Inspiration for a background

I love the splotchy background of this vintage rug and use such photographs as inspiration as I hook my designs.

You can see evidence of this influence in the background of my design called Oval Antique.

Notice the lighter patches in several places.

And textures which add more color. Notice that all the background colors are muted.

The direction of the rows of hooking break away from outlining motifs, and so create movement.

I use variations of the basic background color, always working in gentle curves, no harsh angles or straight lines to distract the eye.

Backgrounds are interesting up close, like painterly lines. From a distance, the lines fade into each other.

Theres is so much dynamic energy in the directional hooking of these various colors. Instead of thinking of a background as a filler outside of your motifs, think of it as if you are painting a distant garden in soft focus.

Happy hooking ~ Karen


14 thoughts on “Inspiration for a background

  1. I absolutely love the way you hook.
    I also like to make my rugs look old, but I use textures to do it. I have never worked with marbled wool.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking about the old rugs being an inspiration. It helps us see how you come up with your ideas.

    Beth Anne


  2. Oh Karen, your rug is wonderful. I hooked this pattern and so wish I had it still in my stash so I could follow your lead. I love your technique and know in the future I will only hook more interesting rugs because of you and your style.

    Happy warm wonderful spring to you. Pam St. Louis


  3. I really like the way you show these close up views of sections of the rug. It’s very helpful to me….. each one is sort of like it’s own little painting! I’m knitting like crazy on my little mini pouncho/shrug. I think I’m going to really like it. Easy knit and I found some very nice cotton yarn that is a lovely slate blue. Perfect for spring and summer. Thanks for your help!


    • i also love seeing close ups and the details. so fun that you found the pattern you wanted for the mini poncho. i did mine in a cotton thick and thin yarn that i spot dyed. it is a very simple knit, but looks like lace!


  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful patchy background. I can use it in my next rug. I am addicted to using mulitple wools. Happy spring.


  5. My favorite rug that I have hooked is your pattern Towne Garden. I remember first seeing your work in Rughooking mag and poring over the photos, intrigued by how many different wools were used in your backgrounds. It takes more time than just hooking a couple of colors; in fact sometimes I will spend more time on the background than the main motif. But the results are so worth it. One tip you gave us was to always hook some of the background while hooking the main motif and I think that makes such a difference between a boring or a lively outcome. Love your work, lov you too you little inspiration, you!


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