Just snipped this off the frame today. It took much longer than I thought it would, but I am very pleased with it. I was able to get my mitts on a Townsend cutter which made all the difference, basically turning fabric into neatly, evenly cut spaghetti strips. I used the #5 cartridge giving me fine strips, but not too fine they disintegrated. I quickly realised how important it was to keep to the grain of the fabric and found drawing the grain on in chalk very useful for making sure I wasn’t going wonky,
This rug is based on Wycoller, a once deserted hamlet in the Yorkshire moors and now a country park. It has no through road, just a beck; I heard about a farmer’s daughter in the early 1900s who crossed one of its seven bridges and tripped in the ruts caused by centuries of footfall by the weavers’ clogs; she died and her distraught father chiselled the bridge flat. I plumped for the bridge made of two large slabs of stone in front of the ruined Wycoller Hall, but have since been told she died further along the beck – arh well! The hall, by the way, is supposed to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
I decided to go for moonlit scene; Wycoller is infested with ghost stories and myths including a storm-induced headless horseman. I thought a night scene would fit in well, and perhaps bring a sense of quiet, stillness and loneliness. It did make the rug rather hard work though, it has to be said. I am a great fan of Atkinson Grimshaw and so I wanted that green-blue kinda sky he does. It means the treeshad to be blue, but I think they have a omnious billowing presence hovering in the background and amongst the ruins. The beck is done in the same colours as the sky, but without the lighter blue. There were four blues for the sky and another nine or so for the trees.
I found the food storage tubs sold by Wilkinsons ideal for storing the strips of thread and they were easily stackable when a particular colour was not in use (and provide a fabulous excuse to show off my new cupboard in my workroom!). To keep the blues of the sky and the blues of the tress distinguishable I put a safety-pin in with the tree colours and so with a quick rattle I knew what I was reaching for.
The stonework is made of a dozen or so creams, whites, tans and golds, as well as four or five greys for the soot coloured stone. The wall is the same, although without the greys. The moon and its reflection is in a single bright white with a bit of sparkly glittery fabric thrown in here and there from one of my mum’s evening dresses! My initial design also included the double arched pack-horse bridge, but it would have made the rug too busy, and would have detracted from the girl.
It was very important to me to get the doorway right. The last time I was at Wycoller my companion – an entirely sensible, scientific and non-religious friend – became exceedingly uneasy at that doorway, so much so we had to leave. I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits and neither does my friend, but his reaction was very real.
Initially I thought I would do the beck brown, but it seemed better to keep the colours limited to blue and green to help focus on the girl. Her dress was the first thing I hooked. I hadn’t really thought about her face and hair until towards the end when I thought to latch-hook her hair in various yarns to make a 3D effect, and am very pleased with the result. I only had pink ribbon thin enough and think I will replace it with red eventually.
This rug kinda gives me the heebie jeebies, which I suppose is a good thing.
Anyways, if ever you get a chance to visit Wycoller Country Park, I thoroughly recommend it,