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 . . . .

Sally

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Excitement is Building!

SpoolMag

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!

Sally

Woot! Web site Re-design Finally Done!

More news people!! I finally have my pretty, new re-designed web site online! Yay!! It was a long and grueling process, but I finally finished it today. Still tweaking here and there, but it’s mostly done. The great news for all of you is that I have lowered many of my prices (we all feel the pinch, right?)

I am closing out the cotton punch needle threads, so you can get great deals by the bagful while they last.

And there are tons of downloadable tutorials for both rug hooking and punch needle. Lots of helpful information for beginners, too.

Also, don’t miss the free punch needle pattern of mine from Weeks Dye Works!

That’s just the beginning . . . stay tuned for the Grand Re-Design Celebratory Opening! More good deals and fun things in store! Whew!

I’d love to know what you think about the new design – is it easier to find things?

I’ll be back soon with details about the Grand Opening . . .  I just announced the winner of the free red dot pattern and 1/4 yard of overdyed wool on my Facebook Page. If you haven’t visited there (or LIKED me there) come on over. I have been giving away a free pattern every month to my Facebook Fans. Get in on that!

Have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend everyone! As always, pray for our troops and never forget 9/11!

Sally

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!

Check Out my Latest Hook-a-Month Project!

I found the perfect two antique rugs, so I combined their elements to create this Fall’s Hook-a-Month project. It measures 20 x 29 inches and will be sent in four separate shipments, once a month from Nov until Feb. That will give you plenty of time to hook each section, and by Feb., have a wonderful, old-looking rug completed.

Fall 2009 Hook-a-Month Project from Folk 'n' Fiber

Deer and Urn

The colors are so rich, yet have the softness of an old rug. The naive shapes and sections in the border add to the age and primitive aspect of this design. This kit will contain  a lot of textured wools, as well as a great antique black mix for the inner background and a rich, mottled red for the deer. I can’t wait to get started myself!

Click on the photo to go to my web site and get all the details about the project. There are several kit and payment options to choose from, and as usual, there will be a limited number of kits available, so reserve yours now. Shipping will begin on November 10th!

I really love these Hook-a-Month projects . . . and I hope they appeal to many of you, too!

can you believe it?

I am actually here updating my blog! You all thought I was a bad blogger before . . . I can’t believe it’s been this long since I had anything to post. Well, it’s not so much that I haven’t had anything to post, but that I haven’t posted it. Between Etsy, 1000 Markets, my e-newsletter, my web site, and well, life, I guess this one keeps falling to the wayside. So here I am to try to take another stab at being a blogger.

Online business has been quite slow since the recession began. While that makes it difficult to pay the bills, the challenge of keeping up with two homes is even more difficult. My son is living in my former home while I try to work on it to get ready to sell (before I lose it), and I have plenty to do here in my childhood home to keep it up.  Life has been a bit of a challenge since my mom passed away – I cannot believe it is almost a year since she died. Timing of paying to keep up with two houses wasn’t the best, but that is what life has given me. Eventually, it will be better.

So, on to rug hooking — what have you all been keeping busy with? Creating designs for Create and Decorate continues to keep me busy and hooking. The gals who have hooked my last two Hook-a-Month projects have kept me busy and I am hearing all good things about those rugs. It is so nice to hear that the rug hookers like the designs I selected and are enjoying the making of their rugs. I know finances are difficult for many right now, and  rug hooking might not be a priority; however, I would encourage you to continue to hook and create – it is part of who you are and what you do to fulfill the creative side of you. It will help lift your spirits, and provide some at-home entertainment and satisfaction while we muddle through this difficult time.

If you are a hooker who normally purchases kits with wool, instead try recycling wool — it’s a thrifty alternative to purchasing yardage, and provides you with some exclusive wools for your rugs. No one else will have the same wools that you have! Look at your local thrift stores – Salvation Army and Goodwill usually have a decent selection of wool clothing at affordable prices. Select large size skirts and slacks to get the most for your money. If you don’t live where wool clothing is available, watch eBay for 100% wool (the wool mark is a good indication) slacks and skirts in large sizes. If the price is right, you can build your stash that way (but then there is the shipping costs.) My point is, don’t let the poor economy steal your passion for hooking.

So here is my latest creation for Create and Decorate – you’ll find it in the Holiday issue on newsstands Sept. 15th. I created a matching punch needle pin design, too.Adaptation of Antique Penny Rug

So, I will try to blog more often (I know, I’ve said it before) and I hope you will continue to read these posts. I apologize for disappointing you with so little activity! You deserve better!

Til next time . . .

Etsy.com – I joined!

I decided to take the time to join and build a shop on Etsy. What a wonderful group of artisans they have there. So that took me a while to get all the photos and stuff together, but I hope the added exposure will help promote my creations and my web site, too. I have tons of things here in the studio that are not shown on my site, or represented anywhere, really. So, why are they taking up so much studio space? I need to SELL them!!

I am hoping that Etsy will help with that . . . here are the items I have there to date — I will be offering my Create and Decorate project models there too, I think. I have a couple of them in there now.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
folkandfiber.etsy.com