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Guild News & Events

This Month's Meeting

March Meeting – Friday, March 10, 2017 – Our meeting this month will be at our normal location – the Administration Building (Building #1), which is part of the Hunterdon County Complex, on Rt. 12 outside of Flemington. The street address for a GPS is 314 State Highway 12, Flemington, NJ 08822 although there is no street number on the building. The meeting runs from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Guests are always welcome

Program – Our annual fundraising auction will be held this month. Members are encouraged to bring items for the silent and the live auctions. A hook-in will follow the auction so please bring your current project to work on. Weezie will present another Design Element and the drawing for the Teri Dabrowski Scholarship for our rug school this summer will be made. The garage sale has been moved to the June meeting.

The meeting agenda is a full one. Members are encouraged to arrive early so that the meeting can start on time.

Show & Tell – Please bring and share your current projects.

Hospitality – We thank in advance the following members who have volunteered to bring snacks and treats to the meeting – Linda Ehly, Pat McDonnell, Robin Nissenfeld, Mary Passerello, and Anne Penkal. Our meetings are enhanced by their contributions!

HCRAG Library – Kathy brings a selection of books to each meeting. A listing of the resources available to members from the Guild’s library can be found on our website ( If there is a specific item you want from our library, contact Kathy by 12:00 noon on the day before our meeting and she will bring it to the meeting. Kathy can be reached at 908-755-1670 or

Members who borrow books are reminded that they need to be returned in a timely manner, so that the books will be available for other members.


Beginners’ Workshop Planned – Vanderveer House (March 26, 2017) – Therese Shick is planning a workshop for those who want to learn traditional rug hooking that will be held the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum located in Bedminster, NJ on March 26, 2017 from 1-4. The workshop is intended for adults. Cherry Halliday will be the instructor. The $70 fee provides for the rug backing, pattern, hook, wool and a basic rug hooking frame. Registration is required. Checks made payable to HCRAG should be sent to Therese Shick at 3 Bristol Court, Annandale, NJ 08801. Questions can be directed to her at 908-735-7985 or


Guild to Sponsor Hook-in (June 3, 2017) - For the past few months, Marian Hall has chaired a committee of members who have investigated the possibility of the Guild hosting a local hook-in. Marian reported at the January meeting that her committee recommended that we hold a hook-in at the fire house in Three Bridges, NJ on June 3, 2017. There was widespread support for the proposal. Marian has already recruited sub-committee chairs. Sign up forms will circulate at the next meeting.

The vendors who will be participating will be announced shortly. See Hook-in tab for details and registration form


Spring Fling and Hooking Retreat (April 21-23, 2017) - Plans are underway for a special rug hooking weekend event held at the Hampton Inn in Flemington, NJ during the weekend of April 21-23, 2017. One of the meeting rooms will be used for our regular retreat and the other for the Spring Fling Workshop on “Standing Wool” conducted by fiber artist Mary DeLano.

Hooking Retreat (April 21-23, 2017) – The retreat will follow our normal format. We will gather at the Hampton Inn in Flemington, NJ following our April meeting on Friday April 21, 2017 and work on our hooking projects until Sunday afternoon. The fee for the weekend is $45 – a real bargain! Gail Ferdinando is coordinating this fun event. She will not be at the March meeting so Amy Korengut will be accepting registrations and collecting checks. Members who will not be at the meeting can send their checks made payable to HCRAG to Gail at 4 Bonnell Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867.

Standing Wool Rugs Workshop (April 22 & 23, 2017)
About the Instructor -- Mary DeLano is a multi-lingual fiber artist who loves color, texture, and recycling. Mary devotes most of her time to making wool rugs and embroidered wool applique pieces, and continually learns new techniques to integrate into her work. She mixes techniques and materials across the fiber arts to create magnificent, one-of-a-kind pieces that make a statement! Mary has a “what if” perspective that gives her the freedom to venture into uncharted territories and she takes her students along for the ride. She also enjoys knitting and creating wool applique with lots of embellishment. Some of her standing wool pieces will be included in Tracy Jamar’s new book Coils, Folds, Twists and Turns: Contemporary Techniques in Fiber.

