Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Art · Painting With Yarn
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Painting With Yarn

Al Parker - July 28th, 2014  

An encounter with a yarn rug in Leland hooked artist Michelle Mueller on an entirely new – and old – kind of needlecraft.

Now, the punch needle rug-hooking enthusiast has her own studio and is teaching others how to make their own.

Located in Elk Rapids, The Wild Hare Rug Studio is a cozy shop on River St. There, Mueller creates colorful rugs, wall hangings, seat covers and other items.

Punch needle rug hooking is a meticulous technique that dates back to the late 1800s and is widely practiced on the East Coast.

“It’s very popular in Maine and New Hampshire and up into Canada,” she said. The technique uses no knots; instead, the needle forms a continuous loop stitch. Every time the needle is poked down, it pushes down a long end of yarn. When the needle is brought back up, it folds that end into a loop.

The tightness of all the loops packed together keeps it from unraveling. Work is done from the backside of the rug.

Mueller’s classes range from small group sessions to one-on-one instruction. New students work from patterns, but eventually create their own unique designs.

In 1991, Mueller moved from Detroit to Leland where she operated a quilt shop. She also worked for Ethan Allen Furniture as a design associate.

Mueller and her husband later relocated to Williamsburg, where she raises ducks and chickens and dyes her own wool for the store. “We opened in August of last year and it’s been great,” said Mueller. “We looked at every nook and cranny available [in the area] and love it here in Elk Rapids. It’s a wonderful town.”

HOW I GOT STARTED

I grew up in Detroit, near 7 Mile and Mack, and went to Bishop Gallagher High School. I didn’t go to college. I did secretarial work, mostly with design and architectural firms.

I have always enjoyed needlecraft. I tried needlepoint, crossstitch, embroidery, hand quilting and hand appliqué. Punch needle rug hooking is the one I love! Working with yarn has been the most enjoyable experience for me. I feel as though I am able to paint with yarn.

THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION

I saw a rug on display in a window at The Tin Soldier gift shop. The design was roosters, made by a company called McAdoo Rugs in Vermont. I went inside to take a closer look and immediately loved the yarn texture, the vivid color and the graphic quality of the design.

Time passed, but I held the image of that rug in my head. I eventually connected with Amy Oxford, inventor of the punch needle tool. I traveled to Vermont in April 2011 to take her class and become a certified teacher.

WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF

I really enjoy teaching people how to make a punch needle rug. I especially love it when I see their creative confidence grow and the satisfaction a student has when they have discovered they can make a rug.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE

My husband and I live on a six-acre farm where we raise chickens and ducks. It’s a late 1800s house and we’re busy restoring a barn. Also, one time, out of necessity, I purchased a very large quantity of wool rug yarn, 500 pounds, from a mill in Canada. Then I had to learn how to dye it. With no experience, I jumped in and was surprised how much I like it. It has been an added bonus to the creative process.

MY FAVORITE ARTIST

Fiber artist and rug maker Deanne Fitzpatrick from Canada. Her motto is ‘Create Beauty Every Day.’ That works for everyone.

ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS

Don’t give up. Try different things until the right thing clicks. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you will have discovered the creative side of yourself. Nurture it and let it grow.

MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED

At The Wild Hare Rug Studio in Elk Rapids or at wildharerugstudio.com.

 
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