Celebrating the birthday of my blog with a drawing

I can't believe it, but a year ago today I started this blog with my first post. Since then it has been read 53250 times (I can't believe this but that is what the counter says). It has tracked my progress as a rug hooking artist, and it is such a surprise to look back and see what I accomplished this year. The Ten-Minute Challenge had a lot to do with it! It kept my rug hooking in my living room and on my mind. So within the last year, I produced a number of rugs (see below) and discussed their creation on my blog.

I wonder how this year has been for you and your rug hooking? What goals have you met? What surprises happened to you along the way? Leave me a comment by June 12th and I will put your name in a Drawing Celebration for a pack of Red Jack Palette Wool.

I have met wonderful people on the internet who love rugs and hooking as much as I do, and I have been inspired by my new friendships and blogs I have discovered along the way. I have been encouraged by all of you who have left me comments or sent me emails and I am grateful for each of you. My blog has connected me to a world of rug hookers I would never have known otherwise and I have benefited tremendously from this interchange!

I found Rug Hooking Daily and Heidi Wulfraat (and her beautiful textiles), and have been very inspired by this fantastic network of rug hookers and the resources it provides. I love the RHD groups I belong to and only wish I had more time to spend in the chat rooms!

My blog has helped me figure out the Texas triangle of rug hooking. Being a new Texan (a displaced Michigander) meant that I had lost my hooking connections and didn't know how to find new ones. Luckily I ran across an ad in Rug Hooking Magazine for the Stash Sisters ATHA guild and once I joined the wonderful (and wonderfully creative!) people in the guild helped me to reconnect to rug hooking in Houston. Martha Lowry's electronic ATHA regional newsletters have been a valuable rich resource that I am pleased to be able to post every month.

In the process of hooking this year, I figured out how to 'pearl', 'waffle' and 'seed', and gave myself permission to hook everyday and break the rules while doing so! What freedom that was!

This year has also brought me to explore abstract art and I find myself close to finishing my first abstract piece (Baptism by Fire) and planning my second.

I also joined the Rug Hooking Merit Program (started by Phyllis Lindblade) and began to explore with fascination hooking with alternative fabrics. I have recently returned to that rug, Got Wool?, and will complete it in the next few days.

I learned quite a bit about the history of rug hooking, taking particular interest in the 1920s, and hope to examine that period more thoroughly in the coming year.

One of the biggest highlights of the year for me was the launching of the Kirby Hooking Circle. Lurie McAdow has been the main mover and shaker and it has been great working with her to get this central Houston hooking circle established and running. I am really looking forward to our first Hook In on June 26.

I spent much of the year figuring out how to dye my own palette of wools. What started out to be a project to create twelve colors on the color wheel has turned into a complete project of dyeing 68 colors in 8 gradations each. I have two more to go to meet my goal but that will have to wait until tomorrow. All of this has led me to build a new website (which is almost done) and the launching of my Red Jack Rugs wool business (coming soon to the web) to make available for the first time a full artist's palette of wool created from three original 'primary' dyes. All my dyeing and experimenting has also led to the beginning of writing a book on the process - The Wool Palette - which I hope to finish over the summer.