Rug hooking the background on Primitive Roses stair riser

Written by Cindi Gay

Rug hooking the background can be the least interesting part of rug hooking. So I’ve developed a way to be sure I finish the background and don’t lose interest. I figure that every strip I hook now is one less strip of background I’ll have to hook later. I hook background as soon as I can, often background is my second strip of wool.

Primitive Rose by Cindi Gay

I hook squiggly shapes all over the surface. Think zigsaw puzzle pieces. Quilters will recognize this as stipple quilting. The main advantage is that the rows are going every which way and your eye does not settle into a pattern. The other feature of hooking a background this way is that if you begin to get nervous about how much wool you have, you can easily introduce a new one and mix it in.

Primitive Rose by Cindi Gay

I tried the dull green colors for the foliage on the right. Notice how it looks better once I get more background hooked. I wonder how the rose in the dull colors would have worked? I really did not give it a chance. Part way through the hooking, I realized that there are several wools that I really rely on for my hooking. These would be the wools I would grab if I had to make an emergency exit. I decided to offer these as a bundle for sale so I wanted this stair riser to represent that idea but I didn’t pull the dull green out until almost the end.

Primitive Rose by Cindi Gay

Now I have more background hooked. The lower part of the stair riser is filled in. I hook on a Puritan Frame and there is a comfort spot that I prefer to hook in. The piece of backing I used for this piece is smaller than I normally use so it is restricting how I put the piece on my frame. I’ll turn it over and hook the upper area.

Primitive Rose by Cindi Gay

Now the hooking is complete. Notice that I did change the greens on the right. I experimented with adding a blue/green lighter wool. At first I almost pulled it out because it was so different. After it was all done, that part became very special. I added a small touch of it on the left also. Don’t rip out too soon. You will probably rip out some very special hooking if you do. Image this piece without that tiny glimmer. . .

Primitie Rose Stair Riser designed and hooked by Cindi Gay
Primitive Rose Stair Riser

closeup of rughooking of leaf

I had experimented early on with the letters also (see the lower loop of the #9) and worked in a beige with the golds. A tiny bit of it never got pulled out. I think it adds a bit of something unexpected.

closeup of rughooking

Next week I’ll show you how I do the finish for the stair risers. Remember the last stair riser I tried to finish? I used my default rug hooking finish, Fold Forward Finish, and it did not fit my stairs. No problem. It got hung on the wall instead. The rughooking finish I use for the stair risers does not show on the front at all, but covers the edge beautifully so the stair riser looks good even if viewed from the side.

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