A few years ago I did a lot more rug hooking than I do now. I never made anything larger than a small throw rug; instead, I’d turn out little wall hangings (maybe 14 inches by 9 inches or so) like the one in the picture above. These weren’t planned at all; often I wanted to use up a lot of odds and ends of wool, and I liked the variety of putting together something quickly and with minimum fuss. Usually I simply took an odd piece of burlap, sketched something on it with a Sharpie, then drew an outline around the whole thing. Not the way the experts say to do it, but it worked okay for me, and I enjoyed doing it that way.
Some of these hangings I sold in the Coomer’s booth my mother and I shared back in the 90s; others I kept to hang in my limited wall space, and still others I simply handed over to Mom.
Of course, now I can’t remember whether the log cabin hanging above was one I made for myself and then gave to Mom when she began decorating her “log cabin” bedroom; or whether I’d given it to her years before, and it just happened to fit the room’s theme.
You don’t have to look that closely to see the results of my sloppiness and lack of planning in the cabin hanging. The moon’s misshapen (no, I probably didn’t trace around anything to make a perfect circle; although the irregularity could be because of the way I hooked the moon). Most glaring are the weird streaks of blue in the sky, especially where I hooked around the outline of the cabin roof. I can bet why this happened: I probably ran out of the main sky color and didn’t want to attempt to dye any more wool for such a small area, and then have to remove some of the sky and work in the new color. I just found something similar (probably literally a few long strands of this wool) and finished the sky up, hoping the color was close enough. Obviously, it wasn’t. It wouldn’t have been so obvious if I’d been a little more careful about working those stray lighter shades into the hooking, and if I hadn’t gone directional with it. Maybe I was just tired of the project at that time and wanted to finish it up and move on (especially if I was making it for myself).
I think about the whole “primitive” style of so much needlework when I look at my own far-from-perfect creations like this. I’m not justifying my methods (I really do try harder when I’m attempting a project I consider important); but I wonder if the women who were hooking rugs, making quilts, doing stitchery, etc., weren’t working more in this manner, resulting in the primitive or irregular style that’s so imitated now. All that work and careful planning to achieve a deliberate aged, irregular appearance — in tribute to the work of women who didn’t always achieve high art but were doing the best they could with what they had.
Note: I know that lower edge was straight when I made the hanging; it must be kind of caught up underneath (didn’t notice that when I took the picture). Also, the rusty moose straddling the hanging rod is my mother’s touch of whimsy, and I really like it.