November 12, 2012

Hooked Rugs and Diamond Logs

I started hooking a rug in July of 2009 - more than 3 years ago!  I love hooked rugs and after seeing a retrospective of Emily Carr's work at the AGO (2007), I fell in love with this:

Oh Emily, such inspiration!  And all from old blankets! Emily didn't have a lot of money and she supplemented her meagre income by hooking rugs.

If it was good enough for Emily, it's good enough for me!  I thought that I too would take up rug hooking.  I loved the idea of using old clothes and upcycling them.   I enrolled in a rug hooking workshop in Paris, Ontario and this is what I made.  Let me back up a minute.  We were supposed to make a heart. I couldn't bear it.  It was a big, flat heart and I knew that I would go insane working on something so dull.  The instructor had a Charles Rennie Mackintosh book and I flipped through that, looking for inspiration.  I found this:

It is Ochre, Black and White - a watercolour by CRM (c.1922 -23) that was eventually used as inspiration for a textile. I liked the undulating waves and thought that it looked very modern. 

This is what I produced, using the above print as inspiration.  Here it is, framed "gallery style".  The thick black wooden frame was made by my husband and the piece measures 12" by 12" (not including the frame).

No offence Mr. Mackintosh, but I like my version better.  Hooking this was a nightmare. I was using a tiny cut (the cut is the width of the strip of wool that you're using).  I think this was a three.  It took me forever and I vowed that I would NEVER use a thin cut again.

Here is the rug that I started three years ago:

It is made of new and vintage wool, blankets, scarves, skirts, sweaters and suits. I hand dyed a lot of the wool using food colouring, Easter egg dyes and koolaid.  I cut most of the wool strips by hand because I like the rough-hewn look.  The strips of wool are quite a bit thicker which means that it hooks up a bit faster.

Well guess what? I still love hooked rugs, but I HATE rug hooking.  It is BORING beyond belief.  The rug below has taken up permanent residence on its frame in my living room.

It is not finished, but I kind of like how it looks on the frame on top of my antique treadle sewing machine base.  I may never finish it!

I guess you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with quilting.  Well, check this out:

I have been working on these blocks for a few days and I am happy with how they're turning out.  I realized that the diamonds remind me of my rug.  This is one project that I might actually finish!

My plan is to turn the blocks lengthwise, like this:

Fifteen more to go!

Update.  September 2013.  The diamond quilt did not turn out as I planned.  It's hideous.  It has become the dog's blanket.