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Ruby in the Garden

Back in March, I drew out this design, Ruby in the Garden, pretty quickly, since I needed a new rug to work on. At first, it had a butterfly and a second bird in it, but as I finished working on the cat and flowers, decided that they made the composition unbalanced, so left them out. One bird was enough to keep Ruby mesmerized, anyhow!

The only other conscious decision I made about the composition as I drew it out, was to have one of the tulips arch just parallel with the curve of Ruby’s back. I just thought it would, in a subtle way, give her more presence.

The lilac pussywillow flowers were done with the Waldoboro sculpting technique – just enough to add interest, even if you can’t really see it in the photo. And maybe pussywillows are not really lilac, but that’s what seemed right at the time. After I had hooked Ruby and the flowers, I set this rug aside to work on a wide-cut rug for a class I took.

Then about a month ago, I lost Ruby. I had just finished that wide-cut rug, and so a few days later, I pulled out this rug again to finish it. It did help to work on a Ruby rug during those first days of feeling her absence after 15 years. It just worked out that way.

It may not be the last rug I ever make of Ruby, but it will be the last one that has her cat fur embedded in it, from her lying on it from time to time.

May you always have just the right rug to work on, to soothe your soul and raise your spirit, as you go through your days!


  • Kathie Barbour says:

    What a wonderful and original tribute to your dear Ruby! I love how she looks right out at the viewer as she sits in your whimsical garden. It just makes me smile! Our cats, Suzy, Teddy and Smudge, died before I seriously began to hook, so I have never committed them to wool. I clipped a bit of Teddy’s hair after he died ro remember that warm, taffy color. Mmmm, time to get out all the pictures of him. You are an inspiration!

  • Cathy says:

    I love your Ruby rug it is hard to lose them our cat was 20 when she died we were both so sad we haven’t had the heart to get another.
    What a wonderful reminder you have of Ruby.

    • Mary Jane Peabody says:

      Thanks for the note, Cathy. After the heartbreak of losing a dog and a cat in the last few years, I think it is good to remember that the grief is only equal to the love and companionship and comfort our animal friends have bestowed on us. I will get another cat sometime, there are just too many lovely ones in the shelters who would be so, so happy to have a real home. Probably would look for an adult cat who might have a harder time getting adopted. It’s what Ruby would want. Even though she had no time at all for other cats!

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