**Site update: Most aspects of our site update seem to be working very well with the exception of the fact that some of our members have been either kicked off because the site thought their membership had lapsed or because old site account information (or lack thereof) did not jive up precisely with the what the new site thought it should be. (Some long time members are actually in our system more than once because of changed emails or because they have registered more than once. The site has trouble sorting that kind of thing out.) While many have been able to circumvent problems by following Bill’s Log In tutorial on the front page of the IRgC, others have contacted either Marsha or Bill directly – which is certainly fine to do. You can write us any time. Both Bill and Marsha have been burning the mid night oil to make sure any flagged accounts get sorted correctly in such a way as to mitigate this sort of thing in the furture. The good thing about any problem is that it allows us to identify a problem and get it fixed. So, should you find yourself locked out – don’t panic just write Marsha. We will get it sorted as quickly as we can. Thank you for being patient with us as we try to get everything set up. Once all systems are completely go, it should make everyone’s lives easier! That will also allow us to move on to other new developments that we have in store for the site.
Once again, thank you!
Question for the day:
A fairly new rug hooker recently asked me to report on how small a strip can be and still be OK to hook. My sense, from her question, is that she wants to know how little is too little to put in a rug. In other words, if one hooks a strip so small it makes loop or two, will it be enough of a strip to stay in place once the rug is on the floor?
That’s a very good question and my answer often shocks my students.
1. A single tail is never a good idea as it probably won’t stay in place – at least in a floor rug. Should someone slide their foot on a rug with a single tail sticking out, that slide could remove the tail. Using a rug as a surf board on a slick wooden floor might even create enough friction to pull out a tail from the underneath side. Soooooo, never leave just a tail.
2. I often DO leave two tails in one little spot. Notice the center of the little cat’s paw? That little spot of dark is just tail #1 in one hole, with the other end brought up from the back as tail #2 in the hole next to it. The strip is in a “U” shape around one thread of the backing. In this spot, a tail, a loop and a 2nd tail would be too much color – I just wanted a high (or low) light glint! Hence, 2 tails – one in each of 2 holes.
THEY STICK FINE AS LONG AS THEY ARE IN A SLIGHTLY CROWDED SPOT. I WOULDN’T SURROUND THEM WITH SEVERAL LOOSELY HOOKED FILL WHERE LOTS OF HOLES HAD BEEN SKIPPED. THAT CROWDED SPACE WILL KEEP THEM SECURELY IN PLACE.
If your are wondering about the need for such a small spot of color, I can prove my case. Don’t you think the 2 tone spot (above) looks nicer or more interesting
Than this little single colored spot? While this is fine, it might look better with a hint of another color or value. Even as I would like it, I don’t put a 2-tone look in the middle of every little cat’s paw as that would look a little too expected. Therefore, only put two tails in some.
While this shot shows another small cat’s paw with a second color, I am really showing it now to highlight the pink center section of the tear dropped shape center of the gold motif on the right. That pink spot was created by a tail, 2 loops and a second tail. That’s not a very big strip but it makes all the difference in the world as to the look of the teardrop. The spot of pink makes it pop.
Why fill any little spot with just one color when you can fill it with a spot that creates a two-toned look. As long as you put a small entry into a spot with enough hooked background support, those little bits will not only stay but call attention to the area.
Little bits of the right colors can make the difference in the world.
One of the things I like about the Problem Persian is that I am able to use all sorts of little bits. You can change colors in a background in two ways:
1. Use a wool that is heavily spotted or
2. Use lots of different colors and values in small amounts. Besides creating highlights, lots of bits make an area shimmer.
I found a secondary use for my new drafting chair
It gives me a perch to sit on when working on the wall of wool. I spent part of Wednesday sorting everything as, eventually, I have to dye up a lot more to fill it! At least now, I know which colors I will need to make.
I also used the chair to sort the other wall of wool. Wednesday’s effort centered on choosing and tying up wool I need to dye for projects (like the Biennial) later in the year. If I don’t set it aside now, I would probably use it for something else and then have to order more.
When my legs are ready to dye, I can now do so with abandon.
It was a good feeling to get everything sorted out (after all my fall trips) and ready for the new year.
