Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rug Hooking with a Deadline

First, let's give credit where credit is due.  This rug is a design available on .  The rug is called "Potted Pineapple with Pomegranate" and I think it is simply stunning.  The picture above is from the website and I DID NOT HOOK THAT RUG.  But, I am hooking this pattern. 

I don't really believe in buying a kit for a rug.  For one, I love choosing wool.  I love the hunt for the perfect red or variegated green or whatever.  If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that I love going to thrift shops and buying old wool.  I also love to play around dyeing wool, although I have about 100 years of learning to do in that department.  So, I bought the pattern on linen and am hooking it myself.

In retrospect, this may not have been the wisest choice.  You all know I am a knitter first.  Rug hooking is way down on the hobby list for me.  After Sewing, after Gardening, after Chauffeur for my boys.  Also, with a single exception, all the rugs I've made have been geometrics.  I've never done anything remotely pictorial and this rug is not only very pictorial but very large.  Over 30 inches in each dimension.  But, I could not resist the fabulous pattern so off I went.

The first change I made was in the far outside border.  I felt like the rug was very dark and wanted to brighten it up a bit.  So, my border is in shades of yellow/mustard.  My 1836 house has a lot of mustard.  Using this color ensures I can hang this rug in any room of my house and it will look great.  I also think this border picks up the pineapple colors quite nicely.  My plan is to hang this one over the fireplace in a new room we are adding on to our house THIS YEAR.  Hooray!

The second major change I made was to the urn holding up the pineapple.  The original rug had a red urn.  Red looks great in my house and certainly looks great in the original rug.  However, I have been on a quest to put more blue in my house.  The urn you see is the second version.  The first version used a much lighter blue -- almost a robin's egg blue.  And, the wedge-shaped pieces were in a bittersweet shade plus a terracotta.  The combination looked great together, but looked TERRIBLE in this rug.  This is more of a dark, colonial blue and the wedge pieces are in a fabulous orange and a tweed that combines all the shades of the rug -- red, blue, gold, green, etc.  The tweed came from a thrift shop blazer.  Anyone that recycles wool knows that getting wool from a blazer is a royal pain.  Interfacing, 5 million seams, pockets, etc.  You don't get a lot of fabric to work with and it takes a ton of time to cut the darn thing up.  Still, this tweed was so amazing and included so many of my favorite colors, I had to do it.  And, I'm glad I did.  It's perfect.

Moving on to the leaves.  There are three different sets of leaves:  the pineapple top, the lettuce leaves under the pineapple, and the grape leaves sticking out each side of the urn.  I pulled out all my greens and tried to sort them into three distinct groups for these.  I knew the pineapple needed to be dark because pineapple leaves are dark.  So, I picked those greens first.  The lettuce leaves ended up being the middle tones.  I'm not 100% happy with the lettuce and may need to pull out and change the center rib.  It is two different wools, but the shades are so similar that the vein disappears into the rest of the leaf.

The oak leaf is by far my favorite of the three but it was no picnic getting there.  The first edge tone was very bright and too clear a tone for this rug.  I tend toward the muddy tones and anything too pure looks wrong.  So, I dug back in my bags of wool strips and found a whole bag of mixed greens.  In there was a variegated green that went from chartreuse to sage to loden.  Perfect.  I had to change the vein color too.  But, I had a loden that exactly matched the loden in the edge color.  This is why we have so much wool.  You never know when you're going to need that exact shade!  The field color of the grape leaf is the only one that worked with my original choice.  I think the leaf looks great.

Late afternoon every day I make sure I have something to work on while I sit with my family in the evening.  Tonight it's the other oak leaf.  Plus some of the background.  This rug has a lot of background.  I'm using a black tweed, an impossibly dark green, and solid black all mixed together.  There's so very much of the background that I try to do a few square inches every night so I see some progress.  I would hate to finish all the fun stuff -- the motifs and the detail -- and then be faced with weeks of nothing but black.  Ugh.

As for the title of this post:  Rug Hooking with a Deadline -- that refers to the fact that I'm attending my very first rug hooking camp in about a month.  I'm taking a class with Dianne Kelly, a well-known rug hooker from right here in Northeast Ohio.  She's amazing and I'll be knitting one of her patterns.  It's another pictorial and it has chickens!!  Three chickens that I'll model after three of my own girls in the backyard.  So, I'm trying to finish this rug before the camp.  I'm not sure I'll make it, but I'm making some real progress and hope to have it down to just background and finishing at the very least.  I'll post more pictures as I go.  My next thing to tackle is the large tulips at the top of the arrangement.  I'm thinking more orange...


  1. Good job on your rug! I love that you're taking the pattern and making it your own with various changes. It's going to be awesome when it's done!

  2. Love the brighter blue urn w/the orange accents. Follow you blog and enjoy your posts very much. Very inspirational.
    Kathleen in NJ...where's it's raining yet again.