Start the New Year with Rug Hooking Magazine

Jan/Feb 2016  and read the article by Australia’s Accidental Rugmaker, Kira Mead.

 It’s just over a year since Gay Wilkes, a founding member of ARG from Albany, Western Australia, sent me a picture of Kira’s work – a wall hanging made from recycled wool blankets.

Kira Mead with one of her vibrant rugs. Picture: Lata Photography
Kira Mead with one of her vibrant rugs. Picture: Lata Photography

 As Membership Chair, I invited Kira to join the Guild – she was surprized, said she wasn’t a rugmaker, so I explained that though she didn’t know it, she was using a rugmaking technique and making quillies, so was an “accidental rugmaker”, a term Kira has adopted.

Throughout the past year Kira has experimented with eco dyeing, hanging odd-shaped wall art Rose_Gelato_Quillie_rug_by_Kira_Mead_Albany_West_Australia_Grid Back Framingand various rug making techniques.   Her open and sharing personality reflects the bright colours she likes to work with.

Quillie_rug_created_by_Kira_Mead_Albany_West_Australia_titled_So What_as_in_Miles_Davis

           After  going viral on the Guild Facebook page, the giant quillies went from wall hangings to chair covers, to 3D vessels and seat and floor cushions and more.

Chair_Top_Finished_created_by_Kira_Mead_Albany_West_Australia - Copy

3_D Quillie_designed_&_created_by_Kira_Mead_Albany_West_Australia


Kira's quilllie cup mat.
Kira’s quilllie cup mat.







Like many Australian Guild members, Kira’s an isolated rug hooker, she lives in a country town about 417 ks (259 miles) south of Perth.   There are rug hookers in and around the area, Gay and others who have taken the workshops Judith Stephens and I gave in 2010 and 2011, but so far no group has been formed.

Newly retired and looking for an artistic outlet, Kira searched the web and came across the giant quillies. Now as a member of the rugmakers guild Kira continues to search out different techniques on the web and again was surprized to discover this chain stitch is a “rugmaking” technique, one of several stitches to have “cross pollinated” from embroidery to rug making.


There’s been articles in previous issues of Rug Hooking Magazine by Laura Pierce, Gene Shepherd and others detailing various rughooking stitches.


Still using chain stitch, Kira has made yet another transition from embroidery to rughooking, by creating a design from a traditional pattern worked in cross stitch.  She had been researching Bukovina/Ukrainian and Romanian patterns as it is the area her paternal family are from. Then found in her linen cupboard a piece her grandmother brought with her when the family came to Australia as displaced persons in 1950.

Below, made to celebrate International Rug Hooking Day

is the piece underway, made with up-cycled 100% Wool (Albany Woollen Mill) blankets and the finished project.

Romanian design from Kiras paternal grandmother


“In my Bunica’s Travel Trunk”   29cm x 29cm

Now I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what Kira comes up with in 2016.

The year is just beginning and these Before/After images have arrived in my Inbox  “shibori felted knitting”  ??








Pippa the pooch about to loose the jacket and the jacket after felting, with some “additions”.

Kira intends to enter a hooked fibre sculpture in  WAFTA 21+   a juried Exhibition –  so images of that work must be kept under wraps until after selection for the  Exhibition.

Editors Note:      As a trainee instructor at my first McGown Guild Workshop in Eugene, Oregon, 2002, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Marie Bresch an accomplished rug hooker (you can find Marie’s name listed in Rug Hooking Magazine as a member of the Emeritus Board).  Marie learned to hook in Canada many years ago in a very formal class setting where everyone was expected to learn all the rug hooking rules, as well as the different creative stitches used in rug making – 13 I was told. Marie said the stitches were detailed in a book published in Canada. I’m thinking given that time frame, it was probably by Rittermere.   

You often hear reference to  the “rughooking police”, but don’t worry its now OK to break some of the rules. Back then, at a time when rugs were IN USE … ON THE FLOOR, the rules were in place to preserve the life of the rugs.    I’ve met rug hookers in the USA & Canada who have on their floors, rugs made by their Grandmothers – its possible some of these rugs could be close to 100 years old because my friends are “mature age” and their mothers remembered the same rugs being on the floor when they were children.                                      

Happy New Year to All              Jo Franco








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