Wanda's Boo-doir Hosiery well in time for Halloween. Hang it on the door as a flat rug or sew a backing on to make a stocking perfect for treats.
That's no trick with this convenient bundle of wool you can order with the pattern. (hooks one stocking)
Order yours now, pattern alone for $40.95 or with the bundle for a combined price of $86.95, (save $10.00 worth $96.95 if bought separately)
Buy two patterns for a shoe to shoe display as seen above!
The wool bundle consists of 1/4 yard of boo-delicious orange and 1/8 yard each of the purple, black, gold and green for a witchy stocking and shoes.
Pattern only - $40.95
1 Pattern & 1 Wool Combo - $86.95
This may be a blog question. I need help. I want to learn more about wool. I have never sewn or had experience with fabrics before rug hooking. I had difficulty when asking my question of an instructor(s) in a recent rug hooking class - strange answer: such as "the wool has been sitting on a shelf for a long time - or is antique"??? The question has to do with the thicknesses of different wools I have or might buy or hook with. Some are quite flat, others very fluffy, but all deemed/sold as for use to hook in rugs. They say "felt" or for applique, etc. I do realize one can hook with anything if going about it for different purposes for textiles/tapestries!
So although I have this MS degree in Education, I do not easily come by these answers out of my bailiwick; so I'm a new learner here. I thought there were no "dumb questions". Five months after I took up rug hooking, I was traveling and was so excited to be in a Florence, Italy, fabric store, buying wool off bolts. These yards fit neatly into my suitcase. I returned home only to realize it was way too thin for my hooking - rolled off like silk from my cutter. That was my first bad experience with not knowing about the right kind of wool for this craft.
Now I know enough to buy from places that have it just for rug hooking. Still, I'd just like to know about the range of wools that are used and why some plaids, for instance seem to have a "high pile" is it called? While others are more compact - flat. I have loads of wooly pieces laying around here - from you, others, some passed down from my cousin who died of cancer, and others - I am sorting and wondering and wanting to learn more about wool. I am making a little rug/wool gallery for myself downstairs. Is there a book? The last time I asked about this, two ladies that taught that color planning class I was taking acted really 'defensive', and asked if I wanted to know who their suppliers were? I just think some people have experience and agendas in their past, and they just can't read me as a nice person who Just Wants to Know. So I thought of you and your blog - and how you vent sometimes - I'm venting - and that's the Thick and the Thin of it. :)
Hi Anne Marie,
Your questions are very common so I thought I would reply to you by way of a blog to share what I’ve learned over the years with all of my readers.
Wool is not the holy grail and should not be shrouded in secrecy. My philosophy is that knowledge should be shared so we can all make the best choice when purchasing fabric. Our money should not be wasted on wool that is too thin, too unstable or not conducive to this craft. A bit of education will ensure better choices, because frustration should never come into play when rug hooking!
I’m a wool snob. I only use the best and sell the best in the store. I don’t like wool that falls apart in my hands or is too thin and stringy to keep a neat surface on my rugs. That does not mean I don’t appreciate a good recycled wool because there are fine specimens to be had at second hand shops. But buyer beware because wool is not all created equal.
What most hookers desire is a 13 oz weight in their wool fabric. This means that the wool weighs 13 oz per yard. This is basically those itchy, plaid wool skirts we wore as kids. I advise newbies to carry a sample of a good 13 oz weight when perusing the flea markets and recycled clothing stores. Feel the wool you hope to buy and then rub your sample for a comparison. Sometimes the wool in the bin hasn’t been washed in hot water so take that into consideration as it will be thicker after processing in your machines. Even if the wool is unwashed it should still have the property of a winter garment, a bit of fuzz and thickness to the weave.
I like to define wool by breaking it into two categories; Winter and Summer. That does not mean winter coat weight that weighs about 16 ounces or so, as that tends to be too thick. If you want to use a coat then I would stick to all the same weight for your rug as mixing a 13 oz and a 16 oz would make your project look lumpy. Coat weight is also more difficult to pull through the backing so it is usually cut into a finer strip to reduce the stress of the harder tug.
