Saturday, June 6, 2015

Our blog has moved!

We have moved our blog to

Please check out our blog at its new location on our new website where you can also purchase dyed wool, swatches, bolt wool, frames, hooks, etc.


Green Mountain Hooked Rugs

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Capturing the Magician by Mariah Krauss

I'm participating in the tarot card project with a number of other very talented artists including my mom and am finally in the home stretch of my piece. I chose the first card of the deck: The Magician and he has proven himself to be as elusive as I feared he would be. At first I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Here was the magician already fully formed... or so I thought. As it turned out, comprehending his appearance was like trying to look at the whole night sky at once. I could visualize his face, hands, and the background separately but imagining the picture as a whole was difficult. How did the pieces fit together? He wanted to be many things all at once and fought against being confined to one posture, one look, and one meaning. I decided to just tackle the things that I knew I wanted to include. 

I knew I wanted to use my grandfather as the inspiration for the face and I also knew I wanted him to be holding a crystal ball, which would act as the only source of light in the picture. So I travelled to his home in New Hampshire one afternoon to take some photos. Being the thoughtful granddaughter I am, I wanted the process to be as easy as possible for him (he is 91 after all) so I picked a comfortable chair in the dining room and asked him to sit with a flashlight while I took about 50 pictures in two minutes. 

When I got home I tried to find a picture I could use, but I realized that none of them gave me insight into the light and shadows created by the flashlight because all of the pictures were taken in full sunlight. I realized I would have to go back armed with the more militaristic attitude that I normally save for a select few Rug School students (Doris!) So back I went ready to force the old man to sit still in a dark room and do what I said! My Aunt Elizabeth and I looked around the house to find a place that was dark enough and wouldn't ya know it! The only room with no window was the bathroom. So I forced him in there, handed him a flashlight, told him to assume the position (not THAT position) and snapped another 50 or so pictures, him laughing all the way (or crying possibly. Who can tell?) But this time I knew I had it. He was both elusive and frank and I could imagine him holding a crystal ball and telling me my future: "I see... I see an old man hitting you with his cane!"

I couldn't be happier to have chosen him as my subject. As rug hookers we know how important it is to choose something you won't mind staring at for months on end and I have chosen well so far. My past few pieces have allowed me to get to know family members that I either didn't have the chance to know when they were alive, or with whom I have not spent as much time for one reason or another. I didn't want to miss my opportunity to form memories with him and get to know him better while I had the chance. Luckily for me there's an unbreakable bond that forms between two people when one shoves the other in a bathroom and photographs it. Also luckily for me my grandfather has enough magic in just one of his expressions to make my rug everything I hoped it could be, even from the seat of a toilet. And that is all I could have hoped for from my magician.

Sidenote for anyone who's interested: the story of the tarot card!

The story of the tarot cards (or at least one version of it) chronicles the travels of "the fool". The first person the fool meets in his travels is a powerful magician with an infinity sign floating above his head (who is more infinite than my 91 year old grandfather?) To the fool the magician seems to have all of the answers. When he hands the magician his pack, the magician calls on the powers by pointing to the earth and to the sky; magically the pack opens and reveals the Sword of Intellect, the Wand of Passions and Ambition, the Chalice of Love and Emotions, and the Pentacle of Work, Possessions, and Body. These are the tools and paths open to the fool throughout his travels. But which will he choose?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Into Inspiration - Posted by Elizabeth Ashworth

Spring comes to northern New England late. As I write this there are snowflakes in the air and the sky is dark.  It is hard to think of spring and spring flower. It seems that there will be a few more days before I can happily start the spring clean up and work the gardens. It will be a few more days before the brown is replaced by green and colorful blooms. I long for the magic and promise of spring.

When I was growing up my mother filled our life with strips of wool in many colors. I would watch as my Mom drew pictures with those strips of wool. Rug hooking was and is still a bit mystifying to me. What I did understand clearly was that those strips of wool brightened my imagination and open the doors to my own creativity.

I love that my sister has filled her shop with wonderful seasonal rug hooking kits. They remind me of the flowers that I remember my Mom working on. This spring I have dropped in at the web site to have a look and perhaps get a little early  inspiration. I am never sure what will come from those visits, however I do know that they light a spark in my heart that pushes me toward my own creativity.

Please check out the store at Green Mountain Hooked Rugs for your own preview of the seasons. And perhaps you will be inspired to step fully into the spring season.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Green Mountain Hooked Rugs - February Vending in Punta Gorda Fl - Pam Kirk

The last time I was vending was in the mid 70’s.  At that time I was more interested in introducing people to rug hooking and getting classes than I was selling patterns and wool.   Vending has certainly changed in the last 40 plus years!    

At the end of February, I went with Stephanie and Lindsay to Punta Gorda, Fl to the Harbor Hook-in held by Searsport.   The hook in was held at the convention center downtown Punta Gorda.  It was the perfect place for a hooking event.  The center of the large airy room was filled with rug hookers from all around who came for the two-day event.  All the vendors set up displaying their products around the perimeter of the conference center.  There was an exhibit of hooked pieces along one wall of the center.  What a haven of supplies of every kind for the rug hooker and fiber artist!  Display racks and systems of all kinds filled booths of varying sizes and overflowed with colors, textures, designs and equipment.  Very different from 40 years ago when the vending events I attended consisted of a folding table or two and if you could figure out a way to hang a couple rug samples, you considered yourself lucky!   

