Maine in Short Rug

I was commissioned to hook a 2′ by 3′ rug for the Short Family in Maine as a Christmas gift.  I used my homespun and millspun hand dyed yarns, all of which are wool/ mohair blends  as much as possible but due to the short timeline for producing this rug I also used purchased yarns (details).  Even so I had to spin an extra 2 skeins of Starry Nights yarn for the night sky…can’t imagine how long it would have taken to dye and spin all the yarn colors needed for this size rug!  The backing is 100% cotton 13×13 epi Monk’s Cloth.

The design was created based on royalty free clipart and photos, then enlarged using Ronyasoft Poster Printer.  The Short family lives on a lake (or pond as they are called in Maine) which has loons and they often have bear, coyote and moose visitors near the house.  Additionally one of the family members worked at a state fishery for many years raising rainbow trout.  The rug was designed as a unique reflection of the Short Family.

Maine in Short Rug Back Before Finishing

Back of Rug Before Finishing



Maine in Short Rug Front Before Finishing

Front of Rug Before Finishing

Moose Side, Back of Rug Before Finishing



Center Front of Rug Before Finishing

Bear Side of Rug Before Finishing


Even at this large scale details such as eyes and color markings on the loon did not show as well as I would have liked but the use of finer yarns than in other parts of the rug helped.  The paw prints took a long time because of the many color changes needed and because I used finer yarn to get better detail.  For the coyote I used a tweed (white and grey) yarn to better mimic the color variations in their natural coats.

Working the lines of color around the animal outlines is an area I will work to improve on future projects.  I found it easier to get the shapes to hold true if I hooked the objects then worked the colors directly around them while holding back the yarn that formed the outside of the object from underneath.  Horizontal lines of varying color produced a nice impression of moving water.

Yarns Used

Info on the yarns used is given below.  The picture links to the full description and creation details for the yarn where available.

Colorway: Starry Nights roving

Weight: Sport (12 wpi) 2ply Handspun

Fiber Content: 41% DWF Mohair, 59% Shetland wool

Used For: Night sky

Starry Nights Roving

Colorway: Coreopsis

Weight: Sport (12 wpi)

Fiber Content: 50% DWF Mohair – 50% Shetland wool, hand painted (dyed) after mill spinning

Used For: moon, stars, shooting star

Coreopsis Yarn

Colorway: Aquatics

Weight: Sport (12 wpi)

Fiber Content: 50% DWF Mohair 50% Shetland wool

Used For: water and forest

Colorway: Forest Dreams

Weight: Sport (12 wpi)

Fiber Content: 50% mohair 50% shetland wool

Used For: forest and ground

Forest Dreams

Colorway: Green With Envy

Weight: Sport (12 wpi)

Fiber Content: 50% DWF Mohair 50% Shetland wool

Used For: forest and ground

Green With Envy

Colorway: Sky Blue

Weight: Sport (12 wpi)

Fiber Content: 50% DWF Mohair 50% Shetland wool

Used For: water
Sky Blue Millspun Yarn

Sky Blue

Colorway: Dark Grey

Weight: DK 2Ply Millspun

Fiber Content: 68% DWF Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester Wool

Used For: edging

Yarn Dark Grey DK 2Ply Millspun 68% Mohair 32% Shetland, Blue Faced Leciester Wool - By the Pound

Colorway: White

Weight: Sport (12 wpi) 2 Ply Millspun

Fiber Content: 50% DWF Mohair 50% Shetland wool


Used For: loon

Colorway: Tan

Weight:Worsted (9 wpi)
Fiber Contet: 50% DWF Mohair 50% Shetland wool

Used For: moose antlers, bear muzzle

Weight: Sport (12 wpi) 2 Ply Millspun

Colorway: White Grey Tweed

Fiber Content: 68% DWF Mohair 32% Shetland Wool

Used For: coyote

Yarn Tan White Tweed 2Ply Sport

Colorway: Rosado Pink

Used For: Rainbow Trout

Colorway: Aztec Turquoise

Used For: water

Colorway:205 M Grassy Knoll

Used For: forest and ground

Colorway:Forest Shadows

Used For: forest and ground

Colorway: Midnight Green

Used For: forest and ground

Colorway: Turkish olive

Used For: forest and ground

Colorway: 114 Storm

Used For: body of moose and bear

Colorway:Burnt Sienna

Used For: eyes

Saco River Dyeworks (Maine) 6ply rug yarn

Weight: Worsted (9 wpi)

