Creativity on the Sunshine Coast

ISSN 2207-001X  20th July, 2017

I travelled a great distance across Australia from Perth, in the West, to Queensland on the East Coast, (with a detour up the “red centre” to attend the Alice Springs Beanie Festival) to meet in Beerwah, Queensland with these extremely creative members of the Sunshine Coast Rugmakers Group.

However, I’m not the only one who has covered many outback miles to get here. Gail lives in Mitchell, QLD, West of Beerwah and she drove over 600ks (361 miles) a 6.5hr (non-stop) drive.

Gail; living in the Outback, is a solitary rug hooker and self taught, who likes to visit this group occasionally when the opportunity arises. We’ve had some phone and email conversations about The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers and I was pleased she came today to meet up with me.

Gail normally designs her own patterns, but is currently working on a Moose pattern purchased online from Deanne Fitzpatrick, Canada.  When we saw the yarn Gail had spun to use in this piece – everyone decided they must have some! and encouraged her to spin more. Purchase details for this brilliantly coloured yarn can be found on the Swap n Sell page of the Australian Rugmakers Guild website.

On a previous visit Gail shared some of her spun mohair (fuzzy) yarn with Pat who really liked the way it hooked up.

Pat; is currently working on a 3D (Waldobrough) frog pattern which she designed. A novelty blue yarn with a sparkle really gives an interest to the water under the lily pads in the hooked “pond”.  Judi Tompkins the leader of this group specializes in 3D works and has encouraged members of the group to give it a try.

Annette; arrived with her hooked “bear skin” – this project is being completed in two pieces because it would otherwise be very heavy and unwieldy.  When hooked, the body and back legs will be attached behind the head.

Annette showed us how she had used a hook to complete the bear’s face with a crocheted chain stitch. She inserts the backing between the hook and the chain being crocheted.  The backing(foundations cloth) for this project is a length of recycled curtain, it’s soft and easy to manipulate.   When the hooking is finished the edges will be turned under and a fabric backing will be stitched on.

Here is a close up image of the inside of an ear being worked in the chain stitch.

Annette said she could see this rug being used by a child to lay on to read a book, the raised bear head would make a good backrest.
What a great way to encourage kids to read!

Stella hooked away quietly throughout the afternoon of animated conversations.

  She’s working on a piece she drew inspired by an (Indian) Mewar design. Embellishments already include tails, manes and udders on the hooked animals.

Judy (Owen – not to be confused with Judi Tompkins) brought her latest rug to show me

it’s a combination of cross stitched floral squares which have been joined together using the proggy technique, with a hooked outside border picking up the colours of the flowers. It’s really quite dramatic and the colours in the border pull it all together beautifully.

Judy was a little concerned the proggy joins of the squares might cause ridges and a tripping hazard – not so, the rug lays flat on the floor and the black raised technique doesn’t create any visual lines, however accentuates each of the floral inserts.

After telling the group about a rug hooking challenge Judy Tompkins and I had discussed in length that morning, and  plan to present publicly in the near future,

Jo, Judy O, Pat & Stella, Back row – Annette & Gail (hidden)

the group discussed a recent interview between Judi and myself about creativity in hooking – it was interesting to hear the feedback as to whether they saw rug hooking as an art and themselves as artists :-

Gail felt her rug hooking was definitely art rather than craft, as she creates her own designs – her other comment was her rug hooking relieved stress. While the others mostly agreed, some felt that it also created a certain amount of stress – having to come up with a design and colour plan.

Annette thought rug hooking was addictive and also said it was a release for her fabric hording. She also felt a certain freedom working without a pattern or instruction.

Pat was drawn to watching her projects grow and attempting new techniques .

Judy O felt a certain amount of satisfaction being able to pull her other textile interest together with rug hooking techniques

and Stella eloquently commented on how she ….. loved the freedom, the fact that there were no limits, she found things in nature – particularly trees – spoke to her creative/spiritual side the most and she lost herself in those projects.   Also, it was “fast” – everyone agreed that while rug hooking was not fast for them, rug hooking was fast for Stella – maybe because she is able to loose herself in her projects and like today, she didn’t stop hooking as she talked.

Videos were made of the conversations taking place during the afternoon.

I discovered there is much to learn in order to be a videographer. Being so inexperienced, I now have many “segments”, which hopefully can be “stitched” together at some point in time to be shared online or by DVD.

The idea being, those who do not have the same opportunity to get together with a group, might enjoy hearing the conversations of like minded people. Here is one of the segments as an example ….


I hope you enjoy reading about this interesting afternoon. We look forward to you joining the discussion so feel free to click the “comment” link below and let us know what you think! The other links will redirect you to the ARG website.(Please note you don’t need to have a WordPress blog, but you do need to register with WordPress to leave a comment)

Happy Creative Rugmaking  – Jo Franco, Editor

Reinforcing the Network

ISSN 2207-001X 26th June, 2017

Judi Tompkins and the Sunshine Coast RugCrafters in Queensland, recently had a visit from Jacqui Thomson of Milton, New South Wales, who had travelled north to visit her family and good friend Kathie Ryan who’d moved  from Canberra to Caloundra West

Kathie had attended Miriam and Jacqui’s rug days at Narrawilly along with Maggie Whyte, ARG Guild Vice President/Secretary also from Canberra.

Annette White is another Queensland rughooker who started rug hooking with Jacqui and Miriam in the Rug Room at Narrawilly before moving north, … so Jacqui’s trip to Queensland was a chance for all of them to reconnect.

