Monday, August 9, 2010

A Happy Hooker!

I have always had an appreciation for all things that are created by hand, perhaps because that was my job as an artist.  If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I have always had a love affair with quilts and vowed that when I retired, I would learn to make my own quilts to go along with the antique ones that I managed to collect over time.  I have happily been doing that for the past three years and loving every minute of it!

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But, there is also something else that I’ve always had a burning desire to learn to do.  “What is that?” you might ask. 

I want to be a hooker! 

How hard can it possibly be?  Heck, if I taught myself how to quilt then I can certainly teach myself how to hook…right?  I’ve been told that I’m a fairly quick study and that I pick things up easily so I decided that if I don’t give it a go now, then I might never have another chance to live the dream.

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So with Mr. PQ’s full support, we set out for Montpelier, Vermont on Friday morning.

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Two hours later, we arrived in downtown Montpelier.  Can you see the golden roof of the state Senate dome way off in the background?

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Five miles out of town, we pulled up in front of Green Mountain Hooked Rugs, an incredible full service shop…a hooker’s paradise!

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The shop is owned by Stephanie Ashworth-Krauss, a fourth generation, award-winning hooker.

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I had spoken with Stephanie on the phone and had made arrangements that we meet at her shop on Friday morning in order for her to show me the basic fundamentals and to also purchase the supplies I’d need to start hooking.

I love wool and love working with wool.  When I opened the door, this is what greeted me.

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My heart started to beat a little faster because everywhere I looked…

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Mountains upon mountains of wool!

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Do you see the rug draped over the stand in front of the rocking chair?  That’s one of Stephanie’s WIP’s, and it’s also what I practiced on.  The runner on the floor was hooked by Stephanie’s Mom.  Amazing, huh?

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And more bolts of wool to make my head spin.

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After my mini lesson, here’s what came home with me…

A lap frame…

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A wool cutter and the backing and pattern for my first rug…

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And a hook, of course!  After all, how can I be a hooker without a hook?

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Did you notice my first loops?  My new journey has begun.

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After bidding Stephanie adieu, Mr. PQ, Mac, our Westie and I headed off.  We spent the next two days shopping and taking in the sights in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and made our leisurely way back on Sunday.  By the time we arrived home,  I was too tired to hook  *wink* but I did some stripping instead…with my new wool cutter… in order to be ready to start in later today.

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So needless to say, I’m a happy hooker…or is that hooker-in-training?

Happy stitching…and hooking!

Kaaren ♥

51 comments:

Marie said...

This sounds like a very 'risque' ambition. Happy hooking!

PiecefulChaos said...

Wow! good for you! That sounds like a wonderful weekend and a wonderful store! The first thing i did after reading your post was to scroll up to see if there was a link to the store-and there was! thanks!

paula, the quilter said...

I would love to read this post, but unfortunately the body font type is too small. I looked at the pictures, though.

Julie said...

wow! what a wonderful new adventure for you. i am keen to see your hooking in progress.... looks like a pretty pattern.

paula: perhaps you need to change your settings? kaaren's font is perfect, as always.

julie :)

Patchwork Penguin said...

My sister in Island Pond, VT does rug hooking... she loves it.

Good luck in your new adventure!

Barbara J said...

That wool stripping gadget is really interesting Kaaren! Happy hooking!

Lee Prairie Designs said...

Oh,my! Looks as though you are all set now to be happy hooking! Loved your pictures of the shop and what was inside. Thanks for sharing, Carolyn from Des Moines, Iowa

Cindy said...

I'm "hooked" on all that wool. You're the first "hooker" I've met as a blogger.

Okay, I'm going to go strip down and get cleaned up.

Carrie P. said...

How exciting! I want to be a hooker too. I have some of the stuff but have not taken the step to do it. I am sure that cutter comes in very handy. Please continue to show your progress. Congrats on learning a new craft.

Diane said...

I hope you don't get any spam from your post --wink, wink!
I have one lonely rug hooking santa that's half-finished. I want to be a hooker, really but I can't seem to-I think I need one of those lap frames (I've just used a 12" quilt hoop).
I look forward to your postings about your new 'occupation' he-he and hoping I'm inspired to pick up my hook again. It would be a miracle to get that Santa done-not even going to say by this Christmas :)
I'm blown away by the shop you visited-I can't believe the owner's mom made the runner--and put it on the floor for people to walk on!!!! oh my!

