Featured Hooker of the Month

April 2017
Meet Featured Member – Linda Ehly

Linda has been a quilter for many years and has always been attracted to “primitive looking stuff.” In 1996 she signed up along with two friends for a rug hooking workshop with Vickie Calu at the Highlands in Fort Washington, PA. They stayed overnight and had a fun weekend learning something that Linda always wanted to do. Before the weekend, Linda went to Vickie’s home studio to select wool and the pattern for the workshop. Her first project was hooked with #4 cuts but Linda quickly learned that working with wide cuts was more in line with the primitive style she admired. She bought a basic wool cutter jointly with her two friends but as it turned out the demands of her work and a long commute prevented Linda from doing much rug hooking. Even though she was not actively hooking, Linda’s interest was still there.

In 2013 she learned of our Guild’s 300th Hunterdon County Birthday celebration while attending the Sheep & Fiber Festival and signed up for the Beginner’s Workshop taught by Cherry Halliday. Soon thereafter, Linda joined the Guild with Cherry as her mentor. Work still prevented her from attending meetings until she retired in 2014. Linda now has the time to fully participate in Guild meetings and programs. Michele Micarelli’s Guild meeting program on creating a small purse introduced Linda to what could be achieved with embellishments and color. Nancy Jewett made a big impression when Linda met her at our 2015 Hooked Rug Festival – “she is a color wheel on steroids!” Linda found a kit that she used when working with Nancy at last year’s rug school. “With my preference for muted colors, working with Nancy Jewett was an experience!”

Looking back, Linda notes that she “has learned much from the formal instruction with Vicki, Cherry, Michele and Nancy.” However, she also credits Guild members for “being awesome and openly sharing ideas and techniques.” As an example, Linda recalls at the January Retreat sitting across from Ellen DiClemente who provided suggestions on how to hook the cat’s eye in her latest project. “I had been struggling to get it right. Members are so open with tips and help.”

Linda works with both new and recycled wool. Friends who know of her rug hooking provide wool clothing they purge from their closets. One friend gave her several beautiful highland kilts which she “hated to take apart.” Linda loves to “find great wools and mute them. I am attracted to dyeing wool, in part because I like to make a mess!” To get started Linda visited thrift shops to find enamel pots. “Right now I am not dyeing in a major way, just experimenting with little things” she notes. She is attracted to dyeing with natural ingredients and even grew indigo in her garden. “The indigo plants were so attractive that I hated to cut them down,” she recalls.

When Linda was working, spending time with hobbies and other interests was limited to evenings. That routine has carried over into retirement. “I am a late night person so I tend to do my hooking at night although light can be a drawback,” she notes. Linda is a “fiber arts person.” In addition to rug hooking, she enjoys knitting, quilting, crocheting, and decorative painting (still life oils). “Color theory carries through all of these interests,” she observes. Yarn from Linda’s knitting projects has found its way into her rug hooking.

Linda and her husband, Lee, live in Beverly, NJ along with four cats (three of which belong to family members). Before retiring, Lee was an engraver for a small signage company. He is currently recovering from recent surgery. Their son, Scott, lives nearby in New Jersey with his wife, Melissa and two daughters – Zen and Mia. Linda worked for Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ for 43 years before retiring in 2014.

There are several elements of rug hooking that Linda attributes to her “falling hook, line and sinker” with her new adventure. “I like folk art, especially the primitive end of it and value the recycling opportunities. It is a relatively easy craft to learn and it allows me to be around people with similar interests. I was excited to find a rug hooking group in Hunterdon County.”

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