Revisiting an Unfinished Friend

When I’m working on a rug, the mess of wool around me can get pretty large, so I seldom work on more than one rug at a time, and I try to finish the hooking on each one before I move on. But of course there are exceptions.

Over a year ago, I had worked away happily on my barn rug until it was nearly finished. I left it hanging where I saw it all the time, and the longer I looked at it, the less I liked it. It eventually came to a point where I actively disliked it, and ended by rolling it up, packing the wool up, and putting it away altogether. Now it’s time to deal with it.

When the barn  project was first announced, Ray and I spent a Sunday afternoon driving around the countryside just north of town taking pictures of derelict barns, and I finally decided on hooking this photo.


I don’t hook in the room where my computer is, and I don’t have a laptop, so I printed off a copy of the picture just on 8.5 x 11″ paper, and that was my reference for hooking. I realize now that that was a  mistake because the printed version I was working from  lacked  highs and lows and definition particularly in the wall under the wood.  DSCF5364

There is only a bit of hooking left, and then I had intended to add some grass etc.  with yarn or embroidery along the barn wall, and add a bit of colour on the ground and trees. But the fact remains…I’m just not happy with it. It is SO boring!

On impulse, I put the original photo into “Be Funky” (as taught by Wendie Scott Davis at our spring workshop), and suddenly I loved the picture, and thought….if only….and …how could I???

BeFunky_barn project

I wasn’t sure what to do…..the project must be handed in in October, so a decision needed to be made. Would I ……finish it as I had originally planned……make some alterations to create a more painterly, colourful version like that in the be funky version……rip out the whole thing and start again…..or scrap the whole idea of the barn project altogether.

When in doubt, ask an expert….so I emailed Wendie (including the pictures) and explained my dilemma. What a lady! Within a few hours, I had a reply with both positives and negatives of my work, and lots of ideas of how to create more the “be funky” version without having to start all over.  (It’s not what you know….it’s who you know).


I started by completing the wooden section, and adding some stronger greens to the mossy parts.

On looking at it from a distance however, the darker part above the window looked more like a tree branch than mossy wood, so I reworked that part.


I took out the green section of the lower wall, and will rehook that with stronger greens covering the whole section.


I debated about the best wool to hook the rest of the lower section so that the values and different colours in it would be effective.

I gathered up a variety of wools in the colours I saw, but I would like them to blend into one another.


so….I’ve decided to try transitional dyeing with this lot. (again)  With my past mistakes fresh in my mind……I’m anxious to see if this will work…..stay tuned for the results.

7 thoughts on “Revisiting an Unfinished Friend

  1. My goodness, I don’t know whether to be impressed by your work or depressed about mine (nothing this summer) so let’s just say, I am impressed..

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    Could you elaborate on your “be funky” program. Is this a computer program on one of the photo softwares? I really like how it jazzed up your photo- gave it a lot more visual interest. And now I am following your progress to see how you create your magic. Thanks for such a great blog.

    Beaverton, Oregon

    • Janine, just go to You can insert any of your own photos, or use theirs, with a variety of effects. I usually like “underpainting” (I think that’s what it’s called) as it seems most like hooking to me, but you can easily try all sorts. Let me know if this doesn’t work, and I’ll check it out again to make sure I have the correct address.

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