I like making things by hand. It gives me something to do while I watch TV, and at the end of the process I have something that's attractive and/or useful.
Latch hooking works particularly well for TV viewing, and it results in a rug. Rugs are useful for folks without wall-to-wall carpeting, and the fuzzy ones feel mighty nice on your bare feet. Win!
There are just two problems:
1. New latch hook kits are expensive, and intact ones rarely show up at my local thrift stores.
2. There is no such thing as an attractive latch hook kit.
Fibre artists design nice hooked rugs all the time, but the ones you buy as kits run the gamut from sorta cute but ultimately misguided Winnie the Pooh character pillows to orange and brown monstrosities from the darkest part of the 1970s. I have vague memories of hooking a small, rainbow wall hanging when I was a kid, but the first latch hook kit I worked as an adult depicted a giant mushroom against an off-white background.
"Oh god," I said to my mother. "What have I done?"
She assured me it was really quite cute. In fact, she liked it a lot.
"Fine," I said. "You can have it. You have to keep it forever and ever until you die."
She gave it to my grandmother less than a month later. So much for that.
After a long dry spell, the thrift store yielded a kit that put those horrendous mushrooms to shame. It was the ugliest rug in all the land: a 70s sunset scene, replete with that distinctive blend of orange and brown and large enough to make a suitable bathroom rug for my recently-dehospitalized grandfather. I bought it, hooked it, and handed it off.
Grandpa gave it back to me within the week. Something about how his home care worker called it a "safety hazard" because it didn't have grippy stuff on the bottom.
I believed that. I really did.
The Really Ugly Rug (as it's come to be known) now resides at the bottom of my basement stairs. Sometimes, I force guests to gaze upon it. Their expressions of abject horror give me life.
I figured the Really Ugly Rug was the pinnacle of latch hooked ugliness until a mere month ago, when the thrift store disgorged something even uglier. I stared at the kit for a moment, hardly daring to believe it actually existed. What were those 70s craft designers thinking? This was an hallucination. It had to be.
But it wasn't. I brought the kit home and brought it to life while I watched AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D and caught up on all the fall TV I'd been ignoring for ages.
Now I present the World's Ugliest Rug for your viewing displeasure. Be forewarned: the rug depicts a poorly-proportioned ship upon a yellow sea with a flat yellow sky in the background. It is hideous, and it is not for the faint of heart.
Are you ready?
Have you steeled yourself?
Are you absolutely sure you want to scroll further down?
Okay, then. They're your eyes.
My mother still maintains the Really Ugly Rug is the uglier example. Me, I'm inclined to hate/love the World's Ugliest Rug more on account of that ghastly yellow sky and the poor perspective. The Really Ugly Rug does look more texturally welcoming, I'll admit, but that's mostly because it hasn't had people walking all over it for the last couple of years. Give it some time.
Which of us do you agree with?