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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Hi everyone...Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the rug hooking kit giveaway (see previous posts for info). I am working like mad getting wool and some addditional kits ready just in case any of you who dont win would like to purchase the pattern, wool, or the whole kit. So, I am busy in the kitchen dying the lovely haul of wool I got on Saturday when thrifting. I hit the mother-load and got a cartful of Pendelton wool skirts and have taken pictures for a future lesson on how to properly deconstruct garments to get the MOST usable wool. I will be showing skirts, pants and jackets...Now if I just knew the exact right order to put all these tutorials in I would be SUCH a happy girl ! I am working on having "buttons" to click on that will allow you to choose the lesson you want etc, but as many of you long time followers know...I am NOT that tech savvy. I am on a need to know basis with my computer etc and sometimes it takes me awhile to firgure out the best and "easy" way to post...Anyone who wants to email a quick tutorial on how to do that...I would LOVE you forever...Okay, well maybe LOVE is too strong, since I may not even know you, but you get my drift.

Here's the wool I got....isn't it just yummy ???

There was even more basic black and a few others, but I couldnt get it all in the pictures. So I decided to use these wools for the dying lesson too, since you guys will be familiar with them, so its taking a little longer to get it dyed since I have to keep stopping and take pictures...I think I need an assistant..hehe ! I only spent about $35.00 for an entire laundry basket full of wool AFTER I had deconsrtucted it , so yards and yards of usable wool. SO glad frugality is making a comeback (I guess I was politically incorrect since I have been thrifting since before it was cool).

Well, I better get back to the kitchen and check on those dye pots ! Next lesson will be color planning and we will be pulling loops together, so be sure to tune in and bring your friends.

Grace to you,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rug Hooking Tutorial Lesson 1

Hope you signed up for the Rug Hooking Kit Giveaway that coicides with this first tutorial...If not, read the previous post and join in the fun.
Ok my prim pals, this is the first in a series of rug hooking tutorials I am doing. In this first lesson we are going to cover the materilas needed to begin rug hooking. You will need wool, a way to cut it into strips, a foundation material to hook into , a hook and some type of frame or hoop, scissors, a needle and thread and a pattern. I will be going over the things I think are most critically important to have and the things you can purchase over time as you see how much you want to invest into your new hobby. If you're anything like me, you'll be "hooked" in no time. I got into rug hooking out of necessity. Well, maybe necessity is too strong of a word. I loved the look of primitive rugs but couldn't afford them, so I needed to figure out how to make them myself. I have found ways to keep the cost of rug making fit in my VERY tight budget...I hope my frugal ideas help you.

OK, lets start our very first lesson. The obvious place to start is the star of the show...the wool !!!
Now of course, you could buy all your wool from me since I will have it all cut into strips like this ready for hooking (wink, wink)....But,

 over the long haul you will want to build your own stash of wool to have lots of choices. Building a stash is easiest by just walking into a shop and buying everything right off the bolt that you love (and there will be lots to love)...but in this economy I doubt whether most of you can afford this method since new wool off the bolt can run $20 and up per yard. In addition to that, places like Joann Fabrics and Michaels dont carry much, if ANY
wool at all.

Now, some of you may be lucky enough to have a quilt or wool shop near you...LUCKY YOU. Most of us dont have that luxury. Now, if you're reading this tutorial you obviously have access to the internet and it will afford you MANY choices of wool suppliers that have reasonable prices right here in blog land and on ebay.

But folks, the EASIEST and LEAST EXPENSIVE way to build your stash is to hit the thrift stores, tag sales or ask family members to look in their closets for wool clothing. You are able to purchase quality wool at low prices if you are willing to do a little digging and take a few precautions.

