Maintaining Your Stash

If you’re reading this blog, you’re a fiber artist like me. And like me, you probably have lots of yarn, carded wool, fabric, patterns, beads, tools and equipment, I could go on and on. When I go to a fiber show, I usually bring home a few treasures to add to my stash.

yarn for web

The problem, as you well know, is how to keep track of all these fiber finds and creations, so you can make use of them when you need them! Lets say someone’s birthday is coming up. Either you can’t find that hand-painted merino/cashmere roving in the perfect shade of purple that your friend adores, or you’ve already forgotten that you bought the roving at the Black Sheep Gathering ten years ago, so of course, you go and buy more purple merino/cashmere roving for the project.

It’s just human nature that we tend to take those treasures home, or we dye or spin a lovely something, but then it goes into a bag, a box, a closet, or stuffed into hidey-holes to get it out of the way, never to see the light of day again. And no matter how much fabulous fiber we already have, we are always tempted to buy something new because it fills us with that sense of inspiration and creativity that is chicken soup for the soul.

My suggestion is to fess up, bring all that booty out where everyone can see it. Even if you have limited space, I really believe that you will benefit from having all your yarn out where you can see it. You can recreate the feeling you get when you are shopping for fiber finds whenever you look at your stash. You’ll never forget what you have, and even better, you’ll see terrific combinations you didn’t even know you had.

I got a chance to put that theory into practice, when I took over one of the kid’s bedrooms for my work room. carded wool

Here’s just one wall, containing my carded wool, organized by color. Now I never have to wonder if I have just the right pink or purple or green for my project. Suddenly I see colors that I can blend or ply together for the right effect. Full disclosure, I have added lots of lovely carded wool to my stash since this picture was taken. More than I could spin in a lifetime, but it is all organized by color, and all visible, so I know what I have and how much of it I have. Every time I look at it, my fingers itch to caress it and pull out my wheel. That same sense of creativity that I get visiting someone’s booth, I get to enjoy in my very own home. That makes a big difference to me in my creative endeavors.

yarn and fabric

Here’s my yarn and fabric, organized by color and type. Don’t you just want to reach out and grab some of it? Fondle it, ask it what it wants to be? Me, too.

sweaters

This area has more yarn in milk crates, the stuff that comes with me to shows, my sewing table (there always seems to be a coffee cup there, too), and the shelf area is packed full of felted wool sweaters. I cut them up and make things like jackets, hats and purses. It’s really important to see all the colors at once, because I combine them in smaller pieces to make my projects. I often use 5-8 different sweaters in one project, so knowing what colors I have, and in what quantity is invaluable.

sewing table notions

Changing the angle, you can see the show yarn in milk crates, and behind that is my notions area. Thread out where I can see it, and know that I have the exact color I need, clear drawers help me to see what’s stored inside. You can see my ironing board, and to the left, the corner of my work table.

I probably shouldn’t call it a work table. It’s a play table, and going into this room always cheers me. Okay, I’ll admit it’s seldom this tidy, there’s usually a few half-finished projects crowding the space, but it always inspires me.

You don’t have an empty kids room? Maybe you can find a corner somewhere, where you can prioritize your favorite stuff. For you, it might be your yarn purchases, or your carded wool, felted sweaters, fabric, etc. Do yourself the favor of putting your treasures on display. It will inspire you to create, I promise.

This month’s feature from Little House Rugs is Hattie the Dog! For inspiration on how to create a portrait, click here!

hattie finished cropped for web

Hattie Mat 12″x12″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

In the spirit of this flowery season, blog subscribers can get the Wildflower Rug pattern on linen for 20% off (shown below)! Not yet a subscriber? It’s oh so easy to do! Just scroll down to the bottom of this post, the Follow button should be in the lower right-hand corner. If it doesn’t pop up, just navigate away from the post and come back, it will come up then (don’t get me started on why they don’t leave the darn Follow button up the whole time your’re reading the post…) When you become a subscriber, you’ll get a monthly post sent to your very own email box, full of tips and techniques, show schedule and monthly subscriber specials!

wildflower teal for web

Wildflower Rug 48″x24″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Coming up, I’ll have a booth on June 1 and 2 at the NwRSA Annual Conference in Olympia, WA. Then on June 29, I’ll be teaching a Beginning Rug Hooking class at the Black Sheep Gathering, as well as having a booth for the weekend. This year the gathering will be in Albany, Oregon.

