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Ladies and Gentlemen....let's get ready to RUMBLE!

In the near corner:  the furry, the sleep deprived, the ever-popular February Sweetheart....GROUNDHOG
(Yaaay!)

In the far corner: the tenacious, the cranky, the often-misunderstood.....COPYRIGHT
(BOOOO!)



So I suppose all of you are thinking that the polar vortex has finally gotten to me and I have lost my mind.  What does a ground hog and copyright have to do with each other?  Well, my friends, they both seem to poke their heads up out of their little lairs at around the same time every year.   And I got your attention, right? 

I have been trying to wean myself away from Facebook for a time but I have noticed a recent buzz about copyright again so I am going to address two things that were mentioned.  You are dismissed if your eyes are glazing over.  No, wait, you'd better stay.

Public Domain
Any works (artwork, designs, etc) that are prior to 1923 are in the Public Domain.  This means there is no longer any copyright and it is free to use by anyone.  Yes, Public Domain can be your friend.  For rug hookers that means that any of the old, old rug designs can be drawn by anyone ... even YOU if you have the desire to do so.  It has been pointed out that the same pattern has been offered for sale by several different pattern designers.  Yes, we can all do that and we are not in violation of copyright.  Sometimes designers avoid certain antique designs if it is being reproduced by another.  But it is certainly not an insult to anyone nor is it wrong if two designers are reproducing the same pattern.  I, for one, do not know every single antique adaptation out there and if I see one I really like, I will most likely draw it, hook it, and sell it.  I will, however, take a little more care about writing on the pattern that it is an "adaptation from an antique" so there will not be folks who think I am trying to pass it off as a Kris Miller original.  Never would be my intention anyway.  Let me tell you one more thing before I move on:  if you are going to draw your own antique designs from Public Domain, please do not copy the antique design from the pattern designer.  Sometimes they add extra flowers or animals or a fancy border to the adaptation.  You would be copying these extras as well.  Please use a picture of the original antique rug or take your own picture.  Then you'll have a clean conscience.
Saundra Porter sent me a link for Public Domain and it is interesting to see that as the years go by, the dates for Public Domain will get adjusted.  For instance, in  2020 it will be 1924.

Selling finished hooked rugs from a commercial pattern
I may not be popular for pointing this out but it is part of copyright law.  A pattern designer cannot prohibit you from selling your finished product.  You must purchase the canvas from the designer and then after that, you may do what you want with it, except of course make more than one pattern from it.  A while ago, I received an email from a copyright attorney and this was part of his explanation:

Copying the pattern to resale is a no-no but the design copyright does not extend to the physical product made, or in what manner or material, in which an item is made from the instructions. And it never has. Contrary to what designers wish to claim.

You still have to buy the pattern but no one can prohibit you from selling the finished work.  I don't see anyone mass producing hooked rugs using commercial patterns because it would ring up quite the sales receipt!  But if you have a rug or two that is just not your favorite anymore, rest assured that you are allowed to sell it to a new home.

OK, one last disclaimer...I am not a legal expert so visit copyright.gov or contact a legal professional for the best advice.  There ARE gray areas in copyright but I think we can still stick to the basics and do the right thing.

I've got to do last minute preparations for a show so I'll see you later!

Please be kind to each other today.
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Well, friends, I am going to try to get back to blogging...not making any promises as to how often I will post because of my travel and teaching schedule...but I have realized what a happy little place the blogosphere is and I think I'd like to dwell there a while.

I taught at the Off The Ocean Rug School in Jacksonville in mid-January.  I had a wonderful class!  I adored them and the rugs they were working on.  Thanks to everyone who made the week very successful and enjoyable! 

The rug "throw-down" was in a hallway of the hotel so there are some unavoidable shadows. Sorry about that.

 Kay was working Big Bird, a pattern by American Country Rugs.  Her tulips were the color of yellow ware and I LOVE that red background!  Now I want to hook a red background!


 Emily hooked and finished the Caswell Couple (above) and then started on a fraktur design.  Her angel is perfection.
 Starr was working on my pattern Have Ye Any Wool. This one always has a place in my heart because my own wooly critters were models for the sheep (Emma) and goat (Zack).
 Nancye was working on this pattern from Red Barn Rugs.  We tweaked a few things and this is going to be spectacular.  So many things to love about this rug but the cabin/chimney and pine tree are outstanding.
 Leah was working on this pattern from Sally Kallin.  Oh my, I LOVE all the neutrals in this one.  It was basically just "play time" when Leah was hooking...just shifting the neutrals around and not getting too serious about values.

Kudos to Ken for working on Trout.  Ken is a fairly new hooker and this is a huge pattern.  He has a good start!  So proud of what he did during rug school.

