Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Theatre Friends

It is that time of year, when my summer theatre activities wrap up.  Today was the last day for our junior/senior high group.  The 'littles' had their last class on Monday. Now we start the big final production weekend, Saturday night rehearsals, Sunday afternoon final dress rehearsal and then the first show on Sunday night and another one on Monday night at 6:30.  There are 50 kids in the program this year, and they have been attending class, one afternoon a week all summer long.  That means in 8 weeks they learn all their material to sing, dance and stage 23 numbers for their show which is about as entertaining as an hour can be.  Tickets are $10, if you would like to attend.....The Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre in Valley Nebraska is the location.

I teach this program and have for many, many years.  It is my favorite 'job' and it takes me about 2 days to start missing these kids and wishing we were starting all over again.  This year one of our fellow rug hookers, Pat Shafer, has volunteered to help with costuming and organizing the back stage, which is a colossal undertaking with 50 kids, each of whom wears three different costumes.  Oooooh, don't do the math.  Poor Pat!  Pat's husband Steve is our sound guy and does an excellent job handling that extremely important job.  This year Pat and Steve's granddaughter Emily is doing summer theatre.  She is an excellent violinist and has a very important part in one of the scenes.

OK, back to rug hooking......since my mind is on summer theatre, costumes, etc.....I decided to show you my 'theatre rug'.  I made this rug for my voice studio at the theatre, several years ago.  During the school year I give 12-15 voice lessons a week to kids and adults.  My theatre office/studio is my home away from home, so I made this rug to commemorate some of my favorite shows and some favorite characters from shows we have done over the 30 years I have been running this theatre.

Look closely and you will see ANNIE, TINY TIM, DOROTHY, THE LION and SCARECROW etc.   Each of those characters was played by a person special to me.....that is how they made the cut to be on the rug.   My significant other Carl is seen as Cogsworth the Clock, the part he played in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  My daughter Leah is in the burgandy dress she wore when she played Gooch when I played MAME.  My friend Ken made the rug as SCROOGE.  My bestie Beth was the Wicked Witch of West in THE WIZARD OF OZ and I can be seen playing my favorite part....Eliza Doolittle.  You will undoubtably recognize me in my black and white Ascot dress.  On the end is my friend Don Overholt.  He played Sitting Bull when we did ANNIE GET YOUR GUN years ago.  Don is gone now, but his friendship is forever remembered in this rug.

This is a pattern from the Frazier company, called Ring a Round the Rosie, I believe.  It has children running in a circle.  I drew in the costumes and hair-dos and hats to make them into their characters.  I also drew in a "yellow brick road" for them to dance around.  I love this rug.

I will show you some pictures next week from the summer theatre shows.  Will we try to 'break a leg'.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Dancing Horses

Here is a fun rug that anyone could make.  I love horses, have I mentioned that?  And since my store is The Rug Hooking Store at Black Horse Antiques, you can imagine that I hook lots of black horses in my rugs.  This rug is on my bedroom floor.  I made it to go with a certain bedspread, something you are never supposed to do, since your room decor can change, but I figured when I change the bedspread, I will hook a new rug for that spot.
This was very simple to design and could be drawn with anything, not just horses.  A lady who saw this rug was inspired to hook one with crows, but a dogs and cats rug or birds or stars or....well, you get the idea, it could be about anything.
I laid out my linen, drew the border in the dimension I wanted.  This a pretty large rug, but any size would work.  Then I took 5 simple horse shapes.  These are horse figures that I have used in different rugs and had the templates ready to reuse.  I save every design I draw or important figures from the designs and store them in manilla envelopes, marked with the design on the outside.  It is a simple filing system, but they are always handy if I need a good star, or flower or animal or.....yes, I see that you understand this as well.
I copied off the various horse shapes, got down on the floor and started arranging them in all directions.  I wanted them to be moving every which way, so there was no particular orientation for the rug.   When I got them in a position I liked, I used my trusty Sharpie to draw them in.  Then the fun began.  Again,  those backgrounds are so much fun to me.  I just drew in shapes with my marker, they are basically in the shape of triangles.  Long triangles, short ones, fat ones etc.  After I hooked all the black horses, with a plethora of different blacks, I simply outlined a triangle and continued to contour it with different colors.  My background was variations of 3 colors, black, gold and turquoise.  Remember, the designer's rule of thumb is to use 3's and 5's to keep the eye happy.  Well,  this simple rug of dancing horses, is certainly a happy rug.

