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Dear Beginning Rug Hooker: Compass Rose Project

Small hooked mats are a great way to begin rug hooking

By: C. Susan Ferraro
Updated May 23, 2018

Compass Rose Mats, 4" x 4" each. Hooked with hand-dyed yarn from Romney Ridge, Rowley, Massachusetts. Backed with fusible batting and batik fabric. Designed and hooked by C. Susan Ferraro, Bailey Island, Maine, 2017. 

While living in Connecticut, I designed, created, and exhibited nature art quilts and wall hangings for more than twenty years. Months of work went into completing each of these complex art works.

As years passed, my husband and I became empty-nesters and we decided to make a long-awaited change. We moved to Bailey Island, Maine. We bought a barely standing cottage in 2008 and four years later, decided to fix it up and make it our year-round home. It’s given us time to slow down and enjoy the beauty that we are now surrounded by. There is so much inspiration to create lots of art, but in this new stage of life, I needed a less complicated project.

I have an extensive fiber background and have worked with just about every kind of fiber art there is—except rug hooking. Rug hooking was always in the back of my mind, but there was never enough time to experiment with it. Moving to Bailey Island provided the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time learning the wonderful art of pulling loops. Once I started, there was no turning back. And each one could be completed in less than a week.

The best part of rug hooking is designing patterns, but the biggest challenge is making them uniquely different. I usually start with a basic or classic pattern, such as the compass rose, and develop that simple design in a contemporary way.

The compass rose was derived from the mariner’s compass found on navigational maps dating all the way back to 1726. It is one of my favorite designs; I’ve used it for making hooked rugs, mats, and wall hangings. 

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