Deconstructed Fibre: It’s a Puzzle

ISSN 2207-001X  March 19 2017

This Puzzle was hooked by the Australian Rugmakers Guild Webmaster Judi Tompkins from Queensland who shared her ideas and progress with Editor, Jo Franco, in Western Australia via Skype.

Now the ambitious project’s complete (even has it’s own special storage box with a hinged lid and an image of the completed piece on the inside of the lid) Jo asked Judi if she would share with the members, the techniques used and problems encountered.

Here’s the storage box sitting on the puzzle with a couple of the puzzle pieces on top.

and here’s the finished decorated lid of the storage box.

lift the lid and you have an illustration to follow

Here’s what Judi had to say about the process;

This was supposed to be an “easy” project when I first started thinking about it, I mean after all, I was merely going to produce 16 small rugs that would nest together neatly and create a large colourful mat with some beads and bling.  

     Hah!     Just goes to show how the best laid plans can change directions rather quickly.

(Please Note: some of the videos in this post are slow to load)

So, for any of you wishing to try a similar project, here, not in any particular order, are some observations and things I learned along the way. 

 Glue is not my friend! And believe it when they say “hot” glue – You betcha it is!

It took me a while to figure out a few things about hot glue: 

         You don’t have to touch it immediately (and in fact you shouldn’t) … give the glue 3-4 secs to lose the immediate heat before you manipulate your fabric or embellishments.

         After burning my fingers eleventy-two million times I discovered that some crumpled up oven paper/baking type works as a great substitute for your finger. The glue won’t stick to it and you can use it to push and adjust the fibre. You must use it crumpled though … then it acts as a buffer between you and the hot glue. 

Glue is still not my friend but we have come to an “understanding” at this point.

 Make your design easy to cut apart. I left space between my pieces but I think more would have been better. Just think about how you will cut the shapes once you are ready to glue the edges and how much space you will need to manipulate the glue gun.

 Once I finished hooking the pieces I used PVA glue to stiffen the edges a bit and to pull the stray fibres out of the way of the cut line.  

 If you are making a puzzle or some such thing that needs to be reassembled in a particular way … number your pieces on the backing and TAKE A PHOTO OF IT!

Then when you finish the pieces I suggest that you put the corresponding number on the back of each piece (ie. 4/16…piece 4 out of 16) so you can match them up yourself …  believe me you will be very glad you did this!    

 Because I am so bad with glue, I “over glued” the edges with hot glue before I cut the pieces apart. So … my suggestion is that if you have already used PVA glue to secure the bits … cut your pieces apart and then hot glue the edges & backing.  Believe me cutting through “set” hot glue is an ugly job and I broke a pair of scissors trying to do it! 

 I don’t hook in neat straight lines and I tend to use a lot of different fibres so my work tends to be lumpy and shaggy. That works well for hiding the rough edges but I found that I still needed to “outline” each piece with some 8ply rug yarn to clean up the edge. I would be interested to see how this looks if the pieces were hooked with cut wool strips and a consistent loop height (which I can’t seem to do!).  I think the pieces would nest together better than mine do.

 Never, never, never, never, ever use self-adhesive backing on your pieces! Ahhhhhhggggg! What a nightmare! When trimming the edges of this stuff my scissors were gummed up within seconds and I had to constantly stop to wipe them off with turps! And an exacto blade was even worse!

Awful stuff …. but again … it’s a “glue” thing with me perhaps? 

This is an extra puzzle piece included in the box as a “mystery” piece just to give people something to think about …..  “now where should it go?”

(it goes nowhere because it’s piece No. 17 of a 16 piece puzzle).    Hah!

 Good luck to all who try this … I’ll be interested to see your results! 

 Let me know if you have questions.                           Judi Tompkins

 

Members of the Sunshine Coast Rugcrafters group attempt to put this puzzle together for the first time – it looks like it would be fun!

Thanks Judi for sharing your thoughts as you worked through this process.

Jo Franco, Editor

 

Coat of Arms with Unicorn Rug

ISSN 2007-001X

What do these items have to do with a rug inspired by a coat of arms?

Read on and learn a new finishing technique.

Stella Edmundson, a member of Judi Tomkins Sunshine Coast RugCrafters group, is relatively new to rug hooking however, her background in art, and a classical education, stands her in good  stead when it comes to creating designs.

Stella has learned more than just rughooking techniques from the very creative Judi, a self-taught rughooker, who has worked in different art mediums.  Judi encourages members of her group to think outside the box when it comes to framing their hooked pieces.