Next time friends,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Guest Artist

I got a call and an email from good friend Jan Goos yesterday.  Jan is one of the most talented colorists I know and apparently the apple does not fall far from the tree.  These pictures show a project that her daughter Michelle is working on.
This is a Primitive Spirit pattern that they bought here at the store.  They color planned it when they were here for a visit and this is the result.  I love the colors they chose!  The background of the flower basket is wonderfully variegated.  I can't wait to see it progress.  They promised more pictures as she gets more of it done.

I love the flower in the corner.  By using a variety of colors, pinks, rose, blue, yellow, in short strips, she has achieved 'brush strokes' like you would if you were painting.  It is very subtle and makes the flower so much more interesting.

I like the greens they have chosen too.  Jan is a big fan of the silo series,  Summer Silo, Silver Silo and Sand Hills Silo.  They are soft greyed blue greens, related so they all look terrific together.
I think green is the trickiest color to work with.
Of all colors, I think green values are the most challenging.  If you do not use greens that are different enough in value, they blend together and look like a blob.   I also like to use blue greens and yellow greens in the same project, so leaves, stems, and grass are more interesting.  Color planning here in the store I often find people are reluctant to mix yellow greens and blue greens, but if I show them examples and 'encourage' them, they become believers.

Thanks Jan and Michelle for the photos.  Jan is one of our teachers at The Nebraska Rug Hooking Retreat that I put on at the Lied Center in Nebraska City every November.  Her specialty is what I call "elegant primitive".  She loves primitive color and style, but in her very unique way.  She is technically just a beautiful rug hooker, as well, and always has interesting tips to share.  If you are interested in attending the retreat, check out the RETREAT page in the toolbar at my website  We still have some spaces available with Jan Goos and Pris Buttler for this November's RETREAT.

Next time,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Heirloom Theorem

I am still in Heirloom Rug Class mode, but promise to move along tomorrow.  Above is a picture of a rug my friend Sandy Weller did in an Heirloom Rug Class that I taught several years ago.  Sandy chose to hook a theorem in the Pennsylvania Dutch style.  This rug shows the soft watercolors used in old theorem paintings, very lovely.  But again, the background is what makes it interesting to me.  We selected 6 or 8 different dark values to be our 'black' background.  By hooking them in patches, vertically, Sandy made the rug look faded or water stained, just like a 150 year old theorem might be.
Diane Stoffel taught me to think about everything in light, medium and dark values.  As you can see this background has light, medium and dark 'blacks' that give the effect we wanted.  If we had chosen darks that were too similar in value, it would have been a more solid look.  We wanted 'old' and I think that is exactly what Sandy achieved.  Way to go Sandy!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Heirloom Designs

I must be getting excited about the September Heirloom Rug Class coming up, because I have been thinking about favorite 'antique' looking rugs and what is so appealing about them.  First of all, they are so useable.  You don't feel bad about throwing them down on the floor and walking on them day after day, when the wear just makes them look more desirably older.  I also love the simple patterns, not too much detail in these primitive oldies.  Most of all, they fit in so perfectly with the antiques in my home and store.  I have had the antique store for 31 years, and the rug hooking portion of it for 12 years.  That makes me officially an antique lover first.   The rugs in my house have to look like they belong here.

The 2 horse rug on top is always a favorite in the store.  This pattern was sold by Patsy Becker.  I used lots of variety in my black horses, but the real fun was the background.   I pulled out some of my over-dyed favorites, Pecos Sand and Toasted Almond, with a wide range of values from light to medium.  I knew there was a lot of background in the rug, so rather than do a random draw for the background, I drew in these simple shapes and figures.  I gave the design corners, gave it the simple triangle border on the top and geometric contours where ever I could fit them in.
Then, darker values for the figures and a lighter mixture for the rest.  It is a fun rug to study, from a distance you see a tan background, as you get closer you start to pick up the different points of interest in the background.

