My mother tried a few handcrafts over the years from traditional embroidery to sewing. I'm sure she would have been thrilled with rug hooking. I would give my right arm to have her back, to get to know her as an adult and forge a lifelong friendship. I'm always jealous when women in their golden years say they've been out for lunch with or going to mom's house for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. I think, why is there no happy balance....why couldn't my mom have lived longer? I suppose there are some people out there who would say I was lucky to have her as long as I did so I know things could be worse, but that doesn't lessen the pain I feel. Even after all these years I find it difficult to admit she is no longer here. I used to pretend she was still in our family home. I would drive by and look up and imagine my parents sitting in the kitchen in their comfy recliners watching TV or sitting at the table eating dinner. That worked for awhile but when the new owners painted the house yellow, it got harder to keep the fantasy going so I was left to deal with the reality that I was alone.
So I kid around and say I'm an orphan. I've told a number of people that I'm up for adoption, you'd think someone would take me up on my offer.....I would think I'd be a catch considering the stash of wool they would inherit along with me.....I come as a package deal! What rug hooker wouldn't want a kid with a wool store, why hell, I should be fighting them off in droves!
I guess it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt or it becomes awkward. One lovely lady said adoption wasn't an option but she would gladly hook a rug for me. So the joke backfired, I was only kidding and now someone was offering to hook a rug and I'm not the kind of person who can accept gifts graciously. Through circumstances beyond my control, I've been treated rather badly by people in my family and there have not been any acts of kindness without strings attached, so I have no personal education to draw on when someone wants to do something nice; it goes against my grain. I've only learned how to be a giver, not a taker, I like being generous, it gives me pleasure, it's well within my comfort range, but the reverse almost leaves me paralyzed with awkwardness.
The gift giver was Jean Morse, that sweetie I can't seem to stop talking about. But even with her, the fun of joking around crashed to a halt and I felt terrible that I might have somehow bullied her into hooking a rug for me. She didn't see it that way but I had a lump to swallow. No matter how much I refused, she insisted and I was mortified. I tried to let that lead brick drop, but she kept bringing it up and insisted I give her a pattern and dyed wool so she would hook it. She wore me down and quite frankly, it might have been the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me up to that point in my life; maybe it was a turning point and time to feel worthy of someone's kindness. Pathetic sounding I know, but it is what it is. Not all familial relationships are warm and fuzzy. So I designed a rug for hubby's study and dyed up the colours to match the room and Jean started the rug.
I've said many times before how much I cared for and admired Jean and I tried to bury the guilt of goading her into hooking the rug for me. It was never my intent to put anyone out, I just like to be funny. But you know, I think she really liked me as much as I liked her and I just had to accept graciously that someone was willing to do a nice thing for me. So that makes Jean's gift an even more treasured memory and every time I walk on or look at the rug I think of her. How she liked me enough to spend months working on a gift for me with no strings attached. That single act of kindness left a lasting impression and maybe I walk a little taller because of it. I've cooled the jets on whining about being an orphan but every now and then I bring it out and dust it off. I am a bit of a kidder and that will never change, but I draw the line on the sad face and pouty lip.
The Army green is used as three values, lighter for the background and medium and dark for the compass points and trim around the border. The third and darkest value was dyed over herringbone to add a bit of texture.
The Ganache rope was a 6 value swatch all dyed over natural. I used Antique Black for all the outlines, outside border of the compass and the outer border around the rug. Jean loved the colours so much that she hooked her next project using the leftovers.
The rust was also a three value swatch, with herringbone to add texture to the stylized sea monsters and striped border. It was with great pride that I positioned the rug in front of the French doors in its forever home. Sorry the pictures are not the best but you can see the rug is an important addition to the room.