First and formost...make sure it's wool. Not everything that looks like wool is 100% wool. Luckily for those of us who love to use recycled wool, all clothing that is 100% wool is clearly marked that way by a universal tag located on the clothing pieces themselves. Sorry for the quality of the picture, but my camera would just NOT cooperate. Now even though this symbol will let you know it is 100% wool, it may be worsted wool or gaberdine, which really aren't suitable for hooking. You will probably make some mistakes along the way, but it's part of the learning process. Once you hook for awhile, you wont even need to look at the label because your hands will tell you whether or not you can use it in a rug.

Sometimes though, an item wont have a tag if it's homemade or someone may give you a piece of material they think is wool. I dont usually risk more than a buck or two unless I am SURE its wool. But hey, if its FREE, well then here's a little test you can do to check. Snip off a on inch square piece of the wool and  place it in a bowl and cover it with bleach...go to bed and if in the morning the wool has disappeared someone stole your wool....NO, I am just kidding. If it disappeared you are in luck because it's 100% wool and you can use it in your rugs. Now, if there's a tiny bit left in the bowl it's not pure wool, but its probably still good enough to use. But if there's more than a tiny bit left, use if for another craft project. Trust me, it just wont cooperate with you.

Now, when I purchase wool clothing I try to go for skirts because they yeild lots of bigger pieces of usable wool, although I look through the pants and even the ladies suit blazers although remember when looking at suit jackets you will probably only be able to use the back panel and the sleeves because there's usually interfacing on the front, so again, unless its CHEAP (like $1) I usually pass on blazers and stick with skirts. Another trick...check the plus size section. Generally at thrift stores the prices are the same for all skirts (like 3.99 at my Goodwill) so it pays to get the largest  size available.

OK, so you've purchased your wool...Now you have to get it ready to use for hooking. Whether you buy wool to recycle or buy it off the bolt, it will need to be "fulled". (Most people who sell you wool for hooking will tell you if its been washed, which is most likely has been if they have dyed and cut it).

So, just a note of caution when using recycled wool. You will want to keep it in your garage or trunk of your car until you have a chance to wash it just in case of any little critters like moths ...You certainly wouldn't want to bring home a big haul of wool and have it ruin your stash because you failed to realize you had a critter. Ok, now I dont like bugs etc and I have yet to ever see one in all my wool journeys, but it can happen and you dont want to risk it. I generally am so excited to see how it turns out that I rush right home and get busy.  First thing I do is a little deconstruction...Using a skirt I first cut off the entire waist band and hem and then rip open the seems (be sure to check pockets because I have found a few tissues and gum wrappers...even found a $20 bill once..YIPPEE)...then into the washer it goes. Now you will want to wash light and dark wools seperately since the darker colors sometimes bleed a bit.

I use a small amount of mild detergent that does not contain any bleach or bleach alternative. Lots of people insist on a specific brand, but I am too cheap  and have found my Purex to work just fine. The magic of fulling happens during the washing/drying process. I like to wash in HOT water and rinse with cold. I set my washer for the longest cycle since its the agitation that helps the process along, but I usually check on it periodically since I just want it to "full" and not "felt". We just want to tighten up the weave so it wont unravel when we cut it. Once the wash cycle is done its off to the dryer where the real transfomation begins. Next step... toss in the dryer with a big fluffy towel and a dryer sheet and wait about 20 minutes or so. I check on my wool because I dont want to overdry it and get it all wrinkled. I usually take it out when its just barely damp and smooth it out and either hang it or lay it flat to finish drying.

Once it's dry you are ready for your wool to be either dyed or used as is and cut into strips. And for that you will need something with which to cut the wool into uniform strips.

 Now you could go out and buy a very fancy pants cloth slitter like the Townsend which is about $400 or you could be less fussy and buy a Fraser Bliss for about $175, but my suggestion for newbies is to just use a ruler and a rotary cutter...IF you fall in love with hooking, THEN, yes, you surely will want to purchase a cutter. I myself, being frugal, scoured eBay for a used Frazer Bliss and bid on everyone for a max bid of $50.00 'cause thats all that was in my budget. Guess what ? Took about a month of bidding, but I finally won one and I have used it for the last several years and have only had to replace the cutting blades once. I have a #8 blade which cuts the strips in 1/4"  widths which is common for prim hooking. So, if you are just trying out hooking...use a rotary tool and cut at 1/4" or purchase your wool pre-cut.

