Monday, March 10, 2008
The finish line.
After more than 40 years spent making things, I’ve come to the realization that just because you’re done, doesn’t mean you’re finished.
Sweaters are a great example. You knit two sleeves, a front and back, maybe a hood and you feel so proud to be done. But you’re not. You need at least a couple more sessions to “finish”.
Rugs are exactly the same. We finish the design and pull those last loops of background and feel that same sense of accomplishment and pride. But then there’s usually another week getting “finished”. I have spent the last two weeks getting there on this rug. And I still have one week to go, which I will need.
Since this is my first Oriental, there has been much learning here, which I love. Not only was this the first rug that I dyed all my wool for, it is the first one where I dyed my whipping yarn to match. It worked out well, although I wasn’t sure about quantity and went back and forth between thinking I didn’t have enough to having too much. The latter turned out to be the case.
I decided that I wanted this rug to have a traditional Oriental fringe, and since it is not on rug warp, I needed to follow the crochet edge method. A few challenges here - figure out what weight cotton, what quantity, and how hard it would be to do the crochet edging ahead of the fringe. Although I am an experienced knitter, I still am in the beginner category for crochet.
I purchased several balls of cotton, since I was unsure of quantity. Turns out I needed one ball for each end. I tea-dyed them one at a time and miraculously they match. Tea is more forgiving than other dyes.
I was back and forth between my hooking hook and a crochet hook to figure out the best way to get through all the layers of backing at the edge. And depending on which reference I followed, some said to break the cotton at the end of each row and keep the rug face-side-up for each row. Others didn’t specify. I stuck with the face-up method. And the fringe looks great. Full and lush. Like the colours of the rug.
This will be the first rug in a few years that requires tape on the back, to cover all the edges and ends. I tend to be a “roll forward” gal, so have avoided the extra stitchery for a few rugs. Tape is now washed and waiting to be pressed, so that’s the next step.
And I am designing a special label, which I will print on transfer paper and attach. I didn’t put my initials in the pattern, since I feel it would have been too disruptive. So a good label with lots of information will appear on the back. When my great-great-great grandchildren look at it, they will see exactly how old it is, who designed it and who hooked it. I do believe that the classic design and colours of this rug will make it an heirloom that will transcend time.
This has definitely been my most time-consuming rug to date. Hundreds of hours have been spent coaxing the design out of the wool.
And many more going through all the steps to the finish line.