Here is Stella’s latest hooked work, a commission piece, destined for the USA.

In her own words, Stella’s description of her commissioned work:

” My latest hooked rug is being sent to America by request of my sister who is a close friend of Germanic Kenesbeck descendants.  It is inspired by the Kenesbeck coat of arms. I did not attempt to copy this family crest; for my hooking is not suitable for replicating anything.    Instead I chose the unicorn which dates back to 1172!

The unicorn on the family crest is a realistic long legged colt with a lion’s mane and tail (this imbues the unicorn a lion’s strength and power). I also wanted to have some kind of border suggesting the elaborate exquisite filigree scrolling greenery on the bottom of the crest. Alas, I had to make do with a more simple pattern. I have found that including trees in my hooked rug adds energy so I searched the net for a drawing of a Germanic looking tree.

So, that was the idea I started with. The rug made itself. The unicorn turned out to be not realistic but heraldic (ditto with the rabbits). Unicorns are truly magic beasts representing innocence, sincerity, cleanliness, wisdom, peace and joy. Rabbits are often depicted in medieval unicorn tapestries for they share a reclusive nature with a deep love of nature.

The time is early spring now in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. The setting is a deep dark night in a grassy wood lit by a radiant moon.”

Stella has invested in a new way of finishing hooked rugs which are to be hung; to give them a firm even edge, without the need of a frame.

Stella says   …………

“Here’s a  step by step approach with images – these items were used during the finishing of a previous wall hanging.

 1. Cut off excess backing fabric (foundation cloth) but leave enough to cover the rug

 2. Place a mounting board the exact size of the rug on the back

 3. Surround the mounting boards with cut dowels just under the width and length of the mounting board. Connect each corner by plastic tubing. This means there is no needs for nails and the corners are rounded.

 4. Fold foundation cloth over the dowels and mounting board. Fold down from top & up from bottom first and then fold the across sides to cover the whole piece then sew all sides together.

 5. With wool yarn matching the piece do rug stitch/whip stitch over the dowels and between the mounting board. Having a dowel in place insures even stitches.”

(Editors Note: The whip stitching should be done after “assembly” while the piece is laying on a flat surface;   it helps to have the far edge weighed down – you can see Stella has a couple of very accommodating weights!

Below is Stella’s final comment regarding her technique. I might add, this finished back also provides a good surface to add an Artist’s Statement or at least (Name/Size of work, Name of Artist & date completed)

” 6. I like to cover the back with fabric which gives a polished finish.”

Well done Stella!

and thank you for sharing your technique with other rugmakers.

Jo Franco, Editor

 

 

Guild member receives Australia Day Award

ISSN 2207-001X

DAWN HOLLINS has been named  BEGA VALLEY’S SENIOR CITIZEN of the YEAR

Photograph provided by Bega Valley Shire Council

While following the Bermagui Surf Life Saving project we’ve read much about Dawn’s “abundant enthusiasm” and dedication to making a difference in the community.

An article in the Bega District News – “A Lifetime of Service Spanning the Globe” gives an instight into Dawn’s early family life and her involvement with orphaned and abandoned children throughout Asia, increasing her own family of 3 to 6 with adoptions from Thailand, Sri Lanka and South Korea and her work with the Adoptive Parents Association.

How, after moving to the Bega area 20 years ago, this background as an organizer saw her become an active member of the Rural Women’s Network and a key member of the Bega Valley team hosting the 2005 Rural Women’s Gathering.

As reported in the Bega District News article, Dawn’s passion for learning and teaching led her to the Bermagui and District Branch of the University of the Third Age – a group that looks to create and foster educational opportunities for people in retirement. In this group Dawn helped broaden the variety of courses to 80 subjects available through local presenters.

One very active Bermagui and District U3A group, the rug hookers created seven amazing rug panels now hanging in the Bermagui Surf Club.

Dawn Hollins and Bermagui & District U3A Rug Hookers with Bruce McAslan President, Bermagui Surf Club.  Photographer Ben Smyth Bega District News

After the hanging and dedication of the hooked panels on the 15th December, 2016, we decided to create a Guild Video of this impressive project.

On learning Dawn was to receive the Australia Day award, it was decided to wait until 26th January, Australia Day, to publish the video – to honour Dawn’s leadership on the day of the award.

Bermagui & Districts U3A Rughooking Group members describe Dawn as a shining example of the ideal that one person can make a difference.

Congratulations Dawn

from the members of the Australian Rugmakers Guild