Colorway: Black

Used For: Paw prints, edging around animals, loon, canoe



Spring Happenings

Spring is in full swing and I’ve been feverishly planting seeds before it turns hot and dry. Since it was a cold, wet Spring the plants are off “normal” schedules and bloom times are compressed. All the daffodils bloomed at the same time vs over a month as they usually do. The lilacs were only open during a torrential rainy period so their odor never perfumed the air. The iris have just opened and the peonies are poised to open any day, they just need a bit more moisture. Don’t think we’ll get it soon, and it has been nearly 90 degrees for a few days so all the plants are looking for a nice drink of water.  This is the new weather pattern – all or nothing, without moderation. We get no rain or 5 inches of rain and it is 15 degrees below “normal” or 15 degrees above “normal”.  Both extremes being tough for living things to handle.

Taking Over the Deck

Bleeding Hearts and Ferns Taking Over the Deck

Lavender and White Iris

Lavender and White Iris

My two surviving strawberry plants are blooming.  The only way to keep them alive it to completely enclose them with hardware cloth.  Otherwise the chipmunks destroy both the berries and the plants themselves.  I had not realized how much damage these cute little rascals cause until I caught them climbing the (deer prevention) cages around my roses to reach through and eat fully bloomed roses!  There is a pair roaming around on the back porch so it looks like a population increase is in the making.

Only Way to Grow Strawberries in the Wilds of Central NJ

Only Way to Grow Strawberries in the Wilds of Central NJ

There is a baby bunny running around in the chicken area, but much fewer rabbits overall then last year.  Surprising, since last year was the year the coyotes took out two of my adult goats and there was also a bumper crop of bunnies!  You would have thought the coyotes would have been eating bunnies versus a 100+ pound goat.  Coyote choices are fewer this year (fingers crossed!) since the goats and sheep are now locked into overnight corrals.  More work for me, but hopefully creating less domestic livestock options for coyote meals.

The new chicks are 4 weeks old as of Monday.  They are nearly fully feathered and really beautiful!  The transformation is always amazing.  Since I’m trying two new breeds this year I’ve been trying to pictorially document their change into adult plumage.   Not an easy task as they move around like bullets, trying out their wings and exploring.  Yesterday I got them outside in their permanent “teenage” area instead of in the smaller cage I’ve been using and moving around on the grass up near the house.

Australorp Hen Meets Salmon Favorelle Chick 4 Weeks Old

Australorp Hen Meets Salmon Favorelle Chick 4 Weeks Old

They are still too small (not fully feathered so unable to fully regulate their temperature) to stay out overnight or in cold, wet weather so they move back and forth to their cage in the basement in a cat carrier.  They are amazingly smart.  They learned to go into the carrier when I go out late in the day, all crowding in so I can take them inside.  It only took them a few days to figure this out!  It is their natural inclination to seek shelter when it starts to get dark which I’m sure helps, but often I’m moving them well before dusk due to the cool temperature or rainy weather.  Chicks feather out more quickly when the temperature is low versus when they are raised in warmer ambient temperatures.  They have a light in their cage that allows them to warm up if they get cold, but the basement ambient temperature is about 60-65 degrees.  That’s why they are almost fully feathered at 4 weeks instead of the more typical 6 weeks.

The difference in their personalities is obvious even at a very young age.  The Salmon Favorelles are much calmer and peaceful than the Chanteclers which are calmer than the Ameraucanas in general.  There is one Chantecler that gets upset about being handled as well as two of the Ameraucana chicks.  They are all getting better with the twice daily routine of being lifted in and out of their cage and being taken outside.  Nothing like a little treat of white bread once they are out to make it an overall positive experience!  I also try to pick them up slowly and respectfully, trying to get them to come to me so I can pick them up versus grabbing at them.

Baby Chicks 3 Weeks Old

Baby Chicks 3 Weeks Old

Above is a group picture at 3 weeks of age showing a Salmon Favorelle in the front, Ameraucanas on each side and a Chantecler in the far back.  They love to crowd into a box and peck at the box sides which makes an interesting noise (to a chicken!) .