GoingGray Rug Hooking Patterns

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The Business History

GoingGray was probably inevitable. Two sisters, one a rug hooker, and the other a fine art painter got together in 2004 to create an original pattern that became the genesis of the company. And the name? Gray is their maiden name, and truth be told, it is the color of their hair.

Four Generations of Rug Hookers

Martha and Liz’s grandmother, Ethel Carter Norris, could do anything and everything if it involved a needle or hook. One day, she spied a pattern for a hooked rug in Women’s Day magazine (five cents an issue at the time), and that started a rug-hooking tradition that included her daughter, then granddaughter, and we can officially count, a great-granddaughter who finished one pattern before work and family left her no time.

The sisters’ mother, Jane Norris Gray, took her first rug hooking course in the mid-1970s. Her first project was a small mat with a rose design. Liz commented, “That’s a great cauliflower, Mom.” Liz was forgiven and asked to draw an original pattern for her. The rooster she drew was our family’s first original pattern. Over three decades would pass before the next original appeared.

Martha Gray Reeder always admired her mother’s rug hooking, and in 1993, she decided to take a community education course in hooking. And she was hooked.

The Patterns

Martha was getting ready to attend a rug camp and had an idea for an original pattern. She enlisted her sister to draw it. Upon taking it to camp, she found that other attendees were eager to hook the pattern. Then, there were more ideas and patterns, and our first booth was at a hook-in. And over the years, the patterns grew to number over 200.

Works in Wood

Liz’s husband Jerry, a retired architect with a new woodworking shop, was watching Martha hook one day, and decided her frame was serviceable but cumbersome. He came up with a design of his own, which was practical, comfortable, and beautiful in natural cherry wood. He went on to add other items useful to rug hookers: custom rug hangers in various types of wood and shades of milk paint, a floor stand, and a cutter caddy, a handsome piece that folded for portability or stood like a piece of fine furniture.

The Team

Martha_web photo

Martha Reeder

Rug Hooker and Owner

Martha inherited her grandmother's interest in textiles, enjoying sewing, needlepoint, and knitting. When she began rug hooking in 1993, it immediately hooked her. She has subsequently been taught and inspired by great teachers and enjoyed the camaraderie of local rug hooking groups. When she came to her sister Liz with an idea for an original pattern, in 2003, she was looking at filling a niche between primitive and traditional and wanted to add a touch of whimsy. She always has lots of ideas for new designs, and to date, her sister has not blocked her calls. These new patterns called for different color palettes, much brighter than most of the textured wools, so Martha has become adept in dyeing wools. She maintains a studio in her home, where she draws up the patterns on monk's cloth or linen, and which houses a very impressive stash of wool.

Designer Emeritus Lisbeth Quebe

Lisbeth Quebe

Pattern Designer Emeritus

Liz did not inherit any skill whatsoever when it comes to sewing, knitting, or hooking. But she's always been able to draw. She was recently retired when Martha brought her the idea for the first pattern, and she was just getting back into oil painting, so the timing was perfect. The sisters would collaborate on the ideas for patterns, and then Liz would draw the master patterns. For a time, she did custom patterns too, but she has retired from that part of the business so she can concentrate on her painting. She paints still lives, landscapes, and lots of animals, as they do not complain about their portraits. She is represented by galleries in Door County, Wisconsin.

JQ_Hinges B 2016

Jerry Quebe

Woodworker Emeritus

When Jerry retired from a career as an architect, he built a wonderful woodworking shop and envisioned producing furniture and accessories of his design. He definitely did not envision making over 400 rug hooking frames, over 100 frame stands, 100 cutter caddies, and rug hangers too numerous to count. His work was exquisite, with much attention given to details, and his works were loved by the rug hooking community. He stopped making the wood products in 2019 and, in 2021, sold the house with the shop. That broke more than a few hearts, as his work was still in demand. Occasionally Martha will get the opportunity to sell one of his gently used products. She will list it on this site in the Serendipity Shop.