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The Bluebird of Happiness in Winter

Warm up your winter with a charming feathered friend

By: Ellen Banker
Photography by Kathleen Eckhaus

Bluebird of Happiness in Winter, 24" x 29", #3- to 8-cut and hand-dyed wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Ellen Banker, Barnard, Vermont, 2016.

“Incredibly crisp winter air.” I can still feel the remarkably icy breeze against my face whenever I describe Vermont’s winter climate to someone who has never been here but wants to know what it is “really like.” Winters in Vermont can be breathtaking, isolating, incredibly cold, hauntingly beautiful, and amazingly silent.

All the wildlife—the frogs, birds, chipmunks, ducks, skunks, turtles, porcupines, deer, moose—go into deep winter mode, and it is amazingly quiet. I really miss all their happy sounds, but I especially miss the songs and chirps of the birds.

I wonder what those birds are doing while I’m nestled next to the woodstove, snuggled up in all the wool and fleece of our usual winter garb. And, I imagine that Vermont’s feathered flocks must need some warm winter woolens to settle in for the season as well. Sometimes, some of my extra worms from recently hooked rugs find a way out into the barns and end up in carefully constructed nests in the spring.

Ellen Banker is a Vermont rug hooker and graphic designer. She is known for her whimsical designs, several of which have appeared in RHM. 

 ​This article excerpt is from the November/December 2016 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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Ive hooked Bluebird of Happinrss!! A fun rug to hook.


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