flowergirl knits

flowers, cats and knitting

Category: English Rug

Things I’ve Learned from The English Rug

1. Small steps add up. That blank canvas can look pretty intimidating, and those stitches seem very small. Isolating and concentrating on a small area, then the next small area and the next gradually adds up to noticeable progress.

2. Color is powerful. Skillful combinations and contrasts of color can create depth and movement in a two-dimensional piece.

3. Classic design never goes out of style. Even if you’ve put it away for years and not looked at it, you’ll still love it when you pull it out again.

4. I’d rather be knitting. <sigh>

The Mother of All UFOs

Remember how I said my non-knitting handwork project for the Members Only KAL was “Quite Large”. Yeah, well. I wasn’t kidding.

I call it The English Rug.

Everything about this project is Quite Large. The length of time I’ve been working on it (off and on for almost 15 years, although very little the last 5), it’s size (finished size will be about 48″ x 52″ which is not that large for a rug – unless you’re stitching it by hand), it’s cost (I really no longer have any no idea what the total cost is – I bought it in pieces over several years – but it probably would have been cheaper to buy a first class ticket to Turkey and buy a hand knotted rug there!)

For many years I did lots and lots and lots of counted cross-stitch, to the point that I completely burned out on it. I’ve also dabbled in various other handwork, including needlepoint. The English Rug is kind of a cross between the two, a technique called Berlin work which was very popular during the Victorian era. You use needlepoint canvas, but make a cross-stitch for each stitch. Also, the canvas is not painted like many needlepoint canvases; you follow a chart similar to counted cross-stitch. This allows for a lot of shading (and, in my opinion, more depth) – there are 6 shades of pink in each of those roses, and 4 to 5 greens in each leaf.

The pattern consists of 6 square blocks for the center section, 2 long border pieces for the sides, 2 short border pieces for the top and bottom and 4 corner pieces. Everything is done except for the background on 1 corner piece and most of the pattern and all of the background on another corner piece. Just that – and all of the blocking and assembly, of course.

I’ve never, over all this time, gotten tired of the pattern. I think it’s timeless and, you know – it’s got flowers in it! I’ve always planned on getting it done – I’ve even saved a place for it on a wall when it’s ready to hang. But it’s been a long slog and I got distracted. Very distracted.

So. Enter the Members Only KAL, a gentle prod to get me – and keep me – on track.

Hear that Chris? You’ve got your work cut out for you.