Sauder Village 2019

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Kris McDermet (left) with her award-winning rug:  “The Understory — A Tree is the Passage Between.”  It won People’s Choice in the Mixed Media Category at Sauder Village.  

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.

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This is what driving across Ohio looks like.

There were a few braided rugs there at the rug hooking exhibit!!  Here they are:

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Rug for “Wing Chair Challenge” — made by Janet Kiekhofer 

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.

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“Life is Good,”  by Sandy Kub.  Also part of the Wing Chair Challenge.

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:

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Peggy Hannum, “Geranium Oval.”  Designer:  Heirloom Rugs.  Category:  Commercial

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.

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Jane Anderson designed and hooked this “Frankie’s Big Night Out” rug.  

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.

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My “tie-dyed” wool (left), and the original silk necktie (right)

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.

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My “spot-dyed” class sample

It was a fun time, and I plan on going back again next year!

Working on

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Current Flower I’m working on

Christine here.  No, I haven’t finished my fairy tale rug that I wrote about in the last post.  I ended up starting a new rug, because I am mulling over how to put the dragon’s teeth on the outside of it, and whether or not teeth are enough or if fiery breath is needed also.  The fire, in particular, has me a bit stymied.  I’ve been sketching alternatives and just keep thinking about it.

In the meantime, I started another flower.  This time, I decided to put in two rows of petals… and that’s what’s giving me grief right now.  I put in the first row of petals, and then decided that the second set of  larger petals would have to come out between the earlier petals.  Summarizing days of braiding and unbraiding:  the only way to put petals in between the earlier ones is to make a separate spoke.

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Separate spoke

The separate spoke is shown, right.  It has a pointy region at the top that will fit into the crevice between the earlier petals, and two double corners off to the sides that will hopefully help me to start rounding the side points around the spoke.

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Second set of spokes, surrounded by one additional row.

The photo left shows the second set of spokes plus one row of braiding.  I plan on continuing with my salmon pink and brown colors, ombre’ing out to mauves and dark brown.

I haven’t tried a second set of spokes before, and I’m kind of curious as to how long it will take me to fill in those deep points on either side of the spokes.  The rug is pretty big now so it’s taking me quite awhile to braid and lace each row.

In the meantime, I’m still thinking about fiery dragon’s breath and how to depict it in braids.