Hooking Impressionistic Floral Gardens: An Online Course with Deanne Fitzpatrick NEW

Hooking Impressionistic Floral Gardens

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Lesson 1

I am sitting here perched in my home studio on a snowy winter morning thinking of how beautiful it is to see the trees dusted with snow. I am in my home studio. My niece has just sent me a bouquet of roses with tulips and hydrangea. The scent of fresh green is filling the air. I look to my empty frame and know that I can transform the season. It feels kinda heady.

Almost powerful. For a blink of an eye I feel like I can do anything. Then I remember, it is just creativity. It is just the power to change things in your mind. To bring those ideas into the tactile world.

I can take a winter day and warm it up.

I can unleash the scent of summer with a bouquet and a hook.

Let's begin. For we have something wonderful to do here.

First of all you might like to learn about Impressionism and just what it is. You can get a basic idea here or here or many other places on the internet. Simply google impressionism.

This course is not going to focus on giving you a bunch of facts that are already out there in multiple locations. Rather we are going to focus on the creative aspect of making the rugs. I do think it is important though to familiarize yourself with the ideas around impressionism and know what impressionistic paintings look like.

I would also suggest you go to your local library and get a few books on Impressionism to take home with you so you can learn a bit more about it. I love having books in my hand rather than relying on a computer screen. You really get a feel for the work looking through a pile of art books.

Impressionism, in terms of this course, is really just what it says. We will be working to create floral impressions. We will be using shapes that give us the impression of flowers and floral gardens. Imagine looking at a garden, then squinting your eyes a little bit and looking at the garden. Now you get an impressionists view of your garden. It is such a simple idea but I think it really works to help you understand what it is we are about to create.

Impressionistic Floral Gardens: What's in your kit? 


Creativity in your Floral Gardens 


Creativity in your Floral Gardens

- Creativity is elemential to making beautiful things

- Find ways to bring beauty into your life, like books, use them as inspiration

- A simple trick to learn shapes is to trace something from a book 

- With these images and inspiration we can use them as images and shapes in our   rugs


Making of a Pattern 


Making of a Pattern

- By pulling the linen a bit you can achieve a straight line following the grid of the       linen.

- When drawing a pattern it is not about keeping it the same as your sketch but         about how you vision it.  Your interpretation!

- Colour and form of the flowers change as the pattern is drawn.

- The evolution of my pattern sketch continues to change as I draw the pattern on     the linen.

- Every design starts out the potential and promise!



Artists Life Activities

Because this course is about flowers I also want it to be about blooming.

Not just the the petals, but about you blooming as you hook. This rug we are working on is an artistic piece and I want that beauty to unfold not just in your rug, but in you. If that is asking too much you can just ignore these parts of the course and the little activities but I hope you'll join me.

Part of living an artist's life is to really fill up your senses. I became an artist by acting like one, getting to know other artists and of course by making art. If you want your rug hooking to become a more artistic practice you might want to incorporate some of these activities into your rug hooking life. In this course I am going to suggest a few ideas that I would do as I carried out making a rug like this.  They are optional of course.

Artist Life Activity One : Bloom

I think you need to go buy yourself some flowers for this course and have the scent and beauty of the real thing around you.

I would suggest you go on an artist date. Julia Cameron coined that phrase in her book, The Artist's Way. Take yourself to an independent local flower store.

Why an independent? I am suggesting a small store because in these you are surrounded by some person's ideas and inspiration rather than a corporate plan thats says where the roses go.  Grocery store flowers are pretty too but this is more of an inspiration trip than grabbing a bouquet.

Spend a bit of time in the flower shop. Chat with the owner if they are there. Tell them you cam in for inspiration. Notice how things are aid out, notice the colour schemes. What can you tell about the person that created this space? Be curious.

Now select yourself a bouquet of flowers. Pick the blooms you want one at a time to create a bouquet to purchase for your home as you hook this course. They do not have to be the flowers we are hooking here. Just pick what you love.

As you walk back to your car with the flowers in your hands think about how you feel. What is it like walking down the street with a bouquet of flowers that you picked out for yourself?

At home, take the time to arrange the flowers how you like them and place them close to where you are hooking. 

Be sure to smell the flowers often.


Thursday, March 1 Update

I want to be more actively involved each week in the course so you will find periodic updates from me in the lessons. 

I just wanted to talk a little bit here about how I draw my patterns. If you follow me on instagram you will see that yesterday I posted a very rough sketch. In fact if someone looked at it they would be hard pressed to have any idea what it is I am getting at. If you are not on instagram, I recommend it. As a visual person it is the one place where I get some great artistic inspiration. I really curate who and what I follow and I only look at my feed sometimes. You can use it as little or as much as you like. I know social media is a time sucker and you are better off hooking but inspiration is a good thing.

