I haven't talked much about my house. It's old. Built in 1836. When I think about that, I'm in awe. The Declaration of Independence was 60 years old. Ink barely dry. The Civil War hadn't happened. Andrew Jackson was President. My home state of Ohio had only been in the Union for 33 years. Crazy.
There are many, many charming things about living in an old house. I love the woodwork. I love the beams in my basement that are basically logs with the bark partially removed. I love the solidity.
I have found that textiles look great on the walls of an old house. And, because I'm the Wool Girl, I have created many of the pieces that hang in my house. I took up rug hooking a few years ago and particularly like the way rugs look. I've created a series of square rugs where the pattern is an old quilt block. I take the pattern to Kinko's, blow it up to about 17-inches square, and then hook the pattern. I'll post some photos of those another time.
Project of the Day is my stair risers. I saw a photo in a rug hooking magazine where the artist had made a rug for every stair of the house. When you looked at the stairs, all you saw was fabulous, fabulous color and pattern. I was completely smitten and wanted to create a similar look in my house. But, I'm a knitter first and rug hooker second or third or somewhere down the line. I thought it would be great to make risers using all the different crafts and techniques that I've learned over the years.
Here's a shot of the whole stair. I still have 3 more risers to complete but I'm waiting for inspiration. From top to bottom, the techniques are:
Wool applique using recycled sweaters
Wool applique, felting, and embroidery
Wool applique (penny rugs)
Proddy with rug hooking
My favorite hooked panel is the one I drew myself. It's my house in the fall. I love a primitive, folk art style and drew the house in that manner. Actually, I'm not a great artist when it comes to drawing so the primitive style is just about all I can manage! The one below it has many styles all together and was the first one I made. I found a great product -- wool fleece that was carded and pressed into very thin sheets. You can cut the sheets into shapes. So, the red rectangle is a piece of felt. I cut the bird shapes and the flower shape and then wet felted the whole thing. I was inspired by Frakturs. Once the felt was done, I embroidered to define and accent the motifs.
I truly love my penny rug panel as well. Penny rugs are great because you can combine many different textures and colors in a very small space. Each penny is at least 3 different wools. This panel is all blues, golds, and browns. I used leftover wool from one of my quilt rugs. The buttons came from a very cool blouse I had with small shell buttons sewn all around the bottom. Naturally, I spilled something on it and had to throw it out. But, I cut the buttons off first!
The newest panel is my sheep. I collect sheep (being the Wool Girl and all). I knew one of the stairs would be devoted to sheep and the long, narrow shape lends itself to a little parade. I have three boys so the mama sheep has three lambs. I used a different recycled sweater for each sheep. The mama is a beautiful Talbots sweater that had wool background and then an overlay of lacy wool. Perfect. The lambs are a plain wool, a textured knit, and a cable knit. The "grass" is a strip from a really great coat I got at a garage sale. As you know, I love fringe! The background is a hunk of wool I dyed myself.
The panel below the sheep is my own version of a Log Cabin quilt. These type of rugs are called Hit or Miss because you use a different strip of wool for every line. I have a big rug made like this and I love the color mix.
I need to highlight my knit panel because, after all, I'm a knitter first. I love lace knitting. It's intimidating at first but is no more difficult than cable patterns. The needles are just WAY smaller. A few years ago I bought a cone of very fine Merino wool at a mill going out of business. I think I'll be using the wool off this cone forever. This panel is made from that same wool. The background wool is hand-dyed by me. Blue looks really great in my house.
I'm not sure what I'll do for the final risers. Something will inspire me and I'll be off and running.