Hooking my Chateau

color plan chateauOne of my new designs for this year is Le Petit Chateau. I began this rug last winter with a small sketch that I then enlarged to the full-sized pattern.


petit chateauThe main motif was taken from a journal sketch that I made in 2002, of a plate hanging in the dining room of the historic Thomas Griswold House in Guilford Connecticut. I tucked this idea away, thinking it was charming and might somehow work into a rug. 10 years later, it became the central motif of Le Petit Chateau.

The design was so dainty, that I saw it in faded colors with a light background. I concentrated on hooking the château, wanting the overall effect of the rug to be that it was almost fading into the fog, like Brigadoon. The rest of the colors would be a little more saturated with more contrast.


The color search began in the neutrals section. My “colors” would be from here. I had to see pinks and purples and blue in these mysterious hues. Part of the magic of color is that they change depending on what is hooked next to them. So if these were used together and away from the brighter colors, they would read more colorfully. So, that was how the plan began.

petit chateauThe château is hooked with vertical lines that mimic the lines of the windows. The roof and foreground are hooked horizontally. These textures make the minimally colored central motif more interesting. You will notice that colors vary from photo to photo as it is difficult to capture the exact colors.


Of course, I could not have hooked the château without hooking the background along with it. Only then can I see how the colors pop. The background has a slight warmth without being yellowish– I used my Dusty Dye Book formula Earthy over several different light texture wools. This played well against the cooler chateau colors.

The flowers were next, adding more color and drama. Many shades of pink went into each flower, as I chose colors from my stash.


This one was especially fun to hook. Up close, it is a hodge-podge of different wool colors and textures. Step back, and it melds into pink. I love color magic!


Next, the outer motifs would be hooked with more depth and color. The darkest darks would be found here in the bottom cinnamon-brown border and the reddish-brown leaf veins.

I decided to hook the border at the top is different from the bottom borders. Using the cinnamon color at the top would look too heavy. Who says borders have to be the same?


When I began this rug, I watched Julie and Julia (for the second time!), and couldn’t get Meryl Streep’s performance out of my mind. I thought that she just captured Julia Child, her voice and her lovable persona. All the while I was hooking this rug I could imagine her voice saying “le petit chateau!” just like her “bon apetit!” So, my French connection happened at that moment, and became the theme of this year’s rugs.


Last final touch of color was the crochet binding, which I hooked in more sagey greens similar to the leaves. The above photo gives you a glimpse of the binding and the back of the rug.

le petit chateau

I felt that I achieved all my goals with this design, creating a rug that looked vintage, with a shabby chic femininity. I like this equally well on the floor and the wall. I am considering hanging it in the kitchen(!).

Be creative and bon apetit! ~ Karen

All designs are copyrighted 2013
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21 thoughts on “Hooking my Chateau

  1. That is one amazing rug. The colors are wonderful. The color changes are one loop away without tails. You’ll have to tell us your secret. Thanks


  2. Love the story behind le petit chateau! Thank you for sharing it and for the close ups of your hooking. Love the softness of all the color.


  3. Good morning! It’s interesting to me that when I saw the rug as a whole, it’s very pale and neutral looking. And yet, as you describe it and show close ups, there is lots of color ~ a plethora of color! That’s one of the things I love about your rugs and one of the things I’ve learned from you in hooking a background!! Have a happy day in your petit chateau!!!


  4. Hi Karen. I am a new “follower” but have long admired your work. Enjoyed this article on colour planning. Your asymmetrical border is fun and creative and really anchors your rug. Best.


  5. I love this dreamy rug and the inspiration surrounding it and all your new designs ~ it’s the complexity behind your deceptively simple rugs that adds yet another layer to their beauty! I’m inspired!



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