I had recently learned to spin yarn when I happened upon that Claire Murray shop. I was on the lookout for something fun to do with my quickly burgeoning baskets, boxes and bags of handspun yarns. When I saw a beautiful yarn-hooked rug on the wall, I knew it would be the perfect craft for using up all my yarn, as well as provide me with an unlimited creative platform.
I used that first rug as my farm sign when I showed my sheep and goats at the local fair. It was a real attention-getter. It’s full of flaws of course. I overpacked my loops. It took me a while to trust that the yarn really wanted to stay put. I hooked it on burlap (I now prefer linen), and I hadn’t learned yet how to bind my edges. But I don’t care about any of that. When I look at this rug, I remember that fantastic time of discovery for me, and all the years of joy that followed.
I subscribed to Rug Hooking Magazine and ATHA, which were both great for hooking with wool fabric, but couldn’t find much (or really anything at all) on hooking rugs with yarn. Did that stop me? Of course not!
I worked on that first rug at fiber events and demonstrations. There weren’t many yarn hookers in the Pacific Northwest at the time, and so many yarn people wanted to know where they could learn how to hook. I had never taught a class before, but did I let that stop me? Of course not!
I offered a class at the next year’s Black Sheep Gathering, which filled up quickly, so they added a second class and that one filled up, too. It really showed that people were eager to try this new (but actually very old) yarn craft. I just approached the class with the bounding enthusiasm I already had for the craft, and what do you know? People were hooking after the three hour class.
By and by, I created a DVD on hooking with yarn (click here to watch on youtube), then Rug Hooking Magazine kindly published my first book, Hooking With Yarn. That one quickly sold out the 2000 copies that they printed. I really loved having a book of my own in my booth or teaching classes, so I decided to self-publish my next one. Did I know anything about self-publishing? Nope. Did that stop me? No way!
What followed was Joy of Hooking (With Yarn!) and Rug Hooker’s Guide to the YARNIVERSE! (the former covers all the basics, the latter takes you beyond the basics). I recently came out with T-Shirt Treasures- Creating Heirloom Hooked Rugs from the Humble T-Shirt. (click here to watch hooking with T-shirts in action!)
Do you have pictures of your first rug you’d like to share? Please email me! I’d love to feature you on my website! I have found that when people see someone’s first hooked rug, they are much more eager to try it themselves, like all those fiber folks who responded to my first one. If your rug is featured, you’ll receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen, or our recycled cotton rug hooking bag (it says “FIBER is good for you!”) so what are you waiting for?
In other news:
I have updated the security settings on my website, so in the future, you can visit at https://www.littlehouserugs.com (you need to add the https://). If you have me on your favorites list, do update the web address, so your communications and purchases can have that extra layer of protection.
The Black Sheep Gathering in Albany, Oregon is coming up, first weekend of July. I’ll have my booth there, as well as a Sunday morning rug hooking class on hooking a flock of sheep!
Students will learn the art of rug hooking, while hooking these four Jacob sheep ornaments/magnets. Click here to sign up!
I hope to see you there!
Happy Hooking Everyone!