My Evolving Backgrounds

I’ve very gradually come to realize the importance and potential in not only background colour choices, but in its hooking style as well….but it has been a slow and evolving process.

This is my first rug, in a 4 cut, a solid antique black background and I was taught to do background

The background of my first few rugs were all done that way, and my only consideration was colour.

My first departure from that style of background filling was for my Oriental “Canadian Mosaic” DSCF4857 I think this is when I fell in love with the idea of smooth even hooking. (this was the first time I had been able to achieve a semblance of it). DSCF4858…and it was also the first time I experienced the effects of using an abrashed wool rather than a solid colour for a background. (I was not dyeing my own wool at this point). But I wasn’t an immediate convert . In fact I can remember being mightily disappointed when I later dyed my first background, and the wool turned out somewhat mottled. (I’ve changed my thinking a lot since then!)DSCF4860I experimented with a wavy background in several colours for this Deanne Fitzpatrick rug, but truth to tell, it was more because I was only using wool I had at hand, and I didn’t have enough of any one colour.DSCF4859

By the time I came to hook the background of my two hall rugs, I was dyeing my own wool, and my version of antique black was based on using bottle green and black over a plum coloured wool. No more solid colours for me! I was using the echo style of filling.DSCF4850 Hooking “Fat Cat” was a move away from my comfort zone in colour choices, so I decided to be venturesome in the background as well. I liked the look of this 3 colour curly pattern


….but then I liked the look of THIS 3 colour pattern as well.


Going totally away from my custom…I used both and split the background corner to corner colour-wise.

I struggled mightily in choosing the colours for the background for Hygieia. I “wasted” tons of wool dyeing colours I thought would be wonderful, only to find they were awful!DSCF4855It was a simple reference to the colour wheel which finally led me to the greens (red’s complimentary colour of course….why did it take me so long to think of that) DSCF4856Finally the style and colour gave me the textured yet unobtrusive effect I was after.DSCF4840

I still use squiggles…great for an expanse of skinDSCF4834I still use echo filling….

But since I’ve been looking carefully at a lot of paintings, I’ve become aware that I can use my wool background to enhance the overall piece .DSCF4843

I’m extending the curves in the echo hooking of Althea, and even adding the odd circle when the space is large enough.DSCF4849This is my favourite part of the background. I love the effect of movement created around the bird by the sweeps around his tail, and the variations in the wool colour.

I get so excited when I try something new and it works. …..and in rug hooking there’s SO much for me still to learn and try.

7 thoughts on “My Evolving Backgrounds

  1. Wow – this is a master’s degree in background ideas!!! My first rug hooking teacher had me hook in straight lines, like the piece was woven. I “got” it but hated doing it. (I weave and I’d rather weave a straight line background than hook it!) I have just started doing some patterns like circles and they are fun. WHat gorgeous work you do.

    • Thanks Deb, glad you like my work. Hooking straight lines is good practice when starting out, but I’m not fond of a straight line background, and only use it for a very specific purpose, but that’s just my feelings. I hope you are inspired to try something you enjoy more. I’m looking forward to following your future posts, and spending time reading old ones. Thanks for stopping by.

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