About the Workshop -- “Everything old is new again.” Not only is the “old” technique known as standing wool regaining popularity, it is also a great way to recycle old wool clothes into new rugs and mats.

The standing wool technique was developed before the industrial revolution when thrifty homemakers tried to get the last bit of use out of cloth that was so time-consuming and labor intensive to produce. By standing bits of wool on edge, and sewing them together with a long needle and strong thread, beautiful pieces could be created out of clothing that was too worn to be passed down. Standing wool rugs, or quillies as they are sometimes called (because they resemble paper quilling) are enjoying a renaissance. New pieces are regularly posted on Facebook and Pinterest and creativity and complexity abound.

This class will explore the three basic techniques incorporated into most standing wool rugs: beading, center shirring and faux shirring. Students will gain familiarity with and control over the techniques by making a mug rug the first morning. Then, they will design and begin sewing their own chair pad or rug. Students who know how to knit may bring double pointed size 8 needles and worsted or bulky yarn to incorporate into their piece. Long strips of knitting add interesting texture to a standing wool rug.

Program Fee: $150 plus $10 materials fee (payable to the instructor) for two long needles, a needle threader, and thread. Payment includes non-class hours of the retreat. There is a $50 deposit which Amy Korengut will be collecting at the January meeting. Please note that attendance is open to non-members so do not hesitate to register now.

What to Bring: Students should bring a bagful of wool that has been machine washed and dried. This is a great opportunity to use up braiding wool that has been gifted to you or wool that is otherwise not suitable for hooking. Students will be asked to contribute a portion of their wool to a table for everyone to share. Recycled wool will also be available for sale. If you have a cutter with a size 10 or larger blade (or a braiding cutter like the Rigby B model) please bring it to class. Also bring a small scissors for snipping strips of wool and cutting thread.

Amy Korengut is our event coordinator for the Spring Fling. Contact her at 908-221-9061 or with questions or to register. Samples of Mary’s work will be available at the next meeting.


May 2017 Meeting – Felted Appliqué & Pictorial Hand Embroidery – Debora Konchinsky of Critter Pattern Works ( will present a three hour workshop on felted applique and embroidery at our May 12, 2017 meeting. Felting tools will be required that you can bring or buy via the Guild or from Debora. A 12-inch square New Flock of Sheep kit incorporating felted applique and embroidery can be purchased for $25. Money for kits and felting tools is due by Feb 10, 2017. Questions can be directed to Jeanne Surdi (908-995-2142 or who has organized this special program.

Reminder: If you are participating in the May program, the kit check in the amount of $25.00 made out to Debora Konchinsky is due at the March Guild meeting. If you have requested a Clover pen felting tool, your $8.88 check made out to Jeanne Surdi is also due now. If you requested the Guild offer of 3 #40 gauge felting needles and a felting foam pad, please bring your $8.00 check made out to Jeanne Surdi. Jeanne will be collecting payments and distributing the Clover pens and the Guild needles and felting foam.


Liz Alpert Fay Gallery Talk (March 11, 2017) - On March 11, at 2:00, Liz Alpert Fay will be giving a gallery talk at her solo show at the New Canaan Library at 151 Main St, New Canaan, Ct. Liz has several really large pieces as well as some smaller ones, many of which were at the Essex, Vermont show (formerly Shelburne). The stories behind the pieces are very interesting. More information can be found in the listing of Rug Hooking Events and Related Activities at the end of the newsletter. Anyone interested in carpooling to the talk should contact Weezie.


Lucy Walsh to Demonstrate at Bouman-Stickney Museum (April 2, 2017) - Our Featured Member for this month, Lucy Walsh, will be demonstrating rug hooking at the Bouman-Stickney Museum open house in Readington Township on Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 1:00-4:00. The GPS address for the Bouman-Stickney Farmstead is 114 Dreahook Road, Lebanon NJ 08833.


