Posted by: Laura Pierce | July 7, 2021

A Little Rug – Just for Fun!

a little sketch… perhaps a rug pattern?

I like to pull loops in the evening… while I’m ‘watching’ TV. I mostly watch my loops, not the TV… but a comfort in the evening. I was working on a double portrait… a challenge, for sure. I pulled loops less and less… so I realized that I needed a different pattern… something just for fun! After looking through my UFO’s, I decided to transfer this little sketch to linen.

‘Fishes under the Sea’ – ‘Outline & Fill’ fun!

This was fun; no pressure, a bright green in fine cut for an outline. A dip-dyed blue green for the leafy things, some bits of purple for plant bits, and some beautiful plaids worked well for the various backgrounds. Contrast was desirable until I finished the bottom bit with my initials.

Finished, but there’s more room on the linen… for borders! (Besides… I’m not ready to go back to the double portrait rug.)

More linen = borders.

I’ve always wanted to do some of those classical waves you see in ancient tile work… with extra on top and bottom, 2 short borders with waves. Plus room for a 1 inch border all around. we can see where it goes!

plain fishes and wave borders

These little waves were hard to replicate on the other side… and I wondered if I should reverse them; oh mercy! Now I wondered what colour in the border would spark joy!

‘Fishes in the Sea’ by Laura Pierce

I decided on the sea blue but only found a piece slightly brighter… it works well! Then I used the dark strips from the orange plaid for one final outline! Now I’m whipping the edges with a bright variegated punch wool… with all the colours and a caste of burnt orange. It’s almost done… and I’m wondering what I’ll work on next!?!

Posted by: Laura Pierce | June 22, 2021

Hiawassee Workshop at the LBHookery!

Beautiful ‘transcolour’ flower pins created by Linda Bell

Last time I was in Hiawassee, at Linda Bell’s place, she showed me these fabulous little flowers! She makes them with her beautiful ‘transcolour’ swatches; they remind me of dahlias! Linda has a big studio space for her rug hooking classes and workshops. Shelves line 2 walls with a rainbow of colourful wool. Glass windows overlook the lake! and a kitchen/work area completes the space. There are photos on her website:

1st view of Lake Chatuge with Bell Mountain in the background.

The Bells have a lovely home on Lake Chatuge, a TVA lake in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. The view through the trees, the light and reflections changing throughout the day; you can watch it for hours.

It was a great group of folks at the workshop in May 2018, and we decided to do it again! Our plans were scuttled by Covid, but we’re back on track for the second workshop; September 10-12, 2021. There a few spaces left, so if you’re interested in joining us, please let Linda Bell know; Linda also has information about places to stay; several on the premises and next door.

Linda with the tour map at John C. Campbell Folk School

An extra day to play included a visit to the John C. Campbell Folk School; a wonderful campus of old buildings full of eager folk art students. Visit their site: Only a half hour from her home, Linda often teaches Rug Hooking there.

View from Bell Mountain looking over Lake Chatuge with graffitied rock in the foreground.

The trip is not complete without a drive to the top of Bell Mountain. A mining operation from many years ago was unprofitable and the mountain top was turned into a park. The exposed quartzite is quite decorated and layered with 50 years of graffiti paint!

I’m looking forward to getting back to Hiawassee! Linda is a wonderful host!

Posted by: Laura Pierce | June 13, 2021

Rainbow Noodles to Spare

‘Candle Glow’ is a little pattern I drew up in 2019; I knew the rainbow values could make a nice glow!

After the Rainbow Challenge, I had many noodles from the 4 swatches, but not every colour in every shade. I’ve used rainbow swatches on other projects, so I dug them up to add to the pile.

‘Dogwood’, design by Jane Flynn, hooked by Laura Pierce, 2017, taught by Roxanne Ross at WTW.

You can see the rainbow pastels in the white of the petals; they whisper shape and contour.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | March 20, 2021

Over the Rainbow… in swatches!

‘Rainbow Bubbles’ by Laura Pierce, 2010

Back in 2010, I was heading to Texas to teach at the Yellow Rose Rug Event! As a couple of my students wanted to hook bubbles, I needed to practice a few myself. I had hooked a few bubbles in my rug ‘Emmy’, so it had become part of my ‘repertoire’. However, since I was working from a photograph for Emmy’s bubbles, I didn’t really know what was involved in creating a bubble from scratch. I studied lots of photos and illustrations of bubbles and created this pattern to test my skill. First, I needed to dye my ‘bubble wool’ and it would be a rainbow of wool in several values.

