Rug Hooking in Florida

When I think of wool, I think of cold nights snuggled under a warm blanket…not Florida! And my latest art form uses a lot of wool. I love rug hooking so much that I’m willing to work with wool in warm temperatures, but I wasn’t sure other people in my RV resort would feel the same way.

Two ladies heard that I hooked rugs last year and approached me about showing them how to do it. Unfortunately, by the time this happened, it was already Spring and time to head home. But I promised to send them information about rug hooking over the course of the year, I signed up for a room in the Rv park, Sun N Fun, to hold our meetings and they said they would order what was needed to begin rug hooking. With that, we parted our ways for nine months.

All summer long, I sent out messages with ideas of where to buy a hook, frame and kit. I kept wondering if they would actually show up and want to learn. And the big question was would I be able to teach them how to do it.

Well, let me tell you that this season in Florida has been the best one for me yet! Here are the two lovely, FUN ladies that urged me to teach them.

Trisha and Sherry love to have fun!

And then another who parked her camper next to mine and saw me hooking my project from her window decided to come and join us.

I loved being Donna’s neighbor!

Donna, Sherry and I were already on the same street in our RV resort and Trisha decided to move over and join us. Our street became lovingly known as hooker alley. (I do at times wish this wonderful art had a different name!) We sure had fun getting together mid week to hook outside by our campers.

Hooking at the campsite

Even though I was still working on my hummingbird piece, I felt the need for a more simple piece to work on while teaching others. Something quick and easy that I could start and finish while showing the ladies each step. I designed the “Love Always” love bird piece. 

Of course, the birds are my sweetie and me. And of course, he had opinions as I designed it. At first I drew the birds to look pretty much the same. But he thought the male bird should be fancier, like in nature. We had a good laugh when he suggested a top knot! Even though he is bald, he thought the bird to represent him should have more feathers on top! So, I drew it out and liked it very much. I was able to start and finish it in a few days. I love my twist on Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. Pattern available here: Love Always

So, then it was time to design something else for me to work on. The hummingbird piece still needs to be finished. I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet on that one…. Anyway, there was one photo from our trip from Maine that I really love. I feel that it captures much of what my life is about: nature, travel and LOVE! Here is Matt and me by Bass Harbor Light.

I love the photo, but thought that the design needed to be tweaked a bit. Wanting us to be the focal point without having the piece huge, I made us a bit larger.

I had not yet hooked a sky, so I decided to follow the advice of Cindi Gay in her book: Pine Trees, Grass and Sky. What a wonderful book! And since I have’t done any dyeing of wool (although I am sorely tempted), I ordered “sky wool” from Cindi. It is just beautiful! My photo had no clouds in the sky, but I added some. Since I started the piece, I have spent quite a bit of time staring at the clouds in the sky. They are so varied and beautiful! Here is how it looks so far. My first hooked sky!

Bass Harbor Kiss by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

My friends and I also went each Monday to participate in hooking time with others an hour away. They were doing some overdyeing with ice. So I took some wool and gave it a try. What gorgeous colors! I really am getting quite interested in the dyeing process.

Well, my RV lady friends actually each finished a piece. Here is Sherry with her beautiful mat. (Notice her AWESOME name tag!? If you don’t have one yet, here is where you can order one: Rug Hooking Name Tag)

Sherry did great with her first hooked mat!

And Trisha finished her version of my “Happy Campers” rug pattern. She put the words, Joy, joy, joy, into it because RVing gives her and her husband such joy. What a joy to see her finished piece!

Happy Campers design hooked by Trisha Senterfitt. Design by Janine Broscious

So, rug hooking in Florida has been an amazing experience. I’ve had a great time seeing others enjoy learning a new art form. And I’ve made some lasting friendships! We are all looking forward to next season with many others promising to join us.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Rug

I finally finished off one of my favorite hooking projects! Because of my love of butterflies, I decided that I would hook a wall hanging of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. It all started with a photo that I took in 2009 at Longwood Gardens in PA. It was the first time that I was able to get a sharp photo of one of these gorgeous creatures with my new camera. The butterflies there almost seemed tame and this one posed nicely for this photo.Butter and Honey www.joyfulwonder.com

After editing the photo on the computer, I had a nice image that would help me to see the use of colors more easily.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

After sketching the butterfly onto linen, I laid different fabrics and yarns onto it. This would be my first hooking project to include fibers other than wool. I was really excited about trying them out and a bit apprehensive too.  I used sari silk, velvet, satin and yarn.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Even though I hadn’t yet drawn up the background or the flowers, I decided to jump in and start the hooking. Maybe the rest would figure itself out!Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Black yarn worked great in the butterfly. And I was excited to try the blue silk. At first, I thought the pale yellow wool I had purchased would be just right for the butterfly. But I found that I liked it better if I hooked various tones of yellow with it.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Here is a closeup of the various fibers. I loved how the velvet looked with the silk.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Then it was time to tackle the flowers. I had no idea what kind they were but online friends identified them as Joe Pye weed. That helped as I was then able to look them up online and view various photos of them. I decided it would be fun to try making them puffy since that’s how they really were. So I hooked them with yarn and then snipped some of the loops.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