To compare, I am showing the deer rug I made for my son's room. (No, I did not give him this one either)  When my son moved out years ago, I redid his room but kept the deer theme.  He had pictures of deer all over the room, so I thought I should keep the deer around to remind me of him (Not that I could ever forget that big galoot).  I hooked this rug and it is on the floor at the foot of his bed.  This is a Quail Hill pattern from an antique design.  I am showing it because it makes such an interesting contrast with it's straight line background.  The rug is so simple, with 2/3 or more of it's background being the sky, that I thought I would keep the background simple as well and chose to do straight line hooking.  That is a technique often seen in old rugs and it can give a quick and simple 'old' look to a rug.  The interest in this background is the color of the wool I used.  It is ECLIPSE and is one of my own recipes.  It is tanny green and looks old, old, old.

So contours and figures or simple straight lines, both can give a rug an antique look.  The plan and the application of the plan are the key to success.

I have to go check on my kittens, now.  They visited the vet yesterday to get shots and altered.  They are 6 really irked kittens right now and they are barely speaking to me.  I better go try to make amends.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Heirloom Rug Class

 Summer is waning fast and that means September and my Heirloom Rug Class will be here before we know it.  This year's class will be Sunday, Monday and Tuesday September 15, 16 and 17, from 9-3:30.   We usually stay late and hook past dinner time.  Carl will make us dinner so we don't have to stop hooking.

For those of you who don't know about this class, here are some photos of the type of rugs we work on in the class.  This is my specialty and I love teaching how to make your own 'antique look' or heirloom rug.  I wrote a nice book about it and each student gets a copy of the book when they attend class.  We discuss the various ways to achieve this old look and then each student incorporates 4 or 5 of the 15 different techniques into their rug.

I always say these rugs are so homely that only a mother could love them, but that is unfair!  They really are beautiful in their primitive way and certainly are some of my favorites.  The horse rug above is the one I use for my store logo.  I drew this pattern, but it was inspired by an antique rug. The black horse seems straight forward enough, but was really rather complicated.  And although the original may have been done with scraps, the planning of this 'scrappy' rug was also an interesting labor.

I also drew the chicken family, yet it too was inspired by an antique rug.  Making the stains in the background which resembled the original was tricky.  I know some of my friends wondered why I wanted to make a brand new rug look stained, but I am sure you get the point.  It aged it immediately!

The horse/chicken/rooster rug is a pattern from Woolley Fox.  The background of that rug is really a great use of scraps.  I took all my "blackesque" wool, separated them so they stayed with their friends, then drew pools and puddles into the background of the pattern with my Sharpie marker.  Then instead of mixing the black
wools, I filled in individual areas with one color of wool.  I was careful to balance them thru out, so I maintained by triangle placement, always using a single color in three places.  Hopefully you can see the different black/green, black/brown, black/check, etc wool thru out the background.  It gave the rug an automatic old feel and used up lots of leftovers beside.

The 3 Roosters rug is also an antique inspired rug.  This one I did not draw, but the pattern maker is no longer in business, to my knowledge.  I used 10 different blacks in the roosters and then managed my background of browns sugars, pecos sand and toasted almond, so it looks like one end has faded lighter.   Or maybe the maker had to stew a new pot of wool and the walnuts she used for her dye were no longer in season.

Ah......vintage rugs, my passion.  If you would like to learn how to make your own "Heirloom Rug" call or write me for more information.  There are still 2 spots available in the September 2013 class.

More rugs next time,

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Views

 Here are some more of the good people who were here for our special Saturday hooking last week.  Jan Goos is pictured, not at a rug, but at my computer trying to help me figure out some blogging things.  For instance, even tho you may be signed up to get emails when I do a blog, it may not be working.  I am not sure rather than wait for an email, keep checking in.  I am trying to blog every day or two.  Also, I have not quite figured out how to respond to comments.  Ah, yes, I am embarrassed, but I think I have worked that out.  I am not trying to ignore you kind commenters, I have just not been sure how to answer.  I think I have it now!

Colleen Cochrane  is shown working on her rug from the Sharon Smith class.  Colleen chose the "Pansies" pattern as a gift for her mother.  It has been challenging as she worked at balancing the colors thru out the rug.  She has the background done now and I will show you a picture of the rug soon.

I am going to throw in some pictures of wool in an effort to tempt you all to come visit me at the store.  I know, subtlety is not my forte.   My dyed wool addiction is even worse than my pattern problem.  The good thing is......I LOVE TO DYE there is always plenty to see here at The Rug Hooking Store.   I also love making new colors, so there are literally hundreds of different colors and thousands of pieces of hand-dyed wool to see.  On top you see just one of the areas of dyed wool.  On the bottom you see 1/8 yd strips I made for a class.  These are baked and prepared in my own little process.  They are absolutely gorgeous and very versatile. Try one sometime, they are fantastic fun to incorporate in your rug.    Come visit.  I love company.

