Friday, May 16, 2008

Hooking again

It was great this past week to spend some time reconnecting with things that have been pushed aside for various reasons.

I'd been meaning to learn to knit for a while now, and my sister gave me an early birthday present which included a knitting lesson and some supplies to get me started. I can't believe I'm making things out of wool, because it was over 100 degrees here yesterday, and today looks to be more of the same. But I'm hoping I can start making some of those things that I previously would have purchased...my first project is going to be some cloths for washing the dishes with. All those little mistakes that I'm making won't really matter when I'm just using the final product to clean gunk off my pans.

My sister also gave me a sewing machine that had belonged to my grandmother. I'm very excited about this, especially since I need one to finish up a project that I've been working on for some time now...a hooked rug. It's a traditional wool hooked rug (when I first heard about this art, I was thinking of those little latch hook kits that you make a fuzzy Garfield wall hanging out of, but that's not it at all...see here for some examples).

About three years ago, I learned how to make the rugs from a woman who is very talented, and willing to share her knowledge - a rare combination. She shops at thrift stores for much of her wool...old pants, skirts, etc. are cut up and dyed, then further cut into wool strips which are then hooked into a burlap or linen backing. The hooked rug is the ultimate thrifty re-users art form in many ways. The rugs were originally made in the north east using old burlap sacks for the backing, and wool strips that were salvaged from all sorts of places. What is cool is that you can still stay true to much of the original frugal nature of how these rugs were made. Plus, it's fun to tell people you're a hooker and watch their reactions.

Life had gotten busy, and I hadn't worked on any of my projects for close to a year, but I'm going to be starting some new projects soon. I haven't done a lot of the background work before, such as sourcing my own materials or dying the wool, but I'm looking forward to learning and experimenting.

I can't lie, I was motivated to get back to work when I was told how much I could sell the finished rugs for. I've been working on my current project for some time now, and never really thought of it as an item of value to anybody but me - apparently this is not the case!

Hand hooked rugs also make wonderful gifts, so I'm thinking I'll be able to make some progress on the making all my own gifts front this way as well.

That's the update from here...I'm off to GoodWill to see if I can find some wool clothes to cut up!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Yes, I am very proud of my daughter,the hooker! ;0

Actually, maybe we could start a hooking blog or craft blog...

We could call ourselves 'The Happy Hookers' - how uncreative is that?

Send some of that heat our way, please!