So back to my patterns, they are rough. The pattern for this course, for example has nothing on the rug that it is going to be. It is just a hint to what is happening. I also encourage you to adapt and change the pattern, right now or as you go along. I was curious about blue poppies as I began the course, you'll notice the pictures above but as I hooked along, I lost interest in them.

When I started I ordered a bunch of books on impressionist painting but as I hooked I moved away from those too. Let the pattern unfold as you hook. It will change and develop right before your eyes. Keep a looseness about you so that if another flower becomes important to put in , then add it.

If you are going to add things, or take away things, consider composition and perspective. You will need to make the flower a similar size to the one you are replacing. If in real life it is a bigger flower, than it can be somewhat bigger. If it is a smaller flower than it will be smaller, but it all has to be relative to the size of the flower you are replacing.

But experiment, don't be afraid to adapt. It will be fine. I hope this is just the first of many of this style of rug that you will make in the coming months and years. I have been hooking them all winter.

Today, I just hung this rug over my desk so I will be thinking about you as you hook along to this course. It will keep you in the forefront of my mind. Right now, I am going to go straighten it a little as you can see from the picture below!!! 

Just be measured that I am looking forward to seeing all your versions of this hooked rugs, and any other impressionist flower rugs that you make from this course. In other years people brought in rugs and emailed images and it is exciting for all of us at the studio to see.

For me  seeing your work in progress reassures me that these online classes work and inspires me to keep creating them.

Thank you, now go back to your hooking.

Lesson 2 


I am so excited to start the second lesson today where we get into the meat of the first flowers. Remember that by impressionism we me just that an impression. Do not try to make your foreground flowers look like flowers, there is no need. Just hook organic shapes. Let go of what you think a flower should like and give into the feeling of a flower.

Is that hard?

If the answer is yes than hook a little with your eyes closed. Feel how your two hands are working together and breathe.

You will find your own rhythm with this project. Just as I do not want you to hook exactly as you imaging a flower to be, nor do I want you to try and hook like me. Just try to find a rhythm that is your own.

So today my day consists of creating a small reading list to inspire you, and then I have to buy bras for our women's clothing store across the street ( I consider a good bra part of creating beauty everyday). After that I plan to take a walk, touch base with a friend, and then I plan to hook.

I hook nearly everyday for all kinds of reasons. Mostly because I am passionate about and it excites. But it also soothes me. I find it magical that it does both.

What Colours To Use



-   With this pattern I am looking for a melting pot of colour.
-    If you are having trouble with colour, yellow is a great colour to get you out             of a bind and provides flow.
-    Start with a few colours and add ideas as you go along.


 So Many Types of Flowers



-  You can check flowers on line or in books to give you colour and shape ideas.
- You can change the layout of colours at any time - part of the evolution!
-  As I sew this pattern to my Cheticamp frame I am going to hook from the bottom of pattern up as opposed to across the pattern.  Both choices are options but as this will be ongoing colour changes and transitioning I am going to do the types of flowers together.






Still Thinking of Flowers



-  This is your Floral story.  Change colours anytime and whatever choices you          make are great.
-  Different shades of colour, in this case blues, and types of fabric and yarn will        give each flower a different look and dimension.
-  Differing colours or shades give the illusion of the light hitting the flowers in            different ways.

Suggested Reading

These are just some of the books I have used as I prepared for this course. There are many books out there that would inspire you. Some of these are older editions I purchased second hand online. Look around for similar books.

Botanica, published by Uppercase Magazine

Tom Thompson, The Silence and the Storm, David P. Silcox and Harold Town 

Painting Gardens, Norman Battershill

Art Forms in the Plant World Karl Blossfeldt

Impressionist Gardens, Judith Bumpus

Plants and Flowers. 1761 Illustrations for Artists, ed by Alan E. Besette and William K. Chapman

Impressionist Gardens, Jude Welton


From Susan:

This may be a silly question, but this will be my first online course with you and I am not sure how it all works. If I am not available to sign in tomorrow morning, can I just sign in when it’s convenient for me. — at a time later than mid morning?


Whats great about Deanne's online workshops is once you have the password you can access the workshops at any time and forever!  