Now, what else will you need ? A foundation material to hook into and there are lots of options here...
Lots of rug hookers insist on linen (the center piece) because it is soft to work with and will stand the test of time, but it's VERY pricey, up to $50 a yard which makes for a VERY expensive project in my book.. Many rug hookers use Monk's cloth (on the right) since it is a little less expensive, around $20 a yard. It is easy to work with and has 2" grids woven into it which makes it nice for laying out your design. Be sure though you dont go out to Joanne Fabrics and buy monks cloth though...the stuff they carry is actually for Swedish weaving...Be sure when you buy monk's cloth you clarify from thr seller that it is intended for rug hooking, otherwise you will get VERY discouraged because it's just too loose to hold your wool strips.

 Now even though monk's cloth is my preferred foundation,  lets not count out burlap. It's definately the least expensive (although burlaps have diffferent grade too, so go for the higher priced if using burlap). I have gotten it online for about $8 per yard. Now before you dismiss the idea of burlap lets remember that back in the day (Colonial times up through the 1940's) women made hooked rugs out of old burlap sacks. They were recycling LONG before it was "in" or "politically correct"...It was just LIFE ! That's one reason you see so many vintage rugs of the same approx size...they used up those burlap feed sacks. Now, if you are really strapped for cash (I have been there and done this) you can use burlap sacks today for FREE or VERY CHEAP by simply ASKING at your local coffee shop ...Coffee beans still come primarily in burlap sacks and can still be made into beautiful rugs. Will it last 200 years ? I dont know...It depends on how you treat it and how your family treats it after you are dead and gone. It wont matter to you by then, so dont get hung up on the  "heirloom quality" of every project. Sure, some projects might call for using the finest of then finest and hey, if you can afford it, by all means, buy the linen, buy your wool off the bolt, order a Townsend cutter and be sure to get a great, top of the line frame too...Or, cut some costs where possible WITHOUT sacrificing the beauty and integrity of your finished project.

 Here is a great piece I did on a piece of burlap many years ago.

Will it last forever ? I dont really care. I started making rugs because I loved them but couldn't afford them. So please, dont let the high and mighty opinion of others keep you from being able to enjoy a wonderful craft that will bring a great sense of accomplishment AND beautify your home AND make wonderful gifts. This little rug will never be put on the floor, so it wont see any traffic. With care, even this little rug will be able to be passed down for many generations.

But, I am getting off track, but I am sure you can tell how passionate I am about being able to enjoy this craft and if the start-up cost is $100's, I know many of you wont be able to enjoy it too.

OK, back to the lesson. Once you have your wool, have it washed and cut, have gotten a foundation you just need a few more supplies. Next up : a simple rug hook (about $6 on line) and pair of scissors...a regular pair will do until you can afford an offset pair like this...

These scissors make it easier to snip off you wool strips. There are lots of expensive hooks out there...this is the original one I bought and have used for every rug I have made. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to try out different hooks, by all means, do so and pick what you like. you need some way to stretch out your foundation fabric so you can pull your wool strips through it. Lots or rug hookers, even famous ones like Polly Minnick, use heavy duty quilt hoops like this
And I did use this hoop when I first started, but to be honest, I just never felt it held things taut enough and so when I was able, I got a lap frame. I asked for a gift certificate to a wool shop over 100 miles from my house for Christmas one year and Ooooooooh was I excited.

I got this lap frame for $80 and I LOVE it. It tilts every direction and has gripper teeth that hold the fabric in place. But maybe you dont have $80 or even the $15 for a quality hoop. Dont can still hook a fine rug by getting an old wooden picture frame and a box of push pins and simply stretch your fabric over and pin in place...Thats how lots of folks did it in the old days, it's just more labor intensive.

