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Guild News & Events

This Month's Meeting

February Meeting – Friday, February 10, 2017 – Our February meeting 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 “January” auction will be held this month. This event is a major fundraiser for the Guild. Part of the auction will be silent and part out loud and raucous. Bring quality items you are willing to donate. They do not have to be related to rug hooking, although hooking things do sell well. Items hooked by Guild members are always valued, so consider donating one of your earlier projects. Of course, bring your checkbooks so that you will be prepared and able to bid and buy enthusiastically. It will be a fun and lively event. Your participation is a great way to support our Guild - by recycling – by bidding -- by buying – by cheering on the bidders.

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 – Sharon Ballard, Linda Ehly, Marian Hall, Cherry Halliday, Lynda Kling, Mary Passerello, Brenda Smith, and Debbie Walsh. Our meetings are enhanced by their contributions!

“Hand Work But Not Home Work” – Liz Alpert Fay Exhibit (February 16 – March 26. 2017) – Fiber artist Liz Alpert Fay will have a solo exhibit of her work at the H. Pelham Curtis Gallery at the New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 3:00 - 5:00PM. Liz will conduct a gallery talk and demonstration on March 11, 2017. For more information or to register for the gallery talk contact


Eleanor Dunker’s Rug Featured in ATHA Magazine - Recent issues of the ATHA Magazine have featured various themes with members encouraged to submit rugs reflecting the theme. The “Humorous Side of Aging” is the theme for the current issue (February/March 2017). Guild member Eleanor Dunker’s submission, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” will be found on page 25 along the story associated with it.


HCRAG Library – The following have been added to the Guild's library:

Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers Sparkle/ Shine/ Texture by Gail Dufresne. If you want to try a break from traditional rug hooking design and materials take a look through this book, it can give you a whole new perspective from which to approach your work'

Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns Contemporary Techniques in Fiber by Tracy Jamar. Prepare to go outside the box when you look through this book which will give insight into our Spring Fling class. Looks like a lot of fun techniques to try.
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


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 February 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 February Guild meeting. If you have requested a Clover pen felting tool, your $8.88 check made out to Jeanne Surdi is also due now. Jeanne will be collecting kit and pen checks and distributing the Clover pens.


Benjamin Franklin Attends January Meeting - Ellen DiClemente’s surprise program for the January meeting was a visit by one of our Country’s Founding Fathers – Benjamin Franklin!

Franklin was portrayed by Mike Kochan, an expert on 18th Century technology, who brought Franklin’s achievements as a scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur to life with a comprehensive and entertaining presentation. The program included a display of Mr. Kochan’s extensive collection of 18th Century scientific instruments both antique and reproduction. The Franklin Public House tavern sign rug created by Therese Shick was appropriately displayed.

See more photos of Ben Franklin and of the meeting in the Events section of the Member Gallery.


January Retreat – Much Work Was Done and Fun Was Had - Following our January meeting, 45 members of the Guild moved into the conference rooms at the Flemington Hampton Inn for our popular weekend rug hooking retreat.

There are quite a few members who attend each year and some who were there for the first time. This year we had several members who have relocated to other parts of the Country return for the weekend. Barbie Beck-Wilczek (New Hampshire), Claudia Casebolt (Washington State), Gisele Meader (North Carolina), Gail Schmidt (Arizona), and Roberta Smith (Vermont) joined other out of town members – Ellen Dolmetsch (Wilmington), Jackie Lee (Cape Cod), and Pat Levine (Lancaster, PA) for a reunion of sorts. It was nice to see our old friends again.

Rugs were started, rugs were finished, food was abundant, and laughter was long and loud. Massages were available for those who wanted the soothing relaxation provided by our favorite masseuse, Joy. Those who stayed overnight enjoyed hooking well into the night with wine and snacks making the evenings more memorable.

Cathy Heilferty used the retreat as a time to complete work on her “Thuya Garden” rug and shared her New York City Subway Map rug that featured several of the ceramic tiles that were installed when the stations were completed. She noted that she started working on the subway map while demonstrating during the 2015 Hooked Rug Festival when she learned that Weezie Huntington was also working on a subway map. Weezie’s rug was of the Paris subway system. Apparently, Deb Smith, Editor of Rug Hooking Magazine, overheard the conversation and suggested an article for the magazine.

New members attending their first retreat found it an ideal opportunity to get to know members and to benefit from the wealth of hooking know-how in the room. This year Linda Ehly and Aggie Harris took advantage of the weekend to make progress on their projects and to learn more about the Guild by observing and listening to the various conversations.

Everyone was so happy to see Teri Dabrowski when she stopped by with her daughters to say “Hello.” Knowing that we usually order pizza for dinner Saturday night, she donated $50 towards our pizza night. We were able to order a large salad for all to share.

Our next retreat will be on April 21-23, 2017. Sign up now to assure yourself of a place.


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 second portion of the article is reproduced below:

“… Frost related that in the winter of ’68 his wife decided to work rags he had collected into a rug. A cousin marked out a pattern for her on burlap; she adjusted it to her quilting frame and began to work with a hook made from a nail or old gimlet.

“I noticed she was using a very poor hook, so being a machinist, I went to work and made the crooked hook …which is still in vogue today.

“I ‘caught the fever’ … every evening I worked on the rug until it was finished, and it was while thus engaged that I first conceived the idea of working up an article that is today about as staple as cotton cloth and sells the world over.. Every lady that ever made a rug knows that it is very pleasant and bewitching to work on a pretty design, but tiresome and hard on plain figure…I told my wife I thought I could make a better design myself than that we were at work on... I wrote my first design on paper and then put it on to the burlap and worked the flower and scroll already for the ground-work…

“I got orders for twenty or more patterns like it within three days. So you see I got myself into business right away. I put in my time evenings and stormy days sketching designs…as the orders came in faster than I could fill them I began, Yankee-like, to study some way to do them quicker. Then the first idea of stenciling presented itself to me.

“Did I go to Boston to get my stencils made? Oh, no, I went out to the stable where I had some old iron and some old wash boilers I had bought for their copper bottoms, took the old tin off of them and made by first stencil out of it …I got some old files, half flat and half round, took them to the tinshop of Cummings & West and forged my tools to cut the stencils with. I made a cutting block out of old lead and zink…

“I began making small stencils of single flowers, scrolls, leaves, buds, etc., each one on a small plate; then I could with a stencil brush print in ink in plain figures much faster than I could sketch. Thus I reduced ten hours’ labor to two and a half hours. I then had the art down fine enough to allow me to fill all my orders, so I began to print patterns and put them in my peddler’s cart and offer them for sale. The news of my invention of stamped rugs spread like magic … I at once became known as Frost, the rug man …”
The story continues in the next issue of The Loop.



Lisa Savino is looking for a travel/collapsible rug frame. If you can help Lisa please contact her at 908-285-6015 or

Mary Passerello has Rug Hooker Companion Baskets for sale at $45.00 each. To order baskets contact Mary at

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:
• Description of Item for Sale or Wanted
• Asking Price for sale items
• Contact Information


"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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