Lesson 3 

One thing I know for sure is that putting together these packages with over fifty different wools in them was a challenge. What was I thinking? I was thinking that the most important thing was not to create an easy kit, but to make sure I was making a beautiful rug right from my own heart and spirit. That meant I was going to use a lot of different wools!
If I wanted to create an easy project I would have limited it to 15 or so wools. The challenge in this class will be in using the many wools that are included in a way that makes these flowers appear soft and beautiful yet distinct from the background. 
You are going to be constantly thinking of foreground and background, yet neither is really there in this rug. 
The background is really a blend of leaves and stems and shade and sun. You will be constantly going back and forth between flowers and background as you hook along. 
Have a good look at all the wools you have gathered. Feel free to add more to it or take some away. But get to know the wools and what you have on hand to use so that you are ready to pull one of them into the rug at any time. 
One of the things I do is when I am finished hooking and area I will look over the wools I have to use for a project. Being really familiar with them makes me quicker to make choices as I am hooking. I know what I have to use and I have them at my finger tips. If I don’t take the time to look over my wools I sometimes forget about a great wool that is in my pile and it does not get used.
I know you are following along with me in this course and often making the same choices I am . That is great but if you want to spread out a bit and make different decisions I encourage that. 
As you do this course today, I will be studying and hooking along with you. Right now I am working on a large cream and grey rug for my new studio office. I am also doing lots of writing for some upcoming courses and a new book for 2019. 
My floral garden is right above my desk, so I am thinking of you and the rug you are making. Thank you for hooking along with this course, Deanne


How to Distribute Colour 



-    Relax about the colours and let it flow into your ideas.
-    Hook every flower in a slightly different direction.
-    Mix up colours.  You can use one, two or three colours per flower.
-    Throw an odd bit of colour in order to outline flower centres.


Developing your Background


Developing Your Background

-  You are not committed to colours.  As your vision changes so do the colours.
-  The background will be a lot of of bits of colours to include small flowers or            buds.
-  Stems are various sizes and strong colours to stand out from what will be               produced around them.
-  Background inspiration can come from nature or resource books. 

Forget about the Loop

So it is late at night for me and I have been thinking all day about how I can help you understand how I hook freely and easily so that these shapes turn out to  be flowers. Partially I have to say it is in how I hold my hook, how I sit, how I relax into the motion of pulling the wool through the linen. I let loose on it. I go after the piece of wool with energy and rhythm . It really matters to me as I am hooking and I am forgetting what is going on around me. 

I hold that hook like a baby's finger, not too tightly.

I make sure my feet are comfortable. I shift my shoulders and then I start to hook as if hooking the rug were the only thing that mattered. sometimes I am thinking a great deal about the flowers I am hooking. Sometimes I am thinking about colours. Sometimes I am listening to the podcast or the radio. What I do know though is that I am letting one thought go seamlessly into another. I am not trying to focus.

Nor am I planning my every loop. I am certainly not examine every loop I make. The loops don't matter when there s something bigger coming together. These are just the bits of the whole and it is the whole I know I am after.

I want you to for get about the loop, and think about the flower. From there you will have to forget about the flower and think of the garden.
Then you'll be on your way to making a beautiful rug

Artists Activity: Hooks Away
I want you to relax with your hook. I want you to try three different activities with your hook as warm up exercises when you sit down to hook this week.

1. For five minutes or so hook with your eyes closed.
2. For three minutes or so try hooking with your non dominant hand.
3. For ten minutes hook to music as if you were dancing with the hook.

Warming up is always a good idea in an art practice. For me it is often cutting my wool. It is a way of warming up the brain and getting it ready for the creativity that is about to flow,

What did these activities feel like for you?
Were you able to get past thinking about the loop?

Flowers only bloom for so long.

Yesterday I sent my husband a single red rose. I could have sent a dozen but a single red rose said so much more.

I love to bring people flowers. I just know it will cheer them up. It will make them feel thought of and cared for.

Really is there anything better than receiving a bouquet. At times I have heard people say, don’t bother with flowers , they don’t last. I think that makes very little sense. Nothing lasts. Even us. We don’t last. We are here for a while, a little comet blasting through time and space, that finds a place on earth for awhile. Everything is fleeting. The trick is to enjoy the fleeting moment. To see the beauty for what it is at that time.

That is was flowers remind us of . They are another metaphor for life. Hardly a metaphor really, as they are another living thing.

So I love to watch flowers in all their stages. Sometimes there is nothing more beautiful than a wilted sunflower standing tall on the edge of a garden in mid winter.

Seeing a dried rose, a seed pod of a poppy, or a tulip that has bowed towards the table are all beautiful stages of a flowers life. They are just not in the full bloom of youth. That can make them more interesting.


What a wonderful story...

