Hooking Gifts in a Poor Economy

It’s coming, like it or not! I am talking about the season of giving gifts. You look at the stack of bills and straight into the empty bottom of your wallet, and wonder “how am I going to pull this off again this year?” The economy and job market hasn’t gotten a lot better over the last year and it remains difficult for so many people to stay on top of bills

Yep, it's coming fast!

and finances, and have any funds left over for hobbies or fun. Luckily for us, thrift store wool and a little linen can keep us hooking if it comes down to that! But think of how much money you can save by creating holiday gifts yourself — and the joy it would bring to a friend to receive them! A stack of hooked mug mats tied up with pretty ribbons would melt my heart, for sure! To receive an actual rug created by a special family member just for me would make me feel so special. I know the retailers want us to buy, buy, buy throughout November and December (and I know we still will do that) but we can save on those post-holiday bills a little by giving rug hooked gifts to a few very special folks this year. I received and order for my Barn Star Mug Mat kit this week with a note from the customer saying, “please send this order asap – I want to get these hooked for a Christmas gift.” It got me wondering how many rug hookers give special, hand-hooked presents every year? Think about that . . .

I am presenting a new series of designs in Create and Decorate this coming year called Celebration Rugs. The designs are for rugs that you would give as special gifts to mark an occasion, like a wedding, a special birthday, or a housewarming. The first design will appear in the January/February issue – it’s a Wedding Rug. At any given wedding, how many of the couples’ closest guests might be rug hookers? Not many right? Probably only one – you! So how special would it be for that couple to receive a gift that would last all the years they are married? You couldn’t say that about the old standby gifts, like a toaster, or roasting pan, or even sheets. Our craft is one that is sustainable and one that creates finished products that are intended to last several lifetimes. That in itself is a gift.

Have you created gift rugs in the past? Will you give one this holiday season? Tell me about it!

Happy Fall Hooking, my friends! Stay warm, stay well, and hook on . . . .



Support for Folk Art in America?

Recently read in the Etsy forums:

“Please. Someone, everyone, do something to save the American Folk Art Museum from dissolution and dispersal,” begged art critic Roberta Smith in the opening line of her plea in The New York Times last week.

I was unaware that the American Folk Art Museum was in trouble . . . it is the most awesome place I have ever visited! How can we let it fall and disappear?  Apparently, it has been rescued . . . but for how long? We need to do something to preserve and protect our folk art heritage!

The article goes on:

Having narrowly escaped financial ruin by selling off one of its two locations, the future of New York City’s American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), whose staff of 50 has dwindled to 10, has been bleak. Fortunately, within a few days of Smith’s article, donors came through and saved the museum at the last minute. AFAM is still in critical condition — the road to recovery will involve internal restructuring and, presumably, a massive media campaign to attract visitors. The case of AFAM is just more evidence proving how over time, the words “folk” and “craft” have developed a negative connotation, often marginalized and excluded from high art.

Please read the rest of the article at Etsy.com here:


(note the gorgeous photo of all those red and white quilts hung for a show!)

Who would have ever thought that folk art would make it to the endangered species  list? Unspeakable! What can we do to make sure we don’t lose all this wonderful, historic art?


Excitement is Building!


I mentioned in an earlier post and on my Facebook page that I will be featured in a new magazine, called SpoolMag, in their September issue. I just had a peek at the layout as they are getting ready to go to press. I am getting so excited! The new issue will be in shops and mailboxes on Sept. 15th. They ran a nice article about me and one of my designs as a free pattern for you to hook. When the magazine hits the stands, you will be able to download the instructions and more images of the featured rug from my web site. Just watch my home page for a link (after Sept 15th.)

I am very grateful to Diane Selby, editor extraordinaire of SpoolMag, for the opportunity to spread the word about rug hooking to a new group of crafting enthusiasts. If you have not seen the magazine yet, go to their web site and take a look. You can also use their shop finder to see if a shop near you carries the magazine. Or better yet, get a subscription! Here is a sneak peek:

  Now, doesn’t that leave you just a little curious?

Hook-a-Month Kits

There are a few of these new Fall Hook-a-Month kits left for the taking. If you are thinking about it, don’t wait too long – they are going fast. I will start shipping mid-September, so you still have time to grab one! You can read all about it here.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print for now . . . til next time, Hook On, my friends!


New Year – New Stuff

Another fresh new year is here . . . Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear, To love and laugh and give!

First, Happy New Year to you all! How many times have you written the date as 2010 since the year changed? That always takes me a while to get used to. So we have a whole new year to get it right!

