The Lady and the Unicorn

L and U april for web

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, 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.

lady and unicorn colors for web

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 You can read more about how I made this rug at

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

This month I’ll have a booth at the Puyallup Spring Fair in Puyallup, WA, April 20-23. You can find out more at

For a complete listing of shows and classes, go to


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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