There is a storm coming.  I better shut down for now.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Store Views

My blogging advisor Barb G.  has suggested I put some pictures of the store on my blog.  What a good idea.  The problem is, patterns hanging on the rack are not too exciting........however, it will give you an idea of how many there are here in the store.......and that would be OVER 750.  I quit counting when I got to 750, because it seemed to indicate some kind of addiction or obsessive compulsive disorder.  Trust me, when I say there are over 750 patterns in the store, I am NOT kidding.  Just ask Barb G.

This is just some of the patterns, there are stacks and stacks of other.  I carry patterns from lots of different designers,  Pris Buttler,  Jan Goos, Woolley Fox, Crow Hill, Primitive Spirit, Spruce Hill, Sharon Smith, Judy Cripps, Need'l Love,  Emma Lou Lais, Kathy Morton and a host of others.
No, I don't need therapy, no, it is not a problem at all....really......really.

Now since the camera has been found, I will show some pictures of the good people who joined us last Saturday for hooking.   We lunched and talked, solved some world problems and a few rug hooking problems for sure.  Pictured is Suzanne Burguoin, working on a retreat project she started in Maggie Bonanomi's class.   Above is Sandy Nash working on her Pris Buttler "Lady" rug.  Sandy's lady is very interesting.  Her figure is that of a crone, holding an owl.  It is very mystical and really very different than the other rugs being hooked from that class.  I can't wait for then all to be done, so I can show them all.  Annie Schoening, below is working on an original piece that she drew at a Diane Stoffel class here at the store.    I promise to show more pictures tomorrow of the people who joined us for our special Saturday hooking.    I should mention the retreat that is coming up in November 2013.  It is held at the Lied Lodge which is a fantastic hotel and conference center in Nebraska City Nebraska.  There will be 60 ladies in attendance.  I hire 4 teachers every year to teach.  This year the teachers will be Donna Hrkman, Sharon Smith, Pris Buttler and Jan Goos.  I still have spots available in Pris Buttler and Jan Goos' classes.  You can visit my website at and click RETREAT in the toolbar to get more information or write me at   I will be happy to give you the rundown on the events.

Till next time,

Friday, July 19, 2013

Camera Found

One of the most fun things about rug hooking is the different ways you can do the same pattern.  This is a good example.   On the right is one of my patterns, Moonlit Moose.  This is the way I  kit this pattern.  Below is the pattern done in a completely different color plan.

 Last summer Bonnie Johnson and her husband visited the store.
This is Bonnie's project and I must say, I like it better than my moose.  She left off the border, added snow to the bottom, which matches her moon.  She did a great job adding the lighter green to the pine tree.  The value of tree and sky might have been too similar without that touch of lighter green to help the tree stand on it's own.                                                                                                

Great job Bonnie!  I love it!!!

Good news on the camera front.  My friend Ken helped me search today and found it on a counter I had walked by at least 5,000 times.
Thank you Ken for spotting it for me.

As promised here are some pictures from our all day hooking event on Saturday.  Mary Jo Lahners was here for a while and brought her Pris Buttler class rug along.  This was the class I talked about before where we all personalized the figure of a willowy woman.  Below you can see my rug on the left, Mary Jo's in the center and Ken's on the right.   It certainly fits with my theme today of, same pattern, different look.   When all the rugs are finished we will take pictures of them all and I will post them.

More pictures tomorrow.  It is almost time for Friday afternoon open hooking.  The ladies will be here soon.  Please join us sometime.  We hook every Friday afternoon and every first Saturday afternoon.  Gotta go......

