do I keep my rug from slipping and should I coat the back?

Absolutely DO NOT coat the back with that rubbery stuff.  If you have ever had a purchased mat which was coated with it you know how it disintegrates.  That mixture does not allow your expensive and wonderful wool to breathe or free itself from dirt and moisture. 

If you want to keep your rugs from slipping you can purchase those rubber woven mats which are very similar to the kitchen shelf linings.  Those are sold in the rug or mat department and sold in different sizes;  they work great.

Okay you wonderful world of newbie rug hooker wannabes..... I need some questions you want answers to.  Please write me at so that I can keep the help flowing. 

Have a great evening, stay warm and have a thankful wonderful Thanksgiving day.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


Every once in a while it is fun to look back through pictures of rugs I've hooked, particularly those that I've sold and can't see here daily.  This is one I sold at a show the day after my husband moved out of the house.  Figured I'd better take the opportunity to make money at the show by selling anything someone wanted to buy.  You can see the initials 'SS' on the rug and after the divorce took back my last name from my deceased husband and father of my son.  Therefore you will see the initials of SP on my rugs after 2007.  This is shared in the event you're confused by the different initials on rugs I show. 
Anyway.....this is one rug that I'd really like to hook over again.  The roosters I'd try and replicate but would do something less in your face with the background next time.  I think there is just too drastic a change in color of the background so would do that a little differently.  Must say tho, I did really like that rug at the time.

Newbie Hooker Tidbits

Now it is time to talk about backings (foundation cloth).  As probably all newbies know, our foremothers used mostly burlap to hook on as it was most readily available from sacks of grain, chicken feed, etc.  They would open up the seam allowance, spread the burlap sack open and if there happened to be a colorful chicken or rooster depicted on it they might even hook that into the design.  Or they would take charcoal or other writing implement and draw a naive design on the inside part of the burlap.

Today burlap is not a good choice to hook a rug for the floor as it becomes too brittle and unstable.  There are numerous options for hookers now:

Natural linen
Bleached linen
Hairless linen
Belgian Linen (a lighter and more open weave of linen)
Monks cloth
Rug Warp
Thinly woven wool not good for hooking as cut strips

My choice is Dorr Natural Linen but have also had the experience of hooking on all the options above with the exception of verel.  I want to add also, that the monks cloth you purchase at JoAnn is NOT the same type for hooking.  JoAnn sells the stuff most dedicated to another type of handiwork but NOT hooking as the weave is too large.

Now I must admit that when I first started out I hooked on burlap for small pieces which would NOT go on the floor.  Since foundation cloth is relatively expensive there is absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a yard of burlap at JoAnns or Hancock Fabrics to start on.  You could practice on making a small mat, hot plate, chair pad, etc. on the burlap and it would be just fine if not on the floor.

Once you determine the size of your project, be sure to allow at least 3" all around to give yourself room for the margin to tuck into your hoop or around your frame.  Pull a thread to ensure you are cutting on the straight of grain. 

To prevent the edges from raveling and don't have a sewing machine or serger you can use Duck Tape and fold over the four sides to keep it from raveling. 

Let your inner child come out and draw something small and easy since you probably have limited colors of wool.  Make a mug mat, hot plate or chair pad ~ something small and quick for your first project.  It could be a star; draw out a snowman, or soon Valentines day will be here so draw a heart.  Oh, BTW, you can also hook with yarn, cotton or flannel fabric, tee shirts, anything.  That is what our foremothers did anyway..... they made do.

Tomorrow I'll try and cover:

~ How many holes from the last loop do I pull another?
~ What prevents the loops from coming out?
~ Should I coat the back of the rug with the rubber stuff to keep from slipping?  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'll answer that one right now and cover it again tomorrow.

Enjoy your Sunday evening and hope you are warm.  It is frigid here in Delaware where the wind chill factor is in the teens.  But thankfully we aren't having snow and feel for you guys who are being hit with that early storm.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Domestic Zoo Picture

I love it when people send me pictures of their finished Domestic Zoo. Although I've sold dozens of the patterns only a small handful of people have shared their photos with me.  

