Thursday, January 21, 2010


Well - what a GREAT time we had at rug camp this year.  I always love starting the year off right with this rug camp.  It was my 11th year of attending On the Ocean for 5 years and then Off the Ocean for the 6th year in it's current location. Being on the ocean just became too expensive for the directors of this camp who happen to be good friends of mine so they moved up on I-95 in Jacksonville and everyone seems to love the location.  Lots of great restaurants, shopping easy access from the highway and airport and it is still only about 8 miles to the beach for those who wanted to make the trip.  Our record cold snap broke just before rug camp last week and I was happy for all those who came from far away cold cold places like Michigan, Ohio and up east.  There were some last minute cancellations due to illness and so forth but I think they ended up with about 90 participants and 6 teachers. 

I did not take any photos of the rug exhibit and I actually ended up not displaying my pomegranate runner this year.  I was in a funk on Sunday and just did not want to be bothered so I will have to post photos (I promise) of that finish.  I do however have a lot of photos of rugs in progress.  Most of them belong to good friends and I apologize to any other good friends whose rugs I did not showcase - you were not around when I was taking photos. 

This year I wanted to do a traditional crewel rug.  Many months ago I started the selection process by looking at about 50 crewel patterns in catalogs at Katie's studio.  I narrowed it down to about 4 choices and Katie graciously offered to order them all (somehow they are SO much bigger in real life than in that tiny line drawing in the catalog LOL) - When the order arrived I was amazed at how big they actually were YIKES - another BIG rug but our group loves the "go big or go home" mantra.  I settled on Cumberland which was designed by the grand dame of tapestry rug hooking Pearl McGown.  It is 30 X 45 and it is a mirror image meeting in the middle of the rug - the tree of life extends upward to the center.  I selected for my teacher Sibyl Osicka.  She specializes in fine shading and she does gorgeous gradated 8 value color swatches - no spot dyes on this rug.  It was funny but after the 2nd day of hooking and thinking about starting the tree - I was up snooping around on her wool table looking at spot dyes and she said " and what are you looking for dear?"  I took a deep breathe and said - ummmmm- I was thinking maybe I could use a spot dye on that tree - AAAACCKKK - Why did I say that - why did I not say "oh I'm just looking - or oh I'm just stretching my legs"  - Oh my - I got the message quickly that changing the carefully selected swatch for the tree was not an option and that it could cause the whole color plan to collapse.  EGADS - I scurried back to my seat and put my nose to the canvas and did not go perusing the wool table again. LOL - all kidding aside -  Sibyl was GREAT - I don't want to make her sound like a mean old witch - she is a delightful person and a master designer, artist and dye master.  I am SO very pleased with my color plan on this rug.  Here is what she considered to be the focal point of the rug - she wanted this bird to be colored like a tropical pigeon and I am extremely pleased with how he turned out.  What do you think?

I worked approx one whole day on each major motif - for you rug hookers out there - this is entirely a 3 cut however I do plan to do the backround in a 4.  I am actually loving the 3 cut - fine shading is a bit of a challenge but I guess because of my needlework backround - I am always drawn to the tapestry hooking.  I do enjoy hooking with a 5 and 6 cut but I am really liking the 3 and 4.  Here is a shot of what I accomplished on this rug in 4 days of camp.  I already see something on the tree trunk I don't like and will have to pull out and correct.  Overall I think she did a magnificient job with the color plan - I did not request a single thing about the color plan except that I did not want the rug to have a lot of blue and most crewels do have a lot of blue.  Before you ask - I don't know what those weird bulbous things are by the bird -    I hate how they came out.  I worked so hard on them but they still look wierd to me - Sibyl said and I'm sure she is right - that when you get all the other motifs in and the backround your eye will not be drawn to that pink pear thingy.