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Equal time

I told my daughter Leah that I blogged about her brother's rug.  Since equal time is fair play, I am going to write about the most recent rug I made for Leah.   I have made several (5 or 6) rugs for Leah since I started rug hooking in 2001.  She likes the rugs I make, but does not believe they should be used for wall art, so all of her rugs I make for the floor.  She has a lovely floral, a street scene,  a frog (at one time her favorite icon) and my favorite, a rug for her voice studio that says DIVA on it.  Leah liked this Sharon Smith pattern "Purple Rain" so I decided to hook it for her a few of months ago.
I asked Leah want she wanted in this rug and she said that very obviously the woman with the collar on her dress was Mary Poppins.  Ok, Mary Poppins.  I said, "Should the other characters be Bert and the children from "Mary Poppins?"  She said,  "Mother, why would Bert and some random children be on my rug?"  I thought,  "For the same reason Mary Poppins is on this rug",  but held my tongue.  I asked "Would you like the other characters to be you and me and maybe Grandma?"  Her response was indifferent.  "Yes, that would be ok, I guess"  But there is a fifth character in the rug, so if Leah and I and Grandma and MARY POPPINS are in the rug, who should the 5th person be.  I asked (cringing) "Would you like the little figure to be a our niece?"
"No," she said quite firmly, "that should be Helena."  "Helena?  Who the heck is Helena?????" I asked
politely.  "She is my voice student, and is very clearly the little person on the rug!" she declared as though I had missed something very obvious.
So, Leah is on the left, carrying an umbrella with roses on it, very like one my mother bought her when she was  a little girl.  MARY POPPINS is the next one, her hat is unmistakable.  I couldn't figure out how to have her holding a spoonful of sugar.  I guess it would have gotten sticky in the rain.  The next figure, and please note that I make myself look very sveldt in my own rug hooking, is me, carrying the black and white purse Leah bought me for Christmas.  Next, in red, is Helena.  Welcome, Helena.  And last is my mother who looks bizarrely like herself in this rug.  My mother had these black rain boots, a similar coat, and if anyone's umbrella would be turned upside down in the storm, it would be my mom's.
To make this officially about rug hooking, I will tell you how I did the sky.  Back to the noodle bins, where I pulled anything remotely, purple, lavender, violet, orchid, burgundy or blue.  My storm is located in the left corner where the sky is purple and dangerous looking.  The sky is clearer to the right, because the storm has not reached there yet.  The hardest part of this rug was balancing the greens.  In the original,  the ground was all different colors.  But, I, alas, am a color realist and my grass had to be green, green, and greener.  I chose all flavors of green in the yellow green family.  Some are almost a pale yellow/green like Maple Creme.  There is Lemon Grass, Light Khaki Drab,  Sweet Pea and Wasabi in the green palate.

Enough for today.  Here's to Leah and her Mary Poppins rug!!!!!  She is away now doing her summer theatre gig in California.  I must be missing her.........cause I know if she reads this,  I will  be hearing from her !!!!!!!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hay season nostalgia

Since it is haying season, I thought I would show the haying rug I made for my son several years ago.  Please note the John Deere tractor and Vermeer baler.  I asked Will if he would like me to make him a rug.  He said, jokingly, that the only rug he would like is of his John Deere tractor and he doubted that I had the talent to accomplish this.  Game on.  I took a picture of him baling hay, drew up the design and started hooking.  When I showed him the almost finished rug, he complained that the baler was the wrong color, not VERMEER gold.  So I dyed more gold wool and actually matched it to the tractor itself.  When the rug was finished, my pain in the neck son said "I wasn't wearing a red cap that day, I was wearing a green cap.  Whoa......I considered child abuse, but he was 26 years old and 6ft 5in tall.  I decided against abuse and told him it was an artistic representation, not a photograph.  Besides, there was already too much green in the rug with the trees, hayfield and tractor.  This rug NEEDED him to wear a red hat.  So, tough!!!!!   I kept the rug, it hangs in the store.  He can have it when I am dead or when he improves his attitude about my art form.  Yeah, like I said......when I am dead.

Next time,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gurney Seed Cabinet

I promised to blog about our great day of hooking on Saturday.  I took pictures of everyone in attendance, and got some photos of their projects.  Oh, yes, it was going to be a terrific blog.  Then I forgot where I put my camera and have been looking for it for 2 days.  Please forgive, I will write that blog as soon as the photos are found.  In the meantime, look was just came in.  Isn't this a great seed cabinet!    It came from South Dakota and was used in the Gurney Seed Company.  There are 33 drawers, metal lined, perfect for wool!  It is 62 inches across, 36 inches tall and 26 inches deep.  It has the original drawer pulls, has been refinished and is ready to store all your wool and projects or be used as a buffet or kitchen island.  Gorgeous!!!!  That is all for now.  In the meantime,  I will keep looking for the camera.