My friend Shari started this Domestic Zoo rug a few years ago and has hooked several other rugs and kept busy making dolls before finally getting this one bound recently.  Today she sent me a picture.  Thanks Shari, so happy it is finally finished and one UFO out of the way.

DANG IT.  this is the way the picture came and then I turned it on it's side with the PAINT program in the hopes it would be sideways and upright.  Nope.... so sorry.

Here are a few other versions of Domestic Zoo:

This one is by Susan and nice with a dark background.
A Domestic Zoo hooked by Mary.
And a Domestic Zoo by Debbe.

Thank you all for sharing the rugs with me.  I'd really like to have pictures of the rugs hooked by others if you're willing to share. 

Now to Newbie Hooker Tidbits.

Annie wrote and we chatted about her not having a cutter or linen but did have a rotary cutter.  Hey, in the beginning I didn't have a cutter either and used a rotary or scissors. 

First you must rip the wool so you will start out on the straight of grain. You could rip every 3 or 4 inches and either take the rotary cutter and use a quilt guide edge to cut the strips to your width.... OR, you could even rip the wool every 1" or so and scissor cut down the middle (or rotary cut down the middle), down the middle again, until you achieve your strip size of choice. 

When first starting out hooking my strip size of choice was 1/4" wide a/k/a #8 cut in cutter strip language.  But since then my favorite strip size (because I'm a primitive hooker) is #8.5.  And, if you've followed me for a while know that I've begun hooking with a torn strip ranging from 1/2" to over 3/4" depending on how straight my 'snip' is.

Tomorrow I'll talk about backing (foundation).  There's burlap, monks cloth, linen, hairless linen, verel and loosely woven wool.

If any newbies have subjects they would like me to talk about you can write me personally by writing me at:  If my info so far has not been clear enough, please also write me for more explanation.  Since this is a craft/art/hobby that I enjoy so much it would be a pleasure to share the joy of TRADITIONAL RUG HOOKING.

Have a great evening and see you same time tomorrow night.  Stay warm and wrap up in your woolies.


Friday, November 22, 2013

I Want to hook a Santa!

Lately I've seen all these cute Santa pieces being hooked and needle punched and each year promise myself that I'll hook one and have it ready before Christmas.  Uh, don't see that happening this year either since it is almost Thanksgiving and I've got 3 rugs going already.

There are many cute designs with a Santa and the one which keeps beckoning me is the antique Santa.  My friend hooked it and since the original antique is faded, she initially forgot to hook the mitten going around the back of the deer.  Not to worry, she pulled out wool and hooked in the mitten.  This is a picture before but you now see which design is calling my name.  Probably mostly because it is an antique rug.
And now to Newbie Hooker Tidbits

As I was self taught how to hook can remember the most frustrating thing for me was pulling those first loops.  I knew to start with the tail up, and that you pull the loops up as high as the strip is wide.  That I learned in reading the information in Rug Hooking magazine. 

Okay, .....maybe I did have to tug on the tail a little when the first loop was pulled.  Next was the second loop to be pulled and the first loop dropped down.  So there becomes a battle of lifting the first loop up and pulling up the second loop again.  Over and Over. 

That is UNTIL I realized what I had to do was roll (lean) my hook backwards and upward against the first loop.  That is what prevented the first loop from dropping down because it applies pressure to that first loop.  And yes, the second loop is now a little higher than that first loop but your weak hand (under the frame) can adjust that loop. 

It will go a little slow at first but soon you will get a rhythm and move along faster.  Sure hope I was able to describe it okay since there is no one here to take pictures of the process.

And, if any of you newbies have a particular question or topic you'd like for me to address, please write me. 

Have a great evening.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rug on the Wall and New Segment

Most of my rugs are on the floor and a few on the wall.  For a while I enjoyed the Wee Folk rug in front of my garden tub but today decided to hang it over my bed.