The ladies from the Sunshine Coast are very innovated with their hooking and their designs.

Annette,  Judy and Pat, seen here admiring a rug Stella is making as a gift for a cancer treatment centre where she was treated (successfully). The group was surprised (although they shouldn’t be) at how quickly Stella had drawn and started hooking this new piece (under a week!).

“Where to from here” –
Judy Owen discusses the border of her rug with Bea Nitschke
and here is the finished project.

Annette is hooking a bearskin rug to go in front of her fireplace – a brown bear with raised head and legs splayed like a skinned bear.

 Here Annette is working on the bear’s head and chatting with Jacqui.

I’m looking forward catching up with the Sunshine Coast RugCrafters. We’re about to hit the road again, headed North to Tenant Creek and then East to Mt. Isa, Queensland – from there via Cloncurry & Longreach to Rockhampton on the coast, and south to meet up with the Sunshine Coast Rugcrafters in Beerwah.

The 21st Annual Alice Springs Beanie Festival closed today breaking several records; number of beanies submitted, and sold, funds raised and it looks like they’ve set the record for the Guinness Book of Records longest beanie; 500m of beanie worn today at one time by 125 people.
 See more about the Alice Springs Beanie Festival on the Guild Facebook page and read about it here
I spent time this afternoon talking about rug hooking to a couple I’d met in one of the workshops. Gave an impromptu demonstration – they were most interested – so it looks like there might soon be a new group of rug hookers in the Northern Territory!
Happy Rug Hooking,   Jo Franco, Editor

Rugs on the Wall not the Floor

ISSN 2207-001X  6th June 2017

The Sunshine Coast RugCrafters in Beerwah, Queensland have added glitz to their rugs so are hanging them on the wall ……

Stella Edmundson,  researched Mewar (Indian) painting online before coming up with her rug  “Mewar Dreaming”.

At Stella’s suggestion, I went online and discovered bright and brilliant colours of red, orange, green and blue are a feature of these paintings. Small hillocks and mounds are inserted into the paintings which are typically of the birds, animals, ornate trees and bunches of flowers, depicted in Persian style.

Stella began her rug  which is just under 2 m wide, by drawing templates for her motifs and drawing around them directly onto her backing. She said she had fun with this piece, using “Q” tips for the stars.

Judy Owen is also a member of the Sunshine Coast RugCrafters –

It’s finished …..  not only that, it’s hung!

We see rugs by members of our various groups during the design and hooking process and we’re sometimes asked for help or offer a suggestion here and there – so it’s great to see the finished project.

Now “There’s a Unicorn in My Garden” is hanging in place, the size of the rug designed and hooked by Judy can be appreciated.

Judy used bainia (Aran) wool, knitting and rug wool, dyed wool yarn, blanket, fabric strips and metallic thread to hook this piece.

I’m travelling to Queensland in July; looking forward to meeting Stella and Judy again when I visit Judi Tompkins group.

Judi and I plan to bring you video interviews with Australian rug hooking artists; Stella and Judy will be our first!   Jo Franco, Editor


ISSN 2207-001X 16 April,2017

Creativity! there must be something in the water in Queensland; two Sunshine Coast Rug Crafters share their latest projects.

“Craig; The Poker Master”  created by Judi Tompkins –

Judi’s story –

This piece was by way of a “thank you” to a publican (he owns a number of pubs in NSW) who has been extremely generous in his support of one of my friends. She owns a barber shop and needed to move locations, Craig made her a great deal on a new shop, paid for the renovations and added a toilet for her all for free. I really appreciate his doing all this for one of my very good friends so I thought I would make something as a “thank you“.

The piece is reminiscent of the “Godfather” motif but I couldn’t (and didn’t try to duplicate it). Craig is apparently quite a good “Hold ’em” Texas poker player (Craig is in a wheelchair so card games are something he can do in addition to running his pubs) so I thought I would make him the “godfather” of poker (without using the “godfather” term of course!)

So … what you see is a hand manipulating the various card suits (they are “swinging” so the puppet strings deliberately don’t hang straight). I got a man’s ID bracelet, had it engraved with his name and added it to the wrist of the “puppet master” manipulating the cards.

The piece is about the size of a dinner plate (I haven’t measured it yet) and was deliberately made in black and gold so that the embellishments would stand out. I used wool yarns along with Cashmere roving.


Annette White shares her latest project which also has a story;

Annette  says :

 My latest little rugging project is finished, well in use, and I’m happy with it. It’s on Greg’s chair (a rescue object from the kerbside [the chair, not Greg]) he likes to sit on when working at the computer. The rug  on the floor we bought about 12 years ago from a sheltered workshop in Namibia. It was a beautiful experience to meet the person who designed and wove it as well as the other people working there. They dyed their local Karakul wool there as well and had a whole pile of skeins there. When I looked closer I noticed a pair of little bright eyes in a black face shining out of that pile of wool, it was one of the workers’ baby having a nap in there.

When we had chosen our rug, all the people started to chant in happiness. – Seeing the rug on the floor always reminds me of that beautiful experience.

The only bit of wool I had to dye to match the colour is the pinkish one. For the reverse side I found a bit of perfect matching furnishing material in an op shop.”

Both Judi and Annette belong to the Sunshine Coast Rug Crafters. The group meets at the Beerwah Library, Beerwah, from 2:30pm to 5:30pm on the 2nd Friday and 3rd Tuesday of the month.

Newcomers are always welcome

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