Wednesday, 14 August 2019

An Exercise in Colour

An Exercise in Colour

It is always interesting to see how different material and colours look when hooked or prodded into a rug.  A piece of material with a big ugly pattern and brash colours can often turn into the most perfect piece of fabric once it is  cut and worked into a foundation, the big pattern and colours are reduced to tiny dots!
Here is an exercise that will help you to understand the colours and material once reduced. 
Choose a design and draw it on to 4 separate pieces of   Hessian about 12”x12” each. ( you are going to hook 4 samples so you probably don’t want to make them too large). If you have enjoyed the exercise you can repeat by prodding 4 samples)

Now choose four different materials in a selection of lights, mediums and dark
Primary colours eg. Red, Blue and Yellow
Monochromatic eg. One colour from very light to very dark

You are ready to  hook No 1 with Tweed,  2 with Pastels,  3 with primary and 4 in monochromatic this will give you 4 sample pieces you can refer back to. Keep a sample of materials  and attach to the hooking and prodding or label and keep in a safe place.

Toffee for the Rug Makers

In the North of England, around Durham, when rug making sessions were being arranged and the frame was set up the rug maker whose room was being used was expected to provide toffee for everyone to enjoy while working.  This recipe from the north is for the next session around the frame.
Ingredients:                                                                                                                                        1lb of granulated sugar                                                                                                           1lb of black treacle                                                                                                                           1oz of butter                                                                                                                         Dessertspoonful of vinegar

Method. Put the sugar, treacle and butter into a strong saucepan and allow to melt very slowly.  Stir until boiling and test by dropping a little into a cup of cold water.  It is crisps it is ready.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar.  Pour into a buttered shallow tin. When cool, mark into square and break up. Simple and delicious!  

Taming wild colours

Taming wild colours

Recycling material gives great satisfaction but sometimes colours we have in our stash are wild,  garish and totally unsuitable for the most colourful hooker! 

Over dyeing with a complementary colour  is the answer to taming these wild pieces. 

Complementary colours are colours that are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. A Colour wheel is a useful item to have.
Red and Green        Blue and Orange          Yellow and Purple

Eg. To tame  Red add a few drops of Green dye and to tame Green add Red dye. You only need to add a few drops of dye so go carefully you can always add a bit more.
More Dye Recipes
Here are some easy dye recipes to create a good selection of colours. These recipes are made using the primary colours red, blue and yellow.  Measure dye into a jug add a little boiling water to the dye, mix well and top up to 1 cup or 240 ml with cold water.

¼ tsp Red and ¼ tsp Yellow

¼ tsp Blue and ¼ tsp Yellow

¼ tsp Blue and ¼ tsp Red

Rose Red
¼ tsp Red    1/32 Yellow   1/128 Blue

Bright Blue
½ Blue  1/8 Red

¼ Yellow 1/32 Blue

1/8 Blue  1/16 Red  1/128 Yellow

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Punch Hooking

Punch Hooking
by Cilla Cameron 
( Certified Oxford Punch Hooking Teacher)

Punch Hooking is an easy technique, it hooks yarn like a dream plus a great selection of material. If you find hooky and/or proddy a strain on your hands or wrist then try punching its a fabulous way to make small hangings or larger rugs.
Workshops dates at The Rug Studio
September 25th
October 26th  
To book  a workshop email Cilla at or Telephone 07752772474

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


This is a fabulous FREE app that translates your photographs into pencil drawings making it possible to transfer into rug patterns/designs. Its a must.
This may only be available for Apple - go to the app store and download for free. All you do is choose a photograph from your computer add it in place on usktech and print whatever size you require. 

Dyeing for Backgrounds


Dye for backgrounds

Finding enough material to make a light, medium or dark background can be tricky so try tossing some material into your dye pot. If you haven’t dyed yet and gone to heaven on a bundle of colour well now it the time!

How to measure amount of material you require.
Lay out your Hessian pattern on a table and lay pieces of material over the background area, it may overlap parts of your pattern but that is fine. Repeat layering until you have 
6 layers high of material this will give you an approximate amount required, I usually throw in a bit extra.
Find cream/beige/light colours wool sweaters/skirts throw in checks, stripes and patterns it doesn’t matter if they are not the same colours in fact it will make it more exciting to have different shades.
To measure an approximate yard lay the material side by side on the table until it measure around 36” x 60” ish!
To make a light coloured background put ¼ teaspoon of dye into a jug add a drop of boiling water and mix then top up to 1 cup = 240 mls with hot or cold water.

Fill your pan 2/3rds full of water turn up to medium heat  add  the dye and yard of the pre- soaked material give it a good stir and bring to a simmer stirring a few times. Once the water starts to clear throw in either a glug of vinegar (it smells) or a teaspoon of citric acid (no smell). When the water has completed cleared rinse the material and dry. This gives you a yard of material all colour related and ready to hook. The dye colour will marry all your wool together well. The material will come out blotchy that is perfect.
If you want your colour darker repeat the above steps until you reach your required colour.
If you are dyeing blanket you may want to put 1 teaspoon of dye in the jug as thick blanket gobbles up the dye

Dye Recipes

Lime Green   Purple
1/32 Red 1/8 Red
¼  Yellow 1/32 Yellow
1/32 Blue 1/32 Blue

Turquoise Green
¼ Red 1/32 Blue
1/32 Yellow        1/32 Yellow
1/32 Blue 1/128 Black
1/128 Black

Material dries a shade lighter
Dye kits are available from

Rug Making Memories

I always loved this story that was sent to me by Bette Collins for The Rugmaker and thought it was well worth sharing again

Memories of a Welsh Rug Maker
June Morgan. Blaenau Ffestiniog

I have enjoyed rug making ever since I helped my mother make a rug using cast off clothes back in the 1940’s.  I was born and brought up in Merthyr Tydfil.  We had some very bad winters so rug making and Welsh wool blankets were needed to keep out the cold.  My Dad sharpened half a gypsy peg to a point.  A potato sack was washed. Dad’s pepper and salt jacket was cut up and also my Mother’s blue skirt.  For the middle of the rug some red fabric was needed.  I was a fat child, and the buttons on my dressing gown were popping so that provided the bright red diamond in the middle of the rug.
A kind neighbour, the wife of the caretaker of the County School opposite where we lived knitted socks for her sons.  She gave me some odd balls of wool, and some knitting needles, so I started knitting.  I used to stand outside the Welsh Wool Shop in Merthyr.  I loved the smell of the wool
After the war a young couple, he was disabled, opened a wool shop at Pontmorlais.  What a joy it was.  Wool of the colours of the rainbow for one shilling an ounce.

Another neighbour I thought led a lovely life. She was a widow.  She walked the dogs for her friends, collecting blouses, dresses and coats and made them into rag rugs and patchwork quilts.  After the shortages of the war years we knitted jumpers and sweaters and made rugs from packs of rug wool.    My Mother-in-Law sent to the Durham mills for thrums, mostly red, and with a Gypsy peg and yards of canvas, we covered the floors of quite a large house with wool carpets.
My Father’s family came to Dowlais from Carmarthenshire. They brought rolls of flannel from the mills at Cynwel Elfed to sell for the making of flannel shirts that the men wore in the steel works.   The steel works closed long ago but there are still – thank goodness – quite a few woollen mills in Wales.