Hooked on Nature: Hooked & Sewn Art Exhibit (Through May 7, 2017) - An exhibit of textile work by artists Alice Rudell, Tracy Jamar, Liz Alpert Fay, and Marilyn Bottjer is now open at the Wisner House Gallery of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. The Arboretum is located at 165 Hobart Ave., Summit, NJ 07901. For more information, visit or call 908-273-8787.


Hooking in Guatemala with Multicolores - Guild Member Claudia Casebolt who relocated to Washington State several years ago returned to the area for our January hooking retreat. She attended the January meeting and shared the experience she had observing and learning rug hooking techniques in Guatemala. We are grateful to Claudia for agreeing to expand on her comments at the meeting with the following article.

“About a year and a half ago I was hooking with a group in Seattle. Many of them were eagerly talking about a trip to Guatemala that they had signed up for sponsored by the non-profit Multicolores ( It was billed as a 10 day fiber arts tour but the highlight would be four days of rug hooking with Guatemalan women. Every February Multicolores offers this trip to help teach leadership skills to Guatemalan women. It sounded so wonderful and at $2000 seemed affordable, especially compared to other guided trips around the world, so I contacted the group to sign up when I got home. Unfortunately, the trip was fully booked but I was added to the waiting list. As luck would have it, people cancelled and I was moved up from the waiting list to become a participant.

“I assumed that we would be teaching the Guatemalan women the finer points of rug hooking but I was wrong… they were teaching us their methods and I had a lot to learn. The trip began and ended in Antigua. On our second day we drove to Lake Atitlan where we met the 16 Guatemalan women who we would be hooking with and we all boarded a boat, decorated for a party, that would transport us across the lake to the town of Santiago. We were each assigned a Guatemalan partner to rug hook with. She would help us design, color plan and hook a rug. My partner was Carman a tiny 54 year old woman who spoke a native Guatemalan language but no English or Spanish. Luckily one of our tour leaders, Reyna, was fluent in all three and helped us with any communication that was not very, very basic.

“All of the hooking was done with cottons and synthetic recycled fabrics. We went with our partners by tuk-tuk (a covered motorbike that seats two passengers in the back) to a local market and shopped for used hookable clothing in the back of an old pickup piled high with what was probably clothing from the USA rejected by our thrift shops. Carman filled a bag at $.12 per garment then we headed back to our hotel to continue hooking.

“The hotel was right on the lake and we hooked in an open pavilion overlooking the lake. It was simply beautiful- the best “rug camp” I’ve ever attended. The Guatemalan women were wonderful and Multicolores has changed their lives by giving them a way to earn money while still remaining at home with their children. Their style is very different than anything you would see hooked here with incredibly bright colors plus extreme color “jumps” in their backgrounds and often in their subjects. Some of them also have a way of injecting bits of bright color in spots of their backgrounds. The final creations are busy, bright and have a very happy feeling.

“Towards the end of the tour we had a chance to visit the Multicolores office and see hundreds of rugs that were for sale by these women. Most of us bought rugs for ourselves as a means of supporting this wonderful cooperative of women. For me this was a truly unique rug hooking experience that I think anyone in the Guild would enjoy.”


Mentoring Program Experience - The Guild’s Mentoring Program was created as a way to facilitate a new member’s introduction to our Guild and to rug hooking. Under the program a member is hooked up with a mentor who can provide advice and suggestions on hooking issues or help explain Guild programs, events or activities.

Aggie Harris participated in the program and has shared her experience with us.
“Beginning a new endeavor can be a challenging, exciting, frightening, and wonderful experience. You purchase a hook and a book, view a video, find an old piece of burlap and some gently-used woolen fabrics and you have every good intention to hook a masterpiece. Yikes!! Nothing could be further from reality. Until you actually hook your first loops and attempt to choose your first color pallet you do not realize just how little you know!

“You practice with your rotary cutter and scissors to get perfect noodles. You meticulously hook your loops to the same height. You use flat colors in little rows to create a cat that looks as if it just stepped out of a four-year-old’s coloring book! At this point you are pulling your hair, wondering why your cat is not museum worthy. What more could you do? Remarkably, you think perhaps joining a group of experienced rug hookers might be a good idea.

