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Get help hooking your pictorial hooked rugs – New edition

Are you struggling while rug hooking pictorial rugs?  This book can help.

Some of you picked up the book when it was available for the first time at Sauder Village in August 2015.  Many of you found it on the website, but I’ve never announced that it was available … until now.

How to Rug Hook Pine Trees, Grass and Sky by Cindi GayThe book more closely resembles the Kindle version on Amazon.  If you prefer to hold real paper in your hands, this is the book for you.

Even if you have the old version (editions 1 -4), you’ll find something new in this one.  Most of the pages have color pictures.  All of the illustrations are larger.  There is more text.

Rug hooking landscapes to look realistic can be difficult.  All the changes have been designed to help you rug hook pictorials.

The book has grown from 17 pages in edition 1 to almost 80!  You can buy it here.



My designs have improved so much since I purchased your book. I would say to all, purchase this book, you will be glad you did.

Not just pretty pictures, but lots of information and techniques on how to actually create pictorial rugs. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone in the rug hooking world. I have come back to it many times. It’s a keeper for sure and a valuable part of my rug hooking library.

This book is equally valuable to the beginner and the expert rug hooker. It is also extremely interesting and well written. If you buy one book for your rug hooking reference library this year, this should be it.

These are just excerpts of the first three reviews on Amazon. You can read them all here. Be sure to leave your own comments if you’ve read the book!

What is your best tip for rug hooking pictorial rugs?

Use the comment box below to share your best tip or ah-ha moment.

If you bought on Amazon, please leave your review there also. It helps other rug hookers to find my book and to make a decision if it is right for them.

How to rug hook a sunset sky and water using specially dyed wool

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Sunset or sunrise

How to hook a regular sky

I use an easy method with my specially dyed sky wool to hook a normal day time sky.

The method is described in detail in Pine Trees, Grass and Sky. This method does not work for our nighttime sky on this project.

How to rug hook a nightime sky

This sky does not have any shading, but the water does…

How to rug hook the water

I custom dyed the wool for this project. You can hook anything with the right wool. We’ll use the sky method I use in my book, Pine Trees, Grass and Sky to rug hook this water.

Break the water area on your pattern and the spot dyed wool into the same number of sections. Four is an easy number. Split it in half and then each section into half. For finer control split it further, into eight or even sixteen sections (a yard is easily split into 16 pieces). This is explained in more detail in the book.

rughooking wool dyed for night water

Dyed wool

Wool divided into sections for rug hooking night water

Wool divided into sections

Once you identify your sections, hook the water using only wool from section one in section one, only section two wool goes into section two, etc. You can find more information about this technique in my book, Pine Trees, Grass and Sky.

Use the fine cut shading method to number the wool, the lightest value is always number 1. Note that the water in the photo is lighter at the bottom and darker at the top. Arrange the wool in that manner to number your sections. This is different than the “standard” way I describe in the Pine Trees, Grass and Sky book but it is right for this project.

Unusual lighting or other conditions will often “break the rules.”

What cut size should I use to rug hook the water?

Because the distances are so vast in this photo, let’s use the cut size of the wool to our advantage. Start with a larger cut closer to the viewer (at the bottom of the rug) and decrease the cut size as you move away. Objects get smaller as they move into the distance and changing the cut size helps with that illusion.

Start with a size 8 and move in sections to as small as a 4, depending on the size of your pattern. The larger the pattern, the more vast the image, the greater the span of cut sizes. A small pictorial could move from just a six to a 4, for instance.

Using cut size to show distance in rug hooking

A gradual change in cut size helps the ground or water to “lay down” instead of looking like a green or blue wall.

It is more important in this particular pattern to change the cut size because the spot dyed wool will automatically create the waves. We want the waves or ripples to look smaller in the distance. Changing the cut size will do that automatically. Again, with the right wool you can hook anything!

How to rug hook a sunset sky

There is no need to use a special method for this nighttime sky. While it is still important to avoid bricks in the sky (see the section on how to hook sky in the book, Pictorial Basics: Pine Trees, Grass and Sky), there is no need to mark the sky into 4 sections. The color is consistent from top to bottom creating the illusion of darkness.

Dyeing sunset or sunrise sky for rug hooking

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Sunset or sunrise

I received a call from Rhonda Smith about dyeing wool for a sunset sky. An image popped in my mind. I asked her to mail me the photo she had in mind (colors do not always translate well in emails because everyone’s monitor can show colors very differently.) When it arrived it was remarkably different that what I had in mind. Now that I knew what she wanted, I was ready to get to work. Rhonda needed one yard for water and one for sky.

The dye recipes

First I dyed one yard of wool using Robin’s Egg, #14A from my book, Dyeing by the Numbers, at double strength.* As soon as the water cleared, I felt comfortable starting the second pot. I always cook for at least 30 minutes after the water comes to a near boil and after the acid has been added. I usually cook blues a bit longer because they fade the fastest.

*I used a recipe 4x the original because the recipe is intended for 1/2 yard. Since I was dyeing over 1 yard (twice the amount) I needed 4x the recipe to dye it at double strength. See you DO need math after the 4th grade! . . . or this simple fraction technique.

The emergency swap

As the first pot continued to process, I noticed it was getting too dark. Wool will be lighter when it is dry, but even allowing for the drying it was too dark. I glanced over at the second pot and it looked about right.

I took these photos immediately after putting the second yard of wool in the pot. I intended to use the photo for an article on dyeing. Even though both pots are lighter here and cooked for a while before I noticed the problem, the photos below still illustrates what is going on.

I immediately took the first darker yard of wool out of the clear water and put it in an empty pot, then I moved the second yard from the still blue water and put it in the first pot. The dark wool went back into the second pot and cooked in the lightly colored blue water, allowing it to get even darker.
Wool dyeing in the pots on the stove for sky and water

My intent was to stop the second yard from getting any darker. I reset the clocks, added acid to be sure each pot had enough and began processing again.

By going slow, I avoided having two yards that were the wrong value. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

Spot dyeing the water

Once both pieces were done, I need to spot the water and make the sky darker to coordinate. I used the spot dye method described in my book, Dyeing by the Numbers. I spotted the wool with 15B Deep Water and some more of 14A Robin’s Egg, concentrating the bulk of the dye at one end and only lightly spotting the other end. Then I baked it for an hour to set the wool before dyeing the sky darker. It would be relatively easy to match the solid sky to the spotted water rather than the other way around.

Dyeing the sky wool

Comparing wet to wet I poured and cooked, poured and cooked until I had a match that I liked. The goal was to match the darker end of the spot dyed wool. I used the same dyes that I did in the spot dye, a bit of 14A and 15B.

rug hooking wool dyed for sky and water

Tomorrow I will show you how to hook with this wool.

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