Rug Hooking Guild, and why I’ll stick with punching.

If you read my satirical piece on Wool Rug Hooking by Tara Darr you might be surprised that when the book finally arrived I was thrilled to find it well worth the money; the $22 that is. It really is a good book for someone starting out in the craft.  It is comprehensive, well-written, and I appreciated her lack of rigidity in choosing everything from tools to fabrics.  I took her point to be that this should be fun.  And fun it is, even if I’m punching instead of hooking.

I went to the rug hooking guild meeting yesterday, not knowing that they meet for four- hour sessions.  The members are extremely nice and very good at what they do.  Everyone was working on a hooking project (mostly rugs), and I was somewhat embarrassed by the little primitive I brought with me.  It had been sitting in a closet for close to 20 years, and because it was small I thought it would be easy to carry and not very distracting.  I went to meet kindred spirits, not really to hook.

I learned quickly there is a difference between members of a guild and just a group of friends hooking. For starters, these ladies really know what they are doing.  They had the nice frames, the most beautiful patterns, and absolutely gorgeous wools.  Clearly most everyone’s technique was well honed and near perfect.  How anyone gets that good at anything is beyond me.  There was also an actual meeting where trips, hook-ins and camps were discussed.  If you want to, you can put a lot of money into this activity, and of the few people who were mentioned as absent, they were said to be at a seminar across the country or teaching a class somewhere.   I began to wonder if I wasn’t in over my head.

The only problem for me was that no one there punches; they all hook.  A few nice ladies looked at my punch needle but there was no question they were hookers, not punchers.  I got the sense there is a finite way of doing this craft if you are in the guild, but certainly no one suggested I learn to hook instead of punch.   Everyone was very friendly and asked if I would come again.

And I probably will.

In the meantime, I got some more good advice about wools and cutting machines, and even a frame that I’m sure I’ll never be able to afford.  There are classes through a teacher who is the group leader, but there’s another expense, and besides, I want to design my own patterns and choose my own colors, a task several people said the group leader does best.

One thing did reaffirm my commitment to punch needle.  Hooking is slow.  Perhaps the people around me were slower than normal, but I couldn’t help but notice the exactness of each loop as it was pulled through the fabric, slowly and deliberately, so there was no discernible difference between the new loop and the one next to it.  I just don’t have the eyesight for that kind of detail, so I will let my punch needle do the measuring for me, which is exactly what IT does best!

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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.
This entry was posted in Needle Punch, Needlework, Punch Needle, Rug Hooking, Textile Art, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Rug Hooking Guild, and why I’ll stick with punching.

  1. Northern Narratives says:

    I agree with Cubbyholes. It takes a lot of courage to go to such meetings. I think that if you continue with the group, you will be a valued member because you are not doing the same as them. I always find that I learn so much and get so many creative ideas from the people who do things differently. And whenever I go to a knitting group, I always take a tiny simple project because I find it hard to knit something complex and keep up with the conversation 🙂 Judy

  2. cubbyholes says:

    First. it’s way cool that you even went. Sometimes going to something new like that, where there is the possibility of not being treated very nice, or being thrust into a “click” situation, is very hard. It’s great that you were so brave to even try something like that. I probably would not have, so yay for you!
    Second, I think you should stick to what you really enjoy doing. They seemed very accepting of you and, honestly, they all probably showed up with a tote bag when they first started going as well so you shouldn’t feel intimidated. You do beautiful work and it takes a lot more creativity and courage to stay true to yourself. Who knows? Maybe you will be the catalyst for others to break out and dare to make up their own minds. 🙂
    You go, girl!
    Jeanie

    • Oh Jeanie: What a wonderful, uplifting comment. You have no idea how good you made me feel by writing this. I didn’t want to admit it, but yes, I was very nervous. I didn’t know the library didn’t open until one o’clock, the very time the group meets, so I found myself standing in front of the library by myself, half contemplating to leave before anyone got there. But I did, I stayed, and I’m glad because you are right. I got lucky. They were very, very nice people, and I will get over my embarrassment and learn from them. There’s much to learn about wool and colors. And the chat was about a variety of subjects, not just hooking.
      Hooking and punching give you the exact same result – a loop. The only difference is that in punching you’re working from the back (which makes it harder because you’re always turning the frame over) BUT the punch needle takes the guesswork out of the length of the loop (which makes it easier because you’re not fiddling with it too much and it’s one heck of a lot faster.)
      But the point is that your comment was so encouraging, and I don’t imagine for a minute you wouldn’t do this if you found a group to join. I read all your posts. You try everything! I wish we lived closer. …the fun we would have…Patsye

  3. Grainne says:

    So interesting, how some people feel safer in a group where someone else is making choices for them. I like your style better…free, creative, expressive and open to new adventures.
    I’m glad you liked that book you ordered 🙂

    • Thank you Grainne: I realize I am a bit of a free spirit, but everyone can teach everyone else something, and I actually learned several things in this first meeting. Maybe I’ll be the little black sheep in the group, breaking all the rules. Ha!
      I am up for a visit to your photography blog. I NEED a Cole sighting. Hope all is well, and thanks for dropping by. Patsye

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