Hurrah – I’ve finished my first rug! Well nearly, still got to cut it from the frame and do a backing. Living in Saltaire, Salt’s Mill is an obvious choice of design. I had wanted to do something similar for a canvas work but never got round to it. I thought the design would be a good one for a hooky mat because it was quite linear, but as it turned out those windows were a real pain! I also had to do something quite rectangular thanks to the stupid way I had cut the hessian.
This time of year the hill that forms Saltaire’s backdrop has the most spectacular red stripe across it. Initially I wasn’t going to do a chimney but without it the building could have been anything; the chimney has meant things are more squashed to the side of it than I would have liked but it seems to be ok. At first I had thought to do spirals for the clouds but they just didn’t look right and I couldn’t see why I was doing something quite so abstract and so plumped for more traditional shapes in the end and am glad I did.
When I started this my fabric stash was quite limited and so there isn’t much in the way of shading, but actually, I quite like the blocks of colour, it seems to give a strong effect. Most of the fabrics are jerseys but the moorland and tree trunk are from some vintage suit lengths. The top of the moor and the layer beneath the red stripe are the same fabric with different sides of it showing. The clouds, windows and cobbles are from an old grey t-shirt. For the windows and clouds the fabric strips were cut and worked randomly but for the cobbles I ripped the fabric quite wide so they curled in on themselves forming more rounded and regular shapes. The grey did tend to flake but I used some sellotape to lift them from the fabric. There were also a few problems with threads of the hessian coming up with the fabric, but they were easily taken care of. I’m not sure of the weight of the hessian I used, but there were only few holes per inch; I can’t wait to experiment with different backing fabrics.
I was keen to use as many textures as possible. I wanted the top two layers of the moor to be quite regular to contrast with a jumbled layer to represent the layer of trees behind the mill. I also wanted the mill to be quite regular. I’m sure I’ve over packed the stitches but as this was my first ever rag rug and I hadn’t much of a clue what I was doing, I’m not going to be too hard on myself! It measures 40cm x 74cm. I have to confess I am entirely thrilled and completely addicted!