Hearts in Circle/Betsy Engel

By: Melinda Russell

Hearts In Circle, 11 1⁄2" round, # 3-cut wool and roping on linen. Designed by Joan Moshimer and hooked by Betsy Engel, Stratford, Connecticut, circa 1995. BETSY ENGEL.

What makes a good design for a first hooked rug? When we speak of “design,” we usually mean the totality of a piece of rug foundation fabric (linen or monk’s cloth or burlap) and the inked outline that a designer has drawn upon it. We frequently call this a “pattern.” For a beginner, the design or pattern should probably be small because we are all encouraged by a feeling of completion. Perhaps the motifs should be both simple and large, so the beginning rug maker can practice hooking in straight lines and curves and outline-and-fill.

A small-sized pattern plus a large and simple motif is really just a suggestion; the real answer: it all depends. It depends on the new rugger’s experience with making art and craft. It depends on her motivation. If she is determined to adapt a special photograph to honor a loved one, her motivation might carry her through countless technical challenges in a large hooked rug. If she simply wants to try her hand at making a hooked piece, there are many wonderful patterns and kits to get a new rugger started.


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