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TitleDuncanDesigned byPearl McGownHooked byMary Jo ChildsInspirationarticle about "Duncan" Rugs in Rug Hooking Magazine, Vol. 34, No. 2, Sept/Oct 2022Dimensions35" x 24"Materialswool on linenCuts6Start to Finish2022-2023Share

Duncan – My First Rug for the Floor

I have loved making hooked rugs to decorate my furniture and my walls, but I felt like I really needed to honor this traditional craft by making a rug for the floor. I had been pondering the design for a few years and could articulate that this rug would be a geometric–but not rigidly so, it would have curves,  and hopefully some whimsy.  I attempted a design or two but was dissatisfied and then I saw the article on a rug pattern named ‘Duncan’ featured in Rug Hooking Magazine (Sept. Oct. 2022).  THAT was the rug I desired.

Right away I bought the Jane McGown pattern from Cushing in Maine.  I would use only wool that I had on hand already and decided it would speak to the colors in my living room: burgundy, blue, and a soft gold.  The wonderful thing  about this pattern is the various outcomes that are possible depending on color choices for the outlines of each curved diamond, the colors of the dots and the presence or absence of a line around each, and how the colors alternate within and between the rows.

I had fun playing with possibilities by tracing the 8 ½” x 11” photo of the pattern onto paper, making multiple copies, and then using colored pencils to experiment.  Even within one set of colors, many different effects can be achieved.  Ultimately, I discovered that the rug contains the potential for a medallion design which I loved, but which would not suit the place I intended to use the rug. I finally settled on how I’d used my colors in the design and set to work.  I had not really tried the Hit or Miss technique before, which I expected to be simple (alternating light, bright, dark, and dull strips).  Not so. I never would have guessed one could labor so much over every single strip!

That said, one great thing about the Duncan rug was that, unlike my pictorials, it did not require intense concentration.  This allowed me to hook socially. I had never been able to do that before.  It gave me a project I could take to the Randolph Ruggers’ gatherings where I finally got to know some fellow rug hookers.  The more I went, the more I hooked, the happier I was to get to know some very warm, kind and talented women who hook.  And though I liked my finished Duncan (but did not like it where I had planned to put it), it reminds me of the gift of friendship that rug hooking has brought to me.  I hope to do more Duncans in the future, especially the medallion option.  Can you see it?

More rugs by this artist

About the Artist

I began hooking after attending the “Hooked in the Mountains” rug show at Shelburne Museum in November 2007 and being dazzled by what I saw.  A group of friends decided to sign up for a Beginner Rug Hooking Class at the nearby high school in January 2008 taught by Diane Burgess.  She had each of us make a pillow using a provided pattern or our own design using wool strips from a huge bag of donated strips.  I loved playing with the colors and was happy with the result. I signed up for Diane’s follow-up class to learn more.  Diane encouraged everyone to submit their rugs to the next show. She made us all feel that our novice work was welcome and worthy of this big show.  I’m glad I did it.

Over time, rug hooking has taught me to see the world around me as an artist: seeing possible paintings or hooked rugs.  My sheep rug, “Happy to See Ewe”,  provided the opportunity to translate what I saw into a wool painting.  I learned to study light and shadows, to understand how the atmosphere affects color and value, and to learn various ways to achieve texture and depth in a pictorial rug. It taught me to be creative in ways that have meaning to me and to persevere when challenges arise no matter how long it takes.

Rug Hooking has added much richness to my life and I look forward to all the lessons I have yet to learn through this art and craft.