I am still getting over the flu – no energy at all – but starting to be able to do the normal things of life. I just have to do one at a time, with resting afterwards. My niece says I should stop thinking of it as taking naps, and to start thinking of it as “lying down and pursuing my dreams”. Since I am still not thinking very creatively, I thought I’d show you a rug (above) that I did several years ago, when I was living in England.
This is a view of our house in a small English village, designed from a photo taken from the road just above our house, so looking down at our stone house, and to the mountain, Ingleborough, that is just beyond the nearby fields.
It is not the best rug I’ve ever done, but I am quite fond of it, and it’s one of the two rugs hanging in my bedroom. Beyond my fondness for the scene itself, it is a favorite, because it captures some of the free-and-easy rughooking style that I learned from my English rughooking friends.
There are no Dorr Mill stores in England, where you can buy a wide variety of wool fabrics. You might find men’s suiting (black, brown, dark blue or gray only, and thin, non-fluffy wool) or else tartan wools – but all of these are way too expensive for cutting up – think $80-$100 a yard. So one buys wool clothing at thrift shops or jumble sales, and you use cut-up sweaters, or yarn, or polartec fleece, or thin blankets. You use what you can find. What a huge change this was for me!
The larger sheep was done with roving, and the lambs were hooked with wool yarn. The pink proddy flowers were from a cut-up sweater.
To use the roving, I just took a small hank of it, twisted it up a bit, and just hooked it nice and tightly.
And to catch the feeling of all the hedges between the fields, I added texture, by making the loops very high, and clipping them, and then added a row of colored flowers – think primroses and daffodils. The fringe of heather green, on the right side, was actually the fringe from a wool scarf. I just cut the fringe and the last 1/2″ of the knitted end, and hooked the fringe through the backing.
Getting the stone house right was just a matter of collecting the right colors, and there is a little yarn, some cut wool, and some polartec fleece mixed in.
You’ll notice, if you look, that I hooked the trees with much longer loops, to give them a little added texture, too. And of course, in the land of proddy, I used proddy flowers here and there, to add color.
Here is another close-up showing the trees in the far fields, accented by longer than usual loops:
I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but for me, the lack of materials we take for granted here led to a different sort of creative energy, and a bit more playful “looseness” in making rugs. I am sure the people I was hooking with contributed greatly to doing things just a little differently than we do at home – start thinking less about “perfect” and more about “playful”. If you have ever taken a class from English rughookers Heather Ritchie, or Cilla Cameron, you will know what I mean.
Mix things up! Brighten your colors! Change the lengths of your loops! Add a little yarn, or sari silk, or fleece! Look for a man’s silk tie for 50¢ in a thrift shop, then cut it up and use it for just the right touch in a rug!
You go ahead and get started on hooking more playfully, and I will catch up to you once I am feeling better!