Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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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