With a sunny forecast on the horizon at last, I had huge plans to conquer the garden this past weekend and celebrate my conquest with a nice, long bike ride. Tragically, those plans were dashed when I sprained my back while hauling our water-logged poultry pasture pen across rough ground in prep for moving our turkey poults outside during the day. (We’ll keep them inside at night awhile longer yet).
Have I mentioned that turkeys can be a pain?
Anyway, while my troublesome poults excitedly explored their grassy, weedy, buggy new world, I morosely tried to think of something constructive to do. Something that would take my mind off both my hurting back and the even more excruciating knowledge that I was doomed to sit out the first totally rainless weekend we’ve had in what feels like forever. Something relaxing, because stress and muscle tension just make the pain worse.
Something like rug hooking.
The wonderfully creative art of Nantucket rug hooking involves pulling loops of wool yarn (rather than the fabric strips used in traditional rug-hooking) through a backing material like burlap or linen to create beautiful heirloom rugs, wall hangings, stuffed animals and more. The only supplies needed are a rug hook, backing material, yarn of various colors (preferably a bulky wool), scissors, and a few sewing supplies. You can create your own design, glean patterns from the world around you, or trace them from books about art, history, textiles or nature. (However, if you sell your work, be cautious of infringing on the copyrights of others).
I became hooked on rug hooking some years ago, thanks to my friend and fellow shepherd Judy Taylor, a talented fiber artist who turned her passion for rug-hooking into a thriving business called Little House Rugs. Check out her amazing work and rug hooking kits.
Although I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t completed an actual rug yet, I’ve hooked a number of wall hangings, pillows, several hobby horses, and a cool Celtic knot vest (one of Judy’s designs). Right now, I’m working (slowly) on a wall hanging of a chestnut paint horse against a forget-me-not sky. Sitting on our front porch in the sunshine, the world alive with buzzing bumblebees, zipping hummingbirds, and the chickadees’ nasal songs, I relax into the repetitive motions and expanding blue-yarn sky.
And the pain, magically, eases.