WARNING: THIS IS A RUG HOOKING RANT
This post is a minor rant about badly drawn rug hooking patterns. When I first got into rug hooking many years ago, I bought a bunch of patterns because I lacked the confidence to design my own. Over the years, I bought a couple of additional patterns...it's taken me a long time to hook my way thru all those patterns, and now I'm impatient to get to my own designs. However, I am determined to finish the patterns I have. After this one, I only have 2 left, one of which I will punch hook. But I digress.
I must have bought the pattern for my current rug 17 years ago, because it says copyright 1998 on the linen. I bought it from someone whose integrity I totally trusted in terms of her business practices. (I'm still a fan of hers) When it came to my house, I was too busy to hook it so I just put it away, thinking I would get to it soon.
As the saying goes, "My bad."
My bad on 2 levels: First, it took me 17 years to start hooking the pattern, and second because I trusted the pattern maker, I never looked at the pattern carefully. That second part makes everything that follows all my fault. I have total confidence that if I had sent the pattern back to her, as I should have done at the time, she would have made it right. But I didn't look at it, and 17 years later it is a bit late to say, "Take this back; it's all wrong!"
So I am stuck with the fact that I didn't check it.
Live and learn from my mistakes. ALWAYS check that patterns you buy (or create) are drawn on the straight of the grain. Always. If they are not, send them back immediately. Any reputable pattern maker will re-do the pattern and sent it back for free.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. On three sides of the rug, the inner border has not been drawn straight. In fact, look at just HOW "off" it is below--you can see that if it were drawn straight, it would have run right through the outer border design! Look at the faint pencil tracing just below the black wool border on the right:
You can also see some holes in the linen (middle of the photo) where I've pulled out what I've already hooked, trying to figure out how best to approach this problem.
Now here are two more photos, the first with the black wool of the border being "stepped down" frequently in order to compensate for the badly drawn design, and the second with a row of the white inner background added; you can see how much "stepping down" is going on to try to make this right. It's terrible! And it is on 3 sides of the rug! And there is another outer border that's just as "off" as this inner one. The entire rug was drawn carelessly on the linen. There is no excuse for this.
In order to make this work I am going to have to cram extra wool in at the step-down points on either side of the border, to push it around and make it look straight. This will not be fun.
Someone was very careless/mindless in drawing this on linen, but to be very clear, I was very careless in not checking the pattern when I got it. Seventeen years later, I am dealing with my own mistake of not checking.
Curious about this--the business I bought the pattern from was sold a few years ago--I went to the new owner's website and noticed that this pattern is for sale, but is half price because of "errant print marks that may not meet our high quality standards." Good for them for being clear, right from the get-go, that there is an issue; buyer beware! Although the new owner sounds very ethical.
I don't mean to imply that the original owner is unethical; I had heard she had a few health problems around the time I bought this, and it's possible that someone other than she drew up this pattern, trying to be "helpful." The person I knew would never have sent out a pattern this badly done. I think I can work with it; it's just going to be harder than it should be.
Check your patterns. Always draw on the straight of the grain. Check even if you know the person you are buying from is totally reputable. Because, let's face it, shit happens, even to the best of us.
Every loop can be a learning experience; that's one of the many things I love about making rugs.
--End of rant.--
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
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SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society
Skillful Meditation Project