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When the first Covid lock down started in March 2020, I began work on my largest rug hooking project yet. I wanted a big area rug for my office, and I'm a fan of geometric and abstract style rugs.
I prefer to plan a project as I go along, rather than having it all laid out at the beginning. In this case, this lack of planning led to some pulling out and re-hooking throughout the project.
To start, I took a large piece of linen, as wide as it comes off the bolt (64"), and about 78" long. I prefer to leave about 3-4" on the outside of the hooking area.
I knew I wanted to have a diamond pattern throughout the piece, so once the outside border was outlined, I notched with a sharpie every three inches along the border. In order to mark a straight line across such a large project, I found an old piece of baseboard, put a piece of painters tape along one side, and then used a sharpie to mark the lines.
Every time I laid the rug on the floor to look at my progress, Oscar would settle in!
The rug started in a #8 cut, but I later added a #9 cutter head to my studio and started using that for parts of the rug (black border and some filling in of the diamonds).
I started hooking from the center of the piece outward. Typically this can help reduce the amount of buckling on the piece.
As I was working on the center, I wasn't happy with the look and the contrast it was having with the hit or miss border.
Rather than pull out the hooking at this point, I switched to working on the outside again, deciding to proceed with a white outline/diamond pattern.
Since I had never worked on a project this large before, I didn't know if this would cause any issues with the center buckling, but it ended up not being a problem.
Working with a #8 and #9 cut meant the hooking went quickly, but there were times where my wrist was more sore than when working with a smaller cut.
I use a hoop for all my hooking, so the only challenge was the weight of the piece and having to constantly move the hoop around to different parts of the rug.
For the purple diamond section, I outlined with white, followed by a deep purple/turquoise yarn, before filling in with wool strips.
As I got closer to the center of the rug, I ended up pulling out what I'd previously done and added in more diamonds outlined in white. Since I had drawn out diamonds throughout the entire rug, it was easy to hook diamonds, or just switch to a straight line/border.
The blue in the center of the rug is from one large piece of wool that moves from light to dark blue/turquoise, and was hooked from the outside moving inward to show the graduated color.
Before finishing up the piece I went back and made a number of changes.
At the beginning I had put in the black borders, but I didn't find there was adequate contrast, so I removed a line of black and replaced it with a line of snow white.
The deep turquoise section felt a little plain to me in comparison with the rest of the rug.
Rather than do a lot of re-hooking to fix this, I just went back and pulled out a few strips here and there and added in more deep purple and deep blue to this turquoise.
I had been quite optimistic when I included the year in the border, since it took me 3 years to finish the piece instead of 6 months!
I removed a small part of the black border, and changed the year from 2020 to 2020-3. I'll always remember that this was my covid project!
For the border, rather than doing traditional black yarn, I used a highly variegated 100% wool yarn, hand-dyed using many of the same colors in the rug.
Rather than whipping the edges with two strands at a time, I did one strand, which helped to keep the color change pattern in the yarn.The whipping took ages, probably 25-30 hours just to finish the edges using this technique.
The border yarn ends up switching from turquoise to purple to navy.
I also went back and added a white line and black line to the very outside border, and while I had enough room in the linen to do this, one side was quite tight (only 2 inches or so), making it a little harder to hook on that side of the project.