And of course, for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value).

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor
www.littlehouserugs.com

 

 

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More Hooking with T-Shirts!

t shirt penny for web cropped

T-Shirt Penny Rug, 21″x28.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Lately I’ve been having fun exploring what can be done hooking with T-shirt strips. It’s a fun new tool to add to my creative toolbox. T-shirt rugs are easy to hook, the materials are cheaper, and most amazing and mind-blowing of all, they are MACHINE WASHABLE!

The Penny Rug shown above is very tough and durable, and as you see it above, it has already been through the washing machine, just to be sure!

rainbow t shirt for web cropped

T-Shirt Rainbow Mat, 8″x13″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

There was just one more thing I needed to know, and that was whether I could hook the t-shirts on a linen backing, instead of cotton Monk’s Cloth. The rainbow mat above was hooked on pre-washed linen, and after hooking, put through the wash again, and it came through perfectly. That’s good to know, because linen is more durable and long lasting than cotton, so it’s great that we have the choice.

There are some minor differences when hooking with T-shirts. One thing is that you are limited to the colors you can find. T-shirts are very difficult to dye, even if you try Rit Dye, the colors aren’t strong and they come out in the wash. Fortunately, t-shirts come in a huge variety of colors, all we have to do is be creative with what we have available.

You will need one extra-large t-shirt to hook approximately one square foot of rug. So on the Penny Rug, I needed two black t-shirts to hook the background. Luckily, I was able to find two that were indistinguishable, but if they had been slightly different, I would have just gone for a variegated effect, just like I do with yarn. Then you can just cut up child-sized t-shirts for the pennies.

On the T-Shirt Turtle mat (below), I used one extra-large t-shirt for the background, and small shirts for the yellow and blue. You can hook with a t-shirt with a design on it (like silk screen), but not the kind of iron-on transfer design (but you can cut that part out and cut strips out of the blank areas.)

 

t shirt turtle for web

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

I made sure to pre-wash the rug cord for the binding, so it wouldn’t shrink in the wash, and I bound the edges with acrylic yarn. The best way to cut the strips is with a rotary cutter on a cutting mat (like they use for quilting), using a yardstick for a guide. For more info on how to hook with t-shirts, read this post.

This month I’ll have a booth at the Puyallup Spring Fair, April 19-22, and at the Okanogan Fiber Festival in Omak, WA April 27-29. If you’re in the area, come on and say hi!

Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend at Little House Rugs you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (below, a $480 value!). If you spend $100, you will be entered twice, $150 three times, etc. 

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

For you Etsy lovers, I just wanted to let you know that in addition to some of my rugs and supplies, I have recently put up some of the hats, purses and scarves that I make on my Etsy site. If you come to see me in a booth, I always have a variety of garments and accessories that are knitted or felted, but they didn’t seem like something that should go on my website, which is mainly just rug hooking. So if you’re looking for fun and funky accessories or gifts, check out my Etsy shop! If you “favorite” the shop, you’ll be notified when new items are added.

Happy Hooking Everyone!!!

Judy
http://www.littlehouserugs.com

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March News

veeben sheep whimsy

This month’s Featured Rug is an expanded version of our Sheep Whimsy kit, hooked by Vee Cowell of Becket, MA. You can read all about it here. Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on Little House Rugs? Let me know! If your rug is featured, you will receive a free half-yard of linen or our recycled cotton rug hooking bag that says “FIBER is good for you!”

Blog subscribers can try their hand at the Sheep Whimsy kit for 20% off during the month of March. Click here to order!

No shows or classes in March, but two shows are coming up in April, one in Puyallup, WA and the other in Omak, WA. Click here to check out our schedule.

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value!).

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor
http://www.littlehouserugs.com

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What’s up?

It’s pretty quiet around the old homestead this time of the year. My next show isn’t until April, so it’s a good time to take stock and try new things.