Summer weight, is the polar opposite and not good for rug hooking at all. Here is my trick. If you spy a suit or skirt in a bargain bin or hanging on a rack, ask yourself this question. Would someone wear this garment in the summer or the winter? If you think it’s a summer piece, drop it and walk away. Summer suiting, although 100% wool is only 7 oz and won’t felt no matter how much you beat it up. It’s usually a bit shiny and stringy and although it might be the perfect colour, pass it by and save your money for the good stuff! It is also almost too thin to put through a cutting machine and slips around like a sleazy womanizer. When cutting a thin wool, you have to feed it through the machine as straight as possible or its spaghetti city. I personally don’t like my wool too thin, but have no problem using Pendleton shirts and skirts that tend to run around 10-11 oz.
Not all wools are woven or created equal. There are all kinds of weave patterns when making fabric. The best of course is the straight weave or plain weave. Plain weave produces the strongest fabric with minimal fraying. The weight of the wool and fuzziness is determined by the threads used when weaving the fabric. Think of the different ply’s of yarn. The denser the fibers used, the thicker the wool that is woven.
Some wools are woven more loosely and they won't felt enough after being washed so it needs to be cut with the wider blades, #6 to #8. Some herringbone wools are loosely woven and demand a wider cut but there are others, especially the one we buy and over-dye that can be cut very carefully in a #4. Someone told me they cut it in a #3 once for an oriental but that had to be deep concentration and a steady hand to feed it perfectly straight through the machine. Any deviation off grain would cut the fibers on the bias and therefore would degrade the integrity of the wools warp.
That is not to say that any wool is bad. Lots of rug hookers have preferences that we may not agree with or care to use. A thinner, suit wool could be hooked beautifully if you tear the strips wide, about an inch and fold under the fraying edges and hook the flat top, like granny had to do with cottons. Some hook with fine wools and just keep their scissors handy for trimming. Finer wools are okay cut in the primitive widths but cut narrow and they can fall apart.
Back in the day when I started rug hooking I brought home a lot of wools that were later discarded. It’s a learning curve as in all things. Just because coveted coloured wool has wooed you into buying it doesn’t mean it will work. Suppress the urge by breathing deeply to allow the brain to overrule the addiction. If you succumb, and we all do at times, it can always be used as a pillow back or a liner for a Christmas stocking.
Plaids of course are fabulous, bringing texture and depth to our projets. I put them in every rug, especially herringbone….I have a big love for herringbone! Of course it's woven in a special pattern and that's the reason behind any fraying. Plaids have multiple colours going this way and that making it a bit more iffy but not enough to turn your nose up on a piece of great plaid. Just snip off the frayed ends of the loops as you go or save them all up until the rug is finished. No big deal!
Sometimes a thin plaid like a Pendleton shirt, can be felted a bit more by throwing a pair of jeans in the washer with the wool. That will knock it around and beat it up more. Front loader machines are more gentle and don’t felt as well so sidle up to a friend with a top loader and say pretty please can I use your machine?
I’m a stickler about 100% content in my wool. Nothing in my shop has a man-made fiber. I started this to protect my cutter blades because polyesters and acrylics will dull the carbon steel wheels on machines that have a pressing action such as the Bliss, Fraser 500 and Rigby designs. Cutters that offer a scissors action fare much better and in Canada we love the Bolivar Cutter, made locally and an exquisite piece of engineering. These days, I’m just a wool snob, I like the soft feel of 100% wool. I like the way it dyes, tears and cuts, and especially the way it hooks.
Cutting wool properly is the secret to a happy hooker. Taking the time to put the fabric through the machine ensures the best experience. I never put through a piece more than three inches wide. If the wool is wider and cumbersome it slides off the edge creating drag off to the side so you are continually trying to keep it in place. Over handling it creates undesired movement and off grain cutting.
It is always best to cut your strips parallel to the selvage edge which is easily apparent when you buy new wool off the bolt, but when you buy a garment at a shop, unless you have a tailor background you wouldn’t know how the pattern was cut off the bolt. Really good plain weaves work either way but a herringbone needs to be cut following the visible lines you see between the V’s in the pattern. Over time, as experience gathers under your belt, you and your wool will become one.
Here is the explanation of a few wool terms.
Selvage – When purchasing wool on the bolt or roll, the selvage is the finished edge of the fabric. It runs parallel to the grain or ‘Warp'.
Warp – The lengthwise grain that runs along the entire length of the fabric. It is the strongest grain with the least amount of movement.
Weft – This is the grain that runs the width of the fabric and has a bit of movement or stretch to it.
Bias – The bias is at a 45* degree angle on the fabric. This grain has the most stretch.
