The Story of Unite, An American Hooked Rug has a querulous beginning. There are a wide range of thoughts and emotions lurking in the background of this rug. Unite was conceived and hooked while I was listening to and taking in the impeachment hearings and Senate trial. There is no doubt that it was a national event of wildly varied import and impact. This rug is how I captured this moment in history for me.
This rug has been an especially fulfilling project for me. I am not a gifted illustrator, but my doodles occasionally surprise even me. I’d been studying a variety of other rugs, both old and new, for angels, swimmers, flags. My wonky striped versions of the American flag, have always been a favorite motif to include, but I’m not quite sure how the mermaid element came in. When I was choosing my wools for her, I kept thinking of The Statue of Liberty. She must have been an unwitting influencer.
I dug deeper into the making of this rug than I usually do. Unimpressed with the color variety in my stash of wools and cashmere and committed to using as many recycled materials as possible, my long resisted dye pot was pressed into service. I learned so much and was so happy with the results of my efforts, that a little corner of our home is now being transformed into a dedicated dye studio.
As you know, Twenty Twenty (2020) is an election year, and my doodle session resulted in more than one successful rendering of a rug to be. While we march from one political fiasco to the next, I’ll continue to brandish my hook in search of patriotic harmony through my language of choice, fiber. The Story of Unite shall continue.
Hooked with new, vintage, and recycled wools and cashmere.
Measures about 36″ x 22″
Signed and dated in embroidery on the back.
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.
This project has been calling to me for some time. These pillows are a precursor to the alpaca rug I want to hook next, but these are definitely a creative pursuit I could both sink my teeth and toes into. The alpaca is milled just for me by a couple local family farms. The all around goodness of them is swoon worthy. If you want one of these for your own snuggling purposes, they are available for purchase at The Barn at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA or you can purchase online.
Hooking this piece has been a joy, and it allows me to bring so many pieces of our history into play. Some of the wool was handed down to us from the wardrobe of a great aunt and uncle. The leaves and bits of the sky are highlighted with yak yarns my husband brought home for me from a very special trip to Tibet with his father.
All it took to reach the end zone was some holiday quiet, a playlist of Splendid Table podcasts, and a lot of coffee. Voila!
Well, not much needlecraft happened this weekend, but plenty of cookies were baked, not to mention consumed. My weekdays are happily and soundly packed with shipping orders, fulfilling custom orders, and creating new works for my shops, but that has left little time for my biggest rug hooking project yet. Sundays seem to be the day I get to settle in with a great audiobook, hook in hand and silly wool worms (that I still can’t believe can make anything so lovely) at the ready. It is a blissful pursuit.
swatches of life get loved, used, worn out, discarded
to be collected again and treasured
the suit jacket grandpa wore to church every sunday
dad’s goofy pants he donned to support his favorite baseball team
your mother’s woolen skirt–the one you clung to when strangers came to the door
a rug made by drawing up loops of fabric or yarn through a foundation fabric such as burlap or linen to form a pattern.
a technique developed in the mid-1800s in N. America using bits of wool from old clothing and feed sacks for the foundation.
Sources: dictionary.com and Old Oaks Ranch.