USA50 - Would you like to contribute?

Debra Walland
The USA50 project is to send hooked a hooked pillow from every state up to a historic church in Canada for their hard wooden pews.  The church is being used as a performance venue and museum...long performances get uncomfortable, hence the pillows.  It is our gift to the church celebrating its 200th birthday.

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The Three Amigas Challenge

Debra Walland
Three punkinheads decided to do a challenge.  Three different ways to hook the Talavera Pumpkin, just in time for Halloween and the Day of the the Dead.

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Three Seas

Debra Walland

   You know sometimes, you  are having so much time at a meeting or class or gathering, that you get a little carried away?  You get enthusiastic about the future.  Maybe you buy more wool than you need, or you make a commitment to your local group, or you buy a pattern for a rug that is huge.  And then you get home and say "What did I do?"

Well, three good friends, Lita McCormick, Sandy Myers, and Patty Simpson  decided they would have their own little challenge.  They decided to pick a pattern and each hook it in their own way. They chose a great design that is not too big.  It also offers all kinds of choices and improvisations.





One friend got right in to it. Her rug was done in no time.  One was in the middle,  And the other said  " What did I get myself into?" and procrastinated a little...okay, well more than a little.


Isn't it amazing how they are so different?

Well, guess what, they have decided to do it again.  They are hooking the Talavera Pumpkin...

Stay tuned!


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How to Hook a Better Rug

Debra Walland
Not all of us are able to have teachers, here are some self help suggestions for hooking a better rug.

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Communicating with color

Debra Walland

Did you ever wonder why all SALE signs are red?  Did you even for a split second be surprised by the red title I used?  Color definitely talks to us.  A choice in color can make our work fly or hide.  The right placement and amount of color can make an immense difference.
So let's just look at a few colors and what they can do.


Brown, Gray, and Sky Blue

This is post 9/11 New York. The color choices tell us what we want to believe.  Browns bring out emotions of stability and comfort.  Brown is used to warm the scene,and give it stability.  It is the "down to earth" color. But it also suppresses emotion - like we shouldn't get too comfortable.
Gray is a neutral- it quiets and composes. It also can depress a mood. But it is often used in advertising to convey maturation or timelessnesss.  New York is still standing.
Blue is always known as the color of loyalty.  Sky blue actually can inspire trust and brings out the sense of freedom.    Thank you to Laura Kenyon for letting us borrow her work.





Orange, Red, and Yellow

We already talked about the sky blue. Along with freedom, it can evoke joy like in Ann Rudman's little friend.
Yellow is the color of happiness and optimism. That shouldn't be news to anyone but too much yellow can cause anxiety, especially if it is a bright yellow. She used bits of the high chroma yellow, but her gold background is still a yellow. Far from being overstimulating, it actually does induce relaxation. Pay attention to wall colors, we use a lot of creamy yellows and gold in our homes and businesses-the color of wealth!
Red is used by advertisers to draw attention and inspire action, thus SALE! We all know that red is for passion, either anger or love. It is such a strong color that it is often used with a blue or orange tinge, not a true primary. It is an energizing color but can be overbearing and be perceived as violent.
Orange is an interesting color; the combination of yellow and red. It is adventurous and optimistic. Orange is the color of encouragement. Advertisers know that it appeals to young people. It is used to express freedom and draw attention. Too much orange can denote self-indulgence and insincerity.



We love color!  That is why we are selling hand-dyed wool on the Seaside website now.  It is the same wool we have at shows, so you already know the quality of the Dorr wool we use as a base.  Keep checking back at the site for new wool as we replace sold pieces.

Note: This is a reprint of the latest newsletter.  If you haven't subscribed, add your email address to the bottom of the home page and we will send one about once a month.

Debra -In Living Color (remember where that phrase came from?)



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Harold's Diner - Not Famous for its Food

Debra Walland1 comment

There is a tiny greasy spoon called "Harold's"  on the main drag on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is a staple for the locals in the winter and gets flooded with tourists once the golf season starts in March and straight through the beach season and back to the golf season ending in November.  But no one goes there for the food,

They are there for the entertainment,  There are only about 5 tables for two and a short counter, but people wait. As soon as the front door sign says , "Sorry, we're open" (really) they start stumbling in.

Behind the counter is Chuck, a redheaded young (compared to me) guy who owns the place. He is the world's worst host, but world's greatest Red Sox fan. Don't walk in with a Yankees ball cap either comes off or you go hungry.

Chuck's favorite one liner goes like this: Almost every tourist is trying to get friendly so he can eat.  So they say "Are you  Harold?". His stock answer is a straight-faced, "No, Harold is dead".  It cracks up the regulars every time.

Just thought I'd share a little background of how my Chuck's Diner came to be.  Hope I got you to smile. I also have to brag a little since it is included with "Curb Your Dog" and many much nicer rugs by some great artists in Ellen Banker's new book, "Hooked on Words".


Hook with happiness!


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When is a rug finished?

Laura Kenyon
How to index and organize your finished rugs.

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A Great Summer Read

Laura Kenyon


Designed by You book

Too hot to hook?  Definitely not too hot to think about your next rug, though.

If you can't get inspired by Tamara Pavich's new book published by Rug Hooking Magazine (Ambry) you must have fallen asleep right after you opened it.