As can be expected, I have not been too happy about the 3 days of interruption we have had over the last 4 months. Consequently, to ward off other problems down the road, Buddy has been doing a complete site migration/upgrade which should move us to a new level of uninterrupted service. Although you won’t have to do anything to “make the switch,” we do anticipate that this will improve our site. At the same, we will also make some other changes.
As of today, I have the database built, the site has been migrated to the new server and the blog has been moved although you won’t actually be posting there until it goes live. This week, all the IRgC users are getting set up on the new system and I’m getting the new video player up and running. I am hoping to have it all be functional by next weekend. Buddy
While borders are never as exciting as most other design elements in a rug, they are rather important. In fact, the border on the Problem Persian is so important that I can’t proceed to the 4th corner until the border goes in.
There are two main reasons for that:
1. Anytime you employ a background fill that has a lot of movement, like the anti-godlin style hooking I will use between the 4 corners and the central medallion, a strong border needs to go in first. Think of busy hooking fill, which moves here and there, as being like a herd of unruly cows. If there isn’t a strong border (i.e. fence) all that movement will push against the outer edge, causing the straight lines to wobble. If the straight lines (and enough of them) go in first, they will hold all that other movement in check. If the movement goes in first, it tends to push the straight edge around when it tries to come in after the fact. So, before I get to corner #4, I want that straight edge border well in place and wide enough to keep everything in check.
2. Given all the problems with re-drawn lines that this piece has, my last “check” on corner placement is an eye ball check. I’ll judge the final accurateness of the drawn lines against how they stack up against the hooked border. This will require me to evaluate everything, by eye, based on how the other 3 hooked corners relate to their edges. In other words, the rest of the rug is sitting pretty good. I’ll hook the border, then make corner #4 sit “good” against it too.
For example, I can already tell the re-drawn red line on the left comes right next to the last dark red hooked border row. If hooked the way it is drawn, that line will be closer to the dark red than on the other 3 corners. Hence, that red pattern line will have to be backed over to the right just enough to be hooked and then surrounded by one more row of dark red fill.
See what I mean? That gold line (it’s drawn as the red line in the previous photo) never touches the straight hooked red border row. In some sections there is just an outline row … others about 2 rows, up to 4 rows.
The re-draw for this corner is ALMOST right, but not exactly. I will base all the hooking of those scrolling red lines (which will be hooked gold) against where it’s supposed to sit in relation to the straight dark red hooked row, as compared to the other rows. It’s a bench mark for me. I gave up, long ago, of having 4 perfect corners, opting instead for 4 very similar corners that are set, balanced, in each corner. When the border is hooked, I will be ready to attack that last corner.
Here is a new addition to the studio – a drafting chair for my light box.
Since bone spurs on my heel just required me to spend one month with a leg in a cast, I am trying to find all sorts of ways to lessen the amount of time I have to stand on concrete. Even though I have been pretty good about standing on rubber foot pads, that has not been good enough. Hopefully, this new set up will allow me to do most of my pattern drawing while seated!
Joanne asked me, some time ago, to do a tutorial on how to make a 5 point star. She had seen me demonstrate this technique somewhere but couldn’t remember the particulars. I would like to say that it is my original idea but, alas, that is not the case as I got it from Kris Miller. Since crediting her during other demonstrations, I have been given the name of other teachers who may have come up with the idea. Even though I can not state with certainty where it came from, it is a great little thing to put in your hooking bag of tricks.
I like using wide cuts for this technique – at least a 9 or more. This demo is done with a #10 cut – 1/2 and inch wide.
If you need a visual, draw a little 5 point star on your backing.
Bring up the initial tail in the center of the star.
This is one of the few hooking moments when I prefer using a straight hook. A straight hook helps set each of the 5 points/loops.
It is as easy and one loop, two loops
Three, four and five.
The final tail goes back to the middle with the first tail.
Working in a little background helps to straighten up and form the points of the star. Once some background goes in, the straight shaft can be used to tweak the look of each point.
It is a great little technique for stars that are about one inch wide.
It’s been a busy weekend at the Internet Rug Camp. If you are one of the special people who had trouble logging in, please know how much we appreciate your patience. Compared to other major IRgC updates, we actually had very few problems … unless you were one who had problems! However, between webmaster Bill and Marsha, I think we got everyone sorted out.
– To help people with log-in issues in the future, Bill has prepared a trouble shooting tutorial. It’s located on the top banner of the Internet Rug Camp Home Page and is called:
LOG IN ISSUES? CLICK HERE. While I can’t promise it will cover every issue that might come up, we think this tutorial will be a big help. And, if it doesn’t work, contact Marsha.
