Saturday, January 7, 2012

Learning a New Rug Hooking Technique

Today my first Saturday rug hooking group met, and our valued member, Dianne Tobias, showed us how to braid so we can add braiding to hooked pieces.  Dianne is part of the talented trio who authored the incredible book Combining Rug Hooking and Braiding
Diane and I met over Craigslist, of all places.  It's a long story, but basically I was surfing the web and landed on Craigslist.  On a lark, I keyed in "rug hooking" as a search on Craigslist.  Well low and behold, Dianne had posted a "wanted" ad for a Fraser 500 rug hooking cutter.  I happened to have an extra Fraser that I wanted to sell.  It must have been divine intervention for us to meet!  I emailed Dianne, we corresponded, and soon we met for lunch to talk cutters, hooking and braiding.  During our first meeting, I talked Dianne into spending the extra money for a Bee Line Townsend instead of purchasing the cutter I had for sale.  I knew we were going to be friends and I wanted her to have the best tool for stripping wool!  We hit it off immediately and I invited Dianne to join my hooking circles. 

In the beginning of our friendship Dianne would only described herself as a braider and not a hooker; but after a few months, one day  she slipped and said "I'm a hooker."  I remember feeling a flush of happiness that she now viewed herself as a hooker, and I never let her forget she said it!
If you have the current (January/February 2012) issue of Rug Hooking Magazine, Dianne has an article published in this issue on the use of velvet in rug hooking.  She loves adding velvet to both her hooked and braided pieces. 

My first braided piece, still in progress.

OK, so now on to braiding.  Dianne asked us to bring a small hooked piece, preferably circular, for learning technique.  With incredible patience, Dianne led us step-by-step as we created braid to add to our hooked piece.  By combining the use of  written instructions in her book and hands on demonstration and experience, we learned the introductory basics of braiding.

I have to say I am amazed at all the "technical" aspects to braiding and I got overwhelmed pretty quickly.  I cannot say at this point  I will have a long future with braiding.  It did not come easy to me and there are many technical aspects to it as an art form.  I love the look of it, but my free spirit has a hard time with anything that is too structured and orderly.  So the jury is still out on whether I'll be able to call myself a braider.  We had a very fun time and I am even more in awe of Dianne's talent!  She is offering some of her braided baskets on Etsy, and here is the link to see some of her work:

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