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TitleRuby & RedDesigned byMarti RotchfordHooked byMarti RotchfordDimensions36" x 54"MaterialsTextured woolen strips, miscellaneous weights, some not felted. Most were inherited from Mum’s rug braiding stash. The background and eggs are textures from Dorr Woolens remnant bins.CutsMisc. hand cut 1/2 inch to occasional #3Share


Primitive chickens are wide, hand cut strips that range up to ½ in. The image is hooked on very soft linen and shaded a bit to show some volume.

About the Rug:

This, my first wide cut was begun in a class at GM Fall Foliage Fiesta in 2013. The class was taught by Tom McNerney; known for his hand cuts and primitive designs. The class was playful and covered a lot including using hand torn textured strips and boiling wool colors in a pot to blend them. It was quite a departure from my years learning fine shading from Nancy Blood at rug camp. (See Wild Flowers, my other rug in this show, for an example of my more usual style.) I must admit I had a great time but my heart wasn’t in that giant rooster.

This was my first UFO! (I hate to admit there are now 4). It sat for several years and when my # 3 cut tree of life was completed ( Marti’s Fantasy), I needed a change. I found the rooster in early 2019. The piece of linen was so large that Ruby was added to balance the design. Nancy says you can shade any cut; so I rummaged up all the variations of color that said “poultry“ and jumped in, splitting my stash to be sure both birds had similar colors. The eggs were added as a bit more whimsy and the red, white(ish) and blue border felt like a traditional primitive rug border.

I chose so many egg colors and textures that there was enough for the background which tied the design together. I have often been told to bundle my background to add textural interest. The strips were too wide to bundle but had wonderful movement that livened up the whole rug.

Once I engaged in earnest I hooked non stop with the concentration I would use on any # 3 cut; adjusting a color or refining a curve. I finished in late 2019. This rug taught me a lot and gives me a great respect for the tradition of primitive rug hooking.

It is part of our American heritage and I look forward to my next!

About the artist:

My mother braided rugs and she and the neighboring women knitted or embroidered, braided or hooked and many sewed and quilted. I grew up with fabric and needlework and I view its uses as part of women’s culture.

For many 100s of years, wool has been used for in and outdoor clothing, bedding, rugs, decor and a thousand other items used daily. Today, it is becoming a precious resource.

With the range of color and texture still available; whether it is found, repurposed, off the bolt, hand dyed or even felted, who can resist turning it into a beautiful object and an expression of our lives.