MARCH 18, 2017, 9 AM - 4 PM
March 15, 2017

MAR 15 TRENTON Backbone Rock by Annie TalleyAnnie Talley does rug hooking.  It sounds like it could be slightly salacious, but it is a craft that she has demonstrated over the last several years at Trenton's Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival.  For 2017, she will be 'doing her thing' at Trenton's Historic Depot so visitors can learn about the techniques employed and see her completed rugs.

Annie learned to hook rugs from her mother, who took it up as a hobby in the late 1970s.  Her mother made about 100 rugs altogether, and they've been shared among Annie's siblings and other relatives.  Annie also took classes in Naples, Florida, and she usually attends annual conferences, held all over the U.S., hosting about 80-100 participants.

Annie usually makes 'pictorials'; most often landscapes because she likes earth tones.  Others make portraits, geometrics, and orientals. One of Annie's favorite rug hooking artists is Sibyl Osicka, who makes animal portraits.  Two of her works are auctioned each year at fundraisers for the Cincinnati Zoo.

By selecting 3-by-5 foot or 2-by-3 foot sized projects, Annie can complete a rug in two years or less.  Her favorite rug, Backbone Rock, took her only six months to make.  She tends to hold onto her completed projects because after spending that long to make them, they are like "members of the family."  Her husband does the framing to display them.

While there are many specialty techniques, especially for wall hangings, Annie likes to stick pretty much to the basics.  She designs her own patterns much of the time, drawing on ideas she collects while out and about.  "If I see something attractive or interesting that I like, I'll take a snapshot of it with my phone and put it into my file," says Annie.  While many rug makers become expert at dyeing materials, Annie inherited a large supply from her mother that she continues to use in her projects.

Compared to quilting, rug hooking is relatively simple.  No machine stitching (except for binding and finishing); just a backing of burlap (or other material) and wool strips that are pulled up evenly through the backing.  One thing that takes getting used to for some is making the pattern large enough so that the design works.  “With the kind of rug I like to do, if you get it too compact, it's more difficult to get the idea across because it’s so crowded together," says Annie.  The main thing the rug hooker needs to learn to do is to pull the wool up without twisting it.  The tools are simple--a frame, a hook and scissors.  When working with a larger 'canvas' everything becomes relatively large, so the fine motor skills and keen eyesight of sewing are not required.

For more information about rug hooking, visit the websites for the Association of Traditional Hooking Artists (ATHA) and the National Guild of Pearl K. McGown Hookrafters.  The Hookrafters site includes examples of Sibyl Osicka animal portrait rugs. And don't forget to look up Annie at the festival to see how rug hooking is done--live and in person.

The eleventh annual Trenton’s Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival, Florida’s only outdoor quilt show and sale, will be held Saturday, March 18, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the picturesque town of Trenton, Florida.  Located in north central Florida just 20 miles west of Gainesville, Trenton will be festooned with quilts flying from shops, businesses and government buildings up and down Main Street and beyond. 

The annual event is sponsored by the City of Trenton, Gilchrist County’s Tourist Development Council, the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe, plus other businesses and individuals from the tri-county area.      

For more information about the festival, visit us on Facebook, go to the Festival website, or contact the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe, (352) 463-3842.

Diane Clifton
(352) 463-2087