OK, I admit, it is only 12″ x 12″, but that is because I made it for the 12th Anniversary of my favorite art people, the Carroll County Arts Council. The Carroll Arts Center opened the doors to their new home in the old art deco theater at 91 West Main St, Westminster, Maryland 12 years ago. (I was fortunate to be a member of the Board of Directors back when this excitement was taking place!) They are celebrating with an art exhibition where every piece hanging on the wall will be 12″ x 12″ and sell for $144.00. What a bargain! The show is called Footworks and will run from April 16 – June 5. Opening reception is 4/16 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.
Now for you rya-curious folks (or rya experienced folks) here is what I did. I hemmed an acrylic rya backing to 12″; no problem. Then I did something I have never done before. I cut the backing vertically to 12″. I’ve always told people not to do that because it would compromise the strength of the rug, but, hey, this is only a 12″ piece. No one is going to walk on it. So I zig-zag stitched the edge a few times, and it was a perfect 12″ x 12″ piece.
Then with a laundry marker I drew the rough image of concentric “flower bloom” lines [Theresa Nkonde’s interpretation] or “nebula explosion lines” [Marge Simmons’ interpretation]. By 9 AM I had the drawing complete. I had no intention of working on it all day. I gathered a few small partial skeins of random “hot” colors and started knotting at the lower left corner. My intention was to work for a half hour or so blending the darker colors to the yellow-hot center adlibbing all the way.
I had yarn orders to fill, I had a book to write, a dog that needed a walk, and a lasagna to make before supper; but throughout the day I kept going back to this little rya just to see how “one more row” would change its appearance.
I was addicted, I admit, so I worked feverishly off and on all day. Why did I use the acrylic backing you ask (instead of wool)? For one thing, I have a lot of it, and it is the least expensive backing I have. Also, it is white which makes drawing images on it a cinch, and while it is not really a floor-worthy backing, it is great for a wall-hanging or work of art. And for the first time, I used 4 strands of yarn on the needle instead of 3 to really give it a rich solid feel. And finally for you really perceptive folks, you might be wondering how it would fit as a 12×12 piece of art when the pile clearly extends beyond the 12×12 backing. You are so observant! As I knotted, I pulled the knots just tight enough to bring the width to 11.5 ” and the pile extends out the extra width to make it a perfect 12×12.
Well, you guessed it, before the sun set, it was complete, and I love it. So HOT! I realize I could do the same backing preparation for others and gather similar yarns in small amounts (in some cases just a few strands of certain colors.) So this will be a high priority for me to make available for others. I’ll come up with a few color schemes, too. Stay tuned–or if you can’t wait, just ask me to make a kit for you. The acrylic backing is really 27 inches wide. I might suggest keeping it that width so it doesn’t have to be cut. The over all look would be almost the same. Just wait and see what I come up with as an offering for those of you who really like this piece. I call it FIREFLOWER.
Watch it GROW in time-lapsed video–a one day rya. Click below for a silent 30-second show.
Has anyone else tried drawing a pattern on a backing? How did it work for you? It sure makes for a fast knotting project. Feel free to offer comments below. Your comment won’t appear immediately, but soon after you post, it will be shared. Thanks for reading along with me.