T-Shirt Hooked Rugs

What is a t-shirt hooked rug, you ask? It is the newest twist on the age-old craft of rug hooking. Using cut strips of 100% cotton t-shirts on a monk’s cloth backing, you can create delightful hooked rugs that are (are you sitting down?) MACHINE WASHABLE!

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T-Shirt Turtle, 15.5″x16.75″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

There is a neat story about how this style of rug hooking came about. When rug hooking teacher, writer and artist Mary Anne Wise and Jody Slocum, textile artist and volunteer with Farmer to Farmer (a non-profit coffee company) visited Guatemala in 2006, they were inspired by the multi-colored artwork, clothing and landscape of the country. But in contrast, there was also grinding poverty, and they wanted to do something about it.

A few years later, they returned to Guatemala, and began to teach women to hook rugs, using recycled clothing, which was plentiful and inexpensive. Later, those students taught other women to hook, and an artist cooperative was created. To learn more about this inspiring project, visit Multicolores.

To make my T-Shirt Turtle, I first tried cutting the t-shirts in 1/2″ strips, but I found those too hard to pull through the monk’s cloth. 3/8″ worked much better for me. I also discovered that it was much easier to cut the strips using a hand-held rotary cutter and mat (used in quilting), with a yardstick lined up on the edge as a guide. After you cut the strips, you tug on them, so they curl up.

The technique for hooking the t-shirt strips is exactly like hooking with yarn. You don’t have to worry about splitting the yarn on your hook, but I did notice that it was helpful to keep my hook on the strip as I pulled the loop down. I don’t recommend this when hooking with yarn, partly because it would slow me down, but also because it can be difficult, especially for a beginner, to prevent pulling out the last loop if you leave the hook in place as you pull the loop down. But with the t-shirt strips, I noticed that when I pulled down on the loop, sometimes both sides of the strip pulled down, leaving a loop on the back instead of pulling it tight. Leaving my hook in the loop a little longer prevented that.

I had learned from Multicolores that these rugs are washable, so I pre-washed my monk’s cloth before I started. I also pre-washed the cotton cording we use to bind the edges. Even though the T-Shirt Turtle is a small project, I bound the edges just like I would do with a floor rug, except that whip-stitched the edge with an acryllic yarn that would not shrink. Then I crossed my fingers and put the finished project in the washing machine. It came out perfect. It didn’t shrink, or unravel, the colors remained perfectly bright. Mind blown.

I will be teaching a class on this fun craft on October 28 at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in The Dalles, Oregon. Registration for the class starts on July 12. You can register here. I will also be teaching a class on hooking with yarn and wool fabric strips on the 27th at CGFF.

And on Oct. 29, the Rockwood Library in Portland is hosting a FREE beginning rug hooking class. Space in this special event is limited to 16, and I believe they open up the registration two weeks prior to the class, so stay tuned. You can register at https://multcolib.org/events/beginning-rug-hooking/77600.

This month’s featured rug was inspired by a Scotland sunrise over heather covered hills.

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Celtic Table Runner, 13″x36″ Designed by Judy Taylor Hooked by Lyle Gowing

Remember that for every $50 you spend between now and November 25, 2017, you will be entered to win this Whale Rug, hooked with handspun Jacob wool from my own farm (a $450 value!).

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor

 

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New Rug Hooking Frame

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Introducing the Playing Hookey Deluxe Rug Hooking Frame (lap version shown above)

This new frame came about after a conversation I had with a customer a couple of months back. She seemed interested in learning to hook, but she told me that she had broken her neck, and wouldn’t be able to look down in her lap the way we usually do. She asked if there were any upright frames that could be used for rug hooking.

What a fantastic idea, I thought! I don’t have a broken neck or anything, but I do get that common neck fatigue and stiffness after long hours of rug hooking. I knew she was onto something. (I wish I would have thought to take her name so I could thank her. Well, if you’re reading this today, kind person, you know who you are!)

