Rug of the Month: April 2019

April’s Rug of the Month is Ania’s newest completed project. The pattern is named “Karen,” and it was created by Pearl McGown & Jane McGown Flynn. The dimensions are 24″ by 36″, and Ania hooked it in #3 cut strips of wool.

Read on below to learn how Ania approached hooking this project, and to see images of the completed rug!

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Ania’s completed “Karen” rug.

Why did you decide to take on this project? 

This project was from a rug class on how to use double swatching. The class was taught by Benita Watford Raleigh at the 2016 Northern McGown Teacher’s Workshop. The class was going to utilize orange swatches, and I had to take the class because that’s my favorite color!

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A close-up of a corner of the rug.

What’s double swatching?

A typical swatch will contain 6 to 8 values of a color, with one strip for each value. To double swatch, you take each swatch you’re using in your rug, and lay out the values, matching each value from each swatch. The goal is to combine all of your swatches into one mega-swatch, organized by value.

This can be a daunting task, in part because your swatches will probably vary by brightness, dullness, and chroma. In the class I took for this rug, we spent most of the day learning this process. The easiest way to approach the task is one swatch at a time. Lay out your first swatch by value. Separate out your second swatch by value, and match each value from the second swatch to a value from the first swatch. Repeat with each subsequent swatch, one-by-one.

You might find a value that is in between two of your already established values. When this happens, you’ve created a new value, between the other two. That happened to me, with this rug.  Despite using mostly 8 value swatches, I ended up with 9 different values in one of my mega-swatches.


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A close-up of the peony petals, which Ania hooked using mega-swatches.

How did you color plan this rug? 

The focus of this rug is the peonies, and that’s what I spent the most time planning. The large peony flowers are the main character, and everything else, including the smaller flowers and the scrolls, are supporting characters.

For the peonies, I used two different mega-swatches. The inside of my peony petals were hooked with a 9 value mega-swatch, made up of 46 strips of wool, from 6 swatches.  The back of my peony petals were hooked from a 5 value mega-swatch, made up of 18 strips of wool, from 3 swatches. I made these mega-swatches from a series of orange and magenta swatches that Benita had dyed for this class. Those colors were so beautiful, they were why I wanted to take this class! If you love these colors too, you can contact Benita through her Facebook page to inquire about purchasing them for your own hooking.

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The two mega-swatches Ania created for this rug. On the left is her 5 value mega-swatch and on the right is her 9 value mega-swatch.

The smaller flowers are orange blossoms, which aren’t typically blue, but I chose to hook them in blue because that is the complementary color of orange. This choice was originally suggested by Betty McClentic. Betty also suggesting hooking the peony and ivy leaves with a burgundy/mahogany color. Betty’s been teaching rug hooking for over 40 years. When Betty speaks, it’s always a good idea to listen.

The color I used for the scrolls is a green over-dyed with the same blue color I used for the smaller blossoms. This was a deliberate choice to tie in the different colors in the rug more seamlessly.

I chose navy for the background because I wanted a dark background, and I wanted a background that would allow the motif to pop. I also had a lot of navy wool leftover from a prior project I’d already completed.


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A close-up of another peony.

What was the most difficult part of this project?

Creating the mega-swatches was very intense, but I did enjoy it. It also took me a long time to work out the right finish for the rug, with the double knotted fringe. It was tough to translate what I saw in my head onto the actual rug, by finding the right materials and technique.

This pattern also has almost perfect symmetry, except for one leaf. That drove me nuts! I kept coming back to that one leaf, and eventually I chose to incorporate it into the background of the rug, and add more leaves to the background to match, including a symmetrical background leaf on the other side of the rug.

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Circled in white on the lower left is the lone leaf that was part of the original pattern. All the other leaves included in the background were added by Ania.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about this rug?

Yes – but those will be topics for another blog post!

If you have any questions or comments for Ania, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!


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