Now that you have all this are you ready to hook ??? Well, one more thing. Unless you purchase a foundation with a pattern already on it (which I will happily be selling, wink, wink) you will need to get a pattern on that blank monks cloth, linen or burlap. You can purchase paper patterns on line from many different sellers on ebay, use designs from magazines like Create & Decorate or draw your own...I use a product some of you crafters may be familiar with called Red Dot tracer paper (which is more like a weird see thru fabric). You can trace any pattern you like and then simply place the Red Dot pattern on top of your foundation (be sure to line up the dots for straightness) and use a fine point permanent marker and draw right over top of the Red Dot and it will bleed through to the foundation. I always tape my pattern down to the foundation so it doesnt slip. In our next lesson I will show examples of how to work with patterns, but for now, here's a picture so you can get the idea.

OK, folks, now you know all the necessary tools to hook a rug. In our next lesson we will cover pattern transfer, color selection and we finally get hooking ! Dont forget about the Giveaway and you could hook along with me !!!

Until next time...
Grace to you,

Rug Hooking Tutorial KIT GIVEAWAYS

OK guys, I finally have my rug hooking tutorial ready to launch. As an incentive I would like to drive some business to my blog. So, in addtion to launching my first tutorial right after I make this post, I am doing a few rug hooking giveaways. We will be using the following pattern during my rug hooking lessons sooooo...
 I decided it might be fun to do a giveaway to coincide with the tutorial.

 The 1st place winner will receive a kit in either color choice. The kit will include the pattern on monks cloth and all the wool (cut and ready to go) you need to finish the rug.. and you can follow right along with the lessons.

We will havea second place prize too...It will be this rug mat on monks cloth, but no wool (if you follow my tutorial you will have plenty of wool in no time).

The third place prize will be this pattern drawn on Red Dot Tracer ready to be trandsferred to the foundation of your choice.

I really want to get some new followers, so for those of you who are are the rules.

1. You have to be a follower (newbies are fine) in the US or Canada
2. You must reply to this post AND the first tutorial post
3. You must write one quick post about the tutorial AND the giveaway on your blog
4. You get an extra entry for each person you send over who is a new follower
5. You get an extra entry for posting on Facebook or your own web site

That's it. Last day to enter is August 31 and ther winner will be announced September 1st.

Thanks gals and good luck !
Grace to you,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rug Hooking Tutorial On Its Way

Hey girls...just a heads up that I will be closing my blog yard sale on Sunday evening at 7pm, so please get your orders in before then. If you are ordering wool and an item you wanted is marked SOLD, contact me because I might be able to put together another pack in the same colors, wools etc. I did do a pretty big batch of golds and pumpkins the other day, plus I have loads of other colors for those who have specific needs. If you need strips cut, let me know. Also, if you could please send your address in your initial email it would speed things up so I can calculate the shipping right away.

By the way, due to the overwhelming response to the wool sales and the many rug hooking questions I received, I will definately be selling more in the near future. I will also have the Rug Hooking Tutorials up by the end of the month. I would love to hear from those of you who are interested. If you could post a comment and let me know what experience you do have and how far along you are in being ready to hook it would be a great help to me so I know specific thinges you want to know. I plan to cover everything from selecting wool, to hooking to dying your own wool. I will have an emphasis on rug hooking the frugal way, since thats how I roll. I will try to keep it light hearted and EASY to understand. I am also thinking of offering a starter kit for sale that will include the pattern printed on monks cloth, rug binding tape and all the wool necessary to complete the project with your choice of color scheme so that you can follow along the actual piece I will be working on in the tutorial....what do you guys think ? Would that make it easier ?