It took a couple of months of trial and error, fiddling with the design to find that sweet spot where the rug is at a good angle, and is high enough that I don’t have to bend my neck, but not so high that my arms get tired. In every other way, the Deluxe frame does what the original Playing Hookey frame does; it converts from a lap frame to a floor frame, it collapses down so it’s easy to throw in a bag, and it works whether I am hooking with yarn or fabric strips.

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Just by slipping in the longer legs, the lap frame converts to a floor frame.

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And like the original Playing Hookey Frame, you can also cut yourself a set of longer legs, so you can stand while rug hooking. We all know that sitting too much isn’t good for our health, so it’s good to know that without even taking your rug off the frame, you can slip in the long legs and get up on your feet. The standing frame legs (shown above) don’t come with the Playing Hookey Deluxe Frame, mainly because the postage would be exorbitant, and pvc pipe is inexpensive and easy to cut to the desired lengths. Plus, the length of the pipes depends on the artist’s height, so they would be different for everyone. I am 5’6″, so for me, I needed two 38.5″ pipes for the back and two 42.5″ pipes for the front.

This is definitely my preferred frame, and will continue to be until someone comes along with a better idea! You can order the new frame at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/Frame-page.html.

The Featured Rug of the Month for June is this charming Winnie the Pooh rug.

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Winnie the Pooh rug, designer unknown

This rug was around thirty years old, and had sustained some minor damage, typical for hand-hooked rugs. In the feature, I show how I fixed it. You can read about it at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-winnie-june-2017.html.

Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on http://www.littlehouserugs.com? Let me know! Every rug has a story, and we love to hear all about them. If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen, or our recycled cotton rug hooking bag that says “FIBER is good for you!”

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Scottie, 10″x10″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor This is the kit for my 2017 Beginning Rug Hooking classes, including both yarn and fabric strips so students get to practice both techniques.

I’ll be teaching Beginning Rug Hooking this month at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. The class is on Sunday, June 25, 9-noon. There are still a few slots, so click here to register: http://www.blacksheepgathering.org/sunday_workshops.html

I’ll also have a booth all weekend, so if you’re in the area, stop on by!

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

And don’t forget that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2017, you will be entered to win the Whale Rug (a $450 value!)

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor

 

 

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The Lady and the Unicorn

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The Lady and the Unicorn, 46″x36″, adapted and hooked by Judy Taylor

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang in the Musee national du Moyen Age, in Paris. These six beloved textiles, created around 1500, depict the five senses in the style of mille-fleurs (“thousand flowers”). My daughter and I had the great fortune to get to see them in person in 2008. The wall-sized tapestries are hung in a circular room, with low-light to preserve the vibrant colors. As it happened, we were alone in that chapel-like room, surrounded by those fantastic images created with wool and silk. Ever since that visit, I have wanted to try to hook one.

I chose to hook a small part of “Sight” because I liked that the unicorn was sitting in the lady’s lap. I also loved the depiction of the unicorn, which looks more like a goat than a horse (not too different from my own Angora goats!). I say “small part,” because the original tapestry is 9’x11,’ my rug measures 46″x36.” Even at this reduced size, it was an ambitious project which took about 6 months to hook (approximately 56,600 loops, if you want to know!).

Once I got the design on linen (see The Foolproof Way to Get Your Design on Linen https://wordpress.com/posts/judytaylor2013.wordpress.com), I needed to choose what kind of yarn would work best for the project. I settled on a wool/mohair blend because it came in natural colors (white and silver), and the mohair in the yarn gave it lots of luster, so the lady and the unicorn really stand out against the background.

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The two samples on the left, the white and the silver, were the base colors. I used them to hook the unicorn. Then I overdyed them to hook the lady’s dress.

For the background, I used Halcyon Deco for the dark blue carpet, and hand-dyed Rustic Rainbow for the red. Since the red was slightly variegated, I hooked in horizontal rows, as a reminder that the original tapestry was woven. This project gave me plenty of opportunities to create fine detail. I wrote about some of them in Details, Details at https://wordpress.com/posts/judytaylor2013.wordpress.com. You can read more about how I made this rug at http://hstrial-jtaylor9.homestead.com/featured-rug-lady-unicorn-april-2017.html?_=1491183705022.