I wanted to show you a good photo of my dear mother.  She continued on this year with the teacher we had last year.  Mom is working on a christmas tree skirt that DF Katie designed.  We had a great time even though we were in different classes this year.
Here is a close up shot of her awesome snowman - Dianne Kelly her teacher suggested embellishing him with a beautiful plaid scarf - LOVE IT MOM!
What about this darling Santa in the sleigh - the sleigh is actually a dark hunter green. The reindeer are so cute - I will show  them to you in the future. Her backround is going to be an awesome dreamy creamy light teal/aqua type color.  Her rug is mostly in a 6 cut but of course tiny details like faces in a 3 and 4.  Mom is a great hooker - very precise with her loops.  the tree skirt is about 48" in diameter so it is a biggy too.
Here is the most darling little rug - Ulysses by Lori Brechlin of Not Forgotten Farm.  DF Karen just started him at this camp.  I think he is precious.  I'm pretty positive she hooks in an 8 cut - some of the wool she had in stash but most of it was provided by Dianne Kelly of the Woolen Cottage in Hiram Ohio.  She's done lots of great rugs for me and I greatly missed being in class with these crazy characters.  I was down in the salt mines while they were laughing and cutting up like crazy down there in the fun zone.
Another cute and fun rug was loosely adapted from a needlepoint piece by my friend Donna.  I've been to many camps over the years with Donna - she is an awesome hooker and loves the bright colors.  She relocated to NE FL last year from Miami and you know how those people in So Fl love bright colors.  Here is Annie O the mermaid.  Can't believe how much Donna got done at this camp - I'm pretty positive this is a 6 cut and most of the wool was in her stash but some of it came from her teacher Diane Stoffel who is another favorite of mine.  She did my mermaid and also my Merrie Halloween canvas.

I have to show you a photo of an awesome lady and grand dame of rug hooking Angela Pumphrey from San Antonio TX - she is in her 90's and is just the cutest thing.  Always dressed to kill and never without  a great smile on her face.  She and her husband who is 1 year older still live in their own home and she still drives "around the neighborhood" she said spryly.  Angela taught rug hooking classes for many many years and taught at camps all over the US - she is retired from teaching now and doesn't dye much any more.  She was working on a great rug by Bea Brock another TX designer called the Angel Sampler (which I also have started urghhh) she told me she was using nothing but scrap  3 cut pieces in this rug.  Wish I had a photo of how beautiful it was coming out for her.  She is one awesome lady and I hope I am still flying and traveling to rug camps in my 90's - I am very blessed to know Angela - she reminds me so much of my dear grandmother and one of her favorite sisters.  They both lived to be in their 90's and were tiny and petite like Angela.  God bless you Angela.

Wish I had a photo of DF Henrietta aka Henri.  She does exquisite hooking.  Here is a close up shot of one of her beetles which was also color planned by Sibyl.  She has 4 out of 6 beetles done and I believe they are actual beetles.  Henri sneaked in a little backround which is antique black - ooh la la - very pretty. Henri and I sat together in Sibyl's class and we got a lot done on our rugs.  Henri is also in our sampler guild and she is a kindred spirit with knitting too.  I heard thru the grapevine that Henri left camp and went straight to Knit Witz our fave LYS - It's so nice to have friends who love the same things you love.

Well friends - I hope I did not bore you to death with all the chatter about rug camp.  I love rug hooking - it offers so much creative freedom.  I know lots of my followers are hookers and lots are wanna be hookers.  I would encourage you to try it if you are able but with the disclaimer - you just might become "hooked".  Thanks for coming by and taking a look today and thanks for your support and comments.  I love them all and enjoy hearing from each of you.


Jackie said...

Oh Melody! Your fine shading is divine! You got so much done!

I love everyone elses projects too! It was so good to see everyone. Henri's project is so cute and the scarf on your mom's snowman is the perfect touch!

One day I'll be hooking with you (but that's going to be a while yet)!

