This is the first rug I ever designed and hooked, all the way back in 1991!
We had recently bought our farm in the Green River Valley in Washington State, and I had begun spinning the fleeces from my Jacob Sheep and Angora Goats. Then, when I had amassed bags, boxes and baskets of handspun yarn, I needed to find something fun to do with it.
I visited a Claire Murray shop in Poulsbo, WA and saw hand hooked rugs made from yarn. ZING. I signed up for a class, and once I started, I never stopped for the next twenty-eight years.
Diving in with a 3'x3' rug design was ambitious, but honestly, I was having so much fun, I didn't care how long it took me to hook. In the Pacific Northwest, there aren't a lot of rug hookers, and those that are here tend to hook with wool fabric. I started bringing my rug to fiber events and demonstrations, and got so much response from yarn people wanting to give it a try that I agreed to teach my first class at the next year's Black Sheep Gathering.
That first class filled up so fast, they offered another, and it filled up, too! Clearly there was interest, but I had never taught rug hooking before. I just decided to share my enthusiasm (which was enormous) and what do you know? They were all hooking away after the three hour class.
This first rug was my farm sign when I showed my sheep and goats at the local fair. It was colorful, a real attention-getter. It's imperfect; I overpacked my loops (it took me a while to figure out that the yarn really does want to stay put), I hooked it on burlap (I now prefer linen) and I hadn't learned then how to bind the edges, but I don't care about the flaws. It was my first rug, when I look at it, I remember that time of discovery that has led to so many years of joy for me.
Would you like to share your first hooked rug with the world? Email me! If your rug is featured, you'll receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen or our recycled cotton rug hooking bag, so what are you waiting for?
If you've ever read the Celebration books put out by Rug Hooking Magazine, you've seen how each rug has a piece written by the hooker, where she points out all the details, things she learned, challenges she overcame, etc. By directing my attention to these details, I get a much better appreciation for the rug. That's how people react when they see someone's first hand-hooked rug. It's really impressive to see someone's first try!