Dianne here: a disclaimer: just mentally add ‘rug’ to hooker every time I mention hooker; it works.
I have finally finished ‘my Persian’. Some of you may know or remember the story. I have taught, and finished a few small braided pieces for a hooking friend of mine using her favorite grandmother’s braids. A couple of baskets, a braided pad for under a hooked chairpad and finally 3 very small rugs for my friend’s 3 daughters, using the very last braids that had been hanging around for years. Not the most exciting ‘job’, but the braids were well done, tho wide for me and, oh those retro colors. In addition, they were straight braids so I had to jerryrig the starts to get a semblance of a curve (I talked her into rounds).
I realized it was all worth it when she told me the daughter named after the grandmother cried when she was given the rug. My friend has since learned to braid, and I taught her how to braid around (and I finished) a beautiful hooked chicken rug which won a prize at the state fair….
(YAY! that they appreciated the braiding, right?)
All this braiding would have added up to a pretty penny so we bartered. She has been a hooker in the community for a long time and seems to inherit unfinished projects, wool and equipment from families of hookers who have passed on. She was working on this Persian (Persian Melody by Pearl McGown) one day at our hooking gathering saying she was finishing it as the hooker had passed. It was about 1/3 done and came with all the wool in a #3 cut (for you braiders who have not ventured into hooking, a #2 cut is the narrowest so 3 is very narrow, meaning you can get good detail but takes forever!). I admired the colors and the detail reminded me of the Malibu tile hanging I did in an ATHA class (#4 cut). The challenge of trying to match exactly the pattern is what intrigues me about these two projects; it must be my left brain trying to escape in retirement where I have been nurturing my heretofore, unknown creative right brain.
So she gave me the project and the wool and I tried very hard to match the fine hooking of the original hooker, Gloria Gray.
Have any of you finished a project from someone else whom you never met?
It is an interesting experience; I find I often think about the person when working on the project, wishing I could meet them and hoping I am doing credit to her/him. In this case, Gloria’s hooking was so fine and so low (loops very close to the hooking backing) that a sharp eye can pretty easily see where she finished and I started, but with some steaming (and some more) only a sharp eye can probably tell.
I found I used this rug as a ‘go to’ project between others and it became a favorite, ‘always there’ comfortable project and, as with some braiding, I found myself slowing down at the end because it was so enjoyable, kind of like a book you don’t want to end.
And then there was the question of finishing technique. That too. How would I finish this rug? I have never whipped the edges which is the classic technique for hooked rugs; I have always put a straight or fancy braid around mine.
My hooking guild gave lots of suggestions: “whip the edges in yarn, in wool, add a fringe: a BRAID? “Not very classic, Dianne, but that is who you are, it is your rug, after all”. They think of me as the braider who dallies in hooking. sigh.
This would make a lovely hearth rug but we have a wood burning stove/fireplace and I wouldn’t want to risk an ember igniting it and most of my floor space is covered with braided rugs, so on the wall it will go, and a fringe, though classic would flop….I really didn’t want to cave and whip the edges, so………..a braid and was excited to see that my wool stash included a large piece of the same green color as the background that came with the wool, so I did two rows in slightly different widths to give a frame to Gloria’s masterpiece. Wonder what she’s thinking of that?
My final thought is that thinking of where to put this rug has given me an opportunity to look at what I already have on the walls; many of my ongoing hooked/braided mats, showing how I have improved over time, plus some of my mother’s Chinese and Japanese paintings.