Reframing Jonathan

I decided to try something different with Jonathan.  I went to Texas Art Supply and purchased stretcher bars one inch bigger than the finished rug.  I put the stretcher bars together and stretched black duck twill canvas over the frame, stapling it to the back.  Then I sewed the rug onto the duck, stretching it tight to the edge as I sewed the binding to the duck fabric. 

I love it because it is stretched tight and flat and looks just like a painting hanging in my living room.

Charlie Check-in

I was able to work on Charlie over the weekend - at guild on Saturday and during the evening yesterday.  I have completed his face now and the entire right side.  I am moving over top of his head now and then down the left side. 

Charlie will measure 18" by 24" when complete.  So he is a big guy staring at me.

Charlie detail of green gray

As I am hooking in the colors, I am delighted with how one of the grays is taking on a green tone next to the dark purples. 

I have decided to try to match the value of the beauty line on the edge of the rug with the colors of the chimpanzee that I have hooked up to the edge.  I wonder if, when I bind the rug off with my wool binding, it will be worth the effort to similarly match the value of the binding to the value of the beauty line.  This would give the impression of no edge, or at least no constant edge limiting the rug.

Charlie in progress

Got Wool? is bound on foam board

Here I am last night putting the finishing touches on Got Wool? It took three evenings to bind, and last night I took three pieces of foam board, taped them together and mounted the rug on them by sewing through the rug and the foam board. I carefully sewed the rug onto the board around the perimeter of the rug by threading in and out following the troughs between the loops. This way, the threads aren't exposed and don't crinkle the loops. This is a great way to create a stiff and light-weight foundation for rugs that you might want to hang. The process only requires inexpensive foam board, needle and thread, and a few chairs to prop things up.

PS: no need to buy an expensive foam board cut to size by a framing department; I just used the cheap 20 by 30 inch foam boards that Michael's sells for a few dollars apiece, cut them to size with scissors and taped them together with clear packing tape.

Finishing technique

Some of you asked about how I finished Scare Jack. What I did to finish Scare Jack, following Jan's Peckenpaugh's instructions (although I'm not sure that I did it exactly as she had said because I forgot how she sewed the wool on the back):

1. Zig-zagged (stretch stitch) around my rug about 3/4" away from edge of rug. Clipped foundation to zig-zag edge.

1. Took wool that matched my background in 1 1/2 inch strips. Sewed them together so that I had a long enough strip to go all the way around the rug.

2. Hand sewed one edge to the edge of the rug, catching each loop as I do when I put on binding tape. This means I whip the wool on the edge by stitching through each loop to secure the outer edge and bring the wool binding snug to the edge.

3. I folded the wool in half toward the back so that the edges of the wool were even and the foundation between them.

4. I folded the wool in half again toward the back so that it looks like cording. I basted this all the way around.

5. I took embroidery thread and sewed a blanket stitch around the run on the backside, securing the wool edge to the back at the edge of my hooking.

It didn't take any longer than putting on binding tape, and it looks TONS better in my opinion. I have no idea how well this would wear on the floor, but everything I hook is hung, so it doesn't matter to me that my binding be such that it wouldn't wear well.

Scare Jack is finished

Finally Scare Jack is hooked and bound. I have yet to build the board to make him a stand-up, but that will soon follow. I will do my best to record with photographs how I build the board and attach him to it.

A note on binding. At the Kirby Hooking Circle, Jan Peckenpaugh showed me a new way to finish rugs, so I tried it on Scare Jack. It involves using wool strips instead of binding tape, folding the rug edge, and stitching the back using a blanket stitch. This is Jan's signature binding. I don't know if I have executed it exactly, but whatever I did gives the rug a very nice finished look.

Signing rugs

Yesterday at the Kirby Hooking Circle, some of us were chatting about our rug signatures. When I first started to rug hook, I signed my rugs with the conventional block abbreviation that rug hookers are known for: my AD can be found in the corners of my rugs. I was never one to try to hide my AD in the loops by hooking it the same color as the background, but I tried to hook it so that it went along with the rest of the rug and wasn't really noticed. Here are some examples.

When I returned to rug hooking this season after a five-year maternity leave, and I was about to put my AD on Mr. Toad's Garden, I stopped and asked myself why - why do we as rug hookers want to disguise our signatures, why do we want to hide them in the loops? This isn't the case with other types of art such as paintings where the artist's signature adorns the pieces.

So I experimented with hooking my signature - my actual signature - on Mr. Toad's Garden. And it worked. I wasn't able to put my signature on my 10 by 10 mats because the mat was too small. But I did manage it on Scare Jack too (which is almost finished now). I just use scraps and hook my first name. Then I hook the background around it. I look forward to doing the same on Transfiguration which will have taken a year to complete and deserves a signature I think.

Alexander's Back pack is finished

I sewed the back pack and attached Woof for Alexander to it on Friday. I don't like sewing my hand hooked rugs directly into the seams of bags or pillows because if the item is damaged or needs laundering it is a mess to try to unmake the item and preserve the rug intact. So I bind off the rug as if it were its own piece and then attach by hand whipping the rug to the face of the item as pictured.

Here is my son Alexander happy to be carrying a bunch of "sleep buddies" (=stuffed animals) in his pack on Saturday as we walked over to the french bakery for breakfast.

Loopgram: Creating Labels for rugs

I went to JoAnne's this morning with Alexander, looking for ink-jet fabric to make labels. This is something new for me. None of my other rugs are labeled and I thought that it might be a good idea to start. The only fabric "paper" I could find was either iron-on or peel-and-stick. The one thing I don't want is a label that adheres directly to the rug because then it can never be removed without destroying the fibers.

My father once hot-glued a small weaving I had made to fabric to frame it. When I wanted to take the weaving out of the frame years later, I had a mess because the glue had adhered to the fibers. The back of my weaving did not survive.

So never again. What I am going to do is stick the label to another piece of fabric, cut around it leaving a bit of an edge, and then hand-tack the label to the back of the rug. When I finish, I will post a picture of the results. I am trying the fabric made by Printed Treasures because it got raving reviews on-line, while all the others did not.