Tamara Pavich writes regularly in rug hooking magazine. Now, I am not prejudiced at all just because I happen have a rug included, I have to say that she has written a terrific book.
There is plenty of meaty text to go along with the photos to explain her point. It has something for everyone who hooks in every style. She has contributions from the most contemporary artists like Roslyn Logsdon and Diane Cox, primitive specialists like Cathy Stephan, and lots of other talents whose works can't be categorized.
At first it is a little confusing how she has it organized, but once you get started, it makes sense the way the book is laid out. The chapters begin with an idea of how to get started.  Then she goes on with ideas to get you there.  She has chosen great examples and throws in little hints to help you along.
It was a very roundabout way that Tamara  and I connected.  She wrote an article for RHM about Van Gogh's works as inspiration for rugs.  Janet Conner teaches a fabulous class on the subject, She even draws the patterns - which is no easy feat to duplicate Van Gogh. Needless to say, when Tamara was looking for source material she went to Janet.
My sister, Laura, and I took one of Janet's classes during the week of the  Green Mountain Guild show several years ago.  Janet reached out to her students for rugs for Tamara's article which lead to my texting back and forth to Tamara.  Next thing I know, she asked if I had any rugs that I had designed. Well, what she meant was a rug that I didn't design for a commercial pattern.
  I sent a photo of Praise House. For those not familiar with the Southeastern coast's history of the Gullah/Geechee culture, these folks are a community that continue today, descendants of the first freed slaves.  They lived on the coast and on the barrier islands from South Carolina to Florida, and the first town, Mitchellville, is on Hilton Head Island.
Their spirituality started as a combination of their African roots, including voodoo, and Christianity from the missions mostly from the Methodist Church.  The Praise house was a rudimentary building where slaves and freedmen met to worship. Sometimes it was actually on a plantation.  Unlike the rug, there was no steeple or cross, it was usually just four walls with benches. The worship was enthusiastic and full of music and shouting. That feeling was what I was trying to convey with the rug.
Praise house sketch
This was the original sketch to show inclusiveness by the open double doors and the energy coming from inside.  The tree was to a live oak covered with Spanish moss to give a sense of place, but I decided that it didn't add to the message and left it out.
      This is the final piece.  I decided that the energy would blow the roof off and the outstretched hands extended the movement from inside to out.  The background is a batik print instead of the tree.  It still accomplished the sense of place by bringing a sense of the African ethnicity.
So, now you know the rest of the story about my piece.  I hope it will entice you to pick up Tamara's book and take it to the beach with you this summer.




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Long Overdue - Snippets from Hilton Head

Laura Kenyon

We had such a great time at the Hilton Head Hook-In several weeks ago.  It's long past when I should have posted these photos but time gets away.



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The Last Talavera Tutorial

Laura Kenyon1 comment

Here is a rug in progress hooked by Brenda Neafsey.  I love how she has added purple to the mix.  Nicely Done!!




So when we last met, we were painting clouds.  How are they coming along?  Before you get to close to the bottom, be sure to hook in the curved line over the corner motif.

Otherwise that will be a very bumpy line.

Let's go over to the opposite corner at the top, the squares...

Before we get started on the checkerboard, we need to fill in the primitive scrolls, or parentheses or whatever you call them.  They are the fence that will keep the two motif fields separated.  I used the bright blue, and echoed it at the bottom, surrounding the big flower.

 I used the lightest pink for the background and the darker for the grid lines. Where the lines intersect, I hooked brown.  This mimics where the artist would paint with glaze and there would be two layers as the lines meet, making the corners a little darker.

There is nothing tricky about the checkerboard.  It is much easier that the diamonds. Hook the dark lines and interrupt them with the brown, two rows of each.  Then hook a row of the lighter pink next to the darker line all the way around the periphery of each square. Then fill in.  Trying to turn too many corners may warp the straight lines, so don't be afraid to cut each strip as you get to the end of a row.

The way I hooked it is very subtle.  You can dress it up by hooking the background in white, giving it more contrast.  Or here is a sample from pottery where extra dots and lines are added.

Let's talk about dots and circles a bit.  Beginners have a hard time with the concept of working on a square grid and hooking curves and circles.  It is not so much about putting a round peg in a square hole as it seems.

How do you make a small dot?  A really small a accent of light in an eye, or a tiny spot on an animals fur.  Use a narrow strip and hook just the two ends, leaving them a little long.


Then twist them together and cut them to the length you want.

How about a little bigger dot....


We want to hook a triangle around the center hole of the circle.  Think of it as a clock face with the center left open. 


 Start at 4 o'clock, turn and hook a loop at 8 o'clock and at 12 o,clock and finish by bringing the end out at 4 o'clock again. Remember to turn your work or your hand so that the hook is pointing into the center like the hands of the clock.  This makes a little bigger dot as it is or it can be the beginning of a circle like the center of the flower.

To continue to make the circle larger, hook another row around it.  I am using another color just to better demonstrate the second row.

Hook this row close to the center to kind of nudge everythinginto place.  There is no formula, just try to make it as round as possible and be sure that your hook is turning around the circle to keep the loops running around the center.

So, that is how we hook a circle...from the inside out with as many rows as it takes to fill the area.  Now go ahead and hook the center of the flower.

The remainder of this rug is easy-peasy.  I used white as the background for the whole bottom.  The flower is simple outline in the 4-cut blue and fill.  I used turquoise to even out the patch of clouds on the other side.  The leaves just touch the edges of the blue around the flower.  If you want to use another color as the background around the flower, you certainly can.

Moving to the right, I kept with the beautiful blue on the white field.  The six little brushmarks are hooked just the same was as the paisley forms on the pumpkin's cheek.

The little grouping under his chin can be anything you want.  I did stay away from the dark orange in any of the background since I think of it as the pumpkin skin.  But, you see I did use a drop of the lighter orange.

The last motif in the bottom corner lets you show off how round you can hook a circle now. 

So looks like you are done!


   That one little initial that makes this rug yours, only yours!

I have had a great time doing this rug.  Hope you are enjoying it as well.  

Happy Halloween!

Hasta la Vista!




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