From Lisa Theriault

I am enthralled with this online course! The blue poppies have brought me back twenty two years, when, as a young new Mother in my first home, I splurged and bought a seed packet of blue Himalayan poppies. They cost about three times what all the other seed packets cost, but I just loved their exotic blueness. As a complete novice gardener I gleefully sprinkled the seeds into my brand new tiny, townhouse flower bed...and waited. Only a couple actually germinated, and only one actually survived long enough to flower. Apparently they are notoriously difficult to  grow from seed, but as an exuberant novice gardener, pre-internet, I was blissful unaware! Lucky me, had I researched the flower I likely would not have attempt to grow them at all. I would have missed the opportunity to see the lone lovely blue bloom come to be in my weedy stone-strewn patch. Sadly, I did not photograph my blue poppy, because, well each picture actually cost money to take and print and at the time all my photos were of my wee baby girl. The memory of my blue poppy remains only in my minds eye, and now hopefully, in my new rug. Thanks to you and your wonderful course. 💙


From Shelia

I have never hooked with yarn before, only wool strips.
I heard you say to double the strand. Is that generally a good idea?
Are there any other conventions surrounding hooking with yarn, or hooking with a mixture of yarn and wool strips? For example, is it a good idea to hook two different yarns side by side or should they be separated by wool strips?


Hook the yarn the same as hooking wool strips.  If the yarn is very fine then hook with two strands.  It is not necessary to separate fabric and yarn.  Deanne likes to mix many different textures through her rugs.


From Cindy

As I wait for my Cheticamp frames to ship, I am following along with the course.  Deanne hooks so quickly and freely and it looks marvellous.  
Could you talk a bit about how tight to pack the stitches?  I am worried that I might pack too tight and run out of supplies. Or conversely, too loose.
Thank you!



It is important not to hook in every hole.  When hooking the loops they should stand upright and not leaning backwards or forwards.  If it is hooked to tight the loops will be difficult to pull up, if they are hooked to loose the burlap will show int he background.


Lesson 4 

Flower Centres


Flower Centres

-    Flower centres should stand out from the flower colour.
-    Experiment with your colours.  Use different colours within your centre itself.
-    Centres of the flowers are not necessarily in the “centre”. Your goal is to                  produce original shaped flowers
-    Experiment with your colours and materials.
-    Every flower is a work of art


The Transition of Shapes


The Transition of Shapes

-   The various shapes that have been drawn in the background of the pattern will       transition in to differing types of flowers.
-   You are not committed to the palette that was chosen at first. 
-    Experiment. Take colours out and put colours in.
-    Your vision will change constantly as your progress on the pattern.


The Next Nest of Flowers


Colours… The Next Nest of Flowers

-   The next group of shapes will be a new nest of flowers.  New colour in various      shades and materials.
-   Tiny pieces will be buds of new flowers.
-   The pattern is a guide, not a commitment.
-   Holding your hook up and down provides freedom of movement. 


Experimenting With Colour


Experimenting With Colour

-   Experiment with your colour always!
-   Tiny bits of colours with make a statement within the garden.
-   The background as well will be varying shades of green and other colour

Floral symbolism can make powerful rugs

Flowers speak of intention.

Flowers have always symbolized something. Many flowers are known to have meaning beyond their beauty.
Below are a couple of websites that explain the language of flowers. I have always thought that this would be a good idea for hooking a rug. If you want to say something with flowers you could hook the flowers that symbolize what you want to say.

A chrysanthemum for cheerfulness, a white rose for purity and reverence, a fern for sincerity. It would be so interesting to create a garden of the words/flowers that were the traits you truly valued in life. Alternatively you could hook a garden of the traits you truly valued in someone else.

Artists Life Activity: Book Gathering

Go to the local library and gather a pile of floral inspired book with pictures. Find your favourite and set it at your breakfast table. Look at the pictures each morning really closely. Just look at them, page by page.
When you get to the end of the book , just start again. Enjoy it. No pressure, no notes, just look.

And that is it. Just carry that visual story around with you and you will see it emerge in the floral rugs that you hook. Don’t look for it or expect just let it happen.

Symbolism is a powerful tool in art, and hooking flowers is a perfect way to imbibe your rugs with meaning.



I am enjoying the course immensely and learning so much .
Can you explain the importance of hooking with wool products instead of man made fabrics .
Thank you

Really Liz, it is a personal choice. For me I like the way wool feels and the body that it gives my rugs. I have seen people hook with t shirts, polar fleece, and other nylon fibres. Personally , as much as I might like the design, I never really love the fibres. I find they lack depth. Wool and silk are luxurious and the quality is good. They also hold colour in a rich way. I just prefer them and feel that they give me more room to express myself.



So there you go, four videos in this lesson. I have been adding these little notes as the lessons are posted.

