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A reader just wrote in asking some questions about how to go about hooking My Color Box.
Here is my original rendition of that design, hooked with leftover, handtorn wool selvedges about 1/2 inch wide.
Hello Gene -
I received my purchase of the “My Color Box” pattern on the linen.
This is my first attempt at wool rug hooking so I have several questions. Please help !
1) What size bent hook should I get? I have cut my strips of wool 1/4″.
2) What order do I hook this rug? Shall I start at the center or is it best to do the pinstripe first?
3) When hooking the small squares, do I hook the center first (like your on-line instructions show when hooking a circle), or do I outline the square first?
I thought i was starting with a simple straight line rug! If you will be kind enough to answer these questions, maybe I can figure it out ! lol. Thanks Jo
Dear Jo – First of all, if hooking an 8 cut, I would use a 6 mm bent steel hook in either small or medium handle. Since the shafts are exactly alike, it is just a matter of which handle feels best in your hand. I actually like them both and have bigger hands than most woman so, don’t think you can go wrong with either.
While I know that we usually start in the middle of a rug and work out, on this particular design, I start at one corner and work over and down from there. Starting in the middle attempts to spread the hooked loops out evenly as you progress, which helps keep the rug from bowling up in the middle if we go all the way around the outside and work in. However, starting in one corner and working over and down does the exact same thing – it pushes the progress of the rug along in a consistent and even manner and does not allow sections of backing to get “surrounded.” Additionally, because this is a “straight line” geometric, progressing in the way I will describe allows that even approach to take place.
I will be using some left over scrap wool that I had laying around just to illustrate the approach. (It was extra wool that did not go to either of the two Frost Faries with whom I am working. Consequently, it may look familiar.)
I actually start with the pin stripe colored line, by hooking right on the actual line of where that stripe is supposed to be. We rarely hook right on a line BUT we do hook there when the line IS the design element. i.e. a vein … lettering, etc.
It is a simple matter to hook right on the line … turn the corners carefully ( as described in the corner’s video on the IRgC) and set out the “boundaries” so to speak.
Once the pin stripe is in, I start putting in the outside rows of the border. By working from the stripe out, I have no fear of having an odd spot to fill-in should the combination of rows not be quite enough to get to the outside edge line. I will end where the last row ends regardless of my line. I put in 3 rows of backing because 3 rows at an 8 cut will almost fill the border section. I could just as easily added one extra row and go a bit over the line. What difference would that make if that happened on this particular design? It would have been easily put in with no tweaking.
Whatever arrangement I use on the first side (putting a row in 2 or 3 ditches over from the last) I continue with the new line after turning the corner. In other words, I hook the three rows, on each side, so that they square up the two sides in exactly the same way.
The real reason I stayed with 3 dark lines of fill on the outside is because that is what perfectly fills the similar section on the inside. The shoulders of that interior row just stick over enough to shadow the drawn line. When the center squares start going in, everything will be filled just right.
Once my pin stripes and borders start going in, I can begin to do other fill. You are correct, for circles, I start in the center and go out. For this square I do just the opposite – start out and work in. As with the borders, I try to hook each fill row in the same way – if the row is 2 ditches over … then do it all round.
**(Exception to that rule. It is a very difficult thing to draw geometrics like this. I have noticed that sometimes, when measuring an “inch” in one spot it will contain, maybe 12 ditches, but later on in another spot, it might total 13 ditches in a measured inch. Consequently, when filling, I try to skip the same amount of ditches as mentioned … unless it doesn’t look right. Some times you need to skip one ditch less or more on one side to make things look squared. It is not as hard as it sounds, particularly after doing a few.)
After filling in some of the initial square in the corner, it is appropriate to start filling in the striped sides. Again, do everything in the same way. I just butt up a line against the pin stripe and hook it down to the bottom side and end with a tail flat against that pin stripe. I actually think, in this case, staggering tails on each end will only draw attention to them, so just leave them alone.
When every box is filled in exactly the same, after 4 rows of fill, the same negative space will be left in every block to fill with some contrasting color. Therefore, I do four rows and then fill the space. Let your 8 cut wool do the work for you.
At this point, I would progress from the corner –
1. – continue the pin stripes
2. – do the outside border sections up and across.
3. – do the interior border section up and over.
4. – Once borders up and over are done, THEN start filling in those rows of mixed colors (I used green) Those rows need a railing to be hooked against so they will remain straight.
Once the two sides are completely done, proceed to the interior squares and starting filling them in. I will give you some in sight on that tomorrow.