You Are My Sunshine
Hooked or Punched, This Design Will Brighten Your Day
Beautiful sunflower—the ever-smiling flower of hope! As Spring arives, we’re all hoping for better weather or longer good weather, wherever in the world we might be. For me, it is the glimmer of hope that my mum, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia some years ago now, will be having a “good day” when I telephone, and that my dad will be weathering this long and frosty disease.
Last summer my mum tended to her garden. It produced, by surprise, the most amazing tall sunflower, sporting 12 sunflower heads of various sizes. Each Zoom call found us touring her “Kew Garden” and we’d laugh about the usual stuff— which flowers were real and which were plastic, the cheeky statue of David glancing longingly at the shy Greek goddess in the opposite corner, and of course, her surprising new sunflower. I’d help Mum count the heads and recount them.
Johnnie Cash sang “You Are My Sunshine” in 1969, a favorite of my parents and ironically about a love that is lost. For me it has this significant meaning, but for you I hope it conjures up a memory of something entirely different.
I took my design with me to Ragg Tyme Rug School at Niagara-on-the-Lake and teacher Judy Kielczewski helped me plan my way forward.
This pattern is yours to play with however you desire. I have included some instructions that you may wish to follow in full or in part.
Border: #8 cut
Hook this in first. You’re going to need those guardrails in place to keep your loops firmly in line—mainly the inside borders first that surround your sunflower head, and later the border surrounding the lettering when you reach that area. Hook them a little higher than your regular hooking height.
Sunflower Head: #8 cut
Working from the center of the sunflower, pull the loops relatively low. The rim of the sunflower head was pulled in varying heights. Adding some natural-color loops gives the appearance of seeds bursting forward.
Lettering: #8 cut
To balance the 3-D element of the sunflower head, I used a 3-D-font, which dramatically draws the eye around the design. On the pattern, the shadow of the letter is highlighted with a squiggle. Jump up at least two or three values in this area. Keep well within the borders of the lettering or the letters will come too close together.
Sunflower Petals: #6 cut
I labeled the petals in hooking order, As being first, followed by A1, A2, and so on. The Bs will be hooked last. Next, group your wool/textures into colors. Six- or eight-value swatches, transitional swatches, velvet, novelty yarns, textures, eyelash yarn . . . use it all! Everything will work as long as you distribute the color predominantly in a triangular placement and place those textures throughout the petals.
Background: #8 cut
Higgledy-piggledy spot-dye, a dye recipe from Ragg Tyme Studio Primary Fusion Book (#73MFS). Use some rust elements from the sunflower and eyelash yarn to give the impression of long grass.
When it’s all hooked, flip over the pattern and see where the holes are. Yes, it’s possible while hooking the with #8 cuts that small areas may have been skipped over. Hook those holidays closed.
All you need do now is decide how you want to finish. Either frame your piece or whip an edge around your piece.
You Are My Sunshine, 22" x 251 /2" (hooked area), #6- and 8-cut wool on linen, novelty yarns, sari silk, and other fibers. Designed and hooked by Ti Seymour, Abu Dhabi, 2020. Framed dimensions: 281 /2" x 32". Permission to use their sunflower photo as inspiration for this design granted by Chicago Botanical Garden.
ARE YOU A PUNCHER?
I have punched this pattern too (in 3 days!). Dip into all those wonderful goodies you’ve bought over the years and create a contemporary punched rug. I wanted to create dimension so I used Oxford Punch Needles 8R, 9R, 10R, 11R, 12F, and a Craftsman Punch. The Craftsman Punch covers sizes 1-10—it is a handy tool, but it does not take kindly to sari silk. For that it is better to use an Oxford punch tool.
The following instructions is the order of punching.
Border: #9R Oxford Punch Needle— Super Briggs & Little spot-dyed yarn. Five rows around out edge and a single line dividing the lettering and the sunflower.
Lettering: #10R Oxford Punch Needle & Little Royal Blue and Briggs & Little Light Blue for the shadow. I put in two rows of each, but the pattern is large enough you could go bolder and make it three rows of each.
Background of Lettering: #10R Oxford Punch Needle Briggs & Little Fern Green and #12F Atlantic Spot Dye.
Sunflower Head: #9R Oxford Punch Needle Stretch velvet for the seeds, #10R Doubled 2-ply medium brown yarn, 1 round each of #9R, #8R, and #7 Craftsman Punch Eggplant sari silk, #7-3 CP Novelty Yarn, #2CP 2 rows Faux Fur and 1 row #1CP, 1 row each #3 and 5CP 2 doubled 2 ply dark brown yarn and 1 row #10R doubled 2 ply brown yarn. Petals: #10R outline, #12F sari silk yarn, #8R sari silk, #8R doubled 2-ply yarn, #8 stretch velvet.
Now look at your yellow and orange stash. Group them by hues and values. Choose a minimum of three hues and maximum of five, including light, medium, and dark values.
Start by punching the A petals inside the pattern outline. Punch an outline in the lightest value; then add your highlights in the light value too. Next punch the shadows in a dark value. Finally, fill with a selection of medium values. You will need a textured dark-brown yarn to separate all your petals.
Move on to A1 petals; these are the petals that sit immediately behind the As, and their opposite edge is showing. Petals that only peek out are B petals and should be punched last.
Background: #10R Briggs & Little Dark Green single row outline, spaced unevenly (you don’t want to give the impression of a solid line) and fill in #10R 4 x Superwash Merino.
Now press and decide on your finishing method.
Even with one punch tool, this pattern is very forgiving and adaptable. Add as little or as much detail as your heart desires. RHM
Color plan for petals
Oxford Punch Needles 8R, 9R, 10R, 11R, 12F, and a Craftsman Punch
Punching the petals
Yarns for punching
You Are My Sunshine, 211 /2" x 251 /2", Briggs & Little yarns, novelty yarns, sari silk, and other fibers. Designed and punched by Ti Seymour, Abu Dhabi, 2020. Framed dimensions: 271 /2" x 311 /2".
Inner border of hooked version
You Are My Sunshine, © Ti Seymour, 2020. For personal use only. For a hooked or punched piece approximately 22" x 25", enlarge by 325%.
Ti Seymour is a travelling OHCG Rug Hooking Teacher and Oxford Punch Instructor. She is currently enrolled in a College Diploma in Fibre Arts, specializing in Rug Hooking. With her warm British/Canadian accent, she has taught classes in Canada and hopefully in 2021 the States and the United Arab Emirates when social distancing starts to ease up. You can see more of her work through Facebook, Instagram, and on UAE Rugmakers.