Talk soon, 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Farm Life

 This is one of my favorite times of year on our little farm.  I love to see the bales of hay sitting in the field.  Neighbor Mark got the hay put up yesterday and I drove the gator out just to smell the hay.  It is better than any perfume.  Yes, Vicki Yanda, it is even better than "Angel"!!!!!   I bet you would agree.
So, the peaceful pastoral picture on top is simply to balance out the fact that I am raising 6 feral kittens, pictured below.  There is absolutely nothing peaceful about them.  To say they are full of the dickens, would be a polite understatement.   These little darlings were born in the neighbor's hayloft.  Their mother was a lovely grey cat, just passing thru the neighborhood.  Our great neighbors do not keep cats on their farm, but knowing that we do have cats and were looking for a couple of new kittens, they offered to set a humane live trap to catch them.  They thought there were 2 or 3 of them.  But they kept catching kittens, and catching kittens until our little cat condo had 6 in all.   At first they would not even come out of their crate when I came near, but now they have identified me as the food lady and I am much more popular.  We started out giving them kitten formula and now give them canned cat delicacies along with their dry kitten food.  I can now pick up 4 or the 6.  I can pet the 5th, but the last one caught is the wiliest and still won't let me get near him.   They will have to stay in the cat condo for a few more weeks until they are easy enough to handle that they can go the veterinarian to gets shots and neutered.  We have a ways to go.

You may have noticed that this blog has nothing to do with wool, rugs or antiques, but that is just to lure you in.  Tomorrow, I will write about our great day of hooking here at the store.  I also got in a fabulous set of seed drawers that I will show also.  In the meantime....send calming thoughts to Rocky, Joyanna, Oceanna, Boots, Socks and LePew.  Yeah, and about those names,  Carl and I are responsible for Boots and Socks.  The more colorful names you can blame on my daughter Leah (LePew), grandson Smith (Rocky) and his dad Matt.  The father of 2 sons, he said if he ever had daughters he would have named them Joyanna and Oceanna.  Whew, are we ever glad
he and Rachel had sons.

Tomorrow.......back to rug hooking and antiques.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blogging Inspiration

I had a real treat today, when Barb G.  from Minnesota came down to do some wool shopping.  We had a great time selecting some colors for her upcoming projects and then........she gave me some valuable ideas about blogging.  Since I am new to the blogging scene, it was really helpful to hear what blogs she follows and what she likes from her blogging friends.  Thanks Barb.  You were an inspiration.  Pic above shows Barb and me, standing in front of some lovely bright colored wool.

It seems only fair to give wool equal time on this blog, so pictured below are 2 yard pieces of wool, for you to see.  The one on top is Winter Night.  It is a lovely combination of purples, blues and turquoises.  It is a favorite here at the store and gets used for backgrounds, night sky and water.

It's friend below is Robin's Egg Blue.  This makes a wonderful background, sky or water, as well.  It is a lovely combination of greys, teals and turquoises.  It is also a great color for birds and can be used in a primitive motif for flowers and whimsical animals.

Hand-dyed whole yards are $40.  I will divide into 1/2 yards for you,  1/2 yards are $20.  As always, there are fat quarters of every color in the store, for $10 each.  Although, with some of these beautiful yard pieces, it seems almost a shame to divide them up.

Reminder, special Saturday hooking is this Saturday, July 13th.  We will hook from 10-5, Carl will be making lunch for us.  Join us!

Talk soon,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Painted View

We are extremely fortunate that Diane Stoffel makes The Rug Hooking Store one of her yearly teaching stops.  Last year when she was here, I hooked my "GHOST HORSE" rug.  It will be going off to Sauder Village in a week or so to be displayed with the Celebration rug finalists.  I promise to blog about it, before I send it away.   This is the rug I did in this March's class.  This is Hairy, my favorite boy. His registered name is Rollin in Dough, but because as a baby he could find every mud puddle in the pasture, his breeders nick named him Dirty Hairy and the name has stuck.  Carl and I went to Oklahoma last January to purchase Hairy and it was a trip well spent.   I love Hairy and he is the perfect horse for me to ride here at home and go for my lessons at Ponca Hills Farm.