 Silvie is a fairly new rug hooker too.  She finished the Honey Bee Chair Pad and then started working on Binx.  I think if she had another half day, she would have finished Binx as well.  I don't think I've ever had any student who finished TWO projects during rug camp.  Bravo, Silvie!
She sat next to Emily at the end of a table so I called them the "over-achievers corner."  Ha ha, fondly, of course.  I am in awe of what they got done.
Karen was hooking Antique Hearts. It's hard to teach the corners because it is just a series of close values hooked in to make it look like the fabrics have faded.  You don't want them to look like stripes, just that the fabrics from long ago wore out and mellowed.  I think Karen nailed it.

There were two other students who had to leave before the throw down.  I wish I could have gotten photos of their projects too, but let me assure you, they were wonderful.
Enjoy your day and stay creative!
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I know I am late to be posting these pictures but I wanted to share some of the fabulous rugs I saw at Sauder Village a few weeks ago.  
I was a Celebrations Finalist and wanted to attend the preview night on Tuesday.  I was summoned to serve in a jury pool for the entire month of August so I sent my rug ahead, just in case I couldn't make it.  But my prayers were answered when I got the notice that I was dismissed for the week!  Yay!
Here is my Celebrations Rug, Posy Pony, which was entered in the Primitive category.  The designer is Sally Kallin and my teacher was Janice Johnson.  So many different layers to this rug!  It took some thinking to get it all worked out in my head.
My dear friend, Sheri Ahner, was a Celebrations winner in the Originals category.  When she showed it to me, I gasped "Oh my goodness, you hooked that?"  Of course, my foot was immediately in my mouth because I didn't mean that she didn't have the talent!  This was a really big rug and I think I was blown away by the size of it and all the painterly details.  We had a good laugh over my gaffe.  I guess best friends can do that without any misunderstanding.

I think what fascinated me the most was the braided rug exhibit.  It was excellent and inspiring!  I will post a few pictures today and maybe more with my next post.  It seems that most of my pictures were of the braided rugs.
I can't say enough about how this braided rug impressed me!  The size and the perfection of the swirling design.  Just WOW!
Here is another braided rug from the same maker.  I have to apologize because I did not get the name of the person who did this.  I think I was just too blown away to take a picture of the label that was next to it. I would love to give credit where credit is due, so if you know who's work this is, please leave me a comment.
Another incredible braided rug by Delsie Hoyt.  I think it was my favorite, although it is really hard to choose.
Fabulous braiding and gorgeous use of paisley.  By Joyce Krueger.
You really had to get up close to this one for the "wow" factor...but another fabulous work of braided art!  By Jennifer Kiarsis.
Two little braided cats, all snuggled up together.
And no little bedroom rug would be complete without a pair of frou-frou slippers!


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Back in April, I purchased the Stone House Runner from The Old Tattered Flag.  I was inspired to hook it after teaching in January at the Off The Ocean Rug School in Jackson, FL. One of my students chose it for her class pattern and I helped color plan it.  I loved the way her runner was looking so I decided to use the same color plan for myself.
The Stone House Runner is a whopping 7 feet long by 2 feet wide.  I don't think I have ever hooked anything quite that big before.  I'm using #9 cuts for the background, and #8.5 for a lot of the other motifs, with an occasional #8 cut where I needed a thinner line or smaller detail.
I purchased the runner on April 14th and here is my progress on April 22nd.  I think the motif I enjoyed hooking the most was the gigantic tulip.  I didn't really have to outline the star but I like the way the outline sort of "dresses" it up a bit.
This is my progress on May 17th.  I started working on the "bridges" that run along the sides.  Lots of triangles!  I think I am an triangle expert now.
On June 26th, I was starting the other side of the "bridges."  I was going to hook the center motif in gold but after working on it for a little bit, I decided that red was a better choice...the gold just wasn't making me happy.
My progress on July 6th.  I am really a triangle expert now!  And maybe a little circle expert too.  I'm ready to move on to the other end.
Here is the way the rug looked on August 13th.  I've got one corner to go!  And of course, the large tulip.  I think I'm saving that for last because the other one was so much fun, and why not save the best for last?
 Sauder Village and Michigan Fiber Festival were soon to follow after August 13th, so I haven't done too much more hooking but I look forward to getting back to my old friend.  I think I'll have separation anxiety when it is completed.  It's been a nice companion all summer long.
Oh, and besides working on this runner, I have hooked 3 small projects and one medium sized rug in between.  Do I hook all summer?  You betcha!  Just put a fan in front of me and a cold drink and I'm good to go!
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Here is a rug that I recently finished hooking.  It's adapted from a design by Johanna Parker.  I have recently added Johanna as an artist to the Spruce Ridge Studios roster of designers.  She is known for her whimsical Holiday designs but she drew up some perky florals for me too.
I started this at the end of April when I was traveling.  I had 3 nights in a hotel room all to myself.  It felt like I was on a rug hooking vacation!  Just me, my cutter, hook, and frame...I spent my time hooking away to my heart's content.  The nice thing about this pattern is that you only need 4 colors so I concentrated mostly on the direction I was hooking to give shape to the objects.  I saved the lettering for last.  I don't know why because usually I tackle the harder things first but I am quite happy with the way they came out.  I love the vintage  poster feeling of this design.
I have had many people ask me what cut I used and I have to say, I always use a variety of cuts in my rugs.  I just use whatever I think fits a motif the best.....so the "Halloween" word at the top was hooked in a #9 cut, "is" is hooked in a #6 cut and "calling" is hooked in #8.  The little swirls were #6, or maybe a #5.  Sometimes I don't want to get up from my chair so I'll just hand-cut a little strip from those fuzzy-ended pieces you get when you tear the wool and cut it. 
This rug still needs have the edges bound so for now, it is just pinned.  One of my friends once told me that I was a professional pinner!  Ha, ha!  I say, whatever works at the time, go for it!
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The calendar tells me it's just 8 short days before we will be setting up our booth at the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, Michigan.  I enjoy vending at fiber festivals because I get to meet all kinds of people who are new to rug hooking....I feel like I'm spreading the joy!  Our booth in Allegan is big enough that I can sit and hook, which usually creates a lot of interest!  But before we arrive at a show, I often ask myself what is it that beginners are looking for, as far as kits are concerned.  What type of design?  What colors?  How much will they spend?  In the past, I have tried to provide low-cost kits that are attractive but I think I need to change it up a bit from year to year.
I have to admit, I am not an avid kit maker.  It's messy to cut up all that wool...especially when you are assembling 10 or 12 of them at a time.  And yet, I know it's essential to provide a simple pattern, cut strips, and a beginner hook. I want everyone to love rug hooking just like I do!
I got a wild hare the other day.  Sometimes ideas pop in my head and just beg to come out.  I felt like time was getting away from me but I pushed the pedal to the metal.  I hooked up two new little samples for beginner kits and they will make their debut at Fiber Festival next week-end.  