Here's a picture of of the pattern I am thnking of using since it hooks up beautifully in several color schemes and has a variety of things to learn, like how to get a great point on a star ! It's a finished size of 12 x 12 and perfect for a first project.
I havent bound it yet, but I at least wanted to get your input at this point. I will be telling you all my tips and tricks that I have picked up through the years. So, what do y'all think ??? I REALLY wnat to hear your thoughts.

Grace to you,

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Here's my latest additon of woolens for sale....Fresh from the dye pot !!!

Pumpkin Patch #3    $8.95   SOLD

75 Pumpkin Patch Stubby Strips (#8 cut to approx 10" )   $4.95
25 assorted green
25 assorted brown
25 assorted pumpkin

Pumpkin Patch Strips (#8 cut primitive )  $6.95 SOLD
25 assorted brown
50 assorted pumpkin
25 assorted green

Pumpkin Spice Pack # 1    $8.95 SOLD
Watch Plaid Spice 4.5" x 22
Mottled Spice 4.75" x 22
Tiny Plaid Pumpkin Spice 5" x 20"
Textured Spice 5" x 20"
Deep Dark Spice 5" x 18"

Pumpkin Spice Pack # 2   $8.95 SOLD
Solid Cinnamon Spice 2.5" x 14"
Watch Plaid Cinnamon 2.5" x 19"
Tiny Plaid Pumpkin Spice 3" x 21"
Mottled Cinnamon 3" x 24"
Textured Spice 3" x 16"
Checkered Spice 3.5" x 24
Deep Dark Spice 4" x 24"

Sunflower Garden Pack $8.95 SOLD
Golden Mustard Seed 1.75 " x 20"
Light Mustard Greens 2" x 18"
Dark mustard Greens 3" x 17"
Sunny yellow 3" x 14"
Golden Musrard Seed 3" x 15"
Warm Yellow 3" x 20"
Golden Plaid 4" x 20"
Garden Green 4" x 17"

Mustard Pack $6.95  SOLD
Light Solid 3" x 18"
Light plaid 3.5" x 20"
Dark Mustard Solid 3" x 22"
Dark Plaid 3.5" x 21

Pumpkin Patch Pack # 2  $8.95 SOLD
Solid Pumpkin 3.75" x 21"
Herringbone Pumpkin 3.5" x 21"
Green Stem Solid 4'x25"
Green Stem Herringbone 4" x 18"
Brown Plaid 3.5" x 19"
Brown Speckled 4" x19"
Caramel 4" x 20"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blog Yard Sale WOOL EDITION plus my Bat story

Wow...what a crazy few days. I really thought I was going to get all my wool listed days ago, but my life just did not cooperate. After the company finally went home last night and I settled into bed with my laptop in hand, all ready to list my wool...A BAT FLEW RIGHT AT the me and the hubs. Needless to say, my night went from bad to worse in 2 seconds flat. I am laying under the sheet, screaming and crying and the hubs (my hero) bravely started chasing this thing through the house. It would have been funny if it wasn't so scarey...there'e the hubs running around in his boxer shorts with a giant beach towel ready to battle the bat for me. I locked myself in the bathroom and shut the door and window, stuffed a towel under the door and just cried (apparently I am NOT good in a crisis). By the way, we dont have central air, so I was suffocating in the bathroom, but NO WAY was I leaving the safety ...u til hubby yells he needs help. Help ? From me ? I dont think so dude. But after he said he had trapped it behind my crock stand and unless I wanted to risk every one of my crocks being broken, I would get my patootie out of the bathroom and get down there and open up the doors and windows. Well, in that case, I had to do what I had to do...these were my favorite crocks after all !!! I ran past him, opened the doors and windows and was back in that bathroom before he knew what had happened. I havent moved that fast in years !!! Well, the hubs did manage to get the bat outside without breaking any of my crocks but I still haven't been to sleep. I am not sure where this thing came in but we closed everything up and went to bed. Hubby was a little shaken, VERY sweaty (but still pretty cute) and went to sleep within the hour...How do men do that ????

