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.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | March 31, 2020

Rockaway Outline & Fill

160503 Caswell Strawberry basket c150

Caswell Strawberry Basket adapted and hooked by Laura Pierce

Outline & Fill is a fun way to hook a rug. The outline is the lay out; then you get to fill with colour! You can fill with values or plaids or spots or scraps! I love outlining with a fine cut of gold texture; then filling with a wider cut… it resembles Cloisonne; metal and ceramic glaze. I used the gold texture through out this rug.

160426 Caswell Puff Flowers 150

Caswell Puff Flowers adapted and hooked by Laura Pierce

In this Caswell Impression, I used different coloured outlines to enhance each motif. An outline of one colour has influence on it’s ‘fill’ colour.

161113 Caswell 49 Lwp c

Caswell Loving Couple adapted and hooked by Laura Pierce

Even in hooking miniatures, I need that outline to get things started. Looks like the lady’s nose was too big, because there are few loops of outlining missing!  Yes… sometimes my outlining is a holding line and can be eliminated.

100825 8 mini portraits 150

8 miniatures adapted and hooked by Laura Pierce

These miniatures are 2″w x 2.5″h. Not much room for detail, so just a suggestion of each feature. Outlined with beige, filled with skin tones and a bit of pink.

151025 Inlet at Elk cln 150

View at Elk: a Wonderscape, designed and hooked by Laura Pierce

Ala Brigitta Phy’s Wonderscape design class; lots of outlining and patterning, plus fun colouring.

Outlining just adds another dimension; it can spark up or tone down, as needed.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | March 30, 2020

Rockaway Arts & Crafts on-line…


rockaway beach (2)

Stormy waves at Rockaway Beach

My little class and I got together on-line, via Zoom. it’s an App that is being used for classrooms all over during our Shelter-in-place situation.
One of our class members has been using Zoom to visit with her family, so she was quite familiar with the program and was helpful and steadying.

1 PM pegasis

Pegasus designed and hooked by Pat Merikallio

When hooking a white or black motif, we need to use other colours and/or textures to illustrate folds, shadows and highlights to create 3 dimensional-ness. Pat Merikallio creates this magnificent white flying horse with pastel wools! Pat’s use of colour has been an inspiration to me!

2017 Dogwood 150

‘Dogwood’ design by Jane Flynn, hooked by Laura Pierce

I used my pastel swatch in this white floral project. I hooked alone lines in the dogwood pedals and then filled with white. Colour gives life… liveliness.

2012 Ohio Snow c150

‘Ohio Snow’ design by Emma Webber, hooked by Laura Pierce

My black crows are outlined in a bright blue and filled with flat black and dark textures. Black needs colour just like white or grey.


2013 Morris Crow 150

‘Forest Crow’ design by Wm Morris, hooked by Laura Pierce: close-up

Another crow, but outlined in a colourful spot and filled with black.

Hank pattern sq

‘Hank’ pattern by Laura Pierce

I would start this project by hooking Hanks’s eyes and nose. Then the lines… a colourful spot or plaid for lines in the dark part and pastel colours or plaid in the light sections.

Posted by: Laura Pierce | March 25, 2020

Hooks & Fat Loops

Yes… I believe in fat loops with enough space to ‘blossom’ out and just touch the next loop.

fat loops 1

Side view of fat loops

This means skipping spaces as you hook. When I use #6 and #8 cuts, I usually skip a space with each loop. When I use #3 cut, I usually hook in every space. For #4 and #5 cuts, I usually skip a space, then hook 2 spaces, skip a space, and so on…

fat loops 2

blue #3 or #4 cut fat loops

Even fine cuts can be hooked ‘fat’.  When we iron our rugs before finishing, the loops become more uniform in height.  Fat loops are more squishy and the rugs are more supple.  If you don’t give your loops enough room to be fat… your loops will be ‘packed’,  and pulling loops will get harder as the backing becomes tighter.

Fav hooks 2

My favorite hooks: Ritchie 5mm Easy grip and Miller Magic hook with red pencil grip.

Here are my 2 hooks. I use my Ritchie 5mm Easy Grip hook for #6 and #8 cuts. I love the curvy handle and I can hold it several different ways. I use my Miller Magic hook for fine cuts and detail work. This hook is one of the old versions with a tiny and effective hook. I can’t get the red pencil grip off of it… they seemed to have bonded.

palm hook hold

Grasp a palm hook with you whole hand.

It’s best if you can feel and try a hook before you buy it. Each one is hand-made, so each one is different.

palm hook point

Control grip ready to pull loops

Pulling #6 and #8 cuts is easier on your hands if you approach your hooking in a lateral or flat manner. Palming the hook makes you use your arm and puts less stress on your fingers, hands and wrist. When you’ve got acres of loops to pull… good loop pulling technique is important.

palm hook pull

pulling the loop up on shaft of hook

Push the hook all the way into the backing to open a hole to pull wide loops through. With your hand under the backing, lay the strip across the shaft of the hook and pull the loop through… on the shaft of the hook.

fine hook hole

fine cut with Miller Magic hook

The Miller hook also has a nice fat shaft, but we don’t need a big hole in the backing to pull through the loop… because fine loops are smaller than the shaft and that big hole. Just put the tip of the hook into the backing to begin your loop.

fine hook grab

hook into backing to grab loop

Pulling fine cut loops is not that hard on your hands, so we can hold the hook more like a pencil. This gives a feeling of control. I recommend a pencil grip for this hook to make you use a more ergonomic grip.

fine hook pull

pulling fine loop on the end of the hook

The hand under the backing holds a strip so that it can be snagged by the hook and pulled through; a little different than the big hook.

Start slow and develop a rhythm, soon your hands will learn the steps and you can go faster. Don’t hook too long without a break and a stretch.

next time, we can talk about how close the rows of hooking should be…

Posted by: Laura Pierce | March 24, 2020

Caswell Couple Pattern Possiblities!

To continue … if you want to personalize the Caswell Couple pattern, you can lay tracing paper over a printed pattern.  It’s fun to make the couple someone you know… it could make a nice little wedding rug!  This couple are the same height, more or less;  if you want to make the gentleman taller, you can cut the paper pattern so that he’s on one side and she’s on the other.  then move his side up to a good height and trace with the new proportions.

Cas cpl cut

Caswell Couple pattern cut and realigned.

Lay tracing paper over the modified version and create your couple. Change their outfits and possibly change the floral motifs into something else!

cas cpl hc

Here is our friends; Heidi & Charlie.

I had to make Charlie’s arms longer so he can hold Heidi’s hand and present the flower. I should have tilted Heidi’s head up… and make her eyes look up into Charlie’s… but then I thought about a mermaid…!?

cas cpl mermaid

Tracing our pattern with more changes

A mermaid and a cowboy… Heidi suggested a mermaid and a fisherman! so… another tracing and a few new motifs… to come!

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »