By Robyne Melia 2013 ©
This a sweet little hooky project for you, it’s just a kitten really and not a very difficult task I should think. I’ve not decided whether to make mine into a cushion, or add borders around and make a little floor rug? Hmmm…
The first couple of cats I remember having (as a child) were named Blossom. These days I call my daughters and my little kitty grand-daughter ‘Blossy’. Maybe, as I think of it now, Mum didn’t give the cats’ a name at all, and they were known by the simple endearment of ‘Blossom’. Aw! Prrr.
The shading key is a little ambiguous I know, but if you look at some images of Tabby Cats, you’ll see what I mean. You can’t go wrong! I’ve used hand-dyed, checked, woollen blankets and some lovely hounds-tooth in the background. Scraps. You can use anything… old clothes or wools (yarn) or T-shirting etc. My first Tabby Cat (not Blossy) was all pinks and reds with tartan kilt hems and stretchy cardigans.
For Your Blossom You Will Need:
· At least 70cm / 28” square of Primitive Linen, Hessian or Monk’s Cloth.
· The same of Non-Stretch white Tulle.
· A Permanent Marker.
· Scraps of fabric. The rule is that you’ll use 4 x the finished surface area for each colour. So, not too much! And with Tabby’s, you can ad-lib loads.
· A Hook.
· Some kind of Hooking frame, or a quilt frame or even a tapestry frame.
· Scissors, a rotary-cutter, magic mat and ruler or a Strip Cutter.
· A cup of tea and preferably a cup cake with pink icing.
So, I have to admit right from the start that I forgot to put Black &White in my key! Just for the pupil and the highlight in the eyes. What was I thinking? I’ve run out of the blue I used for the eyes too, so it’s not in the picture (sorry), but you can figure that one out for yourselves, of course. I have faith in you.
Using the checked blankets for dyeing, I’m left with darker and lighter parts of each piece. Depending on how you cut your strips, you can vary the depth for any given area or let it fall where it will. In the ears , I’ve used darker parts of the fabric.
My darling One True Love would say you (meaning myself) ought to print out a couple of spare patterns, and go at it with your coloured pencils or water-colour paints and I have no real reason to argue with that. Better still, give them to your little ones and see what they come up with!
What you need to do now is:
· Print out your Purrrfectly Free Pattern, then, get the outline drawing blown up from A4 to A3 size. This will bring it to the size of my own piece (30cm / 12inches across, plus ears), but you might like to make the cat image larger again. The very first thing to do after this is fix up where the circle doesn’t fit on the paper by measuring out from Blossom’s centre-point on her nose (all cats are called she in our house, cat’s mother or not). You’ll need to graft some extra paper onto the sides.
· Now lay your Tulle over the pattern and pin or sticky-tape it to secure it. Then trace the pattern, with your permanent marker, onto the tulle (I put a layer of Cling Wrap in between so I don’t ruin my pattern original). Take your time.
· Next step is to lay your tulle pattern over your Linen or Hessian or Monk’s Cloth, pin in place and carefully draw the lines onto the ground cloth. Clever huh? An oldie, but a goldie. Again, take your time.
· You can zigzag the edges of the cloth at any point and it’s a good idea.
· Stretch your cloth taut, over your frame. This is the frame I use: http://www.ausrugcrafters.com/default.html. Other types are available as well (loads and loads of types).
Note: I just made this: https://judytaylor2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/how-to-make-your-own-spiffy-rug-hooking-frame/ only I made it taller. When I say I made it... I mean the One True made it. Obviously.
· Now it’s time to cut some strips (around 1/4’ or 6mm wide). Again, I squeezed a Cutter out of a recent birthday, although it was a bit spendy! http://www.ebay.com/bhp/rug-hooking-cutter. A rotary cutter works just fine and so do good old scissors. Some people prefer scissors because the result is less uniform. My cutter is adjustable so I can vary it.
Here’s a little run through of rug-hooking:
Place one hand on the finished side and the other on the reverse side of the hessian, whilst holding the fabric strip on the reverse side (underside).
The hook is always worked from the top side. Push the point of the tool through the hessian (push it right in, so a good-sized hole is made by the thicker part of the shank) and pull a loop of fabric strip through. Repeat the process moving in the desired direction until either the end of the fabric strip is reached or the colour area is filled. The beginning and ending tags stay on the top of the fabric. When you start a new strip (everyone calls them worms), pull the ‘tag’ up in the same hole as the previous, so it’s not alone and lonely. So it sits snugly.
The loops should be close enough to sit comfortably side by side, touching but not crammed. But, just have a go and play is my advice. After an hour you’ll be hooking like a pro! (I'm obliged to crack that Dad joke, sorry).
Try watching: http://rugmaker.co.uk/hooky_rugs.htm or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCVaRxyQ-jo. These are two of the best video tutorials online and make life so much easier.
(If you live in Victoria, Australia, then come to one or all of our get-togethers! We eat too much, talk just enough and share everything we’ve learned. It’s a lovely thing to do. You’ll find a place and add to the mix no matter where you’re at, whether you’ve not tried rug-making before or have years of experience. Just send a message via http://victorianrugmakers.blogspot.com and we’ll let you know where we’re meeting, or help in any way we can. Look at the blog while you’re there too.) Or (better because you will most certainly be noticed) email me at email@example.com.
Right…Let’s do this thing:
1st of course, grab your tea and your cup-cake. Plump up a pillow for your back and I hope you have your slippers on or there’ll be trouble. Sometimes a sweetie-pie movie is nice, in the background, I find.
· Start with the eyes. Work the background section around the eyes first, to secure your shape. Next…well, I did the blue first and then the pupils, because otherwise, my pupils threatened to take over the world. The eyes are small and quick to do, so if it’s not working, pull it out and do it again. The eyes are the whole mood, so it’s best to be happy.
· Note: You can have a little practice run (if you’re a little bit nervous as a first-timer) by filling in some of the bigger blocks of Tabby.
· Next, put in the nose and mouth line.
· Now you just have to play. My only advice is to complete one section at a time, or you’ll forget where you were up to, like I kept doing. Again, these Tabbies are very forgiving in their stripeyness, so don’t fret! Not even a little bit! Refer to your pictures and don’t forget to drink your tea before it goes cold.
I’m trying to decide whether to make Blossy into a cushion or keep adding around the circle to make a smallish rug, for my grand-daughter. Probably a cushion. So, that being decided (right this moment, yes, mid sentence), I’ll use a colour like the Hessian, since it looks quite nice. Then, Always, ALWAYS use velvet for the back. It’s a rule. A rule for snuggling.
NOTE: If you have any difficulties, please email me. I need to know so I can make it clearer, and besides, I love the chit-chat. And send me a picture huh?
Good luck Blossoms.
X Bobby aka Robyne
P.S. This design remains the copyright of Robyne Melia. It may not be used for commercial puposes, although finished Blossom’s may be sold for charity fundraisers with love.
P.S. I ended up making a stool cover, with pom-poms around the underneath.
Also, on the side bar on our blog (http://victorianrugmakers.blogspot.com) you'll see 'Tutorials' and ''Rug Making Supplies' links. Go see.