For me, this first time vending with Green Mountain Hooked Rugs was fun and exciting. I made several trips to each of the vendors delighting in what they had to offer.  Our Green Mountain Hooked Rug booth had a steady stream of rug hookers and friends admiring and purchasing the dyed wools, the Green Mountain Design patterns as well as the getting time with Stephanie and Lindsay.  I sat outside the booth and hooked on a primitive design oriental and enjoyed chatting with those who stopped to ask about the pattern or the “how to” of the art of hooking.    
Green Mountain Hooked Rugs booth
                                           The Convention Center

 A small sample of some of the pieces on exhibit


On Thursday morning Stephanie was scheduled to teach a class on “color planning your pattern”.  When she found she had 25 students enrolled in a class she had only expected 8 or 10, she adjusted her topic to be more interactive and participatory for all the class members.  Everyone was eager to learn the points about color, chroma, value and how to apply them to the pattern for the ‘feel’ the rug hooker was after that Stephanie offered. Stephanie shared “questions” that one should ask of oneself when starting to plan a rug to aid in the planning and development as well as being able to move beyond that sticking point of “what do I do now because this just doesn’t look right.” Several had brought in their pieces and Stephanie used them as examples to explain her points and engaged the class members in the discussion and possible solutions available.  Many from the class shared that it was the best class they had ever been to on color planning and dealing with the ‘trouble spots’.

                                     Stephanie's class on Color Planning and Problem Solving

Monday, March 16, 2015

February 15th - Happy 1st Anniversary Green Mountain Hooked Rugs Board of Directors - Pam Kirk

It is hard to believe that a year ago Valentine’s weekend, Anne Ashworth’s 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters met in New Gloucester,  Maine for the first board of directors meeting for Green Mountain Hooked Rugs.  That time Pam made it from FL to NE between snowstorms.    And here we are again, meeting in New Gloucester, Maine to begin our second year!  Again Pam made it in and out of NE between blizzards!  What are you girls thinking?   Elizabeth was not able to join the meeting this year since it was school break and Valentine’s weekend with a very full to overflowing ‘house’ for their dog care business.  On Saturday Pam and Lindsay drove up from Worceter, Mass and Stephanie came over from Montpelier gathering at Cecely’s for a fun family dinner - entertainment provided by 31 month old Emrys Coe, the love of Stephanie’s life!   The weather forecasters were predicting yet another major blizzard for Saturday night and all day Sunday.  Our meeting was scheduled for a conference room at Pineland Center on Sunday - would we have a meeting? would we be able to get there and if so, would the building/conference center be open?   We did make it there (only about 5 or so miles down the road from Cecely's and Mariah’s homes) and only a light snow falling with not much accumulation from the night before.  The conference room was not open, so we met at the Pineland Conference Center General Store in one of their dining rooms.  A perfect place to meet.  The store in itself is worth a visit, full of great foods, fresh vegetables and any manner of yummy things prepared for purchasing.   

It was amazing to sit around the table together again and review what we had accomplished over the year. "Yes, we HAVE come a long way, baby”!   There is a new accounting system and some back office programs in place now; a new venue and exciting teachers  for Green Mountain Rug School 2015 are all lined up; and a new website that will allow 24/7 browsing and shopping is well on the way to meet the projected May 1st launch.   The ‘divide and conquer” on tasks and work streams that Lindsay talked about has been very successful in reducing  the effort and focus that was solely Stephanie’s.   She has been freed up to spend more time vending; teaching and generally taking care of the things she loves about the business.  With Pam’s retirement from corporate life, she has taken over the production of patterns, the Newsletter and is taking on the photography for the website.  Cecely has been involved with the the business ads and is helping Pam with the product photography.  Mariah is busy scouting teachers for future Rug School classes; dyeing wool for the shop as well as working on her own amazing  hooking projects.  Lindsay’s business sense and training keeps this all on track and lights the way for our future.   Our meeting ended on just such a positive note for our future growth and the possibilities open for Green Mountain Hooked Rugs.  Our mother, grandmother (Anne Ashworth), great grandmother, great great grandmother (Philena Moxley) would be pleased and I hope excited to see the life and future of the legacy they left in our care.  Green Mountain Hooked Rugs' second year will be as exciting and as busy as our first and we are all looking forward to all it holds.  Oh, yes, next year’s winter board meeting will meet in Florida!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Very First Rug…

Pigs must be flying and hell must be frozen over because the Rug Hooking world has officially turned me into a hooker… and I love every minute of it!

It was about 2 years ago now that I began helping my mom, Stephanie Krauss, with Rug School.  I have always vowed that I was not interested in hooking.  Until this Christmas when my aunt, Pam Kirk, sent me a pattern.  I was strangely excited to start it.  I had it color planned the next morning by 5AM.  I never realized how great my moms shop was until I was color planning… SO MUCH WOOL! 

I then began hooking.  I took to it like a fish to water.  I told mom, “I had been watching her, my grandmother (Anne Ashworth) and my sister (Mariah Krauss) do it for 30 years, I likely picked something up in that time!”  My mom gave me pointers along the way.  Everyone had always said she is a great beginner teacher, now I see what they meant.  She has a way of guiding you and offering lots of ideas, while allowing you to go through the artistic process on your own. 

I learned a lot with this rug.  You can see how some of the bears look different.  The first bear I did I outlined and then I followed the outline all around.  The other bears I outlined and then hooked straight lines.  I also learned that pulling loops to make a straight line is difficult – which is why the pine cone tops look like a 5 year old drew them.  Lastly, I hooked the background in two different directions.  I hooked the top and the bottom – then I hooked the two sides.  I couldn’t really see the difference once the rug was completed and realized I could have hooked it all in the same direction.

I really enjoy my time hooking.  I have a pretty demanding job and I find it difficult to close my computer at the end of the night.  I also have trouble just sitting and watching TV – I always need to be multi-tasking.  Hooking has solved both of these problems for me.

Thanks hooking community for never giving up on me!