A Tale of Two Techniques

I’ve been away at a rug hooking retreat! Before I left, I started an interesting project, and I thought you might enjoy seeing what happened. I had a little idea for the rug I wanted to hook, and so I drew a sketch in my 4X5 notebook. My drawing skills are very primitive, but fortunately that works very well in rug hooking 🙂

About a week before I left, I decided I wanted to have a small hand quilt/embroidery project to work on in the evenings. While thinking about what I wanted to do, I came across my rug sketch, and decided that that would be fun to do in embroidery. Plus, it would give me a chance to work out some of the details that I wanted to include in the rug (even though, inherently, I knew the two techniques would produce different results.) I thoroughly enjoyed working on the embroidery before I left. All I did was to put together a quilt sandwich and mark the outlines of the piece. As I went along, I drew in various images with my handy dandy disappearing blue pen.

The scripture inspiration for this piece is found in the poem in Colossians 1, where it says  

Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Those words ignited my imagination. And since I have been doing a million “cross” quilts for The Signature of Jesus series, I saw a cross in the background.


So, I got this far with my embroidery, and then it was time for the rug retreat. Before the retreat started, my friend and I went over to Gene Shepherd’s to consult with him on our patterns. I was planning to just pick up some rug canvas and start the sketch on the rug in my hotel room. (Rug hookers use Sharpie pens to draw their designs on the canvas.) But Gene convinced me that it would be so much easier to go to Kinko’s and get the design enlarged, and then he could just trace it onto the canvas using his light box table.


Honestly, I had heard about doing this for years, but had never tried it. And I was amazed that they could enlarge a tiny little drawing to a piece that was 24″ wide!

Before the retreat started, Mary Lynn and I went to Crystal Cove Beach. They had marvelous tide pools, and I was especially struck by the layered rock that was everywhere. This has to be good inspiration for something, right?




I worked on the rug for four days. A great deal of the time was spent trying to figure out the right yellow for the cross. I had it stuck in my mind that it had to be yellow. Somewhere along the way, having a discussion with Gene, I said that value was more important than color, because the cross would be in the background, like a watermark, but it had to be visible behind a number of different colors. After several failed attempts at dying yellow, I found this beautiful glowing apricot color right in my own stash 🙂


(Does anybody else think that the fish looks like what would happen if a goldfish and a shark were to get together?)

I’ve worked on it a bit more since I got home, and here you can see that I have added some details to the top of the design.


Now, back at home, I am anxious to get back into the studio and work on some quilting designs that have been percolating for a while!


10 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Techniques

  1. OK, am I the only one that sees a ewe in the middle photo of your rock pics? About 1/3 of the way down facing left. It jumped right out at me and I was sure you were going to say something about it.

    Your design is great, and yup, I do envy your eye for color.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s