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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Little Blue Flowers in the Kitchen- A Design for Beginners

" Why don't you let me know when something needs fixed?! You never complain when something is not working right."  My husband had to use the shower I use. Months earlier, the faucet stopped working right. Irritating- yes, but by the time I hit the hallway each morning, I had forgotten all about it. When my husband said these words to me, it caused me the think on why half working things seldom phase me.

I am the oldest of fourteen children. Four daughters and ten sons. I grew up on 'learning to share', 'stretching dollars' and making it around the house 'one more time' with a vacuum held together with masking tape. Twenty six years into my marriage and I do think it is true that I continue to be a very 'low maintenance' sort of woman. Could this be a contributing factor in my love for the history and roots of rug hooking? As I think on days in the past when women would create rugs of necessity out of old garments, I see charm and whimsy. That also happens when my brothers and I muse of those days of  mom's sack lunches (Dad's payday always meant pickle loaf), hand-me-downs, and the old station-wagon that got the whole bunch of us around town.

I have had this little design in my drawing book for quite a long while. It has always grabbed my attention while flipping through pages- I've really liked it. So when I traced it onto my linen the other night, I decided I wanted the challenge of using exactly what I have. I have to laugh at myself as I admit that much of what I am using, those "leftovers" are those very precious woolens I have gotten from my friend, Christy, who does just about every stitch of wool I use. As I contemplated using a black background out of Pendleton wool skirts, my eyes fell on a fresh piece of 'Espresso' that I just received. Nix the black. What is that I spot- a bit of 'Moose' - not much, just a scrap - just enough for a dress. Sapphire- well, that's not very 'scrap' like but well...I'll use it. Then as I went looking around I found a piece of 'Stormy.' I draped it over the top of of my frame, and I loved the contrast. Little flowers. Blue little flowers.

I like this design because I think it is a design that I would have felt comfortable with as a beginner. What's more- I would have been eager to work through this as I could visualize it hanging on a wall to call my first rug. There will be rows of 'hit n miss' as well as a simple straightforward design that could be hooked with what you have. Of course, you could also find any of these colors in my friends on-line wool shop,

I do need to mention that Sunday the 15th is the day that Christy and I will do our drawing- one of us will be getting hold of the winner Sunday evening.


  1. Wow the oldest of 14!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bet you have wonderful memories!!


  2. LOVED reading about how this design evolved and I'm looking forward to seeing it progress

  3. I'm new to your blog (as of yesterday 12/14/13 and I have to ask please, What is 'hit and miss'?

  4. Jennifer, 'Hit N Miss' - you will see it used in old rugs- it's rows of various colors used in corners or in the design itself, around an edge- it's a great way of using up your 'leftovers' from other projects. I'm working on mine tonight and will post pictures so you can see. When finished, to me, it gives such a sweet look!

  5. Thank you and loved the story too! I have another question: How to you sore your wool strips until there ready to use? I've been purchasing at thrift stores to get me started and I've almost got everything cut, but I have baskets of wool that I don't have room for and i was wondering if you or your readers wouldn't mind sharing your storage ideas. Thank you, Jennifer

  6. Oh boy! I don't know that there is any certain way. In fact, over the next couple weeks, I want to try to make sense of some of my stacks and piles and baskets of wool! I keep my wool intact until I want to use it so I can fold it and put it on a shelf. Often I will put cut strips in a little ziplock and pin that to the original piece of wool so that I will use those up first before cutting into my good piece again. HOWEVER! LOL I do have a HUGE wicker basket full of various sized storage bags of strips. As far as thrift treasures go, be sure to wash and dry them to clean and felt them. My favorite two thrift store brands are Pendleton skirt weight and 'Koret.' I seldom if ever buy jackets- not worth it- and a lot of trouble to take apart. I look for skirts and pants. One of my very favorite finds is a skirt in white- I take it home- wash and dry it to felt and then I tea stain it in tea bags and instant coffee grounds (a bit) I also add a bit of vanilla just because it smells so good :) That is one of my favorite 'colors' to use. Now, one more thing- I know that thrift store finds are great- but do consider trying out some of the wool that my friend, Christy, does. She charges 8.75 for a very generous fat quarter(30" x 16"). I have come to the conclusion that often I spend about $6-$8 at the thrift store for a great piece of wool. By the time it has felted and I have cut it, really I could have just bought a piece from her for about the same price- and her colors are amazing. She is old school- 6th generation dyer, hooker, spinner, and shepardess. I let her do all my dying now. I am never unsatisfied. Her web address is Jennifer, I wish we could visit!!

    1. Yvonne, I wish we could visit too. I'm not sure where you're from, but I visited one of my sons in Grand Prairie Tx this past summer and saw the cattle drive in downtown Fort Worth, which is in Christy's neighborhood. I've been looking at Christy's wool and the price is really great and I do intend to become a loyal customer. I've been able to pick up some solid colors like browns, navy and black, but she has COLORS that I want and lots of them! Woot!

      When I bring my wool home it goes straight in the washing machine for cleaning and felting. I only pay .99 cents for a wool garment and this is getting me going.

      I use your favorite dyeing method on white socks and make snowmen with them. I love it too and the house smells terrific.

      But, in the meantime, someone blessed me with approximately 100 yards of cotton fabric and with these baskets of wool I am over run lol, and I have a real mess on my hands. A good mess of blessings I must say!