Rug of the Month: November 2019

For November’s rug of the month, Ania is reflecting back on her favorite June flowers, with her Monte Casino Poppies rug. The pattern is an original design by Ania, and it’s dimensions are 18 in. by 22 in. She completed it with half inch torn strips.

Images of the completed rug are included in the post below, along with explanations of Ania’s process for completing this project:

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Ania’s completed “Monte Casino Poppies” project.

You designed this pattern – what inspired you to create it and to embark on this project? 

In presenting my rug hooking journey at a guild meeting, one of the rugs that I showed was my Painterly Poppies rug, from a class with Wanda Kerr. That class had been all about fine shading, and I had been the only one from the class who decided to use torn strips – I loved the effect! Members of the guild really loved the effect too, and asked that I teach a class on fine shading with torn strips.

I created this pattern for that class. Single oriental poppies are my favorite flower, and I designed the pattern so that there are full blooms, buds, and unfolding flowers that all need to be hooked.

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A detail shot of one of the poppies.

What appeals to you about hooking fine detail with torn strips? 

Usually, hookers use torn strips for more primitive patterns. Betsy Reed is well known for using torn strips in her projects. She has her own website, where you can see images of a lot of her projects that she completed using torn strips.

To use torn strips for fine detail shading is unusual. There’s a real challenge to getting the appropriate depth perception, and there’s a certain texture from half inch torn strips. The closer you hook the loops together, the more wavy and curved the loops become, instead of the more uniform appearance of smaller cuts.

How did you approach color planning for this project?

My favorite color is orange, and that is also the most common color you’ll see in oriental poppies. I also wanted a very clear, bright blue day. The combination of blue and orange worked out perfectly, because they’re complementary colors. That made color planning very easy.

When hooking the leaves and stems, I used mostly green wool, but I also used a little bit of purple wool. I chose a purple that matched the value I needed for the leaves. Value is  more important than color. If you have the right value, the eye doesn’t realize if it’s an unexpected color!

The only thing I dyed for in this rug was the background and the whipping yarn. I wanted to maintain the blue sky from the background when I finished my rug, so I dyed the yarn the same color that I used for the background wool. The yarn is a darker shade than the sky, and because they’re the same color, they really work well together.

All the other wool in the project was either leftover from past projects or a texture. If you have a lot of wool in your stash, this project is a nice way to use it up quickly, because using torn strips in this pattern requires a lot of wool.

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The whipping yarn was dyed the same color as the background wool. The yarn is a darker shade, and works well with the background.

What’s your favorite part of this rug?

I really loved hooking the buds and the leaves, and especially the unfurling flower. If you see a poppy bud that is just beginning to open in real life, they are so crinkled and there is so much dimension in a small space. Trying to get that depth in this one flower was a real challenge, but I think I met it pretty well.

I also liked hooking the bright sky. The way I hooked it, it’s like it’s from the perspective of a rabbit in a garden, looking at the poppies and seeing the sky. I thought that perspective was fun.

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Here is a close up of the unfurling poppy. This detail shot also shows the purple wool used in the stems.

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

The great benefit to torn strips is that they’re really quick to hook with – I finished this project in a weekend!

I’ve taught this pattern in a couple of different classes, and my students seem to really enjoy the pattern and the class. I did color planning one on one with each of my students, so there was a really wide variety of types of poppies that were hooked, which was really great to see. If any readers are interested in the class or the pattern, feel free to send me a message! I’m happy to travel if there’s a group of hookers who are interested in the class.

If you have any questions or comments on Ania’s Monte Casino Poppies project, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! 

Addendum: 

I recently saw a fabulous version of this pattern completed by Sue Viall. She gave me permission to post an image of her rug and a short write up on her project. Take a look below!

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Sue Viall’s “Monte Casino Poppies” project.

Here is Sue’s write-up on her project: “Poppies are one of my favorite flowers and Ania did such a great pattern. The background was hooked vertically, the first one I’ve ever seen and attempted.  I had fun hooking this pattern. The colors of red, orange and yellow really pop. I can’t wait to show my fellow hookers how much I loved and enjoyed this pattern.  Thanks to Ania.”

Thank you, Sue!