Now you are adding colour to your garden. It is growing. When I look at these videos I want to start another floral garden and I likely will right after I finish what I am working on. This style of rug can be made large or small. You can always go back to it. We never tire of floral inspiration.

I hope that some of you are enjoying your bouquets and that you are observing the flowers as they change. They are beautiful at all stages. Notice how their form changes as the petals fall or wither. If you really loo at the shapes, and the negative space around them you will understand why I have hooked such weird little shapes in this rug. It will make perfect sense.

Today, I am finishing a large rug of creams. I have bought some left over baked potatoes for my lunch. We try to all sit together here for a bit to eat around twelve. It must look odd to customers who come in and see us all chowing down on our little lunches. We happily interrupt our lunch to get up and wait on them. We just are not a regular store, we are a working studio so it kinda fits. 

Tomorrow I am hooking a big boned girl. I have not hooked one in a long time but it is a special order and I am happy to do it. We'll post more on Thursday, til then, hook happily away, Deanne

Lesson 5 

The Background 


The Background

-   As I pick out a huge palette of possible background colours I will go with some      and change some up.
-   Visualize what shades will look good behind the blue flowers or the yellow              group of flowers.
-   In doing this you are also joining all the colours in the process, creating a flow.


Background Evolves

Background evolves
-    Let go of trying to create as I create.  Find your own movement of flowers.
-    The background is going to be an ongoing addition of colours.
-    Once again you can use the books to give background ideas.  There are so           many possibilities!



Colour Close Up


Colour Close Up

-  Each colour change or material change represents a new brush stroke in your       painting.
-  Colours need to work together not necessarily match.
-  Tan was used to join colours together as well.


I wish I was a gardener and felt the passion that a gardener feels for growing things because then I would understand flowers so much more intimately. I would no know them from seed to stem to bloom. Instead I am a watcher of blooms. Rarely does a flower escape my notice. Whether it is the first dandelions in early spring to the mauve asters in the ditch in October. I watch the flowers transition through the seasons of spring and summer.

I love the little plum centres in the queen Annes Lace that grows wild by the roadside, the coral of tiger lily, the phlox, the Black Eyed Susans. In my yard in June a mauve carpet of blue Jenny covers the apple orchard. At that time of year I feel as if the seven acres I live upon is celebrating itself.

To really hook flowers I think you have to take notice. you have to pay attention to what blooms when, to what blooms where. You will start to see the the landscape around you differently and you will start to see things in the flowers that you never noticed before. 

This summer smell the flowers, feel the petal, look at them, sketch them. Be an observer of them. Then when you go back to your wool and rug hooking frame you will bloom.

As a walker, I have really learned to look at fields of flowers. The same goes as ride by on my bicycle. I really watch how wildflower transition in the fields from one flower to another. I am going by, just walking pas but there is so much to notice.

Artist's Activity
I want you to get a fresh orange and a small piece of dark chocolate and out it on a dish near where you hook.
Arrange it prettily and leave it where you can see it as you hook for a half an hour or so.
Once you finish hooking, wash your hands and sit down for a snack.
Hold the orange in your hand, really look at it. 
Feel the texture of it.
Peel the orange. Notice the scent of the peel on your hands.
Now take a bite and slowly savour it.
What does it taste like, is it juicy? Sweet? Notice it. Notice everything about it.
Close your eyes and enjoy the orange or part of it.
When you are done, put the tiny piece of dark chocolate on your tongue and let it melt in your mouth. something , savour it.
Close your eyes and enjoy the sensation.

What does a delicious snack have to do with hooking flowers?
This activity is just about the noticing. It is about slowing down for the little things and savouring life. When you do this , you have more to ring to the rug hooking frame. As an artist it is important to practice using all your senses. The more you become aware of your surroundings, the better you will be able to interpret and translate them as rug hooker.


Freedom of movement

The more I teach the more I see that what is important in hooking the way I do is freedom of movement. You must be comfortable moving in all directions, wiling to change directions quickly and easily.

The stiffer you are with your hooking the harder it will be to achieve an impressionist style. Impressionism, just in the meaning of the word, implies less defined, it is just an impression.
You want to get loose. Some people say that they like to have a glass of wine when they hook it relaxes them. Personally., I like to be right with it, so no wine for me.

I would suggest you how with your eyes closed for a while, that you hook to some relaxing music, perhaps even that you watch your favorite show as you hook. Anything that takes your mind off every stitch and gets you just making loops.

Try shaking out your hands, standing up a stretching a little and shaking out your arms and legs. Loosen up any physical tension you are holding. This sounds silly but it is really important. If your body is tense, your hooking will be tense.

Really try to be creative in this course. Losses up. These flowers need to be odd shapes with room for irregular background around them. They need you to be loose so they can be free!



