Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hit-n-Miss Hooking - The Charm of Antique Hooked Rugs

If you've followed my blog from my humble beginnings, you know I’m crazy about antique hooked rugs.  A common characteristic of antique rugs is hit-n-miss hooking.  In the case of Magdalena Briner Eby, she took hit-n-miss to a new extreme, with a bit of a Rorschach look to several of her rugs. This trait is what makes Magdalena’s rugs interesting and easy to identify, and so very intriguing to me.  I can't wait to get to the hit-n-miss aspects of my Magdalena Menagerie rug (see post from 1/6/12) but I still have to hook those lollipop circles before I will let myself go on to other areas of my MM rug.  I hope to get some lollipop circles done today.

I have been "experimenting" with hit-n-miss for a long time and whenever possible, I add it to my rugs.  I have to admit, while hit-n-miss has no rules to it (MY KIND OF HOOKING!) I find it a bit intimidating.  I usually get a little too “intellectualized” about adding hit-n-miss, and I fret about it looking out of place.  Here are a few notes from my exploration of hit-n-miss hooking: 

·       There are no steadfast rules about hit-n-miss hooking; you can make your own rules!
·       It’s a great way to use left-over worms (cut strips of wool) from finished projects.
·       You can go as crazy as you want, or as subtle as you want, it’s your rug!
·       Throwing some of your lines of hit-n-miss off-kilter will give your rug a more primitive look than hooking completely straight lines throughout the rug.
·       Using similar value strips will help tone down the busy impact of the hit-n-miss.
·       Using strips of different sizes will add primitive appeal and allow you to slip in some pieces of wool that may seem a little too bold for use.
·       Hit-n-miss can go large or small in a design and takes numerous forms.

I’ve added pictures of a variety of hit-n-miss designs to show examples of its use in rugs.

Note the number of colors used in the hit-n-miss and its randomness.  We might not call this pretty, but it is very interesting.
Hit-n-miss used as a border and scroll. 

Note how orderly the hit-n-miss is in this rug.  The rug has a lot going on in it and the hit-n-miss almost becomes the quiet area of the rug.  It's use in this rug contributes to the homey feeling of the rug, adding charm from yesteryear.  I also think the hit-n-miss in this rug ads a sense of being in the woods, mirroring the texture of tree bark consistent with trees in the center motif.

This rug is what I would call hit-n-miss off the charts!  It is used throughout the rug and even in the horse, to some degree.  What an imagination this hooker had!  The lollipop bushes in this rug are fascinating like pin wheels.  While there is so much going on in the rug, isn't the variety of hit-n-miss amazing?!  I could look at this rug for hours, but I might get a little (more) crazy after doing so!
The border of this rug influenced  one of my rugs because I love the randomness of the hit-n-miss hooking, but it doesn't domintate the rug too much.  The free spirit hooking surrounding the tranquil horses is just the right touch of old for my taste.

Here is my rug, the time-worn Welcome Cats popular among many hookers as an antique rug rendition.  I went with much more subtle colors than the horse rug, as you can see.
I love how the hit-n-miss border worked out on this rug, and at the time it seemed quite bold to me, but it no longer seems bold with more experience under my belt.  This was one of my earlier hit-n-miss experiments.  Cynthia Norwood helped me with this rug at Cambria Pines Rug Camp.  Cynthia is a great teacher and author of the book Creating an Antique Look in Hand-hooked Rugs. Take a class with her if you ever get the chance!

In the cat below, the hit-n-miss is very standard straight lines.  I was able to add the dark (black) strips because the cats are black; otherwise the black strips would be too bold and disruptive.  They would cut your eye up as you roam the rug, but I think they work well due to the cats. 

Both of these cat rugs have gone to live with a woman who has 16 cats!  She really appreciates my cat rugs!

On my next blog I am going to share more about hit-n-miss hooking and tell you some very exciting news too!  Standby for more from the Sheep!

Please note:  research I've conducted indicates antique rugs created before 1923 are no longer subject to copyright law and this is why these rug patterns are offered for sale by commercial rug hooking vendors.  Before replicating any antique rug pattern, please attempt to determine the date of the rug's origination to be consistent with copyright.
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