In closing, whenever you ask a question and are not satisfied with the reply or feel you are being put off, keep asking around until you get the answer you deserve. Rug hooking is not rocket science nor are we working against one another to conquer the world. Rug hooking is a glorious craft that should be filled with a lifetime of exploration, learning and sharing. That being said, I hope I’ve answered your questions and shed some light on the thick and thin of wool.
I'm beginning to believe I'm cursed. Not in the evil sense, my head doesn't spin, at least not all the way around, but there are powers that like to play with me. Somewhere there is a voodoo doll in my image with a sharp pin waiting.......
I talk a lot about our boat. The best decision we've ever made was to buy that beamy girl, providing a perfect threesome in our marriage. She has enhanced and brought more joy than any single inanimate object, even the houses we've renovated can't top our cottage on the water. The fact that she likes to take the occasional bite out of me is off putting, but considering I'm in a small space, a bit clumsy and being tossed about like a cork in a bathtub, perhaps a few bruises are expected. No matter, I keep giving her my all, making her shine while peeling away the years of use, hopefully she appreciates our efforts.
Since we bought the boat, the focus has been preparing for the Nonsuch Rendezvous, a yearly event where the local Nonsuch boats and owners gather, have a race and socialize and revel in this exclusive club. I might enjoy teak refinishing and scrubbing the bilge, but there was a purpose in mind, make her shine for this event to introduce our girl to the group with her best bow forward. We'd missed last year’s gathering with hubby working in Alberta, but this year being out of work was a plus, we would be there, front and center for the festivities. It was guaranteed!
I'd planned months ago to have that weekend off. Unless we are teaching a beginner class, I work Saturday’s alone so I needed to be taken off the schedule. Deb and Shane were primed and all my ducks were in order. There would be nothing to stop us from being there, come hell or high water, we would be showing off the fruits of our labour and taking our place in the line-up, bow to stern along the wharf. Or so I thought……
A week and a bit before the rendezvous I opened email and found a reminder from the Nicholsville Rug Rats Fall Fling that their hook-in was coming up and would I be there as planned? Surely my eyes deceived me, surely it didn't say September 10th, the same day as the rendezvous? I knew the event was in September and I’d asked for a reminder close to the time but I never thought for a moment it would be the same weekend and honestly my focus was all on the boat so there wasn’t much thought for anything else! The wheels began to grind, the screech matching the groan coming out of me. What could I do? I gave my word which means something; I couldn't let the hook-in down but how could I do it all? How could I be in two places at one time? So I chatted with Deb and Shane and they offered to do the hook-in for me. Hugs and kisses to them both! I would tell them what to expect and I could then go conscience free to the Rendezvous. I asked someone to work the store as I knew I couldn't close it, people would be upset coming from a distance expecting us to be here. All was once again clear sailing. Or so I thought……
Two days before the rendezvous weekend Shane's cat ingested part of a lily. For those that don't know, and we sure as heck didn’t, any part of this plant or cut flower is toxic to a cat. If not caught within two hours, before digestion begins, renal failure is guaranteed. When Shane went upstairs to take his dogs out for a pee, he found Zoe with her face and mouth dusted with orange; she’d stuck her head into the heart of the lily and came out coated with powder which she licked off. He quickly looked it up on the internet and was devastated. He rushed her to the vet who didn't give him much hope. He was beside himself with worry, kicking himself for not knowing there was a deadly toxin in his home. We were on pins and needles as we waited for news while poor Zoe swayed on a tightrope of life or death.
Anyone who knows Shane can vouch that he wears his heart on his sleeve, and is an old softy for the creatures of this planet. He doesn't squash bugs, not even spiders and if he can't help them out the door to freedom, he lets them be. He totally loves his cats, Zoe and Molly and I know how I feel about my pups so I knew the great burden on his heart. As much as it pained me to miss my special weekend, his cat would come first and if the outcome was bleak, I knew darkness would settle on his soul for a long while. If she pulled through, he would be joyous but would have to pick her up on Saturday and they needed one another. Over the next few days, we hung on to hope and felt helpless despair until word came that she would make it. Shane was over the moon and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
The weekend had been structured; kitty first, the hook-in second and the boat last. I missed the Friday meet and greet at the Lunenburg Yacht Club because I had to pack up the shop for an early trip Saturday morning. I did make it to the club for the dinner but couldn't really meet anyone or mingle while stuck at a table. Then at 10:00, I rushed back to the shop to finish the packing and loaded the car. It was midnight before I got home. The stress was piled so high on my shoulders I bent when I walked. Then I tried to sleep but after rushing around like a chicken without a head, it was impossible. No amount of reading could soothe my mind and after I turned out the light my brain blazed as I fretted over the details for the hook-in the next day. Did I forget anything, the long lists of things to take were checked and rechecked in my head, tossing and turning until I fell into a fitful sleep around 3:00, then up at 5:30 to get ready to hit the road by 7:00.
