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Pattern Making from a Photograph

Ask the Experts

By: Betsy Archer

I have been a photographer for more than 15 years. As the digital age of photography emerged and everyone was able to pick up a camera, I became bored with my photographs. I was collecting thousands of photographs on my computer’s hard drive and only looked at them on rare occasions. For a fresh perspective, I decided to create a unique piece of art based on my photos.

On a studio stroll in Northampton, Massachusetts, I came upon the rug hooking studio of Margaret Arraj. I instantly fell in love with the texture and depth in her work. I wondered how my photographs might translate into rug patterns. After much trial and error, I settled on a process of pattern making that allows me to complete the entire process from my studio.

The process I use is not super complicated, nor is it uniquely mine. It is a little time-consuming (like all original pattern making), but the results can be spectacular. What follows is a step-by-step guide to turning your favorite photographs into patterns. Don’t let digital files hide away somewhere in the back of your computer’s brain—immortalize your memories in a rug.

This article is from the November/December 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

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Do you realize that "Pattern Making from a Photograph" does nothing but take one in a loop back to the starting point. It never goes to anything that remotely resembles instructions on how to make a pattern from a photo. By the way this isn't from my wife the rughooker. She is computer illiterate. I, her husband, want to know how.

Hello! I apologize for the confusion. Only some of our articles are printed in full. You would be able to purchase the magazine that includes this article here:

I have transferred several photos to patterns. I'm happy to share my process.


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