This month’s rug of the month is focused on an unusual project for Ania, a rug in the style of a northern oriental. The pattern is called “Desert Wanderer,” and it was designed by Pearl McGown and Jane McGown Flynn. It’s dimensions are 16″ x 16″, and it was hooked in #4 strip wool.
To see the finished project, and to read about how it came together, continue on to the rest of the post:
Why did you decide to take on this project?
It was part of a class at teacher’s workshop, taught on northern orientals by Ellen Gould. The class was an opportunity to learn about a style of rug hooking that I hadn’t previously spent a lot of time on.
One of the big hallmarks of northern oriental rugs is that they’re very geometric. They also usually consist of very specific motifs, including mountains, running water, ram horns, stars of wisdom, and S motifs. This pattern has mountains, water, ram horns, and S motifs.
How did you approach color planning for this rug?
I worked with colors that were traditional for northern orientals. Ellen provided different reds, blues, yellows, and greens for the motifs. If you look at northern orientals, those are the four colors that are predominately featured. Traditionally, the original weavers would dye the wool they needed with natural colorants, which is why there’s such a specific color palette.
You also see cream and off-white colors in these rugs. This is the result of the weavers used the natural un-dyed wool in their rugs. Weavers at this time would have had access to a variety of different natural wools, from different sheep and locales, which would have had subtle variations in their tone, and modern natural wool lacks that variation. I used a variety of left over noodles dyed in shades of cream and off-white to mimic the natural wool color that would have been available to weavers in the past.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about this rug?
Balancing the colors was challenging. There are a lot of elements, but a limited palette of colors, which made this rug into a sort of puzzle for me while hooking. I had to incorporate patterns into how I placed colors in the rug. For example, if the background of a triangle is one color, then the triangle to the right is outlined in that same color.
There were a lot of little elements that I had to pay attention to while hooking, to make sure that everything flowed well and naturally. For example, the green mountain motifs alternate on each side of the square pointing away or towards the center of the motif.
Do you have any questions or comments for Ania? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!