I won’t lie, it hurt missing the Nonsuch gathering but I have a responsibly to the business and to my son. Being a mother, we sacrifice all the time. It's our job as much as putting food on the table and clothing on their backs. Good or bad, it's our lot and at the end of the day, we don’t begrudge any sacrifice that might be made because they come first, period the end.
So I headed to Kingston with my wares while Deborah navigated and my hubby attended the reunion on his own. I tried not to feel bitter, I certainly give my all to rug hooking, have for many years. It's not just a profession, it's my passion, but I need a bit of fun too. It took a good week to let it go, all the while being told there would always be next year, but after missing two years in a row I'm not holding out any hope. Maybe we shouldn't want things so much, leaving the gate open for disappointment to slip in and run amuck. If we don’t have inflated expectations there won't be any disappointments. Putting all my eggs in one basket assured a bit of breakage but when it all boils down, no one died, big deal, get over it.
Once we arrived home Saturday and unpacked the car at the shop I was finished. That final half hour drive to Mahone Bay was rough; I fought to keep my eyes open. Deborah was tired as well but we made conversation to stay alert, I missed a turnoff that took us a bit longer to get home but we laughed with as much enthusiasm as we could muster.
After I arrived home I was too exhausted to drive to Chester for the Nonsuch dinner. I worried that I'd fall asleep behind the wheel. My disappointment was swallowed along with a large bag of chips and a tub of Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream, two very big no nos for my blood sugar. If I rested and then went down later I could bring pups and breakfast food to spend the night on the wharf with hubby, be there in the morning to chat a bit and feel a part of things with the other folks on their boats before they left for home but I kept yawning and nodding off every time I sat in a chair. I've fallen asleep while driving before and the fear of a re-occurrence is potent incentive to think smart. It wasn't worth the risk, especially with the pups in the car, my maternal instinct was to stay put, lay on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, which I might add, I did with stellar proficiency. I may not be proud of this fact, but I moped for days, inconsolable that I’d missed the Rendezvous yet again!
Maybe if the weekend before, a sail to Carter's Beach that we'd planned since the spring, had gone off without a hitch I would have been less bothered to miss the rendezvous. But the first vacation I've taken in 25 years turned into a disaster, one with vomiting, crying, soiling myself and fear of drowning. No one died, but I thought we all might, so that put a rather large crimp in the fun. I'll tell you about it later, when the pain of it passes and I can laugh without clenching the various sphincters of my body.
So despite the disappointment for missing the Rendezvous, Deborah and I had a lot of fun in Kingston. It's always lovely to see so many familiar faces and admire all their works in progress and the the rug show was once again phenomenal.
I must admit, the turkey lunch served by the Lion's Club men at the hook-in was memorable. The gravy was lip smacking, the dressing divine, the mashed potato and vegetables were all tantalizing to our taste buds, and is there anything better than seeing men in the kitchen wearing aprons? That’s dessert in itself! Not only did these chaps put out a superb meal, they tidied up and did the dishes. Last but not least, the actual dessert was an apple crisp with a crunchy topping and the right amount of tartness. Yum! Quite the spread and well worth attending for.
As we packed up our wares and loaded the car I was asked if I’d come back next year and I said without hesitation "Sure thing!" I won't know the dates for the 2017 Nonsuch Rendezvous or the 2017 Nicholsville Rug Rats Hook-in until next spring but really, what’s the chance the two events will overlap again? What's the chance there won't be another crisis, something to interfere? Maybe I should ask Murphy, he's usually following me around......
By Guest Blogger Heather Gordon
I recently returned from teaching at rug camp in Gros Morne for the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador (RHGNL). The course was called Welcome To My Parlour and focussed on welcome mats with a twist – introducing the participants to 3-dimensional effects and interesting fibres. The 3 day (18 hour) course was inspired by a weekend workshop at Encompassing Designs last fall.
