Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Rug Camp Rug

I've finally taken time to organize photos of my rug in progress from camp.  I have laid out several photos below to show my progress and decision points.  I'll add more photos as soon as the rug comes along in more detail.

This is the beginning of the rug:  the sheep.  Per the antique rug which was my inspiration, the sheep were outlined in the rug and I decided follow this practice in my rug because I think outlining adds a nice vintage touch to achieve an old looking rug.  In addition to using fine cut (4 cut) black wool to outline, I also used dark brown and gray.  This helps to minimize the outlining so it does not show up too much.  There is some experimenting here for me:  shall I outline before filling in, or outline after all is hooked and then "peep" the outlining in-between other hooked rows?  It is my conclusion now, after doing a lot of outlining in this rug, that I like the latter approach:  peeping it through later.  So lesson learned:  add the outlining last.

While the original antique rug has no dark or black sheep, I wanted to add a blackish sheep.  This is me:  the renegade hooker.  I don't want to follow the rules and I want to do my hooking my way, so I am in the rug as the black sheep.  I think I am not a good student at camp, as I have my mind pretty made up before I get there.  But still, I think in the end Diane Phillips (our wonderful teacher) loved me!  Hope so... as she is a grand lady!  And I loved taking a class from Diane!
After hooking all the sheepies I went on to hook Piper and Gracie.  Here is Piper's face close up.  I am using cuts that range from 4, 6, 8 in his face.  His little black body is in a 8.5 cut.  I used a very nice muted black plaid for the body so the wool looks older once the rug is completed.  Piper doesn't really have this much color on his face, but it seemed necessary to add this much so his face would stand out against the background area next to his face.  I have reworked his face more since this photo and will show it in future pictures.  It originally looked too "cutesy" to me so I've improved it.  But in our life with Piper he has always been a "Piper Puppy" all these 13 1/2 years.  He will always be a puppy to us in our memories and he looks the part in this rug.
Here is a photo of the real Piper, resting at the foot of a recliner chair between his dad's feet.
Next I worked on Gracie.  The color for a "red" corgi is sort of hard to achieve and I have some older wool that has this reddish tone to it.  It is darker for sure, but I like it and it looks old, and "old" is what I'm trying to achieve.  I like the way Gracie turned out.  Her face is in similar size cuts to Piper's.
Here is a picture of my real Gracie Girl.  She had to leave us 3 years ago and I miss her every single day.  She was such a love and she loved me so much too!
Next I moved on to filling around the sheep and I tested a bit of the sky area (upper left below) after hooking the horizon line and sun.  For the field around the sheep I am blending together warm and cool greenish colors with a touch of pinks in the very foreground.  I can't exactly explain how I select my color combinations sometimes and this is a good example of it; it is all by intuition.   I am sure most people would not put these colors together, but I like how they are turning out and I think in the final rug they will work well.  There are a few areas where the blending of the colors did not work well (per the pictures below) so I had to re-hook some of it.  You can see a brighter green line below (dead center) that stands out.  That line has now been blended in more.
Here is a photo from standing further back from the rug.  A note about this area of the rug:  one evening in class I pinned the rug up on the wall to observe it from a distance.  Several other students and our teacher stood with me to assess it.  The comment I got most was:  the sheep don't "pop" out.  I sort of chuckled quietly to myself about these comments and here is my black sheep thinking:  "Exactly -  the sheep don't pop out, this is an antique rendition and it is supposed to look old, muted, dirty, worn, and found at the back of an antique shop."  I don't want the sheep to pop.  I don't really want anything to pop.  I want the rug to look old and few antique rugs have "pop" to them.  So you see, there really is a method to my madness:  no pop for me!
About halfway through hooking the field area I moved on to the river.  This is not something in the original antique rug, but I added it in my draft of the pattern.  After hooking most of it, I thought the blue wool was standing out too much, even though it is a very pale blue.  I find it hard to add blue to rugs where I am trying to make the rug look old.  Getting a drab enough blue, that actually looks blue and faded out is tough for me.  After hooking this blue wool into the rug, I reassessed and added a different blue.
Here is the difference (wool laying on the left) and how it looks hooked into the rug (on the left) next to the original blue I used (on the right).  I like the new blue much better to achieve an old look to the rug.
These are all the pictures I have to show for today.  I will chronicle more in the next few days.  Thank you for looking!  I hope I didn't bore you!  Kathy, aka, the Black Sheep.

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