I hooked for a couple of hours again last night. A thunderstorm interrupted the satellite, but thankfully the electricity did not go out. I thought about how nostalgic it would be to hook by oil lamp - may have to try that just for the experience. This morning I took a couple of pictures of the back of my mat, I think it looked okay. I will show it in a later posting.
Learning process:When I first began rug hooking and thought I could wait on purchasing a wool cutter, I bought some precut strips on ebay. Live and learn - that's what they say. But, that's also how I learn. I began working on my first large piece "The Exhibit", about 28x30 or so, and soon found that 25 or 50 strips did not begin to be enough. As I shopped the internet for wool, I realized there were many things to consider regarding the size, quality and condition, etc. So I finally bought a wool cutter, along with two blades #4 and #7. The ebay #8 strips were a little large for the fabric backing I was working on, so I used my #4 blade to cut them in half. Much better hooking, but I soon saw that most of the strips were of very bad quality. Maybe it was because I cut them, I thought. Since I have ordered fabric (not strips), felted it and cut it, the quality is much better. I couldn't waste all those piles of wool strips #4 on my table, so I decided to do a contemporary design to use them all up so I could start on my good wool. Besides, I needed the practice and I have to say the hooking has become much easier, more flow to it, my hand almost always automatically turns the hook in the correct direction/position to pull the loops through the fabric better. I've also included some silk ribbon in my contemporary design. So far my favorite hook is the Moshimer primitive. Besides the regular burlap I started on and later found that it doesn't last, I have tried the MCG burlap-linen which I like, but the monk's cloth is softer and I think I tend to favor it, at least right now. Linen is too expensive right now, maybe if I ever become a real rug hooking artist, until then it is my hobby. Just felt like rambling this morning, notating the process so far. The summary is, use good quality wool.