Author: jess

Nautili

Nautili

A few years ago I did an image search for “primitive hit or miss rug hooking motifs”.  The simple spiral intrigued me and I immediately started experimenting with it. It was only some time later that I learned, to my embarrassment, that this was not a traditional motif but one born of the creativity of Primitive Spirit Rugs.  Lesson learned—always click through the images!  That being said, I just kept playing with the motif in my head over and over when I found my self staring at the nautili we’ve had propped on a shelf for a very long time.  I started seeing things in multiples.  Everything just grew from there.

Hooking the nautilus quickly became addictive. One nautilus, two nautili, three nautili—you get the picture.
We were hiking along the oyster middens when I knew I’d hit on the perfect color inspiration.
The completed piece. Measures just a bit more than 17″ square, and is hooked with a combination of wool and recycled cashmere.

 

Discovering Rufus Porter

Discovering Rufus Porter

My recent design rabbit hole started with a desire to create a historic looking mural for our home. Somewhere in my search for folk art painting techniques I stumbled upon one Mr. Rufus Porter and the rug hooker in me took over. His motifs struck a chord. While I’ve yet to paint anything, I’ve been enjoying designing rugs inspired by his work. This little footstool is the first of many to come.

I’ve been dabbling with woodworking lately. This primitive little stool paired beautifully with my Rufus Porter inspired rug.
It took some trial and error to get the background colors just right for both mood and visibility, but I love how it came out.
The knot in the wood became the perfect little accent to the “legs” of the stool.

Dye Trying

I swore I’d never dye.  I have so many stashes and work stations and the rest, I just didn’t feel like taking on one more endeavor.  But a dearth of sunny yellows and primitive reds for some of my post popular designs, in addition to a pile of unsuitably colored specimens culled from my cashmere box lots, pushed me over the edge.  The days are barely warm enough to venture outside for more than a bit at a time, so I hunker in the workshop and hobble together tools and supplies.  I barely follow the directions, but am feeling successful with my first efforts nonetheless.

My first attempt at capturing my desired yellow tones for the sunflower pillows was a success!
I kept adding various wools to the dye pot over the course of an hour and ended up with a range of red tones that I am quite happy with.
Nautical Stitching

Nautical Stitching

I had a wonky little scrap of antique linen, so I made a peculiar little nautical needle book.

Stitching has become calming and meditative for me.  I seem to be turning to it more and more.

I worry that over time my stitching will become too practices and regular, when what I love is the Wabi Sabi, Come as it May process.

Kantha Style Quilted Footstool

Kantha Style Quilted Footstool

A little blue footstool–a vintage thrift store find–became the newest fodder for my latest stitching obsession.

 

This cotton upholstery fabric finally earned its keep in my stash, pairing beautifully with the original paint of the stool.
I love the texture the stitching gives.
February Tease

February Tease

It was an unusual early February day yesterday. The temperature hit the 50s. It was sunny and beautiful. So much so that I left the oversized slider in my studio open so I could enjoy the balmy air. My dogs clustered on the threshold as one side or the other of it would show too much commitment on their part. I worked at my hooking bench– I hook standing up– barefoot with a mug of hot vanilla milk tucked nearby. And I finally figured how to handle the border of a loosely geometric design.

Boro Style Sashiko Stitched Pillow

Boro Style Sashiko Stitched Pillow

It’s a new year, and I’m trying new things.  Boro style textiles have captured my imagination, and sashiko stitching can easily be embraced by those of us who are daunted by the skill and precision of traditional American dainty little quilting stitches.  I’ve received such a positive reaction to my first piece and have gotten many questions, so I’m just going to lay out my process here.  And remember, I have no idea what I’m doing.  I’m just doing, and this was my first piece.  I have graduated to my second, however, for whatever grandeur that might lend to my resume.

I started by gathering a selection of fabrics—new, old, antique, quilt squares, etc. that I thought might work well together. I know this sounds easy, but I spent the better part of an afternoon rearranging, editing, and changing up the whole thing.
When it was time to go make dinner, this is where things were at. Then I walked away for the night so I could look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.  Still happy then, I pinned everything down thoroughly.
This is a wee bit out of order, but I layered all my random top pieces over a foundation fabric the size I wanted my finished piece to be plus seam allowance. I happened to be using a vintage cloth napkin my husband deemed unacceptable as it resembled a torn up sheet, but you could use anything in your stash including an actual torn up sheet… Just don’t make it too thick because you will be stitching through it in addition to all your other top layers.  It’s a little different than what I did here, but I would recommend first starting with a row of running stitches around the entire perimeter of the piece.  After that, anything goes.
Then I just started stitching. Imperfect running stitches based on whim or influenced by the piece of fabric I was stitching over. Sashiko means “little stabs”, so just go at it and don’t worry about anything. I jumped all over the piece, stitching where I felt like in no particular order.
So that’s really it. I finished the first piece there and made it into an oversized pillow. This piece is now my second venture into the technique.

Happy Stitching!