As much as I love rug hooking, sometimes you just want to try something different. For the last few months, I’ve been experimenting, going outside my rug hooking roots to flex my creative muscles. Last summer, I tried hooking with T-shirts, adding a fun new twist to my craft. T-shirt rugs are a fun challenge, low cost for materials, and best of all, they’re machine washable!

t shirt turtle for web

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

Then I tried my hand at punch hooking, something I’d not tried since the sixth grade. A total blast! 

punched mat for web

Punched mat 14″x14″ Mixed yarn on cotton rug warp

And this month, I’ve been having fun with twined rugs. Kind of a rug weaving craft, a “warp” of cotton strips is wrapped over a special wooden frame or loom (below, left). Then strips of fabric, like sheets, are twined over the warp (below, right). So one strip is wrapped around one warp, and the other strip is wound around the next warp. In this way, you continue to twist the “weft” strips over each other, through the warp.

Picture it this way, instead of passing a weft strip through the warp, over and under each warp from one side of the rug to the other (like with regular weaving), two strips are wrapped around the warp, one strip at a time. The effect is a lot like braided rugs. As with most textile crafts, there is a lovely zen feeling when you twist the strips across the row, then go back the other way.

You start working from one end, then at some point you turn the frame over and work from the other end. Little by little, you keep on building until your rows meet somewhere in the middle. You pull the remaining strips through the weft strands to keep them in place and you’re done!

sweater rug in progress

After twining with cotton sheets, I tried another rug using felted sweaters for the weft! I make lots of things out of felted sweaters (jackets, purses, hats, etc.) so I always have lots of scraps to use up. I warped the frame with acrylic yarn that time, so the whole thing would be washable.

sweater rug finished

Here’s the finished sweater-felt rug!

All you need to make a twined rug is the frame. You can get a lovely adjustable frame at http://ouroldcountrystore.blogspot.com/2017/04/new-adjustable-rag-rug-loom.html.

birds of a feather

Birds of a Feather, 24″x47″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Blog subscribers can get 20% off the Birds of a Feather design or custom kit for the month of February. Check out these ridiculously low prices here!

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

And don’t forget that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value!) (so if you spend $100, you’ll be entered twice, $150, three times, etc.)

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor

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Gearing up for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time again, when we take stock, and gear ourselves up for what’s to come. A great time to regenerate with a creative endeavor, and what better time to get a rug project going?

brementown for web

Brementown Rug 23.5″x31″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

The Brementown Rug is one of our most popular designs. Whether you start with the pattern on linen and empty out your leftover bags, or want me to put together a kit for you, it’s an easy and fun design to start off your year. Blog subscribers can get this design (pattern on linen, custom kit or the hand-hooked rug) for 20% off for the month of January. Click here to order!

 

I put up my show and class schedule for 2018 on the website. 

Gabrielle Hall whale rug cropped

This month’s Featured Rug is from Gabrielle Hall of Portland, Oregon. Click here to read her story.

Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on Little House Rugs? Email me! It can be a rug you’ve made, inherited, or found. Every rug has a story and we love to read all about them! If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen or our recycled cotton totebag that says “FIBER is good for you!”

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug (a $480 value!). If you spend $100, you will be entered twice, $150, you’ll be entered three times, etc.

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor
www.littlehouserugs.com

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Rug Giveaways

Don’t forget that blog subscribers get 20% off EVERYTHING at www.littlehouserugs.com until the end of the year!

Not yet a blog subscriber? It’s oh so easy to do, just click on the Follow button at the lower-right hand corner of your screen. What? The darned button has disappeared already? (Someone who is much smarter than me needs to explain why wordpress thinks that’s a good idea, but I digress…) If you are inclined to subscribe but the Follow button has absconded with itself, just close the post and navigate back to it again, then grab that sneaky Follow button before it scampers.

The blog goes out once a month, and will be delivered straight to your very own email account. It’s chock full of interesting tips and techniques, web specials, and upcoming shows and classes.

But wait, back to that first paragraph. 20% off EVERYTHING on the website? Surely you jest. 20% off custom kits, books, linen and frames? Yes indeedy. 20% off hand-hooked rugs and custom rug hooking? Yup. But only for blog subscribers until December 31, 2017. If you do decide to stock up, you need to let me know, either on the Notes to the Seller section of your checkout form, or in an email, that you are indeed one of the very most special of special customers, and your account will be refunded 20% of your purchase!