I added one more show for this season, it is the Plateau Farmers’ Fiber Festival in Buckley, WA on May 13 and 14. For more info, go to https://www.facebook.com/plateaufarmersfiberfestival/.

This month I’ll have a booth at the Puyallup Spring Fair in Puyallup, WA, April 20-23. You can find out more at http://www.shepherds-extravaganza.com/.

For a complete listing of shows and classes, go to http://www.littlehouserugs.com/shows-and-classes.html.

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2017, you will be entered to win the Whale Rug (a $450 value!).

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor

 

 

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Show and Class Schedule 2017

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Scottie, 10″x10″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor. This is the kit for my 2017 Beginning Rug Hooking classes, including both yarn and fabric strips so students get to practice both techniques.

 

Here’s the schedule for this year’s shows and classes. As you will see, I rarely venture outside of Washington and Oregon, but I am planning a trip to Philadelphia and New York City in early September, so if you know of anyone in either of those areas who would like to host a rug hooking class, please contact me! If you do send me an email, please do include your PHONE NUMBER, as some of my replies seem to go off to spamland!

 
Shepherd’s Extravaganza
April 20-23
Western Washington Fairgrounds
Puyallup, WA
 
OK Fiberfest
May 5-7
Okanogan County Fairgrounds
Omak, WA
 
Seaview Weavers and Fiber Arts Guild
Beginning Rug Hooking Class
May 9, 10-noon
Maplewood Pres. Church
Edmonds, WA

Black Sheep Gathering 2016
June 23-25
Eugene, Oregon

Beginning Rug Hooking Class
Hooking With Yarn and Fabric Strips
June 25, 9-noon
Eugene, Oregon
 
Wedgewood Art Festival 2016
July 8-9
Seattle, WA
 
Beginning Rug Hooking Class
Hooking with Yarn and Fabric Strips
Philadelphia, PA  date and location TBA
Beginning Rug Hooking Class
Hooking with Yarn and Fabric Strips
New York City, NY, date and location TBA
Beginning Rug Hooking Class
Hooking with Yarn and Fabric Strips
Oregon Flock & Fiber, Canby, OR
September 22  9-noon
 
Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival
September 22-24, Canby, Oregon
 
Shaefer Meadows Fiber Fest
Elma, WA
October 6-8
 
Fiber Fusion Northwest
October 21-22
Monroe, WA  

Beginning Rug Hooking Class
Hooking with Yarn and Fabric Strips
Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival
The Dalles, Oregon
October 27-29
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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Remember that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2017, you will be entered to win the Whale Rug (a $450 value!), hand-hooked using my own Jacob wool.

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor

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Get on your feet!

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Many people have switched to standing desks for all the health benefits they provide, from reduced back pain to lowered blood sugar to improved mood and productivity. It is generally accepted that sitting too much can be bad, but what do you do if you love to rug hook? How can you avoid some of the physical maladies that come from being sedentary? How about getting up on your feet?

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Since the legs of my Playing Hookey frame slip in and out, I thought I’d cut some longer pvc pipes so that I could stand while hooking. I am 5’6,” so for me, 40″ legs seemed to work well. It was such an easy fix, I don’t even have to take the rug off the frame, I can just remove the short legs and slip in the long ones. This is going to come in handy for my next class, since all of the students will easily be able to see what I’m doing underneath, without me trying to balance the frame in an unnatural way. Also, since I usually pass the time rug hooking in my booth at shows, having the long legs there will allow me to switch up and spare my rear end.

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Stars Over Blomidon, 16″x24″ Designed and hooked by Lalia Kerr

The Featured Rug of the Month for February is “Stars Over Blomidon,” by Lalia Kerr. You can read all about it at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-kerr-feb-2017.html.

Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on http://www.littlehouserugs.com? Contact me! Every rug has a story and we love to hear all about them. Whether it is a rug you’ve made, inherited or found in a treasure hunt, send us your pictures! If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half yard of linen or our recycled cotton rug hooking bag, so what are you waiting for? You can view the many MANY rugs that have already been featured at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rugs-archive.html.