From Jackie

Good morning,

Can you please tell me which size hook is best, I have a Hartman, 6 mm, ergo handle, extra medium bent, short shank, for the backing on this kit? I have several hooks. Just wondering if a 6 mm is to large for the holes ?


Hello Jackie, yes this hook is to large in my opinion as the hook that we offer in our kits is a 2.5 mm approx. medium hook. 

Don't forget that we have frames available when you done your beautiful rug, custom made 24" x 24", need to pre - order.  Just the finishing touch you need!

BUY HERE  ( click on the buy here link ) only $129.95 includes shipping!

Lesson 6 

Background Details


Background Details

-   As you proceed with the background go around the flowers and reshape them.
-   We are hooking in every direction and moving around the rug.  This aids you in      deciding if you would like to introduce new colours.
-   Splashes of colour can imitate flowers.


Half Way There! 


Half Way There!!!
-     Need to move the rug on the frame.
-     Need to decide the next colour for flowers.
-     A large area of colour will give the illusion of a mass of flowers.


Take off your glasses, Try on someone elses

If you happen to wear glasses and you take them off you can see how an impressionist might view the world, with soft edges, blurred lines. Alternatively if you try on someone else prescription glasses maybe it will be the same.

I am not suggesting that impressionists have bad eyesight. Rather I am suggesting that they like to blur the lines. I imagine impressionism as seeing the whole rather than the tiny details. It is about colour and softness, and how the world around you blends together.

Impressionism is about seeing in a different way. It is about valuing the whole flower, the whole garden, rather than showing how exquisite it is in detail.

This is important to remember. It does not mean that there are not details, they are just shown in a different ways. They are implied, not drawn out line by line.

It is a big step away from realism, which wants to show things as they really are. Realism is more photographic. It wants to capture how things really look. Impressionism just wants to capture the feeling of how things really are, and imply how they really look.


From Patti,

Hi Deanne,

I’m thoroughly enjoying your online class. In one of the videos, in addition to the Botanicals book from Uppercase magazine, you mentioned a book of seeds and seed head illustrations you’d ordered. Could you provide the author’s name? I don’t see it in the references you’ve provided in the notes.

Looking forward to Lesson 6.


I believe you are talking about...

Plants and Flowers-1,761 illustrations for Artists and Designers - edited by Alan E. Bessette and William K. Chapman



From Karen

Hi folks! I'm really enjoying creating this rug! More than any other, I think. I'm on lesson 4 (couldn't wait to get it today!!) and I'm wondering why Deanne chose to put such a dark centre in all the poppies. When I looked up the 100s of pictures of Himalayan poppies, most had yellow centres, some had some red, and two had dark centres. Am I trying to be too realistic?
Deanne is just enjoying her creativity and being fanciful.  Enjoy this process and use the colours that inspire you
From Linda
The lessons have been interesting and I am learning a lot that will enhance my hooking and designs. I usually think about light in relation to an outdoor design or piece and wondered how you think about light hitting the flowers, time of day and season and its affect on your designs.

She did not do this in this rug in particular however shading can be used to cast shadows for evening or daytime a little brighter.  This is a whole other lesson that maybe we will look into someday in the future


Lesson 7 

The Next Flower 

The Next Flower

 -  As a large coloured area in various shades of will demonstrate a large mass of       flowers.
-   Double and tripling yarns in hooking will make area thicker.
-   Let your vision direct you in your colours and where you wish to place them to promote a smooth transition.





-   Stems need to stand out from the background as a contrasting colour.
-   We are steering towards soft effects of colours and soft shapes as in paintings.
-    Placing dots of foreground colours in the background gives the illusion of               flowers in the distance.


Direction of your hooking


Direction of Your Hooking

-   Hooking loosely and freely in various directions give you a chance to see if you      wish to add colours.
-   It can give you an opportunity to see what shades will blend well together.
-   Hooking this way also gives you a chance to reshape the flowers.
-   Differing shades of greens for instance, illuminate the other colours.

Are You a Wild Posy or a Traditional Rose?
Hooking Flowers with Nature in Mind

Two of my favorite flowers to hook are what I have called the traditional rose and the wild posy. My love of traditional rose comes from the fact that it reminds me of my mother. It is one of the images my mother liked to hook. It is a common medallion in the centre of so many Atlantic Canadian Mats hooked in the early 1900s, and it reminds me of everything rug hooking is about.

The Wild Posy on the other hand reminds me of myself. It is going in all directions, loves vivid colour, and might pop up anywhere. It is not traditional in every sense of the word, yet it is still a floral motif, so it still belongs.

