Last week our White Mountain Woolen Magic guild speaker was Kris McDermet, of Dummerston, VT. I told our members ahead of time that if they had ever seen one of her rugs, they would remember it.
Kris has blended braiding and hooking, to take both to a new level. Above, you can see her rug Leaves of Grace, based on a Shaker Tree of Life design. Notice how, even in the rug’s center, the “fruits” of the tree are small braided pieces:
And the outer border features hooked and braided leaves with empty space between them:
Kris works on smaller sections of her rugs, and then pieces them together into the larger whole. Here is another of her rugs, called Passion:
In this beautiful work, Kris even encorporated some wet-felting, to do the hearts in her design:
Kris finished each piece of hooking separately, using wool rug padding and a back lining to bring each hooked area up to the same level as the thicker braided areas. Here is a close-up of one hooked piece, almost finished, with the hooked layer, the linen backing, rug padding and finally the red lining, ready to turn in and finish the stitching on:
And here is a hooked piece, all padded and lined, and about to have a line of braiding added:
Kris explained that, as much as she tries to get a precise fit between the hooked and braided pieces, sometimes, it does not come out right, and she has to figure out a way to “make it work” – her sharing these moments with us made her process much more accessible to the rest of us!
Here is a close-up of another of Kris’s rugs (too large for me to photograph well) that was based on a contemplative labrynth:
And this piece is called Peaceful and Quiet Offerings, with the design
based on the idea of a string of lanterns around a koi pond with the birds and bugs surrounding the pond:
Kris says that when one of her designs really works, neither the braiding nor the hooking is more important than the other. There is a balance.
Many thanks to Kris for sharing the story of her rugs with our group, and allowing me to show them to you here. Her website is online at www.krismcdermetrugs.com, where you can find her schedule of classes, too. Kris’s book “Combining Rughooking and Braiding” is available from Shiffer Books online here, and has a lot of detailed instructions for anyone wanting to know more of her techniques!