Dogs do seem to be the perfect subject for hooked rugs somehow. Is it because they are always found on the floor, so when we gaze at the portrait, it’s like we’re looking lovingly at our dear pet? The rug can be a depiction of a favorite photo of Fido being particularly cute, or the memoriam of a departed darling. Either way, dogs and rugs seem to go together.
I like to take a photograph to the copy place and have them blow the picture up to something rug-sized, which can take many attempts. As soon as I have something in the size I want, I begin to outline the features with a sharpie pen on the paper copy. I can then transfer those exact details to a window screen by laying it on top of the paper copy and redrawing all the lines again with the permanent marker. Then I put the window screen over my linen, and re-draw all the lines again with the sharpie. Last, I go over my lines directly on the linen backing so they’re clear and easy to follow. It’s the most fool-proof way I know to transfer exactly what I had on paper to the linen backing.
Then I need to gather the colors. I go first to natural colors, that is, undyed wool in natural shades of black, white, brown, red and grey. Since sheep and dogs pretty much come in the same range of colors, I can usually find shades that will work in my stash. If I need to dye colors, sometimes it helps to start with a grey or light brown yarn, because I tend to get something that looks more natural.
The eyes first. It is nice if you can get a really pure black for the eyes (if the pet’s eyes are black) as opposed to a charcoal grey. Commercial yarns can get much closer to pure black, and if you find a yarn with a bit of luster, like Halcyon Botanica, you can make the eye seem shinier than the other colors in the body. A loop or two of bombyx silk for the reflective dot in the eyes provides the finishing touch. You have to get the eyes right, then the face. Once you get the expression right, the rest of the animal usually comes pretty easily.
Think about how much detail you want to include. If you want to do lots of realistic shading, consider making the dog larger.
I can help you with every step in the process, from enlarging and transferring your photo to linen, designing the yarns so you can hook the rug yourself, or I can create the rug for you. Blog subscribers can save 20% on custom designs, custom kits or custom hand-hooked rugs if you order during the month of August. Email me for more info.
What? We love our cats too!
Don’t forget that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 25, 2016, you will be entered to win the Good Dog rug (a $385.00 value)!
Happy Hooking everyone!