Rugs for me , whether I am hooking flowers, hit and miss, abstract, or a traditional pattern are imbued with meaning. For years I had a little book that showed what every flower was a symbol of. There can be as much meaning in a floral rug as there is in a story rug. On wikipedia or various sites online you will see lists of plants and their meaning. It is an interesting place to begin when you are hooking floral rugs. A poppy for example, is a symbol of pleasure. This can easily be seen in the sensuous nature of its petals, the depth of its colour. Columbine, on the other hand represents faithlessness and deceived lovers. Imagine such an intricately structured beauty representing such a thing.

So floral rugs come in all kinds of designs. You can hook them close up or far away. You can choose a field of flowers or a vase on a table. They can be domestic or natural. I have experimented with many floral designs over the years and I cannot say I have a favorite. I like to weave my way in and out of the various designs depending on my mood, and the time of year.
When you design floral rugs you must decide whether you are doing a macro design which will be a close up of a particular flower or flowers, whether you are doing a domestic setting of flowers in the home, a field of wild flowers, a garden, or various other possibilities. Florals are not just one type of rug, and each type of floral will require different treatments.

Different treatments means that they will require different line drawings and different wools and textures. You will want to have some interesting yarns, some silk, some fleece, and some wool cloth on hand for hooking florals if you want to create depth and texture in your rugs. Remember colour always reflects feeling and mood so the ones you choose will determine the mood of the piece. For example a black rose will feel much different than a yellow rose. However it is not just the colour of the florals but the colours that you use in the backgrounds or the surrounding landscape that will determine the feeling the rug conveys.



From Jackie

Is there a difference between the wool strips we are using for our project versus the strips used in “primitive” hooking?  I have a bunch of worms I cut last summer and they seem stiffer than our kit wool. 
Also, do you ladies ever use rug backing instead of linen?
Thank you.

No there is not a difference of the will tips you are using for this project verses primitive hooking, that is the simple answer.  Your wool that you have may not be the same as ours, or overdid or recycled, many differences in wool fabrics.
We use linen and burlap in our rug hooking.

Lesson 8 , the last lesson.We sincerely hope you enjoyed this years online workshop.

A Beautiful Surprise


A Beautiful Surprise 

-   In finishing strong green shades were added as leaves.
-   The background is added in soft blended colours.
-   Taking the rug off the frame to see your finished work is a satisfying surprise!


 The Big Finish


The Big Finish

-   Clip yarn and fabric pieces off of the rug for an even look.
-   Turn rug to backside and fold over the raw edge.
-   Whipstitch rug with thread and needle
-   Once sewn around flip rug right side facing and placing a wet cloth on the               rug, steam press the entire mat.
-   Admire your creation you deserve it!

The Sunflower
I like to make the petals quite raggedy with lots of movement.
I look for gold, but also shades of yellow for the petals because the yellow shows light.

For the centres I look for a brown tweed, or a variegated brown yarn.
Because the petals are long it is good to hook them in longer curved lines going from the centre to the the tip of the petals rather than across. The lines should be organically shaped.

Big Close Ups of Flowers
Focus on the centre, this will draw the eye.
Sometimes the centre of the flower will have several colours, or a decorative elements of dots that can let me add a little texture or an interesting yarn
I like to outline the centre in a couple of contrasting colours.
Use several shades of one colour in each petal so there will be dimension and interest and the flower will not appear flat.

Floral Arrangements
If you are hooking flowers in a vase you will need to consider how you plan to make the flowers contrast with both the vase and the background, and the table or ground upon which it is laid.
This takes considerable more colour planning than just mixing the flowers with some green. Often there are many elements competing with each other, a patterned cloth or wallpaper, and a vase that may or not be patterned.
Make sure you make the flowers distinguishable. This is usually done by outlining them in a distinctive colour.

Smaller Flowers
Fleece is perfect to give you the effect of flowers as it raises itself higher than cloth
You can hook two or three loops of a colour in an irregular shape, then hook a tiny bit of bright green beside it to get the effect of a flower. When you hook the background in they’ll magically appear as flowers.
I sometimes like to hook one loop of a bright colour then add a circle of colour around it to show a flower with a centre.
Change the shape of you hooking, make some long cylinder shapes, some teeny tiny round dots, some bigger dots as this will give the effect of many different types of flowers and look as if it is a garden.

Fields of flowers
Hook amoeba like areas in one , two or three colours that are very similar to each other to create the effect of a field of flowers or a garden.
Make sure the areas are very irregular to give a natural look
In the foreground of the field be sure to add some more realistic looking flowers as this will create a sense of depth and perspective.