Also, once you get into the Internet Rug Camp (the page where there are buttons that say Blog, Videos, Patterns, etc.) there is a new button, on the bottom right of those green blocks, that says GENE’S RUGS.
It is a working button and you can click on Gene’s Rugs and see the images of some of my hooked rugs. Eventually, I will get everything I have ever hooked on that section and try to keep it up to date. However, the title is temporary as I want that section to be much more. Eventually, I would like it to be a gallery of all the rugs I have hooked, every rug that anyone has made from one of my patterns, my wool, as well as rugs from other designers that my students have done in classes with me. Obviously, this will be an optional gallery of rugs for those who want to participate. However, I think it will be quite helpful, should someone want to hook Pickering Oak, Big Momma, Pomegrande or any of my patterns, to be able to see several versions of each pattern done by students in my classes. While it is in the IRgC right now, I hope to eventually move it to my home page at geneshepherd.com so anyone can browse these rugs. While you can go in and look now, it’s not ready as I have only added some rugs and not taken the time to identify them with particulars. For now, take a look and let me know what you think about my idea to start voluntarily compiling a gallery of rugs we have worked on together.
If that is not enough work for a one legged man, take a look at the hooking I did this weekend –
I got corner #3 of the Problem Persian hooked! Although there is still quite a lot to do
Even I can tell that I am making progress.
If the Problem Persian is new to you, please know this is a rug that has given me problems for some time, hence the re-name. There are even 3 videos about it on the IRgC. Even though I refer to it as a “Problem,” I have always liked aspects about it.
#1. I chose to hook it with, mostly, a #8 cut. (The textured gold filigree lines are a #6.) That’s an unusual approach for a Persian design.
#2. I love the colors I initially chose.
#3. I decided to basically hook it with all sorts of scraps. While I do have some large pieces of wool I have saved back for this, it’s not just one color of green for the green sections – it’s several colors of green. And, if I start running low on a specific piece, I just add in something else kind of close.
#3. I am hooking most of it in an anti-godlin style. i.e Higgledy piggly … or every which way. That is pretty unusual for me, personally, yet that is the way I just started doing it, without forethought, 10 years ago when I started the rug. Granted, I think some of my problems with the rug have stemmed from this approach – I did it in the center and the corner medallions yet did not want to do it in the center background. I have since determined that this style needs to be consistently used throughout the rug and have, therefore, taken out some of the other background fill I put in earlier but did not like.
#4. The pattern is a hot mess.
Because the original pattern (a gift from Jane Olson) slipped when it was first drawn, I had to go back in and correct those errors in order for everything to turn out square. (The black lines are original, the red ones are where they should have been.) Although I carefuly made a good corner template from the original, all the original zigging and zagging was never a mirror image from one side of the design to the other.
That has caused me to
#5. Relax and just go with the flow. I mollified myself by looking at lots of hand made woven Persians that are not perfectly symmetrical … convincing myself this feature will make mine look more authentic!
#6. One way or another, I am going to get the rug hooked in 2019 and out of my studio!
Although I do use lots of different pieces of wool in each section, I basically ran out of any orangish red wool to keep the rug going.
Most people would find this orange-red wool to be an odd choice for a rug with so much deep magenta wool. However, I like the mix, thinking the expeditious use of the orange is what makes the deeper red to pop and not be so monotonous. (I think it makes the design shimmer.) While I wasn’t concerned about perfectly matching the orange (multiple oranges have been used already) I did need something this weekend to dump into the mix.
So, based on a hunch (alas, there are no dye diary records on this) I dyed up several reds, hopeful that one or two would work. (By the way, my Instagram posts are now featured at the bottom of the home page of the IRgC. This is a photo I just used there. Every so often I post something on both Instagram and Facebook as a way of making contact with new readers. It’s just a peek into one photo of the kinds of things regular readers get on the IRgC.)
Happily, I found a couple of pieces that I think will work just fine. Now, I have no excuse not to start on corner #4.
Don’t forget to look at the Log In tutorial, find the Instagram Feed and See the gallery called Gene’s Rugs … and let me know what you think. i.e. How is Bill doing?
Thursday saw a couple of areas in my life approaching normal.