Garden Daisy

Black-eyed Susan

They are both 8" square, easy to hook...and just darn cute! What more could a beginner ask for?  I'll be posting them to my website once I'm back from Allegan.  

I've been hooking up a storm lately (and rewatching Downton Abbey), so I'll show you some of what's been on my frame in my next post.
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We are certainly feeling the Dog Days of Summer here in Michigan.  While I mostly like to talk about rug hooking and my fiber animals here on my blog, I thought that today I would tell you about something that has been our town's claim to fame for nearly 70 years.
Howell Melons
A Howell melon is a hybrid of a cantaloupe but honestly, there is no comparison, as I prefer the taste of a Howell melon.  They are sweet, very juicy and melt in your mouth.  For some reason, they are only grown around our region.  There were only 3 big farms who grew them when I moved here in 1989. We have a Melon Festival, a Melon Queen, a Melon Parade, and yes, even Melon ice cream.   This all takes place in mid-August, when the melons ripen.

We tried growing Howell melons back in the 90's.  The key word is "try."  LOL.  We did everything we were told to do:  build a mound to plant the seeds and make sure it faced the south.  We nurtured those poor little seedlings but in the end, we only got about 4 melons and 3 of them rotted on the vine.  The fourth one never grew very big and it was pretty sad to look at.  What happened?  Well, melons like warm humid nights and hot summer days.  It turns out that the year we tried to grow them was the coldest and worse summer on record for growing Howell melons.  The farmers had a loss too.  They brought in melons from Indiana so our Melon Festival won't be a failure and hoped for a better growing season the next year.

Happy Summer! 


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Knitting Sheep/Design by PJ Rankin-Hults and hooked by Kris Miller

I recently finished hooking my Knitting Sheep! 

When we first enlarged Pam's drawing, it came out to a whopping 30" x 43.5" size!  "Yikes!" I said, "that's a bit too big!"  So we tried it again with a 22" x 30.25" size and this proved to be much better.  However, I decided I was going to hook the larger size anyway.  I did hand-torn strips in a 1/2" size for the sheep, the background, and the floor.  Some of the outlining was done in a #8 cut.  The bench and slippers are a combo of #8, #8.5, and #9 cuts and I used a wool with a slightly fuzzy nap for the slippers. (get it?  fuzzy slippers!)  The "yarn" is hooked roving from my animals, a combination of mohair and wool.  
Both sizes are available for sale on my website.  Look under the PJ Rankin-Hults tab.

And more sheep news!  Last Friday, we traveled to the west side of Michigan to pick out a new Finn lamb.  My intention was just to get a ewe but when we got there, we had a cuteness overload.  Little lambs were running all over the barn, hopping and skipping about.  One little ram lamb kept coming up to us for scratches on the neck and pats on the head.  How could we pass him up? It seemed he was begging to come home with me!  So the next thing you know, I'm paying for a ewe AND a ram lamb!

 Sister and Brother

Ram lamb

He has such a sweet face!

Little ewe lamb

The ewe will be named Suvi, which is Finnish for "summer".   We are still trying to think of a Finnish name for the ram lamb and we are narrowing it down to just a few choices.  The lambs will come home later in May so we still have time!

I am so joyful...the promise of Spring!

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