Hooking flowers, like all types of rug hooking takes practice and the more you hook them the better the flow of ideas and the more creative and inventive you will become. When I hook fields of flowers I think less about the shape of the flowers and more about how the colours and textures in a large expanse of land change. When I hook a closeup of a flower I am thinking of the intricate centres of flowers I have seen when I took the time to peer close up in a garden. Nature itself is the best learning ground if you want to get good at hooking and designing flowers. Spend an hour or two diving the countryside if you plan to hook a field. If you want to hook a particular flower then visit a friend’s garden and really look at the petals, the centres of particular flowers.

If you are like me, you may want to hook mythical flowers like the wild posy. To do this I would suggest looking at traditional flower shapes and abstracting them a little. I love looking at the work of fabric and stationary designers and seeing how they change floral images and refine them down to the simplest of forms. They inspire me to do the same. Take a traditional flower and look at it differently. How can you simplify the lines and create a beauty that is all your own? This is the challenge of designing and hooking flowers. Start your research by spending a bit of time in a garden. Isn’t that one of the nicest ways to research? Get your palette ready, pull out your sketch book, or be dangerous and start sketching right on the linen. I always tell people that you can always turn it over and start again.

What a nice note from Donna...

Good day and Happy Spring to all at the shop!! with just a comment about how much I am loving the course but not in the way it was intended (for just now )
I am trying to get my overly large house ready for sale and am burdened down between that, a sick dog and an active community life.

In between it all I found myself feeling down and at odds with the silence between frenzy.

In entered Deanne!! I was so sad every day that I haven’t been at my hooking frame with my floral with no extra time and then I decided to inject a little of Deanne’s voice as I buzzed around the house and voila! I’m immediately transported to Amherst in the bosom of bright colours, creative artistic thought and a hope for the near future when I can get to my hoards of wool and my blank burlap and Deanne!


For now your voice is with me as I do other things but my spirit is singing with positive anticipations of blue poppies to come!
Thank you so much for this, all of you who make it happen.


From Joni

Hi Deanne,
Thoroughly enjoying this online class. They always challenge me to learn new things.  I'm exploring my Botanica book. Three years ago you recommended Uppercase and I have been an ardent fan of the publication. Thank you I always get great tips on reading material from you. Here are some impressionist books I have been exploring..
Impressionist Gardens by Judith Bumpus
Painting Gardens by Norman Battershill
Impressionism by Veronique Bouruet Aubertot 
My question is...
What is the difference, if any, between an impressionist style of hooking and a painterly style? Where does impressionism fall in relation to abstract...do they overlap at all?



For me hooking Impressionist is my painterly still when it comes to rug hooking. Impressionism is not really abstract , it is just using to realism to the edges. They definitely can overlap, the further you push impressionism to the edges.
You can definitely abstract things through impressionism if you want to. It would mean blurring the edges even further than we are doing in this class. When you hook abstract you are usually very decided and definitive in your decision to make it less realistic and more  abstract. I hope this makes sense.



Hi Everyone, I have to say that I am overwhelmed by the response to this course and the beauty that you have created in it. 
Every year this course leads to so much finished work and I get to see so much work in progress. I watch people grow in their comfort level with hooking, and see big jumps in their work.
This year I am particularly happy at the beauty that I have seen. The people taking the course are creating beautiful rugs that they will be proud to hang in their homes. That just makes me so happy.
Making things adds to our quality of life. I honestly can say I do not know who I would be or what I would be like without the freedom of expression that rug hooking has given me. 
Creativity, and handwork adds layers to your life. Not just in the form of the tactile thing that you make, but also in the form of self understanding, creativity and the personal connection that you make with yourself and others through it. We have underestimated it's power for generations but that time is gone. It is no longer women's work, it is no longer ever just handwork, it is now mind work.
It's meditative qualities soothe us, and at times even consoles us. Through it we embrace each other into deep and lasting friendships, and we learn that with our own hands we can create art. Art for our homes, for our friends and sometimes even for our communities.  And this is no small thing.
Art brings beauty into the world and beauty transforms the world. In times of heady discussion, and political discourse, I often retreat to my rug hooking because it is there that I can really add something to the world, albeit in a small way, to me it remains meaningful. 
I hope that through out this course and the ones I offer in the future you will find that hooking rugs is about more than just the rug, and that it is about community, simplicity, tradition, and of course about making art, because art changes us, and when we change the world around us changes.
Thank you so much for joining me, my last bit of teaching is to tell you to finish your impressionistic flowers, because in finishing and hanging it on your wall, and really looking at it, you will learn even more.

If you have any questions or would like to join our online community

of rug hookers, click on "Join the DFS Social Community" on the hookingrugs.com home page.