I’m not even sure what sort of ribbon that was that I used in the leaf, but I wish I had more of it! I’m hoping to get some of it from a vendor at Sauder Village this year. My edited photo really helped to figure out the background.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

And here’s the finished product! Tiger Swallowtail Hooked Art by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I thought this project would be really tough and I did learn a lot from it. But really, it was one of the easiest hooked art pieces I’ve done because God already did the color planning for me! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know his marvelous creation just a bit better by studying this beautiful creature.

Now on to a new project…Garden Love… which features a hummingbird and hibiscus! Something new to shop for at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week.

Treasured Shells Rug

I’ve written about my love of hunting for shells. Well, I decided that I needed a shell rug for next to our bed in the camper. We are always staying in our camper when I have the opportunity to look for shells and our bedspread has shells and fish on it. At first I planned to model the rug after our bedspread but I love to come up with my own designs. As I reminisced about our time shelling at Gasparilla in Florida, I had a brilliant idea. Why not make a rug that featured shells I had found?!My shells

I ran to the closet in my studio to pull out my favorite shells and my eye caught something on my desk. A wonderful memory flooded through me of standing on the beach in North Carolina, watching the sky. As I stood there, a plane approached and I watched as one, two, three, four, five people jumped from the plane into the ocean. That’s why I was there… to watch our son, who is a U. S. Marine do a jump. I scanned the sky trying to figure out which one was our son. I told Matt which one I thought it was because of his long legs and looked like he was doing so well. Pride mixed with fear filled my heart as I waited for each Marine to land in the water. Whew! It looked like all were safe. I relaxed and looked down at my feet. There was a large, perfectly whole sand dollar! I had never found a whole one before. What a treasure! As I now looked at the sand dollar on my desk, I decided that it would have to be the centerpiece of my rug. I sat down and started to draw while holding each shell.01-Shell Drawings-001

Even though it was December, I was looking forward to heading down to Florida after Christmas. As I dreamed of warmer weather, I began hooking each shell while holding it in my hand.04-DSC_6585-001

What wonderful colors were in each one.05-DSC_6589 3-001

I had to remind my hubby that what I was doing was an artist’s interpretation of each shell. With my limited wool stash, there was no way I would have each color I needed to make the shells look realistic. And I had also decided to make the colors a bit more vibrant than the shells looked because the sun and bleach I had used to clean them had taken away some of the beauty. It was coming along pretty well.06-DSC_6598 4-001

Finally, we made it to Florida. This would be the perfect project to work on while in the sunny weather. I was also excited to reach the sunshine state because I was going to meet a rug hooking friend that I had made on facebook. What a wonderful time we had chatting about rugs and everything under the sun. Susan Sutherland was working on her own beach themed rug.07-DSC_6605 2-001

I told her of my plans to make this a neutral toned rug that I wouldn’t mind putting on the floor in our camper. But I had tried putting colors in the background for sand and I just wasn’t liking it. Susan excitedly ran to her wool stash and pulled out a lovely turquoise piece. “How about that color?” she exclaimed. Oh yes! That would be so pretty. But I stuck to my idea of earth tones so I wouldn’t mind stepping on it. No matter what I tried after I got back to our camper, I was not happy with a sand background. I started dreaming of that lovely color Susan had put next to my shells. I attended a hook-in with the ladies from Searsport and they had a gorgeous hand dyed yard of wool that was just perfect! I forgot to take a photo of it before I cut it up to use, but here is some of it.1-DSC_6770

Would I be able to make it look like water? Susan suggested twisting my hand back and forth as I hooked. She called it the higgledy piggly stitch. I gave it a try. I also decided to take out the sea glass and put in more shells.08-DSC_6746 3-001

I loved how the water was looking, but it was quite a shock after envisioning sand all that time. Did I like it? Everyone else who saw it said it looked great. It was time to go to the Searsport Florida Hook In and I was excited to work on my project there.  What a wonderful time I had meeting other people. Susan and I enjoyed meeting Kay LeFevre. I was almost done with my rug!09-DSC_6995 3-001

My shell project was nearing its end. I took a pic of the shells that were my models on top of the hooked sand dollar.13-DSC_7242 4-001

And here is my shell memory rug! Not sure it will go on the floor in the bedroom. Such lovely memories might just have to go on the wall.Shell Rug designed and hooked by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Butterfly Bliss Hooked Rug

