Tuesday, November 7, 2017


You know the elaborate patterns people make out of standing dominoes and then with one finger they push the first one and a whole cascade starts?  Welllll................. I took a little trip to the Oxford Rug Hooking School in Vermont.  Oh my.  I think I have a new addiction enthusiasm.

I've always liked the thought of using yarn in rug hooking but didn't know a 'real' way to go about it.  I have four - count 'em, FOUR - Rubbermaid 35-gallon totes full of handspun yarn I've accumulated over the years waiting for a purpose.  After last year's moth debacle (Don't worry.  This was in the house, not the wool shop, and says far more about my housekeeping habits than I should share.) I was more determined than ever to Use The Yarn.  While following some topics in a punch needle group I saw a reference to the Oxford Rug Punch, followed a link to a video and I was a goner.

Here was a different way to use yarn that wasn't knitting (I love knitting and kntters and knitted goods, I'm just too slow at it to be effective) and could be picked up and set down as time allowed.  I love weaving but I have to teach myself everything all over again every time I do it because, well, time.  This art looked much more promising!

I called and set up a time for an afternoon of lessons.  The folks there are super accommodating and we picked a date before the weather was going to get bad.  I made a hotel reservation as it was much too far to go both ways in a day, and yesterday I set off at O' Dark Thirty.

I can't say enough good things about the place and people.  The school is an entire house bought expressly for this purpose and turned into a gallery/studio/classroom/retreat/business area.  Everywhere you look are examples of punched rugs, patterns, supplies, antique tools of the trade, books...  it was amazing.

This was the classroom.  Bright, clean, cheerful, functional.

Another room for gatherings or to sit and peruse pattern books.

Full kitchen.

Fully stocked shop - kits, patterns, yarn, blank fabric.

And inspiration everywhere.  Big, complex rugs - about three feet by four feet.

This massive rug measures roughly five feet by seven feet and features tiny details and great realism.

Somewhat more simple but charming.

And there were lots of small projects, too - chair pads, mug rugs, trivets, small wall decorations, pillows and even punch rug purses.

And after a long day of driving and learning I stayed at the Middlebury Inn.  I got a nice rate on the room through Expedia and was very comfortable.  The Inn is massive and old and I wish I had had more energy to look around.  The room I had was a quirky shape but clean and cozy and with the biggest bed I've ever been in.  Seriously.  The picture doesn't do justice to its width.  You could put six people in this bed and nobody would have to shove over.

I'm so glad I went and soaked up both information and inspiration.  I've got tons of ideas in my head featuring Cotswold wool rug yarn.  The kit I started there to learn on is about half done and I hope to work on it some nights this week.  After that I'll dig in those big bins of yarn and decide what some of them want to be!


  1. Sounds lol fun, can't wait to see your first rug

  2. You are such a great painter that this will be perfect for you!

  3. Bravo Robin!!!! You are making me think of a road trip to Vermont! Cannot wait to see your creations :-)

  4. Thank you for bringing this place to my attention! Those works are gorgeous. Rita Buchanan also does punch-hooking and has had a couple of stunning rugs in Spin Off in past years. She uses her loom as a frame for her canvases, if it helps to know that. I've always loved the look of hooked and punch-hooked rugs. Please do keep us posted on your projects.