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Westmoreland Ponies

A Rug Hooking Exclusive Pattern: Colorful, whimsical, primitive ponies to hook to a table, the wall, or your floor

By: Barb Carroll

Westmoreland Ponies, 20" x 35", #8 1/2 and 9-cut wool on linen.  Pattern by the Woolley Fox; hooked by Barbara Carroll, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, 2010. 

This is truly a fun, small rug pattern. The horses can be reds, teals, lights, darks—anything that makes you smile. Choose the wool for your horses, and then play with the other motifs and the background until you find the colorways that please you. One helpful suggestion: figure out what color your rug needs in a particular area, not what color you think that element (dog, cat, tree, bird, etc.) should be. Always remember: your wools should be friends. They must play together well with no bullies in the bunch. 


Choose wools for the horse, keeping in mind the kind of background you would like to have in this rug. I saw these horses as dark. I like using dark blues because they translate to black and have a soft hue. As I was planning, I considered a light to medium background. For my own hooking, I am not always comfortable with light backgrounds, so I knew this would be an interesting problem down the road.

For the horse wools, I chose two neat stripes: one a bit brighter (left horse) and one a bit darker (right horse). By using these stripes in an outline and fill method, I created a natural color shift in the horses, resembling a wear area.  I always cut striped wool with the stripe and never across it. The strips seem to flow better to my eye. (This is not a rule, but a Barb Carroll idiosyncrasy. You should definitely follow your heart.)

Knowing I was using the dark blues, I chose fun and fanciful wools for the harnesses and the saddles. They work well together and are unexpected, making for a more exciting rug. I hooked the eyes, harnesses, and saddles first and then began hooking the horses. I hooked the striped wools randomly, then added plaids for the hooves. 


The "feather areas" around the horses called to me to hook them in different reds. I mixed many reds together and then hooked them as though there had been a wear pattern or light pattern. I had a good time doing this; I imagined how that pattern might have happened and then hooked it as I imagined it.   


Next, I hooked the hearts, and I decided that these needed to be reds also. I hooked all three with a mixture of reds that were different from the feathers but all still play together well. On the top two hearts, I used a sparkly herringbone wool as outline, which creates highlights for the hearts. I used a slightly deeper rust/red on the bottom heart to stabilize the hearts. 


By this time I had begun pulling wools for the background. Because I am not a light background person, I decided to try a sort of a muddy taupe or a gray-green for the background. With these two choices made, I could choose wools for the leaves under the hearts. The musty purple outline was deep enough that it held the shape of the leaves so that I could use the sparkly wool in the fill. This wool plays with the saddles and harness, and it continues the fancifulness from the hearts and feathers. 


Looking at what I had already hooked and knowing that the background was going to be "lightish," I saw that the horses' colors were much deeper than what I had hooked in the other areas. Thus, I needed to balance the horses with another deep wool in the crowns above the horses. I experimented a bit before I decided on these two deep blue/purples.  See the triangle of color in the finished rug? It keeps the motifs in the rug from taking over and stabilizes them.

Hooking the Background

After trying both the gray-green and the muddy taupe background, I decided to use the  gray-green. I used four wools randomly in the background.  They were very close in color, with one being a touch lighter and brighter and one being a touch darker and muddier.  Then, because I get bored, I threw in a few odd wool strips in compatible color tones. I find this adds a quiet interest to the finished rug. 


I decided that the rug needed to have a bit of a border. I hooked another green just a bit darker than the background and then finished up with this wonderful red paisley on the last row.  I tried hooking a medium blue after the red, but this was not a good idea. The blue closed in the rug and disrupted the triangle of color. I listened to my rug (a very important lesson) and decided to stop with the red.


To finish the rug I used the method described in the book Secrets of Primitive Hooked Rugs (Stackpole, 2004).  The binding tape is an old red color. I mixed three different Paternayan wool yarns for the binding. One important tip: as you pull your wool yarns around and through the tape and backing, do not pull them too tight; if you do, your edges will curl.    

This small rug is easy to hook for yourself or a great gift for someone special. Keep a happy heart and a smile as you hook—you will have a great time. 

Woolley Fox is a pattern and rug hooking supply business.  Our patterns are mostly primitive in nature; however, we do have some patterns that fine rug hookers enjoy.  We have been in business happily for 10 years with lots of fun ideas always flying around.  For more information, please visit our website, This pattern is for personal use only.  Reselling the pattern is prohibited.

This article is from the September/October 2010 issue. To get this exclusive pattern or for more information on our issue, check out our issues page.


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