Hooking birds, beaks, and borders

My new rug hooking design is well underway and the alliteration just begged for a post, as I happen to be concentrating on hooking birds, beaks, and borders. Oh—yikes!— and background!

A beak can be made up of merely 2 loops of wool. The placement of these loops is all important, as is their slant. One too many loops and the beak becomes a blob. The background loops are just as important because they support the beak loops. So sometimes I hook the background around these features first.

The same is true for hooking the bird’s eyes, except that they are often only one stitch or simply two ends of one piece of wool. So the placement of the hooking loops around the eye is crucial to how the eye looks.

Sometimes an 8 cut is too bold when what I want is a fine tip treatment, as in the pink lines. So I am using an 8 cut in the background and for general hooking, and 6 and 7 cuts for fine lines, details and features. For some of the eyes I am hand-cutting narrower pieces.

Next to the border I wanted to bring a subtle blue cast into the background to frame the piece. And it has been tricky finding the right blue to hook next to the red scalloped border. Where would I be without my stash? One blue made the red border look too bright, another blue glowed next to the red. A third blue hooked up to look too dark and muddy. Finally I tried a blue with a slight dull gray-green cast that was the right value, that faded perfectly into the background and looked good with my transitional colors in the rows next to it. Success! Notice that I could not tell which one worked until I hooked it.

Coloristically, this rug will not be a simple primitive. I decided that it would be my more painterly style, incorporating subtle color changes like what I am doing in the background. I am still sticking to my pink and brown color scheme that was inspired by the antique baby quilt.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Karen


21 thoughts on “Hooking birds, beaks, and borders

  1. Oh Karen, such a beauty to see this morning! I sure am enjoying your projects…I am a new follower of your blog am finding it so inspirational! I love the pink and brown baby quilt as well… And, this piece you are working on is just wonderful in its more painterly style! Keep it up and many blessings,



  2. I look forward everyday to your blog posts. I find you so inspirational and have learned so much. I just wanted you to know that many of us may not comment but your time and effort is so much enjoyed and appreciated. Thank you so much!


  3. So exciting, the search for just the right compliment color. I am in love with color in general and how it affects our moods. Enjoyed your post today as well as the shredded cabbage salad I am munching on. Hmmmm… these shreds look a bit like wooley strips, and the colors, purple, green and orange…oooh aaah.


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