The bedspread (summer quilt) I made in 1998 after moving into this house.  In full disclosure I don't consider myself a quilter because I did it the easy/lazy way with big blocks and the sewing machine.  Unfortunately the spread shows lots of distress due to age but also because we let our departed Shumba and Panzer sleep on the bed.  If you look closely you can see two black dogs, a cabin with flying flag in the center.  I did a primitive running stitch with the words "HOME, Palace of the Soul".  But those words are thread bare now but my memories linger.  Those angels hanging on the wall were made by my friend Frannie.

Another view you can see the primitive rug I hooked of Shumba and Panzer on the floor.  Their Memorial narrow cut rug is hanging on the wall behind me as I was taking this picture.

Now we get to the 'New Segment' part.  I receive very nice e-mails from everyone, but particularly the newbie hooker's comments make me feel good to think they are getting something from my blog.  Upon getting these e-mails I normally respond to them that I'd be happy to answer any questions they have to help them along their journey.  Sometimes someone might write.  But more times than not they are probably too intimidated or maybe even think a question is stupid when it isn't. 

So this segment will be called "Newbie Hooker Tidbits".  I'll try to post something on each blog remembering the things early in my hooking experience.   Tonight I'll cover starting your wool stash.

Wool Stash ~  When first starting out there was absolutely no wool here, no colors to choose from so how can I start a rug.  Since I didn't know if I'd even like to continue with the hobby didn't want to spend a lot of money on wool and supplies. 

Since it is winter now the local thrift store is a wonderful place to buy and use recycled wool.  On occasion they will even have bag sale day where you can get more for your money.  Men's blazers are wonderful because they are textured wools (plaids, herringbone, etc.) but coats and blazers have their issues of work vs. waste with the stiffening.  Slacks and skirts are marvelous.  Frankly if it is a color I want the time spent ripping apart a blazer is no issue.

Look for the 100% wool label but DO NOT BUY worsted or the thinly woven wool which won't full up when washed (the term here is not FELTED but fulled).  

Don't bring those wools into the house until you are ready to toss them into the washing machine.  Yes, the washing machine.  You want to start your stash with clean and critter free wool.  I normally tear apart my clothing in the garage or on the back porch and don't bring them in the house until ready for washing. 

For skirts and slacks I usually rip out the hem at the bottom, rip out the lining (check pockets), and wash and rinse on warm.  Then I also dry on LOW with a fluffy towel or two depending on the amount of wool being washed.  Once dry I rip the seams open, cut off the waist band etc. and toss those.  Some people totally dismember the garment and then wash all the panels.  So that is a personal thing. 

Tomorrow I plan to write about my first hooking problem with the second or third loop pulled.  The first one was usually okay, but the second made the first loop drop down .... WHY wasn't I making progress???? Very frustrating. 

Check back tomorrow my fuzzie woolies.  And have a great evening.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Long Island Farm Update

Yup, working on Lucille's Long Island Farm rather than Shadow or the hand torn started with Betsy.  Frankly I'm leaving the hand torn as a dessert; was quite surprised that it didn't hurt my hooking hand or wrist during those 3 days and was pleased with that.

This is a picture of Long Island Farm without a flash, which is a little blurry.
Then a picture with flash which makes the colors much brighter.
As I work myself down the sky I'm still trying to decide what I want to do with the fence on the left side.  It could be symmetrical OR could have it with the fence descending down a hill and not connecting to the left side of the border as it is on the right.  Hmmmmm, symmetrical or asymmetrical?  That is the question.

All you kiddies have a great evening and keep warm in your woolies.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rugs Started in Betsy's Class

Okay, now it's time to show some rugs being hooked in Betsy's class.  My roomie Deb started with her pattern which is a NotForgottenFarm design (Lori Brechlin), and offered for sale by Spruce Ridge Studio.  Deb took the liberty to draw a border around the design as she liked the wavy line and dots in the original drawing.  Deb is hidden behind her rug but you can see Norma helping to hold it up for the class to see.
BTW, it was really nice seeing Norma having fun and playing in the sandbox with the rest of us instead of working hard at Rugs By The Sea rug camp she and Linda organize.

