The Stargazer and The Whale: A Punch Needle Rug

The Stargazer and the Whale, copyright Whimseytopia 2012

Completed in February, I am delighted to post my latest, and largest, punch needle project, “The Stargazer and the Whale.”

I took my inspiration from my favorite book, Ahab’s Wife, and since reading this wonderful novel I’ve never looked at the stars, or even the night sky, the same. Those of you who have read the novel will understand.  Those of you who have not, should.  This is an incredible read.

I emailed the author, Sena Jeter Naslund, and sent her a photo of the rug, thanking her for Una the protagonist and all the inspiration I received from her book.  It took her only moments to write back, complimenting my design as “witty and profoundly beautiful,”  and was very pleased to be my muse.  I’m going to print the email onto fabric and tack it to the back of the rug.  I’ve never had an author write to me, especially the author of my favorite book, but then I don’t think I’ve ever written to an author before.

Now that the rug is “in the can” I need to find time to put the pattern up for sale on my website.  Please contact me here if you are interested.  The design is 24″ x 34″ and is hand-drawn on vellum.

I am happy to report the Amy Oxford Punch Needles were perfect for this project.  I haven’t tried using wool strips instead of yarn, but will be shortly.  What I can recommend is the ease and comfort of these needles.  They thread so easily, stay threaded and the needle tips are perfect for monks cloth.  I never tired using them, nor did my wrists hurt in any way.

Amy runs classes to certify teachers in their use, and I am sorry that these classes won’t be offered this year, but I’ll wait until next year and definitely find my way to Vermont to become an instructor.  By then I will be even better with them and more able to share this with others.  I can’t imagine I could be more passionate about this craft by then, but who knows!

Now I’m on to my next design entitled “Red, White and Maryland Blue Crab.”  Hopefully this will be completed  before the Fourth of July.

About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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22 Responses to The Stargazer and The Whale: A Punch Needle Rug

  1. I absolutely love this rug. That is wonderful that the author wrote back to you!

  2. ntexas99 says:

    what a beautiful design, and how delightful that you heard from the author!
    that’s like hitting two home runs in the same inning … well done!

  3. cubbyholes says:

    That is just gorgeous! The colors are so vivid and well defined. The detail in the water is just amazing to me. I didn’t know you could get such small details to show up well with punch needle. That is really a work of art. Beautiful!

    • You are so sweet! Thank you for these kind words. I am happy as can be with this and loving the next one too. But I must be honest, this is NOT hard. Not even close to being hard. It is far easier than most crafts I’ve done, and the outcome is very dramatic for the amount of work. Depending upon the colors you use, that’s what you’ll get. Paton makes a great wool yarn, and I’m also using Paternayan yarns left over from my needlepoint days.

      Words like yours are so motivating to me. Thank you so much. Patsye

  4. kittyhere says:

    Sometimes it takes a while for me to put two and two together. I don’t know Amy Oxford but we do live in the same Vermont town. I know someone who took classes with her and is constantly “hooking” with wool strips. She has made made cushions for all her dinning room chairs with different fruits & veggies. Now she is working on rugs for each of her grown children (they already have quilts stitched by hand by her). I had no idea you could hook with wool.

    And congratulations for receiving such a nice reply from author Sena Jeter Naslund. I am always happy to hear that people who have ‘made it’ respond to their fans.

    • kittyhere says:

      I meant I didn’t know you could hook with yarn — brain misfire.

    • Good Morning! Lucky you. If I lived up there I would be taking some of those numerous classes for all types of needlework. Vermont is the quintessential state for “made by hand” goods. Everyone up there is so self-sufficient. And is there a more beautiful state in America? I think not. I’ve been to Vermont. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

      Yes, you can hook with yarn, wool strips, plastic, rope/twine, cotton, … just about anything that can be threaded through the punch needle or pulled up through a canvas with a hook.

      Oh I wish I lived in Vermont!!!

  5. Wow, Patsye, that looks amazing! You’re so talented 🙂

  6. averyclaire says:

    How fun to have an author write back to you. The rug is truly a work of art. You are so very talented. Love it. I don’t know much about rug making…did you use wool yarn to make this? Thanks so much for your note on my blog. Will write back a longer note soon. Hugs.

    • And how’s your cross-stitch coming along?

      • Grainne says:

        *hmmm* Well, I tried to take a little artistic license and screwed up a part of the pattern so I’ve been staring at it for a couple weeks trying to figure out if I should pick the stitches out or just work around it. lol. Will get there…I create things slowly…apparently. 😉

  7. Patti says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!! My husband bought the book for me this past Christmas. I am thoroughly enjoying it. Between knitting and sewing that is.

    How wonderful the author responded in such a positive way! Love it.

    • There are several pages when she’s on the widow’s walk waiting for Ahab, and Naslund gets into a star/universe, what’s it all about? kind of thing that I found very helpful during the most difficult time in my life. That was the second time I read the book. And the third time that chapter still touched me deeply. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. It’s a wild read that will stick with you.

  8. Sue McB says:

    That is really lovely – well done for the design and its execution..Glad the author responded so happily too. I really must read that book, I have seen you mention it many times but never remember about it when I go to the library. Hope our local one has it.

  9. Northern Narratives says:

    I like your design. How exciting that the book author does too 🙂

    • Yes. I thought she was very generous with her words. I’m sure she gets tons of emails, both positive and negative, and it was so motivating for me to receive such a kind letter.

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