Little House Rugs
Judy Taylor spins a passion for yarn into a shop on her farm
By Kerrie T.
Shop SE Contributor
The sweet, distinct smell of lavender greets visitors at Little House Rugs in Auburn. There is no parking lot, but a narrow gravel driveway leads shoppers to Judy Taylor's passion -- a 12-by-12-foot detached, converted garage featuring hand-hooke rugs, lavender products and more. Dense fields of lavender, herbs and flowers surround the shop on Taylor's 7-acre farm, more than half of which is occupied by a flock of Jacob sheep and angora goats.
Little House Rugs seems at home on the farm. Taylor and her husband named the farm Edeldal, the Norwegian word for noble valley.
"I bought the farm and noticed grass doesn't mow itself," sayd Taylor, so what started as one pet goat has, 19 years later, turned into a flock of about 25. They're there for more than weed control. Taylor also shears their wool, sends it to a local mill to be spun into yarn and then dyes it herself.
She says the idea for Little House Rugs, which opened in June, developed on the farm. "I started with what I was growing and that led me to all these crafts," says the overalls-clad Taylor. "I'm just a crafty-type person."
Her small yet efficient shop is canopied with bunches of drying bundles of hand-crafted yarn. Hand-hooked teddy bears, rugs, sweaters, and homemade lavender spa products and sachets line the perimeter. "I love this little spaces," she says. It suits her earthy inventory. With the garage door open, the shop has the feel of the open-air markets where she originally began selling, and still sells, her hand-crafted products.
Taylor began spinning yarn in 1993. "I just showed up at a spinning guild meeting and learned,"she says. Soon after she took a rug-hooking class. "I was in love. I was hooked, as they say."
Taylor practices the Nantucket style of rug-hooking in which a thicker yarn, like what she spins, is used. Some rug-hookers use fabric strips, which also are available at Little House Rugs, along with yarn dye, hooking kits, patterns and other supplies. "Rug-hooking is very easy," says Taylor, who teaches classes and makes custom pieces for people. The Web site, http://www.littlehouserugs.com/, lists upcoming classes and events.
Rug-hooking enthusiasts Barb Delaney and her daughter, Sarah, made the drive from North Bend to Little House Rugs. "We found Judy's Web site on the Internet and just thought we needed to come check it out," she says. "We're very glad we did because now we have a bunny to hook and lavender sachets to make."
While the Delaneys stroll down the driveway to visit the sheep, Jeff and Julie Talvi of Covington browse the lavender products. They were on a Sunday drive when they noticed Little House Rugs. "We saw th sign and the lavender," says Julie. "We passed by, and we decided to turn around and come back." Taylor says many of her customers are her neighbors or people who drive by like the Talvis.
Inventory at Little House Rugs will change with what is in season -- think pumpkins, apples and cider-making in the fall -- but Taylor's handmade crafts always will be available at the shop, which has limited hours b ut also is open by appointment. "Little by little I'm trying to get more well-known," says Taylor. "I'll just keep learning and trying new things."
MISS ABEARICA CONTEST
Judy Taylor's Little House Rugs is holding a teddy bear-hooking contest titles Miss Abearica. Four judges will decide who will take home the first-prize tiara for their bear and the $50 gift certificate to Little House Rugs. There also will be a $25 gift certifactes for a runner-up and a people's choice bear. For more details, visit http://www.littlehouserugs.com/. The deadline for entries is Oct. 31.
Judy Taylor has created about 100 bears and sheep using rug-hooking tools.
Kerrie T. photos
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007 - published in SHOP SE, a special section of the Seattle Times