I’ve had quite a few customers ask me if our new Delovely Frame would work for punch hooking, and I’ve had to answer that I didn’t know because I don’t do punch hooking. Well, that was easy enough to remedy; I ordered a cute little trivet kit from Wooly Walkers.

punching on delovely for web

The kit was a blast to do, the punch needle was easy to master. And the answer to the question is yes, the frame does work for punch hooking! You do need the extra set of clamps, but I found the Delovely held the backing just as tight as any embroidery hoop would do. But the real question was whether the clamps would hold as well over hooked areas and non-hooked areas, so to find out, I expanded the design to make it more pillow-sized.

punching over hooked area for web

Here you can see that the lower clamp is covering an area that is already hooked, but the backing is plenty tight to allow me to keep on punching. So my conclusion is that you can definitely use the Delovely Frame for punching! This could be really handy if you want to punch larger projects and don’t want to have to stretch the backing over a wooden frame. Now you can take your rug with you, and punch wherever.

punched mat for web

Here’s the finished mat. Just for fun I punched with every type of yarn that I use for hooking, Ewenique, Jacob’s Pride, handspun, Halcyon Deco and Botanica (Halcyon Rug Wool wouldn’t fit in my #9 punch needle), Cascade Ecological, Peace Fleece and Heirloom Romney. They all worked just great.

whale

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

The Whale Rug was won by Melissa Rodgers of Clayton, CA. Congratulations, Melissa!

Bet you’re wondering what rug we’re going to be giving away during 2018? Ta daa!

antique flower rug cropped for web

Antique Flower Rug, 33.5″x24.5″ Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

For every $50 that you spend at Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2018, you will be entered to win the Antique Flower Rug, hooked with handspun and hand-dyed yarns (valued at $480!). (If you purchase $100, you will be entered twice, $150 three times, etc.) It’s my way of saying Thank You to all my lovely customers. Good luck!

If you would like to read more about the Antique Flower Rug, click on our Featured Rug of the Month.

Happy Hooking everyone!

judy hooking 2

Judy Taylor

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Quickie Holiday Ornament Project

 

finished ornament for web

Here’s a fun, quick ornament idea: hook a flock of sheep! These easy ornaments can be hung from a tree, or used as refrigerator magnets.

sheep ornaments on burlap for web

Draw ovals on burlap, with silly, cartoon faces.

sheep ornaments hooked for web

Hook them in natural colors. For these samples, I used natural colored lopi (single ply) wool yarns. (If you need a quick primer on hooking with yarn, watch my DVD on youtube)

sheep ornaments cut out for web

Cut out the hooked sheep, leaving 1/2″ of burlap all around.

sheep ornaments trim away excess burlap for web

With a needle and thread, tack down the remaining burlap, close to the hooked edge. Then trim the excess burlap away.

glueing on legs for web

With a hot glue gun (or needle and thread) connect a 3″ pipe cleaner for the legs.

glueing on ribbon for web

Glue (or sew) a 3″ piece of ribbon to the back.

gluing the back on for web

Run a line of hot glue all around the edges and cover it with a piece of felt. Or sew the felt to the back of the ornament.

finished ornament for web

Trim the excess felt away from the back. You can also leave off the ribbon and glue on a magnet on the back instead, for a fridge flock of sheep!

flock o sheep for web

This month’s Featured Rug is a Navajo design, hooked by Nancy Malitz.

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3’x5′ Two Grey Hills Navajo design from a punch hook kit from the 1970’s

Read all about how she resurrected this old treasure and finished it here!

whale

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

Don’t forget, the drawing is coming up on November 25 to win this handspun, hand-hooked Whale Rug (a $450 value!). For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and Nov. 25, you will be entered to win. And now is a great time to stock up because blog subscribers will get 20% off EVERYTHING ON THE WEBSITE (including Custom Rug Hooking and Custom Kits) until the end of the year. (But you’ll only add to your entries to win the rug until Nov. 25, so Christmas shopping anyone?)

If you want to get the 20% discount, you must include BLOG SUBSCRIBER in the Notes to the Seller on the checkout page. Then you will receive an immediate 20% rebate on your total order.

Not yet a blog subscriber? It’s easy to join. Just click the Follow button on the lower right hand corner of your screen. (If the Follow button disappears, close the post and navigate your way back in. For some reason that is beyond me, the Follow button goes away sometimes…)

Happy Hooking Everyone!

Judy Taylor
www.littlehouserugs.com

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