Quilt Hollow said...

Stripping and hooking....risque business going on over there! Hee!!

Laura said...

Wow, what a great shop! And they give lessons too! I bought some rug hooking books long ago and have never taken the plunge. I think I would really like it and maybe a lesson is all I need to get going. Not that I need to start another stash of anything...

julieQ said...

Sounds like such great fun!!! Glad to know your husband supports your hooking...hee!! Aren't those such gorgeous wools!!?

Darlene said...

Well I'd say you're already a seasoned stripper - LOL A few loops and you'll be hooking with the best of them. LOL

I'm in constant awe of you - so much talent in those hands.

Shari said...

Sounds like fun! I've never seen this before - only seen it done with yarn... I think it was called latch-hook or something... I look forward to expanding my knowledge by watching your progress!

jean m. said...

Hi Karren... I am happy for you ... I can't wait to see your first project finished... You do lovely work and I know this project will be lovely as well... Sounds like you had a great time in you mini vacation... Good luck with rug hooking... :)

Annette said...

You are so funny, I know you will be very good at your new skill... just like all the other things you try. This one looks so fun.

call me crazy said...

LOL I'd love to be a hooker too! ;-) The pattern you chose is going to be fabulous!! Keep showing us progress ok? Have a happy week!

ShirleyC said...

You crack me up! I loved your little tour of the shop and hearing about your trip.

Pat said...

Kaaren, best wishes on your new endeavors. Being a Hooker is also something I have always wanted to do!

I will be watching for your progress!

Sharon said...

And a new adventure begins. Good for you, can't wait to see your work. The NW WA fair always gets some great entries and I enjoy seeing the hooked rugs.

Janet said...

Dear Kaaren - I'm new to your blog but I'm not new to rug hooking. I used to do it years ago and I just love it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

By the way, that stripper gadget is also good for doing braided rugs. That's one of my passions also.

Janet in Seattle

Mama Pea said...

I am so jealous! I have always been intrigued by hooking, too, and have wanted to learn. But alas, there really haven't been any shops around me to show me how. What an awesome trip. I can't wait to see your progress. (I don't need another craft anyway, right?)

Stephanie said...

That was a Wool Wowie! How thrilling to start something you've always wanted to do. It's never too late to hook or strip, right?

By Hoki Quilts said...

OMG all that wool, I'd be having palpatations.

Tudy said...

Have fun learning to be a hooker. I have not done rugs but maybe someday. I do most other crafts.

marina said...

What a super shop! love that rug on the floor.
Enjoy learning your new hobby!
Will look forward to your progress and developing as a pro Hooker lol.

Judy C said...

Karen, can't wait to watch the progress on this, hooking is something I have always wanted to try. I too dabble in a lot of crafts, although I think quilting is my love, I might someday be tempted to strip & hook! lol

Sue-Anne said...

Hi Kaaren, I have always loved hooked rugs too and have a burning desire to be a "hooker". Looks like you have gone to the right place and I am dying to see how it all turns out.

WoolenSails said...

I have never been to that shop, I usually go to NH or Maine, but would like to go to Vermont and tour around the state.

Looks like you are all set, can't wait to see your progress.

Debbie

Allie said...

Oh GOOD for you - I've always wanted to do this too! I can't wait to see your first creation!

Brenda said...

Have fun trying your hand at hooking. Start small...

Huisvlyt said...

Enjoy the adventure! Sounds like you are having fun already...
Elzaan

Jenny's Craft Place said...

Sounds like you had a lovely time. Good luck with being 'hooked' Happy crafting, Jenny

Sue said...

What a fun post. Hooking and stripping, you are a busy girl.
I'm drooling with lust over all that wool.

Janet said...

I feel all excited for you going on the rug hooking journey. I can't wait to see your progress. What a gorgeous shop to visit and get a lesson.

Karen said...