This is a geometric being hooked by Marsha.
Sarah Guiliiani designed and is hooking this beauty.  Her strips are about 1" wide and it looks incredible.  I asked permission to post it on my blog and told her I'd give a link to her web site but guess she forgot by the time she got home.  I'll write her and send her the link to this so perhaps she'll write back and give it to me and I'll post it here in case you'd like to hook one too.  Or perhaps you may see other designs you'd like.
Pam is hooking a design offered by Lucille Festa.

Phyllis worked on this one in class and I'm sorry but don't know the designer.
Oh dear, I can't remember who was hooking this one and I don't recognize those hands.
The rug below is a design by Betsy Reed and is being hooked by Janice Russell.
Another design by Lucille Festa being hooked by Grace.
This pumpkin is yet another design by Betsy. 
Someone in the class was hooking a rug as a gift so I promised to not post a picture of it and give away the secret. 

And then you saw mine when returning from camp and haven't worked on it since coming home.  My plans are to finish Lucille's Long Island Farm first, THEN Shadow, and then have fun finishing up the hand torn started with Betsy.  But this is what my camp rug looked like when I came home.
Have a great evening everyone.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Tid Bits of Betsy's Class

Betsy shared everything with her students and not just tid bits.  But since I'm not the teacher and this blog isn't big enough to handle 3 days of the teaching she shared it will be a teaser. 

This is a wonderfully soft torn strip chair pad which was  hooked by and for Betsy.  BUT, it was only for looks because I don't think she even sat on it.  Yet it was there if she needed it for demonstrations or relaxation.
And Betsy showed us how she does the Patchwork backing for her pillows, rugs, and critters.  In this picture you can see the different wools if you look carefully, and can also see she folds under the wool at the perimeter and there appears to be warm and natural or something under and between the wool and hooked front. 
Betsy also had a wonderful attachment she sells to hook to a table to assist in the braiding technique.
What was nice was that she also showed the class how she does the 'easy peasy'  Betsy style of attaching the braided edge around the rug. 
However, if you really want to get the full enjoyable class of Betsy, contact her to see when she will be in your area.  AND.....  if you aren't already on her wool sample list, please write her.  

Hooker Hugs and hope you keep Warm!!!!!!!  We can always use more wool to keep us warm.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Workshop Rug Show

This was an impromptu rug show of rugs hooked by people this past year.  Or at least of those who chose or remembered to bring their rugs.  My roomie didn't bring any and I brought all of mine but you have seen my works on here number times so didn't bother taking pictures of them.  And with the colorful carpet in the room it is quite distracting to the hooked rugs as you will see.

There was only one other primitive rug on display and it is obvious whose design this is and recognized it right away.  This would be Minnie which is a design of Lucille Festa
As you look at this rug show you should understand that this venue also holds an April hooking camp which was originally a McGowan school.  The November Workshop was never intended to be a McGowan only camp so that people could have the freedom to hook what they wished.  However, a lot of the people who attend in November are some of the same hookers who were students of the McGowan style but who enjoys two local camps. 

I believe most of my followers/readers are wide cut primitive hookers but like me, I'm sure you can appreciate the work and dedication that other hookers delight in making a rug which depicts what they are all about.

I found these two rugs of the same design very interesting and how different they look depending on the color palate of the hooker.

 This is a rug which was hooked by Eric Sandberg.  Would you just look at that tiny section in the shield which he hooked?  Good grief but that's a narrow cut.
This is a closer picture of the shield. 
There was one hooked bag there which was nice.
Sorry these Christmas Stocking don't show up so well but that is due to the very colorful carpet.
And here are even more rugs to show.

Other than mine not posted here, I think those were all the rugs in the show.  Tomorrow I'll either post the rugs we each started in class (with a couple exceptions) or perhaps a synopsis of interesting things Betsy taught us in class.  Of course I'll not be teaching you how to do all the things we learned in class because only Betsy can teach her technique.  So if you want to learn more from Betsy,  contact her to find out when and where she will be teaching next.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.  TA TA.