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Thanks to Denise Halloran for sharing her new acquisition, the Jacob Farm Rug on the wall of her office!

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Remember that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2017, you will be entered to win the Whale Rug (a $450 value!) made from handspun Jacob wool from our farm.

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy

 

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Happy New Year!

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Edeldal Farm Rug, 3’x3′ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Since this is the start of a new year, I thought about my very first rug, hooked in 1991. I had just learned to spin yarn from my brand new flock of Jacob sheep and Angora goats, but hadn’t yet discovered what I wanted to do with the yarn. I like knitting and crochet, even dabbled in weaving and macrame, but I was still on the lookout for a yarn craft that I loved as much as handspinning.

Then I found Claire Murray, a little shop in a little town called Poulsbo, WA. I walked in and saw all these lovely rugs made with YARN!!! I took a class, and as the corny joke goes, I was hooked. The rug above was my first attempt to design and hook a project of my own. I used it as my farm sign when I showed my sheep at the fair. It is imperfect; I hooked it on burlap (I didn’t know about linen then), and I still was not convinced that the yarn would stay in place, so I crammed too much yarn into the rug. I soon learned that the yarn needs more room, so I avoided that problem later.

(By the way, that is a very old phone number on the rug! You’d be better off to email me!)

My point is, this is a learning process. While the technique is fairly simple to acquire, it does take practice and experience to really get the hang of it. And some 125 rugs later, I’m still learning!

This month, blog subscribers can get 20% off on linen, so no excuses to get started on your new project for 2017! Order your linen now at http://hstrial-jtaylor9.homestead.com/blog-special-linen.html?_=1483657216119

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Remember that between now and November 25, 2017, for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs, you will be entered to win the Whale Rug (a $450 value!). (If you order $100 worth, you’ll be entered twice, etc.)

Happy hooking everyone and happy, happy new year!

Judy Taylor

 

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Specials at Little House Rugs for December 2016

For all orders until December 31, 2016, you will get FREE SHIPPING (please note that Paypal will charge you for shipping, but that will be quickly refunded!)

And you can also get our award-winning Book Combo for an additional 25% off until the end of the year (plus free shipping!) At that price, you’re actually getting Rug Hooker’s Guide to the YARNIVERSE! for FREE! Click here to order: http://hstrial-jtaylor9.homestead.com/book-joy-of-hooking.html?_=1481066069394

Okay, enough business! The Featured Rug of the Month at Little House Rugs for December is the inspiring story of Jonnie Rogers, a stroke survivor who found that she could still hook rugs for her grandkids. Click here for the story: http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-radtkes-mom-dec-2016.html

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Jonnie Rogers Pillow

The winner of the Good Dog rug this year was Denise Halloran of Olympia, WA. Congratulations!

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Irish Terrier rug, re-hooked with new background

I bet you’d like to know which rug we’ll be giving away for 2017…

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Whale Rug 35″x26.5″ Designed and hooked with handspun Jacob wool by Judy Taylor

Ta dah! It is the Whale Rug, which I hooked from our own Jacob wool. It is hemmed with a casing on top, so it can be hung on the wall. It is a $450 value! For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between 1-1-2017 and 11-25-2017 you will be entered (so if you spend $100, you will be entered twice, etc.)

I often hear from my customers and students that it’s difficult to get information, instruction and inspiration about hooking with yarn. Some areas don’t even have a decent yarn store, let alone a store that specializes in rug hooking. Wouldn’t it be nice if hooking rugs with yarn was given more attention by Rug Hooking Magazine? How great would it be if RHM had an article on yarn in every issue, instead of once a year (or less)? And maybe we would see more yarn-hooked rugs in the Celebration books if they had a judge that specialized in yarn hooking? If you agree, why not send them an email? Go to http://www.rughookingmagazine.com/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page to the Contact Us link. Just sayin’.

Happy hooking everyone, and a very happy and peaceful new year!

Judy Taylor

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