So, for the Diane Stoffel class this year, I just had to do a portrait of Hairy.  I drew the horse, with no problem.  He is a black and white paint, with one brown eye on the left and a blue eye on the right.  There is old Indian legend that blue eyed horses have magical qualities, so I wanted to make sure to hook Hairy from his most magical side.  Diane helped me with the shading, which proved to be very interesting to hook.  From Diane, I have learned that shading is all about value.  You must think about your colors as light, medium and dark.  The black and white for the dark and light was easy.  The shading colors were what made the fun in this rug.  His mane has some cream colors to help it stand away from his body.  To define his muscles, we used greys, blues and taupes.

The horse was looking good and frankly looks so much like the real Hairy that it is sort of startling.  But what to do for the background.  I wanted to stay with the black and white theme, so Diane suggested ZENTANGLE.  I had no idea what that is, but with a little research, I learned a lot.  It is doodling in a zen-like state.  Diane encouraged me to draw the grids, draw a doodle pattern and repeat it every 4 blocks or so.  This would have been such a good idea.  However,  late that evening after all the sane people had gone to bed......Elsie Ulland, Jan Goos and I found ourselves still up, hooking.  The later it got, the more profound ( yet ridiculous) our ideas got.  Before the clock struck 1am, we had decided that the background should be a topographical map of my world. It includes my house and barn, the neighbors, the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers, train tracks, the neighborhood and beyond.  We wondered how we would get such a view and decided that Lyn Goos, Jan's pilot husband would in our imaginary world, taking a picture from his plane.   Look at the very top, in the center, there is Lyn Goos' plane.  The sky includes all the weather we experience here in Nebraska too, tornados, sleet, lightning, and a rainbow.

This was about as much fun as you could have with a background.  The whole rug was challenging and thoughtful and shared with good friends.   It tells a story, which is my favorite kind of rug. The rug was named "A Painted View", by our good friend and neighbor Mark Vencil.  A perfect name, indeed.

I have no idea what project I will tackle when Diane comes next year.  I am thrilled to announce that she will be coming to teach 2 workshops here at the store in 2014.  One will be in March, one in July.  You can check my website for details.  At this point, both are full, but you can contact me to get on the waiting list for either class, or put your name on a list for 2015.  She is worth the wait.

More tomorrow,

Monday, July 8, 2013

Trip to Burwell

I have been pondering things to blog about.  I really would like these blogs to be more interesting than the recounting of me cleaning out my sock drawer.  Oh, who am I kidding, I never clean out my sock drawer, so I couldn't blog about it anyway.  Since it is finally summer here in Nebraska, the humidity is a testament to that fact, I looked thru my rug pictures for summer themed rugs.  Here is one of my favorites!
My son lives near Burwell, and when he showed me the ranch he was going to move to,  I nearly fainted.  It is miles off the main highway, down many a winding road.   The first trip there, he pointed at a little white house in the distance and said "That's it!"  I thought, "Great, but how in the world do you ever get in or out in the winter?"  As it turned out, my motherly concerns were unfounded and this grown man of a son of mine, has no trouble getting home, without my help or concern.  It actually is a beautiful spot and I love visiting him there.  My pal Sandy often rides with me when I visit him and we can always count on a horse or cow adventure when we visit Will.     

 Back to rug hooking.  A few years ago, I asked talented
rug hooker, Mary Jo Lahners of Lincoln to teach a class here at the store.  I admire Mary Jo's work.  She had an honorable mention rug in Celebration last year, and is really unafraid to tackle the unusual.  I knew she had made some beautiful landscapes, so for this class I decided to hook "Burwell" or what Burwell looks like to me.  I wanted the feeling of being at the bottom of that hill, looking up at the little white house at the top.  This is the result and it always makes me smile.  I have the winding road, the cedar trees and the blow-outs in the sand hills.  The tough task was choosing the greens that would give the effects we needed without either blending together or looking like they belonged in different rugs.  With Mary Jo's help, we got the job done.   Mary Jo is shown in the picture to the right.  I loved that class, the teacher and my rug!  Thanks Mary Jo.

Stay cool,

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Perfectly Bailey

I got to spend a fun day with Dr. Susan and Bailey.  They came out to color plan a new rug and we got the chance to sit and hook.  Bailey, of course, napped on her blanket, but she perked up her ears when Susan and I talked about her portrait rug.  

Dr. Susan color planned this rug last March in a Diane Stoffel class here at the store.   We loved the way it turned out.  Not only does the dog have the correct coloring, but her attitude is all Bailey too!