Ok, now that I got that off my chest I am ready to list my first batch of wool for sale. It has all been washed and "fulled" and is ready for all your crafting/rug hooking needs. Some is as-is and some have been hand dyed by me. So whether you are a new rug hooker looking to build your stash or a seasoned crafter, I know you will find something you like.

First up...

Good As Gold Pack $6.95
Good As Gold Plaid 3" x 23"
Gray & Gold Plaid 6" x 17"
Solid Gold 5" x 24"

Black Check Fat Quarter $5.95

Perfect Match Pack $11.95
Pendleton Plaid 7" x 21"
Navy Night 6" x 22"
Green With Envy 6" x 22"

Christmas Red Pack $4.95  SOLD
Each pc approx 4" x 23"

Gray Days Pack $9.95  SOLD
Hazy Gray 5" x 20"
Black Tiny Plaid 5" x 18"
Black Tiny Check 5" x 24
Hazy Black 5" x 24"
Black & White  4" x 22x'
Textured Pack $11.95 SOLD
6 pieces ranging 3.5" - 5.5" X 18"-25"

Fat Quarter Red/Blue Plaid $5.95

Fat Quarter Tan/Red Plaid $5.95 SOLD

Black Plaid Fat Quarter $4.95 SOLD

Pumpkin Patch #1   $8.95   SOLD
Solid Pumpkin Spice 3" x 20"
Herringbone Pumpkin Spice 3" x 22"
Solid Stem Green 2 1/4" x 24"
Herringbone Stem Green 3" x 22"
Caramel 3" x 21"
Brown Speckeld 3" x 18"
Drak Brown Plaid 4" x 19"

Pumpkin Patch Strips $5.95 (# 8 primitive) SOLD
75 assorted pumpkin spice strips
50 assorted green strips
50 assorted brown strips

Fat Quarter Pendelton Blue/Green Plaid  $5.95

Well, that's it for now...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blog Yard sale update

Hey everyone...Just wanted to let you know that my posts for wool are coming. The hubs threw a wrench in my plan. He's normally off on Wednesday's but he decided to take today off and go to the Steelers' football training camp with our son and his folks, which is terrific execpt he also invited them for dinner and HELLO, the house is a DISASTER right now. So, I gotta move all the blog yard sale stuff into the spare room so I can close the door, clean the bathroom and run to the store to get something yummy to make etc. So, that means I wont get to lkist the wool until later on today. Also, I lowered the prices on a few of my items...Ok, gotta scoot, hubs is saying we gotta go to the store NOW...Ooooooh, I love him and he's fabulous, but after 25 years you would think he'd know that inviting company at the last minute when the house is a MESS really frazzles me. Of course he says..."Leave the house like it is, my parenst dont care if the house is clean"...Yeah right !

OK, I am going now guys.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blog Yard Sale List 3

Here's the next installment...Be sure to check the  Blog Yard Sale List 1 post for additional information. This is my next to last listing...I have one more that will primarily be wool and fabric.

Beautiful Vintage tablecloth $ 12.95
Mint Condition/vibrant colors

54" x 47"

Pfaltzgraff Coffee Cup $3.95
Wool Street Journal magazine April 2007 $4.95
Vintage Valentine Postcard Lot of 12  $5.95

Mustard Tin ABC Plate $3.95  SOLD
Barnwood Angel $6.95

Wool Street Journal Oct 2007 $4.95

Rug Hooking Book $6.95  SOLD

Wool Street Journal July 2007 $4.95
The Secrets of Finishing Hooked Rugs $6.95 SOLD
Rug Hooking Magazine $2.95

Gorgeous BRAND NEW table cloth (I have 2 total) 7' x 5'
Perfect as is for table, or make into draperies or even recover's heavy weight
$14.95 (Huge sacrifice)

Vintage Coty "Paris" perfume bottle

I have one more post to make and it will be primarily wool. Please , if you have already purchased something,, let me know when you are all done shopping.

Until next time,