“You arrive with glazed eyes and a question mark over your head! H E L P !!! A warm and welcoming group of what I can only describe as textile art magicians invite you into their world. This is when the magic begins . . .

“This describes my first encounter with the world of rug hooking guilds. The HCRAG provides a mentoring program that has proven very beneficial to me as a new rug hooker. The fact that such a program exists emphasizes that fact that this Guild WANTS new hookers to learn and excel. What a wonderful concept. Everyone is willing to share their knowledge and expertise, answering numerous questions at meetings which must seem so rudimentary to everyone but the novice. However, the mentoring program goes one step further. The mentoring program provides an experienced, sharing, caring fiber artist to work with a new hooker on an individual basis.

“My mentor, Laura Robinson, epitomizes the perfect mentor. Laura was gracious enough to invite me to her home to share her in-depth knowledge of color planning, layout and design. She has an innate sense of color and proportion and can look at a piece and make recommendations that change a boring, “ho-hum” subject into a vibrant focal point! The friendly, subtle manner in which these suggestions were presented was true discovery learning. I looked forward to our once-a-month hooking sessions to share new ideas and receive excellent feedback and encouragement. I look on Laura as not only my mentor, but a friend.

“I will constantly struggle with color planning and pattern design; however, thanks to the HCRAG mentoring program and mentor of excellence, Laura Robinson, I can do anything with a little help from a friend.”

HCRAG Website - Our Guild’s website ( is an important source of Guild and rug hooking information. The site includes a wealth of information for rug hookers that is updated monthly.

In order to have a rug added to the site, send a photograph to Karl Gimber at The photo needs to be well focused and identified with your name and the name of the rug


A Yankee Rug Designer – The August 1940 issue of The Magazine Antiques included an article by William Winthrop Kent entitled “A Yankee Rug Designer” that explores the life of Edward Sands Frost, the first commercial designer of hooked rug patterns. The third portion of the article is reproduced below:

“…The news of my invention of stamped rugs spread like magic … I at once became known as Frost, the rug man …”

“I soon found that I could not print fast enough … I began to make a whole design on one plate ...till I had fourteen different designs on hand, ranging from a yard long and half a yard wide to two yards long and a yard wide … I think there is not a stencil workman in this country that would consider it possible to cut so large a plate with such fine figures and take an impression. It required a great deal of patience…

“I failed to find a man who dared to invest a dollar in them; in fact, people did not know what they were for, and I had to go from house to house … for I found that the ladies knew what they were for.

“The question of how to print them in colors so as to sell them at a profit seemed to be the point on which the success of the whole business hung…in March 1870, one morning about two o’clock … I seemed to hear a voice in my room say: ‘Print your bright colors first and then the dark ones.’ That settled it …I sold my tin peddling business and hired a room in the building on Main Street just above the savings bank, where I began in the month of April 1870 to print patterns in colors …

“Frost sold his business in 1876 to James A. Stout, who continued it under the name. E. S. Frost & Company until 1900; interest in hooked rugs had waned and, according to Mrs. Mason, Stout tried to sell the stock on hand, including the stencils. These were purchased by the late Henry F. Whiting of Lowell, Massachusetts, about thirty-five years ago and remained in his family until his death in 1936, when they passed into the possession of his widow. From her the metal stencils – nearly four tons of them – were purchased by Mrs. Charlotte K. Stratton who uses them in her Old New England Hooked Rug Craft studio in Montpelier, Vermont. She has issued a handsome catalogue of the Frost designs…”
The story continues in the next issue of The Loop.



Please submit any items to be included on the Classified Section of “The Loop” to Mary Passerello at or 908-782-1765 by the 20th of the month prior to when you want the item included. The classified section is refreshed monthly so please resubmit repeat ads.

The following information must be included with each submission:


"The Loop" Newsletter

"The Loop" is the newsletter of the Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild (HCRAG). Click here to see an archive of back issues.

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