HOOKING HEARTS

         As an artist,  I am continually fascinated by and collecting supplies for new techniques expressing creativity. For years, I have painted, beaded, stitched, knitted and more. For the longest time, the one thing I admired, but never tried my hand at, was traditional rug hooking.

I love all things vintage and enjoyed seeing this art form displayed  on the walls of a cousin’s home.

I often watched a close friend as she hooked rug after rug. These “rugs” were displayed as table runners, chair  pads, stool covers, wall hangings and even coasters called “mug rugs”.

My artistic friend begged me to give it a try.  “No.” was always my response. Because  I had my own business and spent much of my day designing and painting products to sale, I felt I had no time to start anything new.

Even though I refused to attempt it, I was always eager to see her latest project and hear the story behind her original designs. As I fingered the stacks of wool that filled her work space and unrolled bundles of her handiwork, I gained a greater  appreciation for this art form.

Just before I moved away, she presented me with a kit, one of her favorite hooks and the strips of bright-dyed wool needed to complete one of her simple designs.  Giving it a couple of feeble attempts, I tucked it inside one of our moving boxes to revisit another day.

After a few months of living in our tiny apartment, I was starved for the company of other creative souls. An internet search revealed a rug show and guild meeting within walking distance from me.

The Hubs and I attended the rug show, chatted with the artists, and I received an invitation to join them for an upcoming class. From that first meeting, I was “hooked”. I immediately finished the two small Santa pieces in the kit, then joined not one, but two local guilds. I attend weekly hook-ins, workshops and guild meetings as often as my schedule and the weather allows. Because of the generous support I have received from these guild members, teachers, and long-time “hookers”, I have found a new passion. This past year, I was even able to teach a few projects of my own design.

There are many rug hooking chapters across the nation and I strongly urge you to see what they are all about.

Although many miles separate us, my sweet friend and I talk about our hooking projects now.  To honor her,  I wrote this in remembrance of our times together:

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HOOKING HEARTS

She holds out her petite hands. She shows me the fingers that time has marked.“Years of hooking rugs will do this.”

She is beautiful like the rugs that are piled high in her spare room. Her life a story of God’s love, His turning trial into triumph. Romans 8:28 is worked out before my eyes.

She tells me of her childhood, of growing up in the Alaskan village, of hardships that make one strong.

She, a beautiful soul of grace, loves God. I am blessed as we visit, inspired by her gentle faith-words, encouraged.

Her hands are rapid as she works the wool into art. These little strips that she has dipped into dyes yield to the hook and stand firmly in the linen’s weave.

I bend over, watch fascinated, try to learn. She passes the hook to me. Awkward in my grasp, I received instruction and draw in breath and hope and loop. Again, I test, try, pull  through, compare my work to hers. My rows show the wobbly uncertainty that I feel standing next to her practiced handiwork.

We talk over breakfast biscuits and jam. We share food and sweet fellowship.

I learn more of her story.

She draws out my hopes and dreams, concerns and news.

We sit, heads bowed close, and work on rugs. She works her faith and courage into my heart, like the rows into the hooped fabric.

It is time to go. We gather up the scraps of wool and friendship. I pack away the hook and the bits of wisdom that she gives me to take home and work into finished beauty. I hold her tightly in embrace, this sister God has given me.

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I love the history of this art form. I try to make it a goal to learn from those before me and pass it on to those behind me. I think having that connection is so important and otherwise, so many skills and history will go away in time, if neglected.

As a novice, I am blessed to learn from ladies who have hooked for decades, several having generations of hookers to teach them. The oldest in our guild, still attending meetings, is a beautiful lady, 100 years old. How fortunate I am to glean tips and instruction from their experience and artistic skills.

I am dyeing wool, and working on my  design patterns and will have some kits available in the future.

I would love to hear your own stories. Are you a rug hooker, know someone that hooks rugs, have guild meetings or workshops nearby?  Looking for specific designs or wool?  Feel free to comment below or on my social media spots or email me directly.

Until next time,

Blessings,

Pamela

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