Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Year and a New Rug to Hook

I hosted a hook-in here at the house on New Year’s Day with my Wednesday night hooking group, a lovely group of ladies.  With a new year, I decided to start a new rug! 

My new 2012 design is an antique adaption influenced by the amazing rugs of Magdalena Briner Eby. 

If you are not familiar with Magdalena's rugs, she is probably one the most famous hookers in history.  Magdalena's rugs have been identified in numerous books on antique hooked rugs.  The recent book Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdalena Briner Eby authored by Evelyn Lawrence and Kathy Wright has brought all of Magdalena's rugs together in wonderful pictures and historical narrative to share Magdalena’s extensive hooking history.  Magdalena was a hooker extraordinaire - both prolific in hooking and definitely free in spirit and expression! 

My pattern drafted onto primitive linen.
Here are some pictures of my Magdalena Briner style rug in progress; I will add more pictures as the weeks go by.
In drafting this pattern, I added the features I like best about Magdalena’s rugs – animals, crows, large leaves and the lollipop tree/bush - but I used my own version of dogs.  Magdalena’s dogs are generally very prim and obscure, so these dogs have somewhat defined features, yet they are still very primitive. 

First day hooking the lolli-pop bush.
The lollipop tree in this pattern has about 60 circles in it.  Oh, I just love doing those circles, ha, ha…. Not really.  They are a pain.  Fortunately I have a rotating rug hooking frame for the circles, but the pattern is so large, it is hard to turn on my frame.  I am tackling the circles first (and naturally from the center of the rug) to get them out of the way.  I can’t wait to hook other parts of the rug, but I am buckling down to get those darn circles finished and saving the rest of the rug as a reward to myself!  The final size of this rug will be roughly 56” x 30” when finished, and probably my largest rug to date.  I’ve wanted to hook a Magdalena style rug for several years. 

When I am contemplating the effort to hook a really old looking antique rendition, I ruminate (don’t you love that word?!) on it for months in advance.  Then, suddenly, I draw out the pattern and go into my very messy wool room, and start pulling some of my purposely dyed “old as dirt” wool for the project.  A rug like this may have as many as 60 different wools in it.  Many people ask me how I get such an old look to my rugs.  It is a combination of selecting old and worn looking wool from off-the-bolt, combined with dyeing wool to look old.  Truthfully, it is something I do by intuition.  I don’t know if I could compile the same mixture of wools a second time, for the same rug pattern, because it is such an "in the moment" intuitive process.  Once I'm ready to pull wool, I practically go into a bit of an altered-state in my mind, picking out wools that look old.  I am enchanted by antique and primitive rugs and it comes naturally for me to gravitate to wool that looks  old as dirt. 

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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