The soft turquoise colors were a little different
for Susan's palate, but as always, we trust
everything Diane Stoffel suggests.  Of course,
the colors were perfect and Susan loves them.

The outer border is Turquoise Spark and
Turquoise Sparkler.  The background is a
mixture of Robin's Egg Blue, Sea Mist and Aqua.
The roses are Pepperberry and Persimmon.
Perfect!  Great job Dr. Susan and Diane Stoffel.
But how could you miss with the model you were
working with.

Next time,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty celebrates the 4th of July at The Rug Hooking Store.  This pattern is from Ann Nichols, and was quick and fun to hook.  I love using up leftover noodles and this pattern was a great opportunity to dip into the noodles bin.  The red, white and blue where random combinations of similar values.  The background was particularly fun to do.  I pulled taupe, tan and grey noodles to use for the background, then alternately worked in 2-3 loops of red or blue to make the background more interesting.  Lady Liberty stays up year round at the store, she is one of my favorite little projects.


Friday, July 5, 2013


Happy 4th of July weekend!  The flag is flying, Uncle Sam is manning his station, and marshmallows have been toasted over an open fire.  We are hooking this afternoon, so all is well with the world.  Remember, first Saturday hooking will take place next Saturday July 13th and will be an 'All Day' hook-in event.  Carl will be making lunch for us, so please email me to let me know if you plan to attend.

There are so many wonderful patterns that have flags in them.  I just got in a bunch of new patterns from Needl' Love, several have flag motifs.  There are many other 'flag' patterns in the store, as well.
What to do for flag colors is always an interesting debate.  Below are some favorites here in the store.

Jan Goos favorites:  Grease Monkey, Pepperberry,  Partial Eclipse

For a brighter flag:  Flow Blue, Persimmon, and Alamo White

Whatever your flag preference, visit the store.  We have endless combinations for your next Americana project.  Happy holiday to you!

Till next time,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More good stuff

More great things in the store.  Shown above is a darling pie safe, made of ash.  It has punched wooden panels in the sides and is a lovely color.   On the pie safe is one of the tool boxes that I just got in.  It is full of wool fat quarters and is another fun way to display extra wool you have sitting around the house.
And stacked to the left are some great little stools and benches, perfect for decorating!  The bottom one has red and white paint, the top 2 are refinished pine.  More to see....come visit.  We will be open Friday and Saturday this week.  Open hooking is Friday 12-5.  First Saturday hooking will be postponed till Saturday July 13th!  This will be a special all day hooking.  Carl will be making lunch for us.  Join us for a fun day of hooking.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pretty pony with perilous princess

Shown above, is a rug I recently hooked at a Sharon Smith class.  Sharon was here at the store for 2 workshops, where everyone worked on one of her designs.  The designer's version of this rug was shown with a multi colored zebra with a cat riding it.  I have no connection to zebras or horseback riding felines, so I changed it to be ME riding my horse buddy, Hairy.  I am sure you will recognize me, I am shown wearing the hair-do I wore as a 5 year old, a princess hat, carrying a wand in one hand and flowers in the other.  Oh, yes, it is me alright.  We tried lots of different techniques in this class and this rug was full of Sharon's suggestions.  The Paint pony is hooked in a higgledy piggledy
fashion, with lots of overlaps on the bottom.  I cringed for the first several hours of that technique, but it has a nice effect.  For purists, it is not something you would want to do if the rug was going to go on the floor.  It would be far too easy for the overlapping loops to pull out, but for a wall hanging, it should be OK.  The arena the pony is in, has beading around the edge.  Hooked beading requires you to pull up 2 strips of different colors and alternate them as you pull them up.  You get this very cute checkered effect.  Sharon also encourages the use of yarn and sari silk, so I tried those too.  The collar and polka-dots on the little girl's dress are sari silk.  To achieve the 'party' background behind the little girl, a quilting template was used, to draw in the paisley design.  My favorite part of the rug is the red background.  I am a big user of leftovers and I dipped into the bin for anything that looked remotely red, purple, or black.  I loved the result.

If you have ever dreamed of taking a class from Sharon Smith, she will be teaching at The Nebraska Rug Hooking Retreat at the Lied Lodge, November 10-13, 2013.  Contact me for more information or check out RETREAT on my website at

Enough fun for today.......see you soon,