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The Incredible Shrinking Food

Use Up that Leftover Linen by Hooking Mini Morsels

By: Kelly Laaper

I have been hooking now going on two years and have produced many treasured rugs that have found their way into the homes of family and friends alike. Every new project finds me searching for just the right color yarns to make the work “pop.” After all, who doesn’t like shopping for yarn! The result of this compulsion is that I have acquired a room full of wool, frames, and other hooking paraphernalia. And with every completed project, I find I am left with pieces of linen or burlap that are too small to be used for pot rugs or hangings. So what do I do with these pieces? As the old saying goes, “waste not, want not.”

I began to brainstorm. Like most of my ideas, the inspiration came from my oldest daughter. “Mum, you should hook some fruit and vegetables that your grandchildren can use in their play kitchen.” And that is exactly what I did. My grandchildren have a little play kitchen complete with oven, stovetop, and refrigerator. The wheels began to turn and, before I knew it, I was hooking a variety of foods with all those leftover linen pieces. The nice thing about hooking food is that it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, which is perfect for using up those scraps. I was also able to hook my grandchildren’s favorite foods, allowing them to use their imaginations to make their dad’s favorite sandwich or a bowl of carrot soup. Store-bought food items are often limited in their variety.

To make the fruit and vegetables, I used one of my smallest frames to stretch the linen. A small hoop frame is also good for doing this. Once a piece was hooked, I removed the linen from the frame, covered it with a clean dish towel, and used an iron to flatten (no steam). Then, to keep the pieces from unravelling, I carefully used a zig-zag stitch to sew as close to the hooking as I could without catching any of the loops. After cutting around the stitching I was ready to put on the backing. The edge was folded to the back and a piece of felt, cut to the shape of the fruit or vegetable, was sewn on using matching yarn. I used a blanket stitch to sew the felt to the back so the linen would not show in the finished piece. 

I started with Bacon and Eggs, but I was soon on a roll. By the time I said “enough,” I had hooked 14 varieties of fruit and vegetables—more than 40 little rugs in total (obsess much?). Needless to say, I no longer have any unused pieces of linen in the house, and my grandchildren are very happily cooking up fine cuisine to serve to anyone who ventures into their home

  1. Vegetable Basket

  2. Bacon and Eggs

  3. Fried Egg

  4. Toast

  5. Hooking on a tiny frame

  6. Fruit Plate

  7. Strawberries

  8. Vegetable Tray

A lone bunny happily munches away on a carrot, but everyone knows that where there is one bunny, there are always more. Before you know it, several bunnies are enjoying a feast of carrots freshly pulled from the nearby garden. A fall harvest of strawberries to be made into grandma’s homemade jam. A platter of broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, and tomatoes. Fruit such as apples, oranges, and watermelon. I guess this means I will have to get hooking on a few more big projects so I can begin stacking up those scraps of linen again. After all, there are a lot more fruit and vegetables just waiting to be hooked! RHM

Kelly Laaper lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and has been hooking rugs for two years. She took her first class from Kate Thornhill of Sparrowhawk Studio and has never looked back.


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