It all started with a simple line drawing. I kept having an image of a butterfly flying towards some coneflowers flit through my mind. Finally, I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and drew it out quickly. Could this be a pattern for a hooked rug? I wasn’t sure since I have only been rug hooking for a few months. Maybe there was too much detail? I knew one way to find out and that was to post it on the facebook group page for hooked rugs.
Sketch for butterfly rug. ©Janine Broscious 2015
What a response! Each person that commented said it would be a perfect pattern for a rug and several even asked if I would make the pattern available for sale. I certainly didn’t expect that. Such an encouraging group! This left me determined to make the butterfly rug happen. After redrawing the design on a larger piece of paper, I needed to plan colors. I hoped to make this rug from the leftover wool that I had from my Happy Campers rug. Color planning for butterfly rug

The butterfly really wanted to be hooked first, so I began with the brightest color I had from the camper rug, the sun color. This is how it looked.butterfly rug that looked more like a moth

My resolve to use wool I already had was dissolving. This looked more like a moth than a butterfly. Moths are pretty too, but I LOVE butterflies. No matter how many I see, I still stop and exclaim, “Look, a butterfly!”, each time one comes my way. They are flying jewels of happiness! Such bright colors and lovely forms. No, this rug could not be a moth rug. Thankfully, I found some nice orange wool on Etsy and promptly ordered it. While waiting for it to arrive, I decided to visit a store in Frederick, MD, Primitive Homespuns,  to see if they had any colors that would work well on this rug. Primitive Homespuns

They did have some colors that would work well in the rug AND I made a new friend, Kathy Makers, owner of Primitive Homespuns. Of course, I took my rug project with me in order to color plan and when I pulled it out of the bag, Kathy exclaimed, “Wait, I saw this on facebook, didn’t I?! It’s gorgeous! I can’t believe you live near me and brought it here!?Kathy Makers of Primitive Homespun, Frederick, MD

Yes, I decided right then and there that I liked this lady. And, it made me think that maybe there really was a possibility of selling patterns of this design. If that was the case, I decided that I should give up on the idea of trying to use wool that I had leftover from one project and instead purchase what I needed to make this as beautiful as I was envisioning. First up was to make it a butterfly rather than a moth.Butterfly Bliss hooked rug by Janine Broscious

It was well on its way. I liked the orange tones much better! It was slow going though. This wool was not pre cut like for my 3 other rug projects thus far. I didn’t have a wool cutter so I ended up using my rotary cutter. Not fun, but necessary.3-DSC_2981 2

I was making more progress. Many times I pulled out colors to substitute others. This was a project of learning for sure.Butterfly Bliss hooked rug by Janine Broscious

Then, a real blessing came my way. My niece, Yvonne, told me that she had done some rug hooking years ago. A surprise, but not really. We keep learning that we have more and more interests in common. “Would you like to borrow a wool cutter?” she asked. Would I? You bet! Here she is with her projects. She designed the distelfink one on the wall to go with the decor of her farmhouse. Yvonne with her rugs

Now, I was able to work faster and better.  It was strange though. I would work on one area and really love it. Then as I began working on a new area, I would feel all insecure and wonder if it would go together as well as I had thought it would. My poor, very patient, husband must have thought I was a little crazy. I did appreciate his reassurance as well as the kind comments from the facebook group as I posted ongoing photos of the progress.Butterfly Bliss rug by Janine Broscious

The struggle was huge when I began adding the blue background. I was concerned that it might compete with the rest of the rug. My goal was to keep the butterfly the main subject but I hoped that I would be able to make the viewer linger while looking at the rug and have the eyes roam around the whole and then rest on the butterfly again. I decided to add neutral colored swirls within the blue to tone it down a bit. Too, I was hoping that the swirls would add movement and life to the project.Butterfly Bliss rug by Janine Broscious

As I continued posting photos of my progress, ladies on facebook started asking me to put them on the list for a pattern. I was going to have to make these patterns happen!Butterfly Bliss Hooked Rug by Janine Broscious

After doing much research on getting patterns drawn straight on the fabric, which linen was the best and how to transfer a design, I made my first pattern to sell.Butterfly Bliss rug pattern by Janine Broscious

My knees were beginning to feel it because the only place I could find to work was the kitchen floor. Don’t worry! I’ve since gotten a folding table to use.1-DSC_3417

Here are my first ever rug patterns. And they sold quickly!Butterfly Bliss Rug Patterns by Janine Broscious

I learned some things with this rug. Never underestimate what you can do. Don’t get freaked out in the middle of something, since you can’t see the end result until…well, the end. And just run with awesome things that you find yourself in the middle of!Butterfly Bliss pattern by Janine Broscious

After taking time off from my rug to make patterns, I finally finished it last night. Am I happy with it? Oh yes! It’s not only beautiful, but it will serve to remind me to trust God even though I can’t see all of what He is doing. I can look at that bright, lovely butterfly and know that just as God takes care of butterflies, He will take care of me and my loved ones. Well, here is the final product! You can order a pattern hand drawn on primitive linen here: Butterfly Bliss Rug Pattern

Butterfly Bliss hand hooked rug by Janine Broscious