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

What a GREAT post, Mel! I love all the rugs and yours is fabulous. The peachy-pink thing looked like a flower to me, right off the bat. I had to go back and look to see what it was you were talking about. How fun that you got to do this with your mom - what fun! Loved seeing a picture of her and her project - she's very pretty!
Also loved seeing the pic of your friend Angela. She is darling and I hope I live that long much less that I'm doing something creative. Good for her!
This looks like such a great time and yes, I'm a wannabe hooker. I will take it up one day, just not sure when. I missed the chance when a store by us closed last year.
Thanks for sharing all the great pics and inspiration and I'm so glad you had such a great time!

WoolenSails said...

I love the shades you have in your rug, they are gorgeous. That is going to be a beautiful rug. I would love to hook like that, but I either have to dye a lot of wool or buy it, so I will stick with my prim look;)


Susan said...

Mel, I have no idea what a 3 cut or 4 cut is, but I do love all the rugs! Your bird is beautiful and the shading on the tree is incredible. I don't think hooking is for me, but I love looking at all your pictures.

Margaret said...

OMG! Talk about gorgeous! This is one post I so enjoyed! You all are such neat, precise hookers -- talk about beautiful work! And all of the projects are just beautiful! I love your rug so far, ack! So lovely! And all the other rugs too. I'm just going to sit here and drool some more now. Oh, and I'm so glad you included a pic of your mom -- it's nice to see her face! Thanks for sharing -- 3 cut. Wow!

Margie said...

Your rug is amazing! Oh I so wish I had more time because rugs would top my list of things to spend time on.

Laurie in Iowa said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of these gorgeous rugs. I've enjoyed the show. Your rug is fabulous.

beeinstitches said...

Mel - Great post about the great time we had!!! Love the pics and glad that you got one of Angela. Such a sweet lady. I agree, let's hope that we will be flying off to rug camps when we are in our 90's also!

Deb said...

Seeing all your pictures Mel has made me itch all over. I just can't wait to learn this new craft!!! Just reading over this post (which is wonderful), made me realize that I have a whole lot to learn, but I can't wait to get to it.

And with the peachy thing - you won't be drawn to it when the whole design is filled in. It just seems like that because it's not finished. Kind of like a quilt where you think that something is going to stand out, but when everything else is around it you only find that it compliments the rest of what is going on. I'm just in awe of your project. It really looks fantastic.

It looks and sounds like it was just the best time, especially being to have your mom there too.

I have to go back into your post again now and drool over all the pictures and hope that someday I'll be as good!!

Cari said...

All I can say Melody is WOW WOW I'm afraid to go to the rug hooking shop in Zephyrhills...I'll be hooked for sure!! Great pics!! Thanks for sharing (and enabling). Hugs

Jean in Georgia said...

Incredible!!! All those rugs are just wonderful... the work is so even and all the colors are fabulous!

I do not need another hobby... I do not need another hobby...

Nancy said...

Hi Melody,
I enjoyed my little visit to your rug camp! It is very interesting and sounds like so much fun. The project you chose to do is just amazing - lovely design and colors! All the projects you shared are wonderful, and it must have been so fun to be there and see all this talent.

Your Mom is so pretty and sweet looking, and I hope I can still enjoy my needlework every day when I'm in my 90s like your friend Angela!

Siobhan said...

Wow wow wow wow. Oh my gosh, Melody, what eye candy!! What gorgeous, amazing stuff. Thanks so much for sharing the pics and tempting us!!

Rugs and Pugs said...

Oh, Mel! What gorgeous rugs!!! I can't imagine hooking with a 3 or 4 cut (aka!), but the shading is just beautiful.
And speaking of beautiful ~ love the pictures of your mom and of Angela. What an amazing woman. How lucky for you to know her.
Pug hugs :)

Katrina said...

Wow, oh wow! Everything is just gorgeous, thank you for sharing. Your rug is amazing, love that bird.

Angela looks like she is just the sweetest lady :-).