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


Guild member receives Australia Day Award

ISSN 2207-001X


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



An Ambitious Community Project

Surf Club & Rughooking?  

  An update from Bermagui on the south coast of New South Wales

The Bermagui & District U3A Rughooking Group meets every Friday afternoon to work on an ambitiouBermagui_panel_3s community project.

The twelve women involved are hooking seven large wall panels (1m wide x 1.4m high) to hang in the local Surf Club to beautify it and to absorb sound.

The design is based on a panorama of the area drawn by artist Rona Walker and then transferred to the hessian panels.

The rug hookers have added personal touches such as birds, surfers, vehicles and even a hot-air balloon!


The project was conceived by Dawn Hollins, who organises the group, and instructed by Lin Potter, the only experienced rug hooker when the group formed almost two years ago.

Work on the panels began early in 2015 and several have already been completed.


(The retreating figure gives an indication of the size of these panels)



Editors Note:   Miriam Miller and her group in Milton continue to be interested and supportive, and recently visited the Bermagui Surf Club to see the progress.  I am told the group is well advanced with this project and expect to have the panels up on the wall by the end of the year.


Canberra Retreat and Exhibition


Call for Entries :

 It is now less than 4 months before the Australian Rugmakers Weekend Retreat & Exhibition in Canberra, ACT at the Woolshed in Strathnairn.   Planning is now well under way.

There will be a Guild General Meeting on Saturday 3rd Sept and the Exhibition will be opened by Nancy Tingey on Sunday 4th Sept.

I am sure our members are busy making amazing rugs, big and small.  (Entry Forms). 

It is going to be a very special event with talks by guest textile artists and how-to demonstrations, plus meeting up and enjoying the company of rug makers from around the county.  

I can’t wait to see all my rug friends and their work very soon.      Maggie

Maggie_Whyte_V_Pres_Secretary_ARGMaggie Whyte, Curator,  CANBERRA, EXHIBITION AND RETREAT, 

SEPT 4th to 25th, 2016


Pod in old gum tree StrathnairnEditors Note: Maggie’s already had work on display at Strathnairn; this hooked pod was photographed in the grounds.  Maggie made the felt, dyed it and then cut the felt into strips and hooked the strips into hessian.   

Look for more or Maggie’s very creative works on the Guild Facebook page.    

Jo  Franco, Editor/Membership Chair

So What’s NEW?

the Guild Website!   it’s been revamped –

now mobile & iPad friendly, includes an updated Events Calendar, additions to the SWAP n SELL page and another Book Review by Miriam Miller. 

Printed by Nimbus Publishing Ltd ISBN 978-1-55109-846-3 Paperback ISBN 978-1-55109-829-6 Bound    Miriam Miller received a copy of   A Lifetime of Rug-Hooking ‘ by Doris Eaton,  from the TIGHR member who received Miriam’s hooked Friendship Square at the 2015 The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers Triennial Conference in Victoria, BC Canada.

Speaking of Canada – Miram and the Narrawilly Proggers  enjoyed a visit from a group of Nova Scotia ruggers who were on a South Pacific cruise.  Miriam (second from right) said ..    Canadians_on_Sth_Pacific_cruise_Cindy_Betty_and_Cathy_with_Miriam_Miller_in_NSW_Australia

it was brief a day and a half. but we managed to fit in many things. Walks on the beaches, a progressive dinner then a rug day, a visit to the milking for Cindy who comes from a dairy farm, and to see the kangaroos at the Conjola Caravan park, they come out each evening for the grass. Even a short bush walk to Granite Falls.”

I’m sure there’ll be more about this visit in the next issue of Miriam’s Narrawilly newsletter  “Connecting Us“.

Miriam Miller, rughooking instructor, NSW Australia_photo, Gillian Lett Milton Ulladulla Times
Miriam Miller, rughooking instructor, NSW Australia_photo, Gillian Lett Milton Ulladulla Times

Miriam has also recently hosted a rug hooker from Darwin – who came on a Thursday for a private workshop and stayed overnight to take part in the Rug Day, held in the Rug Room at Narrawilly on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month.

Miriam_Millers_Rug_Room_Narrawilly_Australia_photographer_Nina_&_Michael_van_ Ewijk






On the Guild’s SWAP n SELL page you will find a new frame with “substitute” grippers. These frames have been used by several guild members and reports are, the substitute works well. The frame is available on both the East and West Coast.

A very different frame made in South Australia and featured on Swap Sell was sold to a rughooker in Nova Scotia.  Who’d have thought frames would be going from OZ to Canada when there is so much available in the way of rug hooking equipment over there.

  “NETWORKING”  –  it’s happening on the Guilds Facebook page – 

Cat_elusive_grey_rug_designed_&_hooked_by_Ann_Nickle_Bellingen_NSW_Australia_5816the post about a search for grey army blankets to finish off a large rug  generated much interest.  As soon as the post went up five members from across the country answered the call about the elusive blankets. After Ann’s had a chance to contact them I’ll let you know if any were suitableHooked_&_ woven_rugs_designed_&_created_by_Ann_Nickle_Bellingen_NSW_Australia_coloured grey woven _5799

 As you’ll see from a stack of her rugs shown here, Ann from Bellingen doesn’t only work with muted greys and blues.  

Most of Ann’s rugs are hooked, however like the denim rug shown some are woven and there’s even a  crocheted rug in the stack.






Judi_Tompkins_QLD_Austrlaia_with new_rughooker

Judi Tompkins not only gives workshops at her Shed studio in Landsborough, QLD, she now has a student in the Netherlands – giving her  rughooking lessons via Skype. 

Read more about Judi’s background and her creations on her website.

And then there’s the Chook Folly or maybe it’ll become Judi’s Folly –  more about this project in another blog.    Hooked_Chook_by_Judi_Tompkins_QLD_Australia

Western Australia:

Another interesting online happening;  the colourful works of Kira Mead from Albany Western Australia, were featured on Folt Bolt an inspiring website worth following.


Some of Kira’s recent pieces,  will be displayed at Expertise Events  Craft & Quilt Fair in Perth  including this large wall hanging shown below – the oranges and tree created with quillies and the leaves crocheted.






 Colour Abounds in WA :-

Robin Inkpen has been giving locker hooking workshops in the South West. Locker-hooked_Tote_Bag_designed_&_hooked_by_Robin_Inkpen_Donnybrook_Western_Australia

More workshops are scheduled and participants will be making this tote bag from a kit prepared by sold by Robin. 

It’s not as elaborate as her bespoke carpet bags, but is an easier project for beginners.












From the Editor:

Don’t forget to click or tap on  Current Events to see what’s happening in your area.   Be sure and let us know if you have an event planned, or if you know of an upcoming associated textile event.  Send details to Jo at

Until next time   –   Happy Hooking    –     Jo Franco;  Editor/Membership