Around this same time, I had created a box of dye recipes; using the 3 primary colours to create all the colours of the colour wheel, or a rainbow. Since soapy bubbles with light on them are covered with swirling rainbow colours, I knew that was what I wanted!

Rainbow of Dye Recipes: recipe cards with dyed samples attached, with the box of recipe cards.

Fast forward to 2020… I maintain a supply of Rainbow Pastel Swatches; up to 3 values. My supply was getting low, so I spent many days in July, dyeing 3 more swatch sets with 8 hues each! Gathering all my previous notes about dyeing these swatches, I made dyeing notes to dye each hue in 3 different values. However… when I was done dyeing, washing and drying my wool; I could see that there were some big value jumps. More figuring and more dyeing to create a fourth value…

Dyed wool sorted into 8 hue swatches; 1/3 yard pieces ready to be ripped and assembled into Rainbow Swatches! Previous swatches sit on top of each pile.

Satisfied with these four rainbow swatches, I used the dyed salvages to make new clean dye notes for each value. This way, next time will be a cinch!

Zooming with a small group of rug friends; I proposed a rainbow rug challenge. In my mind was a wonderful, large painting by Frank Stella, that I’d seen in an art show at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. I shared this inspiration and my swatches with my friends; Laurie and Louise dyed up a wonderful gray swatch to complete our colour plan!

Painting by Frank Stella at the deYoung Museum, San Francisco, January 2019

“Visitors to Gallery 14 at the de Young immediately encounter the riot of geometric color that is Frank Stella’s impressive 12-foot-square painting, Lettre sur les aveugles II (1974). This vibrant work was the first of Stella’s paintings to enter the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.” from the de Young website.

We enjoyed the challenge and the inspiration. Frank Stella uses very saturated colour and my swatches are pastel. That was okay, because we didn’t want to copy his painting, just be inspired by his bold use of colour and various values of gray. I’m not a big fan of gray; I find it hard to work with as it seems to dull my colours. Frank Stella is using several values of gray and creating a glow! so how does that work? It was an informative challenge; letting us know which colours worked together, which ones spoiled the mood and which ones stole the show.

‘Circles & Bars’ by Laura Pierce, 2020

I had raindrops in mind and was going to use the beading stitch to use my colours with my gray. It worked until I got into the darker grays. Mud! I left it in for awhile, then replaced the darker middle section with green and blue. The second circle without beading was more successful. The third circle was big and came undone as I circled around, so I abandoned the circling and reverted to my favorite; ‘Random Fill’. Blending the colours made me much happier and I enjoyed seeing which combinations pleased me. Trying to only use the wool in the challenge, you’ll find a bit of dark purple masquerading as gray.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | September 4, 2020

Using it Up!


Lwp 5 Little Caswell Squares

‘5 Little Caswells in a Row’ by Laura Pierce

I wanted to try hooking these little 8×8″ Caswell Squares and had an end piece of linen from a bolt. It was 60″ wide with 15″ left; so I figured I could fit 5 little 8×8″ squares on this narrow piece of linen.  I thought I might hook each square and cut them apart to finish as independent little wall hangings.  But then I wondered what it would be like to try and colour coordinate them all.  This was a challenge which led me to keep all 5 squares together.  Now that it’s finished; I find the long shape hard to hang.  It could be a table runner or placed on a bed… but why not over a bed?  It will be a challenge to hang, but definitely possible; a long sleeve, dowel and fishing line, or tacks into the wall.

Re-arranged: 5 Caswells Squares in a vertical arrangement.

It would be easier to hang as a long piece; instead of a wide long piece.  Next time!


Posted by: Laura Pierce | May 5, 2020

May the Fourth… be with you!

Okay… not the Fourth… but the Fifth.  Cinco de Mayo!

hMt Shasta colours

Colouring landscape designs…

Preparing for a workshop with Brigitta Phy: Wonderscapes! I have selected several of my landscape photographs… this one of Mt.Shasta coming home from Western Teachers’ Workshop in Eugene Oregon. Brigitta and I travel together and this photograph is probably from a stretch of Hwy 5, south of Yreka. Mt.Shasta is majestic and in our sights for a bit of our trip there and home. I will probably just hook this pattern with leftover bits… noodles… my preference.


