Pictorials, florals, geometrics, primitives, intricate orientals… I do love them all, but nothing is as dear to my heart – to admire and especially to make myself – as hit or miss rugs.
I had a l-o-n-g plane ride, and after reading a good bit of my book and watching a movie, I started thinking about why making hit or miss rugs appealed to me so much. Here’s what I wrote down.
Mostly, I decided, it has to do with the usual simplicity of the linear design, and the prominence of color. Of course, a “true” hit or miss would be made of random colors. The idea is that you pull a strand of wool out from your basket of worms, and use that next – randomly. But I don’t know anyone who truly does this. Nobody I know would hook four blues in a row, even if they were picked randomly. Or three whites or light beiges in a clump. There is a compromise, for me. I try to use what comes to hand, but always keep in mind the “light/dark/bright/dull” mantra that gives a rug balance.
But beyond trying for the light/dark/bright/dull mix, I do let randomness enter. And that is the appeal of hooking a hit or miss. A love of color, and unexpected combinations of it, is the main appeal, at least for me.
You put, side by side, colors that one would not normally think of as “going together” in, say, picking an outfit of clothes to wear. A muddy brown goes next to a kelly green, next to a sky blue, next to a deep maroon. Would you ever wear a muddy brown skirt with a kelly green blouse, then add a sky blue sweater and a maroon scarf? I don’t think so.
And as you add one color to get hooked in next to the one before, the colors change each other.
You’ve just hooked a strip of purple. Then, when you hook in a strip of olive green, it always seems to me that both colors are affected. And they will both look different still when you add the next strip in a muted gold, or maybe a light pink.
So, at least for me, a hit or miss rug is completely absorbing, because you always want to add that next piece of wool to see how that new color will look… and the next, and the next.
There is a questionable side effect of coming to love hit or miss rugs. It’s convinced me that all colors “go together” in some elemental way. So when I am getting dressed, all the rules of a “good color combination” in choosing something to wear – those rules you absorb growing up – sort of goes by the wayside now. I think an orange shirt looks quite nice with a red sweater, or will pick out a combination of green and blue, or purple and red. Or a nice combination of gray and brown… It’s not that I don’t care how these combinations look, it’s that the more I hook hit or miss rugs, the more that these colors really look good together. They’re all good!
Of course, I don’t often ask other people whether it looks good to them. But if someone were to ask me what my clothing style was, I think I would just say “hit or miss” and leave it at that.
Greetings from England, where I did land safely… and hook on!