Last year, Kris and I curated the Contemporary Braided Art Rugs exhibit at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week and it was a very special time.
This year, I went for more practical and mundane reasons: I signed up for two classes on dyeing wool. Yes, I know how to dye wool… but I need a little more finesse about the whole process. So I took two classes on dyeing.
I also met up with Kris McDermet, who overlapped part of a day and a breakfast with me. Here’s a photo of the two of us in front of her rug — see above. Her husband Stewart took the photo.
First, I have to complain. I always have to complain. I drove 5 hours across a bit of western PA and most of Ohio. Ohio is FLAT. I took a photo of what I drove across. It was hour after hour of this flatness. I’m not used to the lack of hills, valleys, and twists and turns! Well, I had a particularly bloody audiobook on so at least I didn’t fall asleep.
There were a few braided rugs there at the rug hooking exhibit!! Here they are:
This rug, above, was made by Janet Kiekhofer and has a braided background for a hooked wing chair with a sweet little antimacassar. This rug was a part of a group challenge to make rugs with a wing chair.
The next one, made by Sandy Kub (above), has a hooked scene with a carefully made braided rug that the wing chair is resting on! Technically I think the rug is plaited, but it’s quite pretty. A braided border surrounds the piece.
Entitled “Unusual Find,” this braided rug was part of the Antique Rug exhibit. Ali Strebel of Dayton, OH contributed the rug. Here’s what she says: “A friend who knows I love unusual rugs sold this to me after he found it while antiquing. I love the colors and the graphic look of the “log cabin” design. In trying to figure out the technique, I believe it was braided and sewn first to a fabric background, then sewn again to burlap.”
I like it very much. I’d call it more of a Hit or Miss in continuous braided squares that are made of colorful cotton and then stitched together. I particularly like the borders at the top and bottom, which are short braids stacked against each other.
Alas, that was the extent of the braiding. But, Kris and I will see if we can get a bit more braiding on display next year.
Here are two of my own favorite hooked rugs from the Sauder exhibit:
Isn’t this hooked geranium rug just wonderful? I think it’s gorgeous. Personally, I could never be bothered with hooking such tiny tiny strips. But I can appreciate the work of those who do it.
This Frankenstein rug is just charming. Look at the Art Deco corners, and the Jacob’s Ladder electricity sparking against his neck bolts. Delightful! Here’s what the maker says: “Frankenstein’s monster, as portrayed by Bela Lugosi, is not a piece I would normally consider hooking. It was requested by my son, Adam, a vintage monster movie buff… it became a dare that I finally accepted.” Jane thanks her teacher, Donna Hrkman, for a class on monochromatic hooking.
On to my classes: The first class I took was on Tie Dyeing and Color Planning with Nancy Parcels. So, you read “tie dyeing” and you think 1970’s, rocks and rubber bands and swirls, right? No. We actually used silk ties, and transferred the pattern onto wool.
My friend Dianne heard about my big goof and practically laughed her head off at me on the phone. (Did you even read the class description, Christine?) This little 1/8 yard piece of wool is all we ended up with after cutting open the tie, rolling it up with wool, adding detergent at first and then citric acid and simmering it for an hour. I think I’d need about 50 ties to get any sort of yardage, so this is NOT exactly a practical approach for braiders. Nonetheless the teacher was a lot of fun and very informative; I enjoyed the class.
The second class was taught by Marian Hall and focused on dyeing “spectacular spots.” We each made our own spot dye (I think of it as more wet chopstick dyeing) and also had a lot of fun. I think I chose a more limited range of colors than most of my classmates, who had rainbow mixes going on. I stuck with a pink, a red, and two browns, and was happy with that. I do think this is something that I will use in the future, so I was pleased with the class.
It was a fun time, and I plan on going back again next year!