Now you've gone and done it (again!). Trouble, I tell you, TROUBLE -right here in River City!!! I feel the need for a road trip coming on. All that wool. All my dreams of one day becoming a Hooker. Oh well....all that wool none the less!
Can't wait to see more of your hooking as you perfect your techniques LOL!
Karen

Ter'e said...

Now you're talking Baby Girl!!!! Now you are in my territory!!!! Here I am - a hooker - wanting to learn to stitch, make Wool Crazy thingees and to quilt. You are a quilter wanting to be a hooker!!!! We sound like chocolate and p-nut butter!!!!! I know that thrill of handling wool for the first time and making those little loops, and wanting them to stand up like pretty little soldiers!!!!! Exciting, isn't it?

More and more, I am seeing the two crafts/arts combined. It is a good thing. We all need to be multi-stitch-ual. Remember, anytime I can help - just email me.

I am so excited to watch your new adventure grow. It is very addicting, you know. (Not like you don't know about that ---- you little quilter, you........) ^5 to you Kaaren!

Susan said...

This brought back memories. Back in 2002 when we had a trip around the world taking our son back to his birth country the first time, we included some time in Canada. On Cape Breton around from Pleasant Bay to Margaree (guessing it was this town) - I found a shop to go into which was full of hooked rugs and necessary tools and kits. I bought one at the time, but still haven't done it. It's not something that is popular here in Australia!!

I clicked on your link to the shop you went too - oh boy the wool fabrics were great, considering I need many more colours for my Wool Crazy quilt I'm collecting for, but sadly they don't ship overseas. So I'll keep my eye out for elsewhere.

Thanks for showing us that amazing shop!!!

Kathy said...

I can't believe I forgot that her shop was in Montpelier! I was there this past weekend, too, visiting our son. DRAT!!!! I did go to a shop in Maine (our other son lives in Maine)...to Searsport Rug Hooking. On Rt 1, between Bar Harbor/Acadia and Belfast. What a wonderful shop. They are moving to a different location soon, but I am so glad I got to stop there. The wools were wonderful, as were the canvases to hook. Oh, it was wonderful! I started hooking as a side 'thing' from buying wools for wool applique and penny rugs and now, the Wool Crazy stuff. I love hooking rugs...and even finishing the edges. It's calming and great therapy after a hectic work day. I am looking forward to seeing your projects...there are a few really good blogs out there by other quilter/hookers.

Donna said...

I'll look forward to following the new hooker's progress! It looks like fun.

Debra said...

How fun! A new craft to try out. I may have to but this one on my "dreams" list.

Lori said...

That looks like a blast! What a shop!!! Wool heaven that's for sure. I look forward to seeing your hooked rug.

Bonny said...

Very interesting - I can't wait to see your progress and if the interest for hooking is as great as the interest for quilting! Your first project is such a nice pattern!

Linda said...

Congratulations! I am a hooker newbie also and I love it! It's a little messy though....keep a lint roller handy! Keep us posted with your progress please!

Penny said...

With your love for all things wool, this should be a wonderful craft for you. I'm interested that you took Mac with you. Are there any issues with crossing the border with him? I've always wanted to travel with our dog, but am afraid that would keep us from going into places of interest. I have a huge pile of wool clothes from the 60's that I saved thinking that one day I would use the fabric for something. Ha ha that didn't happen. Would wool artists have an interest in old wool?

paulette said...

OMG...look at all that glorious wool!! I would LOVE to visit that store!! Happy hooking!!
;o)
Paulette

Teresa said...

Good luck on your hooking journey. The shop looks sooooo tempting, but I have got to finish a few quilts before I broaden my horizons.

Sandra Henderson said...

I love Vermont. I think I shall live there one day... :)
What a great shop! So happy that you had such a wonderful time! You were truly a kid in a candy store!

Karen said...

I was hoping to stop at a hooked rug & quilt shop in West Virginia on our vacation but we got to the town too late for shopping there. The shop you visited would make anyone who likes wool get out the old credit cards and go to town shopping!

QuiltingFitzy said...

I am a hooker wannabe. I've made my first mat and am working on a runner...but I need a good shot of confidence!

I just found your blog today, but we have lots in common and I'll be back!