Monday, March 15, 2010

Wonderful Woolly Willow Rug

I am very excited to show you this special project by Lois Conradi, a talented Canadian quilter and rug hooker. I met Lois during a visit to the Orchard Valley Quilt Guild in beautiful Kelowna, BC, Canada. Always anxious to have my designs translated into other mediums, I quizzed Lois about the art of rug hooking. It has been on my list of interests for many years, but have never found the time to try it. I love it's folk art quality. Luckily, Lois was adventurous enough to interpret the Wee Willow pattern into wool.

First she decided to enlarge the pattern to a 25" square to allow for better detail. Then she traced the design onto the Red Dot paper, which is like a transparent interfacing. Next she taped her tracing on to "primitive"even-weave linen, which is the backing fabric, and used a Rub-a-Dub laundry marking pen to transfer the design to the linen. The linen is also finished with a machine zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

The whole rug is worked in "5 cut" widths of Dorr Wool from the Dorr Mill Store. The "new" black wool was washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer to felt the wool. It is deliciously black and really sets off the bright colors. The bright wools were hand colored with Cushing or Pro Chem dyes, which created wonderfully variegated colors. The blue flowers were made from recycled wool fabric.

Here is a page from Lois explaning the size of the fabric cut. She highly recommends The Rug Hookers Bible by Jane Olson and Rug Hooking Magazine to learn the finer aspects of the art. In this detail, you can see the scrumptious undulations and subtle patterns made from little loops of wool. Even the whitish background is packed with rhythm and texture. Like little highways of tiles, these kernels of color make the surface intimately interesting.

The rug is also terrifically tactile. It is hefty, but very malleable, almost like soft chain mail. Once fondled, it is really difficult to put down! I stop by several times a day just to give it a feel.

After the rug is hooked, the edges are whip-stitched with black Briggs & Little wool around a double strand of cotton cord. Then the black twill tape was stitched on by hand to cover the linen edges and add durability. The back is almost as lovely as the front!

Lois, your work is beautiful! Thank you for your energy and effort in this project! But I can see that one hooked rug is not enough! Now I think I need one in every room!


Fiesta said...

it is stunning

Melissa P said...

Gorgeous! A beautiful interpretation of the Willow pattern.

QuiltingFitzy said...

I'm a wool rug hooker, so I'll be watching as you discover! I've done one with the wool strips on the back, but now prefer cotton rug tape. You might enjoy .

Balwearie said...

That is brilliant! It's so wonderful to see artists inspire each other.