I love this part of the rug hooking process…the getting it all ready part. The pattern is decided upon and now the fun begins.
The first step was to enlarge my photo. My original is 3″ x 5″ and it will be the basis for my 5′ x 7′ rug. There are a number of ways to achieve this and I chose the very easiest. I took my little picture to a copy shop and had it enlarged to 48″ x 80″ . That’s not the size of the rug, but the background can then easily be extended to the required 60″ x 84″ with 6″ extra background on each side, and 2″ extra at top and bottom.
Here was the first glimpse I had of it down on the living room floor. (you can see how tiny the original was)
It quickly became apparent that my arthritic knees wouldn’t let me work on it there, so, Ray came to the rescue once again. He quickly created a 5′ x 8′ table top for me to work on, and donated his workroom for the process . That made it much easier to do the required measuring and drawing for the edges. Well as you can see he has momentarily taken it over, but he has promised to remove the carpentry tools as soon as I need it again.
Preparing the backing was a bit complicated. I had ordered three yards of rug warp a couple of months ago, with this project as a vague possibility in my mind. When I made the decision to go ahead with it, I discovered that the hall rug was larger than I’d thought, and the rug warp was narrower than I remembered. . Three yards wasn’t enough! After a day spent making diagrams and looking at options which wouldn’t require importing extra wide rug warp from the states, I figured out a way forward. My friend JoAnne Harris from “Wool Gathering” quickly came to my rescue with a swap of my three yards for the required four yards. The very next day she personally delivered it to my door no less . (unheard of personal service since we live 100 km. apart) A thousand thank you’s to her!!
I had determined that by splitting the 4 yards of backing into two 2 yard pieces, and putting them side by side, It would work perfectly. I would however have to hook the two sections together. I saw Cheri Hempseed do this with a large rug a few years ago, and a quick call to her confirmed how she had done it.
Leave about a two inch overlap and simply hook through the two pieces of backing for that section. `To make sure that I could hook through two pieces of rug warp at once, I did a little test strip, and it worked just fine. I think using a hook with a wide shank (I use a 6mm hook when working with an 8 cut) easily opens the holes wide enough to lift the wool strip through. I will baste the two pieces together when the time comes. For the initial hooking stages, it will be much easier to handle in two sections
In the meantime…..I started thinking about the wool I’d need….lots of wool! With 5 times the coverage, I’ll need about 19.5 square yards of wool in total. (my little note book is full of diagrams and mathematical calculations already for this rug) and I’ll need at least 10 yards of background.
So while I’ve been gradually working on preparing the pattern itself, I’ve been gathering a variety of plaids and textures from my stash to use for the background. I started my dyeing with the blues. I chose three colours of blue dye….brilliant blue, national blue and navy, (all Pro Chem) I used 1/8th tsp of each in 1 CBW, and added vinegar to each cup. I put 1/2 of the navy in the pan of simmering water, added the wool and gradually spotted everything else over the top. That batch is lighter than I want for most of it, so the next time I used 1/4 tsp of each colour . Since most of it is recycled wool, many of the pieces are irregular shaped but I guess each batch was about 1 yard.
So here I am with blue tinged finger nails, and hands tender from scrubbing off the dye stains, but I’ve got a small stack of beautiful blues . It’s a start, but I can’t wait to try other colours as well. (I see some mahogany in my immediate future).
I’ll get to actually drawing the pattern on the backing soon. I’ve still got some details to sort out , mostly concerning the overlap section.
Thanks for stopping by.