Golden Gate with Alcatraz Island

Another photograph I took on a ferry ride from San Francisco to Tiburon and home, is a possible Wonderscape! I look forward to using lots of colour in this rug design!  The Prang colour pencils blend with each other… very fun for colouring!


Diamonds: 3 spaces over, 2 spaces up.

A diamond pattern: fun to colour plan.


starting with warm colours; yellow, orange and red…

then working into the cool colours: green, blue and purple.


Just using cool colours; but shading them dark to light

… so much more interesting!

Thom1 Crk 1948 Crate 20x30sm

My pattern for our ‘Janet Conner’ workshop.

We tried to think of a family sayings for our patterns… this was based on a ‘jump rope’ rhyme.

Thom2 creek crate

with added Hutchinson motifs…

Janet Conner sent me copies of Hutchinson roses, pointed hands, a mustached man, a cherub and a lady with glasses, plus many more. It makes the pattern more fun, and I’m happy with the design!

Posted by: Laura Pierce | April 12, 2020

Strength Building – Physical Therapy

2020 03 Laura Rufus exercise

PT at home: Rufus supervises in top right section. i’m on a rolled up braided rug, barely visible under my head.

This is a most important exercise for my hooking arm. I have to hold it… or stretch it for 1 minute. I have other ‘neck’ exercises from the PT group that i do… on the rolled up braided rug it’s very comfortable. Delightful, actually!

Kirby delights in seeing Rufus hang out with me when I do my PT stretches, and took this photo.

191110 Tibetan Dragons 150

‘Tibetan Dragons’ adapted and hooked by Laura Pierce

A second go around on the ‘Tibetan Dragons’… this time with lemon yellow texture outlining and diminishing turquoise background. It’s very nice in person; not so photographed…

191110 Parisan Gate 150

‘Parisian Gate’ design by Cynthia Norwood, hooked by Laura Pierce

A fun class at ATHA Biennial 2019 – Denver! Cynthia had us divide into 3 groups to gather our wools. She was beyond generous… and gave us lots of wide-cut advice! I had to mix it up once I got home, though I don’t think I improved the colour plan.

190417 CN challenge ATHA rug Lwp 150

‘Beauty of Primitive’ design by Cynthia Norwood hooked by Laura Pierce

Cynthia’s ATHA challenge; a pattern in an early 2019 issue of ATHA magazine… I couldn’t resist… Pussy willows are a favorite of mine! It was actually a contest and my version won!! Thank you all who voted!

Posted by: Laura Pierce | April 3, 2020

Some of Laura’s Rug Hooking Tips

1 2008 3Crow Rose 150

‘3 Crow Rose’ designed and hooked by Laura Pierce 2008

Use what you need!
1 more loop or not!  Don’t pack your loops; 1 more loop can distort your design.  Don’t finish the strip ‘just cause’, don’t squeeze in 1 more loop; use what you need and cut.

(I distorted my big crow’s beak… by putting in 1 too many #8 loops.  Someday, I will rehook it.)

‘An end, a loop and an end’
In wide-cut, every loop is visible and every end counts for something too.  An end can be the tip of a leaf, the tail of a paisley or the last bit of a smile!

2011 Cathys Tulips 150cln

‘Cathy’s Tulips” designed and hooked by Laura Pierce 2011

(Several leaf tips in ‘Cathy’s Tulips’ are just the end of a strip.  Ends can be used to make a line of colour, or light, or dark.)

‘Random Fill’ or ‘Higgledy-Piggledy’!
Michelle Silver calls it ‘2 o-clock 4 o-clock’; Monika Jones calls it ‘messy hooking’. Using wide-cut, we twist each loop away from the previous.  I call it ‘Random Fill’ and find that I have to use a 90 degree turn in my hook, traveling back and forth at an angle, going this way and that; it is a great technique for blending colours and values.  It gives you freedom from orderly loops; you can put ‘em where you need ‘em!  In backgrounds, it blends spots and makes a great texture.

(‘Cathy’s Tulips’ also illustrates the difference between straight hooking and random fill.  the background is 1 piece of spot dyed wool, but the random fill technique allows easy blending.  The glass table is hooked straight across which gives it a flat look reflecting the sky and vase.)

