The Story of 'Before the Blight,' Our Summer/Fall 2020 Rug Challenge Pattern
The new quarterly rug challenge pattern we're offering at 15% off on our website store is Before the Blight. How our challenge works is, you can buy the pattern on your choice of linen, monks cloth, or rug warp for 15% off the regular price and then have the fun of hooking it and showing it off to our community in the newsletter and social media, in a virtual rug show, toward the end of the challenge period. I draw a winner at random from those who participated and that person receives the next challenge pattern free. It's fun to see all the different interpretations of a single pattern and to know that you're working on something special along with other hookers around the country. The current challenge will be over on October 10th.
For summer in to fall, I chose our pattern, Before the Blight. This pattern has a story. The title of the pattern has layered meanings. The most surface level meaning is about the elm blight that went through here and much of Europe and North America in the twentieth century. Here is a picture of the Parris House prior to the demise of the elms that lined Paris Hill, trees that some of our older residents well remember.
There are still impressions in the ground in front of the house where these mighty elms once stood and we have to watch our step when we walk there.
My design, Before the Blight, is an homage to the trees that formed a beautiful canopy over Paris Hill Road, once known as Main Street, and to a stylized version of the view one might have had coming out of the canopy, heading north toward the mountains in the distance. I wanted the sky to look a bit foreboding, kind of like it looked over the mountains just yesterday before some absolutely wild storms rolled in.
My hooked version of Before the Blight is not quite finished. I think I want to add some prodded leaves to the trees and possibly some more embellishment on the trunks and the green field, but the sense I am looking for in it is that moment just before something monumental, and perhaps not so great, happens.
On another level of meaning, I designed this pattern in early 2017 when I had the strong sense that a lot of not so great things were about to befall our country and that we were living in that space where a last deep breath might be possible before so much pain rained down. It was designed around the same time as Yearning to Breathe Free, Paisley Persistence, and It's Up to Us. While It's Up to Us includes the date 2017, we can make a version with any year you choose.
I want to be clear that this is not the only way to interpret the pattern. For a lot of people, this sense of foreboding may not be what they want to think about, especially right now. Another way I've looked at this pattern is as a "coming out of the woods" scene, toward openness, toward something beautiful. In truth, it can be both, or, it can be neither. It can be whatever you see, whatever you want, whatever meaning you find in it. I never presume to know what an artist meant when I view a work and I never believe it only has one interpretation. As a designer of patterns for the general hooking public, I love it when someone comes up with an interpretation of one of my designs that I never could have imagined. Hooking this pattern in a bright palette with a different intention would yield a completely different mood.
I hope that some of you will join us in the late summer/early fall rug challenge that is just now getting underway and bring your own spin to this pattern. This is a very simple pattern, but it also lends itself to a wide range of possible results and meanings. Show us your creativity and unique perspective!
To order this pattern at 15% off, click here. Customized versions or kitting to your specifications also available upon request.
- Elizabeth Miller