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The 25th Anniversary Rug: It's time to get serious

By: Debra Smith

The fanciful greenish white bird practically hooked itself once I found the right fabics to use. The striped white/green/tan wool, shown here, was augmented with another striped wool from which I carefully chose the colors for the bird’s feathers.

First, the disclaimer: I never intended to hook this in what crewel experts might consider the proper crewel colors or the historically correct fancy stitches. That approach doesn’t appeal to me; I enjoy being a little more loose and unscripted. Nor did I intend to use 6- or 8- or 10-swatch dyed wool to get intricate, delicate shading you might expect in a crewel rug. My hooking style lies somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum: neither primitive nor fine-cut with fine shading. Wanda Kerr coined the term “prim-phisticated,” and I like that made-up word. To me, it says wider cut than those gorgeous fine-cut florals (but not as wide as a true primitive rug might be) and a bit more elegant than a primitive rug.

My prim-phisticated crewel rug will be mostly #5- and 6-cut, with a 7-cut background and 4-cut details where I need them. I’ve gone far enough now that I have learned a thing or two about how to hook this pattern. My struggle with color continues: when I am not careful I tend toward the “muddy middle,” where there is not enough contrast between or within motifs to work well.  So, I take it out and try again.

This article is from the January/February 2014 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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