3 2009 Harvest Moon 150c

‘Harvest Moon’ designed and hooked by Laura Pierce 2009

(The moon in this pattern is about 10″ tall; a lot of going around hooking. I much prefer the random fill technique as it blends and creates a mottled look.)

‘Beauty line and Signature’
Hook in your signature and the date in subtle colours.  Before you get to the edge, hook an outline around your piece, often called a ‘beauty line’; it makes it easier to finish the edge.

(I like to sign my rugs; in the hooked part and on the back with a label.  A ‘beauty line’ is a line hooked around the edge of your rug.  Do this before you get to the edge, so you can hook up to it.  Sometimes the beauty line can be a complimentary colour, sometimes it can match the area next to it, and sometimes I’ll use bits of scrap colour from the rug.)

2012 Rose Eye Crow cln150

‘Rose Eye Crow’ designed and hooked by Laura Pierce 2012

(This rug has 2 ‘beauty lines’ because after finishing the inside part, I decided to keep going; adding a border to break into!)

(All of these rugs have my signature, but no date. The date is on the label, but I may start hooking it into my rugs again.)


Posted by: Laura Pierce | April 2, 2020

Creating Depth in Landscapes

Mt.Rainier August 2000 photographed by Laura Pierce

To create depth or perspective in a painting or rug, there are several things that cue your eyes and brain to see depth. In this photo of Mt.Rainier, the red flowers in the front are as big as the flag flying in the distance. we know the flag is bigger than the flowers… so our brain knows that the flag is farther back.  The mountain behind is HUGE… but shorter than the flag pole? No, but mountains seem shorter the further away they are, because the earth is curved.

Rock Pillars at Zion September 2004 photographed by Laura Pierce
A lovely visit to Zion; the cliffs are beautifully carved by the Virgin River. This landscape shows the depth by the colour; the trees and stone pillars in front are detailed and vividly coloured, as the pillars behind are more dull in colour and the pillars way behind are pastel. This indicates distance between the stone pillars and our brain knows. Fog or smog can create this softening of colours too.
Mexican Sage at Sundawg Vineyards October 2004 photographed by Laura Pierce

A glorious spray of Mexican Sage competes with the glorious yellow vineyard. Colour also plays a part in creating depth; warm colours advance or come forward, cool colours recede or fall back. Also, light or bright colours advance and dark or dull colours recede. The sage is up front and detailed, while the vineyard is behind and indistinct, but that warm colour of the vineyard grabs your attention and keeps your eyes moving back and forth… never a dull moment!

Nicasio Curve 2019 photographed by Laura Pierce

Another cue is a Vanishing Line; think railroad tracks disappearing into the horizon. Here the curving road leads you into the scene. From there you are lead to look at the cows all pointing to the church, while the hills roll and the sky wisps!

Golden Gate Bridge from Greens Spring 2003 photographed by Laura Pierce

Here the windows lead us into the view outside. The window also frames our view and is quite detailed and vivid. The boats get smaller as they are farther away and Mt.Tamalpias is a very pastel blue in the distance.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | April 1, 2020

Borders for your Rug

b 1997 Buster Brown 150cln

Buster Brown designed and hooked by Laura Pierce

My 2nd rug needed a border, so I tried some faux wood on 2 sides.

b 2006 Stnd Gls Landscp150

‘Stained Glass Landscape’ design by Jane Flynn hooked by Laura Pierce

Windows can have a stained glass border; why not a rug?

b 2017 Wild Rose tbl runner 150

‘Helen’s Wild Roses’ designed and hooked by Laura Pierce

I had fun adding this ‘hit & miss’ border; sticking with green noodles. It almost has a stained glass look!

b p SP Floral Triad 150

‘Floral’ design by Jane Flynn hooked by Sarah Province

Sarah put her rug in a gold frame… wow!

b PM Lady Liberty

‘Lady Liberty’ designed and hooked by Pat Merikallio

Pat loves to frame her rugs with custom borders which say alot about the rug!

b PM wedding rug

‘Polly and Michael’ designed and hooked by Pat Merikallio

The outlined roses in the border seem to whisper in a blue lavender spot…

Some of us like to add a border, especially if there’s enough ‘burlap’ left.

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