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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Details… Details…

One of the best things about hooking rugs with yarn is that you have so much control over detail. Your rugs can be simple, primitive and homey, or packed with intricate detail and shading.

I wrote in the previous blog post that I was taking on a project challenge: to try to hook my version of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. The project is coming along, and I thought I would share one of my techniques for sharpening up details.

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Lady and the Unicorn, in progress

In my book, Joy of Hooking (With Yarn!), I likened rug hooking to coloring with crayons, partly because we all share fond memories of the uninhibited freedom that coloring with crayons gave us as kids. Crayons make a mark that is very similar to the width of a strand of yarn, so that is one reason for the comparison, but what I really meant was that we don’t second-guess our artistic efforts when we color with crayons. We are just like “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” we just let our imaginations go.

So crayons are well and good, but sometimes you really want a pencil. When you are hooking with yarn, you can always add more detail. Here’s an example.

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Detail of the blue underdress, first attempt

The Lady’s light blue underdress has some shading, but it also has some sharp lines where a fold of fabric is resting on another bit of fabric. I hooked those lines between the folds first, then I hooked the shading (above). You can see that by hooking the lines with yarn that is the same thickness as the surrounding loops, the lines look like I drew them with crayons. But what if you want those lines to be a bit more subtle?

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Underdress rehooked

I consider those first lines that I hooked as placeholders. I unhooked the grey lines and rehooked them with a single strand of embroidery thread, because I know that it is much easier to hook fine lines after the area surrounding the line is already hooked. Because the embroidery thread is so much finer than the original grey yarn, I added some of the background yarn alongside it, so the embroidery thread showed up.

Hopefully, you can see the difference. The first example looks like the lines were drawn with crayon, the second looks more like the lines were drawn with pencil. The basic shading remains the same, but I got a sharper line separating the folds. The great thing about hooking with yarn is that you can always add more detail! For more techniques on adding detail to your rugs, check out Rug Hooker’s Guide to the YARNIVERSE! at http://www.littlehouserugs.com.

This month’s Featured Rug at Little House Rugs was made by Lisa Ballou.

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Lisa Ballou with her Stars Rug

Lisa is new to rug hooking. She started with a small beginner kit, and produced this lovely first rug! You can read all about it right here: http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-stars-november-2016.html.

Don’t forget the drawing for the Good Dog rug!

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Irish Terrier rug, re-hooked with new background

For every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs between now and November 26, 2016, you will be entered to win this rug! If you were thinking of shopping for Christmas or treating yourself to anything from the website, now’s the time. You might win the rug!

Happy Hooking everyone!

Judy

 

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Challenging Yourself

lady unicorn photo for webI love rug hooking. It isn’t at all unusual for me to knock out a small, simple rug in a month, and I never get tired of it. But sometimes, you really want to  challenge yourself, to take on a project that will force you to summon up all your skill and creativity. I’m finally ready to tackle the Lady and the Unicorn.

You will no doubt remember these iconic images, from a series of Flemish tapestries created around the year 1500, and now on display in the Musee national du Moyen Age (forgive my spelling!) in Paris. My daughter and I had the great good fortune to view them in person, an experience I will never forget.

They are on display in the museum in a small room in relatively low light, to preserve their vibrant colors. It’s a little like walking into a chapel. The six wool and silk, hand-woven tapestries fill the walls of this circular room, from floor to ceiling. By some lucky chance, we were fortunate to view them all by ourselves.

They were woven in a style called mille-fleurs (thousand flowers), and five of the tapestries depict the five senses, sight, taste, hearing, smell and touch. I decided to focus my project on the sight tapestry, where the unicorn is sitting in the lady’s lap, while she holds up a mirror, showing the unicorn’s reflection.

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Lady and the Unicorn, 35″x44″, drawn out on linen. My first crack at it!

Rug hooking for me is all about trial and error. I have to hook something before I know if it’s going to work. I decided to start with the unicorn, because believe it or not, it’s the easiest part of the whole design! I’ll keep experimenting with the shading until I get something close to the photo, then I’ll move on to the lovely lady. Stay tuned!

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Love on the Run, 27″x53″ Designed and hooked by Heidi Wulfraat

This month’s featured rug at Little House Rugs is Love on the Run, designed and hooked by Heidi Wulfraat. You will be amazed to learn that this was her first attempt at hooking with yarn, and she used her own handspun yarn to boot! Her story is so inspiring, please check it out at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-heidi-wulfraat-sept-2016.html.

This month I’ll be at the Oregon Flock and Fiber in Canby, OR (http://flockandfiberfestival.com/). I’ll be teaching a beginner class on rug hooking, as well as having my booth. If you’re in the area, come and say hi!

Paradise Fibers is having a sale on Cascade Yarns this weekend. Look for Cascade Eco, bulky and any other offerings that are worsted weight-bulky for your rug hooking! https://www.paradisefibers.com/collections/cascade-yarns?utm_source=rare&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cascading-sale-30-day1. Use the code CASCADING30 to get the discount.

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Irish Terrier rug, re-hooked with new background

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 value!). To read the story on this interesting project, go to http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-good-dog-april-2012.html

Happy hooking everyone!

Judy Taylor
http://www.littlehouserugs.com

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