I have to say: It is just too cool to pose a question to the ether and get so many responses back! People are actually listening!
I appreciate each and every comment I received and I am so curious about who some of you are and where you live and how long you've been hooking . . . but I guess that is another post altogether. So here's what I've been doing and thinking in regard to Mary's Runner. I ripped the plain border out and replace it with the colored strips, my original idea, to get a better idea of how it would look. I read everyone's comments and decided to sleep on it, get up and hook some plain border at the other end of the rug and then make my decision.
To save time and effort, I laid strips of background fabric along the border. It's not a bad choice: the plain border would make a perfectly nice rug. But -- the plain border is too predictable for me. Then my friend Carol -- an artist, formerly my across-the-street neighbor -- suggested a red border! A completely different color! Threw me for a loop (excuse the pun)! So I laid some strips of red fabric along the border.
My photograph doesn't do the red justice; it looks much darker and richer in real life. It, too, would make a perfectly nice rug, but it doesn't feel right to me. But Carol's idea then led me to try orange, to match the single row I hooked around the circles, which I really like against the dark green of the background.
The orange isn't bad, either, but it doesn't call to me. But I really like that Carol's idea opened my mind to other possibilities. I have decided that the border that is best is the one that makes me smile: the stripes, my original idea.
The corner isn't right -- I'll rip it out and rehook. I'm also going to take out those few pieces of bright blue in the circles -- they are really bothering me when I look at the photo. Perhaps Mary will choose to do a plain border when she hooks her pattern. I'll keep you posted on her choice, and also on my progress. Thanks again for all the help!