My welcome mat design was adapted from a small flat hooked table mat in the 2014 June/July/August issue of Rug Hooking magazine. Since the free pattern is intended for personal use only, I could not share even my adapted version or sell the pattern so Christine and I put our heads together and she created 3 charming new designs for a welcome mat course. We thought you would enjoy seeing how they were interpreted in Newfoundland.
As soon as the ink was dry on the linen, I hooked Mermaid Welcome with a combination of yarns and cut strips (both hand dyed and recycled). The original pattern is oval but I extended it to create a rectangle because I couldn’t resist a luxurious yarn that matched perfectly with the spot dyed wool in the proddy scales on the mermaid. When I finally get it finished, it will hang in a guest bathroom.
I had only one of each of Christine’s patterns with me and the Mermaid Welcome was snatched up by Anne Astey. Here is a photo of Anne with her Mermaid Welcome. This is her first time using specialty yarns, appliqué and proddy. Before I even got back to Nova Scotia, she had gone out and purchased a batch of new fibres and sent me an email that said “There is no stopping me now!” Way to go, Anne.
Judy Fudge from Green Bay South is the first person to hook Wooly Welcome. She arrived at rug camp with a big bag of soft pastel woven wool and look at what she is creating! We added roving and a variety of hand-woven and textured yarns. You just want to reach out and pet the little sheep she hooked in roving and variegated wool yarns as he rests comfortably in the mixed fabric proddy grass. Her appliquéd and stuffed heart centered flowers are beautiful.
Judy has a soft blue wool for the sky and fluffy roving for the clouds and will use lots of pretty spring greens, pinks and yellows, combining woven and spun fibres in the rest of her design.
Cozy Cottage Welcome
Two of the ladies were working on the Cozy Cottage Welcome. It’s always fun to see different interpretations of a design and these will have a completely different look and feel when completed.
Mary Konkle, who lives in Ontario, has a summer home in Newfoundland. She came prepared with a pattern that she had ordered in advance from Christine and brought several bags of bright fibres. Her cheery little cottage will have a garden of appliquéd yellow-checkered flowers. She chose to hook her 3-dimensional heart with a raised loop technique rather than sculpt it and she will shape the leaves on the vine with the raised loop technique as well.
Linda Peckford who spent most of her life on the Change Islands, now lives in Lewisporte where there is an active hooking group. Hew biggest challenge was loosening up. As a fine-cut hooker, it was difficult to hook higher and further apart than ever before but look at her results. The cottage roof and siding have great contrast and a little metallic sparkle. Her heart is a modified penny-mat motif, like we did in our Valentine heart pin cushion workshop last February here at Encompassing Designs. The heart is stuffed, adding dimension and the blanket stitch and daisy are done in – yes, you got it right..... real gold thread, donated by another class member.
Workshop COMING SOON!!!!
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT
We are working on a selection of rooster patterns for this workshop – all using a bright colour palette. Watch for details!
Heather Gordon recently returned from the Newfoundland Rug School where she taught a class on Welcome Rugs. She had a fabulous time and brought back this “Little” tale.
Although I like to think I am unique, my name isn’t. I realize I’m not the only Christine Little in this world, I Googled it and saw how long the list was. Others share my moniker, or perhaps I’m sharing there’s, but I’ve never met another Christine Little although I have heard there’s one a province away. Like me, she is also a rug hooker and is a director of the Newfoundland guild. A couple of years ago I received a phone call when someone confused the two of us and at that time I didn’t know of her existence so I was a bit puzzled.
While at the Newfoundland rug school, a woman saw Christine Little on a person’s name tag and mistook her for me. She said, are you Christine Little? The woman replied “yes” and the confusion began. The woman gushed that she was a big fan of my Facebook page and my website, loved my designs and so forth, so this other Christine, aware of my existence knew immediately she was referring to me. Newfoundland Christine told the gal several times that she was not Nova Scotia Christine. The woman didn’t believe her.
She proceeded to say lovely things, was so happy to meet me and then she asked the other Christine to sign her program. After insisting several times that she wasn’t me, she finally gave in and signed the woman’s paper. The signature was correct no matter which one of us penned it, so all is well, no harm no foul.
What a fun “Little” story! To the lady who was so pleased to meet me even if it was someone else, I am totally flattered.
Gift Certificates are available for that special rug hooker in your life! Any denomination, no expiry date!