I have been meaning to do this for a while, and here it is — the new look for the blog. The only thing I am not pleased with is the blue links, but it’s something that WordPress won’t let me change unless I pay for an upgrade — maybe later. I found the cool calendar api and installed it – all the different people holding the dates – such fun! I also added lots more blog links in the sidebar, so check out our friends! Everyone is doing amazing things!

I am in the process of changing the format over at Simple Fibers, too. It will soon be a free site for anyone who wants to list their fiber resource web site. I tried it as a paid advertising site, but didn’t get a good response. But, I still think it’s a good idea and I will keep it running as a free listing site. It will still be for fiber related resources only and I will approve all the requests for inclusion to the listings. Stay tuned for those changes, and I hope the site will grow faster once the word gets out that the site is going to be FREE! Free is good, right? We need to help each other in this economy.

I am working on selecting an antique rug to use for my adaptation and the upcoming Hook-a-Month design. That’s always a hard choice. I recently sent out the last wool shipment for the Winter Hook-a-Month – if you’ve been working on that one, please send me your progress photos! I am still (yes, still) working on the Fraktur rug for myself. This is the longest it has ever taken me to hook a rug. Life just keeps getting in the way.

My best friend and I have opened a new Etsy shop to sell vintage and collectible items. We are both former antique dealers and just have too much stuff to hang on to. She changed her antique shop to a jewelry boutique last summer and I just have a lot of great finds that need to find new homes. So, we pooled our goods and opened Vintage on the Ridge at Etsy.com. . . “The Ridge” is the street (N Ridge Road) we both live on, so it just made sense (to us at least.) I am the appointed photo taker, listing writer and shipper (yeah, I am basically doing it all.) Please stop by and see if you find any treasures – I have lots more to add, but like I said, too little time. I am working on it though.

I hope you are warm and happy, with hooking in your lap, and new inspiration in your heart.

Simple Fibers – resource market for fiber art lovers

Why have I been so absent of late, you ask? I have just created a new place for all you fiber art lovers to find everything you crave, all it takes to fill your stash, what you want to work on next, new inspirations and beginnings, the end all-be all in fiber. It’s a new web site designed to promote fiber artists and fiber web sites.

Simple Fibers is just a baby now – not much content there yet, but lots of places for you to fill with your fiber art and fiber offerings. I will give you lots of ad space, lots of exposure in many ways, and help you build a larger following for your fiber art. The site is very focused on specific fibers and techniques: rug hooking (of course,) knitting, punch needle embroidery, needle felting, weaving and spinning. Most of these fiber arts use wool as their fiber medium and that brings us together in a common way.

If you are a fiber artist, if you sell supplies, tools, patterns, kits, and other things related to these fiber arts, I would love to add you to Simple Fibers as an ad member. If you are a fiber-holic and are tired of searching the web for the stuff you need to create more fiber art, this site will focus your search, provide lots of free resources and places to shop, drool, and fill your need for fiber.

Visit Simple Fibers

Simple Fibers is out there on the worldwide web just waiting for its pages to be filled with wonderful fiber places to visit — join us, won’t you?

PS – I am running a contest to create a great tag line for Simple Fibers. The winner will receive a free one-year advertising membership in our top-level ad tier. The contest starts today and ends on May 15. Go here to enter!

Crochet-Finishing for your Rugs

I was poking around the blogs this morning – something I never allow myself much time to do – and I came across Karen Kahle’s (Primitive Spirit) instructions for finishing a rug using a crocheted edge. I had seen this quite some time ago, but thought that I would share that link with you. So many of you are knitting and crocheting these days (something I never mastered.) Karen is so talented and has a great color palette that is both primitive and contemporary at the same time. I hope you enjoy seeing how she finishes rugs with crochet.

Here is another fabulous idea for incorporating unique, wooly texture into your hooked pieces – Ali Strebel uses rolled wool strips for circles and other shapes (see the heart mat.) Ali (Alice of the Kindred Spirits duo) is now on her own at Ali Strebel Designs for Kindred Spirits – while she might be without Sally, she certainly is not at a loss for talent and new techniques. I can’t wait to try this!

Not leaving the gentlemen hookers out, Gene Shepherd’s Video Blog and instructional posts are just overwhelming! If you can’t find something there to inspire you and make you want to try something new, well then, I can’t help you! Check it out – be sure to bookmark this one because you will not be able to see it all at cone time. I love his passion for rug hooking, but seriously – Gene, you have way too much time on your hands! Not! I love this man!!

There are still a few kits available for the new Spring Hook-a-Month Project. New sign ups are coming in every day, so if you want to participate, reserve your kit now!

My new Easter cone was featured in the AHA blog today! Thanks Suzanne!

I better get some work done – even though I really want to keep poking around all the great rug hooking blogs!

Hook On, my friends!