Creating Heirlooms
Featured Rug of the Month
April 2017
Lady and the Unicorn, 46"x36"
Adapted and hooked by Judy Taylor
This rug is based on the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries. And since the design is in the style of mille-fleurs (thousand flowers), I thought it would be the perfect rug to feature in April.

One of the wonderful things about rug hooking is that the possibilities are unlimited. You can hook simple geometrics till the cows come home, but sometimes you want to really challenge yourself. The Lady and the Unicorn rug was just such a challenge for me, and now it is finally done! 

Well, "done" is a relative term. It's hard to say, with a project of this size and type, if I will ever be done, but it is fully "hooked" anyway! Now that I've seen it laid out on the floor, I can identify any number of things that I would like to change about it, but for the purposes of this feature, it is as finished as it needs to be! 

One of the first things that needs correction is the edge. Sometimes it is difficult to know if the lines and angles of your edge are square while you are hooking the rug. A great tool for this is your camera. Lay your rug on the floor and shoot some pictures. Open the picture in photo shop and using the crop tool, you can easily see where your lines need to be adjusted. This was the case with Lady and the Unicorn. You can't see where the edges are off because I cropped the photo for the feature, but I'll go back in and correct that now.

The most important thing to decide for this rug at the outset was what kind of yarn would work best for this project. I decided to go with a wool/mohair blend because it was a lustrous yarn in natural colors. The two samples on the left of the picture show the natural white and silver (samples 1 and 2). These are the yarns I used to hook the unicorn. Then I overdyed the rest of the yarn for the lady's dress. I thought the shine in this yarn would make the lady and the unicorn stand out, almost as if they "glow" against the background. 

When you think about mohair, the image that comes to mind is a fuzzy, soft sweater, but when the Angora goat becomes an adult, the fiber is strong and durable. In fact, beginning in the 19th century, adult mohair was used to make velvet upholstery fabric. 100% mohair yarn is not ideal for rug hooking, because it lacks the loft of wool (all those lovely, fluffy air pockets), but when it is blended with wool, it makes a yarn that is very strong, and always with that characteristic luster that really draws the eye.

   1          2         3        4          5        6       7         8
After I hooked the unicorn, I overdyed the rest of the yarn to make the colors that I would need to hook the lady. I did a very light dyebath for each color, and overdyed both the white and the silver yarns. I dyed gold (samples 3 and 4), red (samples 5 and 6) and light blue (samples 7 and 8). With these colors, I was able to show the highlights and shadows for the picture. This is one of the easiest ways to create yarns for shading. You can have as many shades of grey as you like (although 50 would be excessive!) to create shading.

To learn more about the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, visit my blog at

Do you have a rug you would like to see featured on this website? Email me! Every rug has a story, and we love to hear all about them! It could be a rug you made, found or inherited. If your rug is featured, you will receive your choice of a free half-yard of linen or our recycled cotton totebag, so what are you waiting for? To view the many MANY rugs that have already been featured on this website, visit the archive.