Hooking the Buildings

After completing the arch, I was so happy to move on to the buildings visible in the background. Some time ago, inspired by a post by Gene Shepherd on dyeing very pale tints, I dyed a few small pieces of wool in very pale colours and thought these would provide interest for the buildings, but not compete with the women. Before starting I dyed quite a few more, and had these to choose from.DSCN1696

I dyed these in the microwave, since it is so much easier when you are dyeing small pieces. To set the dye, they can then all be simmered together in clear water and vinegar. I started with 1/256th tsp. of dye in 1cbw (cup of boiling water) then often only added a few tbsp. of the solution to the dye bath. (or you could use the wet toothpick method) I made at least two values of each colour, and also included a strip of undyed natural Dorr for edge highlights. (top left) Dyes used  were, clay, mouse grey, golden pear, mahogany, and violet, plus a couple of unknown left overs that I found in my stash.DSCN1683I wanted the roof of this building to appear to be of tile, and mused about the best way to create that impression. I considered using a light plaid and selectively using the strips, I considered separating rows with a tiny (#2) row of black, and finally decided to simply try this light mottled grey, hooking it in straight lines matching each loop carefully all the way down. Ta dah…the simplest solution worked. (love it when that happens)DSCN1686I chose brown and yellow tones for the next building, with a bit of mottled taupe wool for the door and beams. DSCN1690One row of natural helps to highlight the corner of the building. I’m using quite a bit of antigodlin hooking for this ‘stucco’ and I find it harder on my hands. So….a day of no hooking yesterday and the sore finger feels much better. My plan is to use the mahogany tones for the third building (they turned out peachy pink) . I’m not sure how I’ll like that, but I’ll see what happens.

We had our first major snowstorm of the season last night so it’s a good day to stay in, curl up and hook. ….supervised of course by these two.DSCN1680

Thanks for stopping by

 

The Power of Value

Do you often find you have some part of your hooking that really pleases you? For me it is frequently just a small touch that really warms my heart. It has worked just the way I had hoped….or perhaps even better.

In the virgins piece it was aways the hair of the virgin in blue that pleased me. DSCN1664So as I carefully hooked the archway around her lovely red hair, I was so disappointed to see the flyaway curls I liked so well fade into obscurity.  (sorry, but I neglected to take a picture of it at this stage) I wanted it to still pop out as it had done so well against the white rug warp. But it didn’t. I edged it with grey, which worked well for the wall, but the hair detail got lost. I tried Deanne Fitzpatrick’s trick of small dot of colour along the edge…nope! I tried some black, then some white, then I went in search for the left over wool from her hair.

I have to admit that it was only when the detail disappeared that I realized that both the wall and the edges of her hair were medium values and both quite dull. (this photo was before the wall went in around her hair, but you can see that the hair tips are all medium value)DSCN1662

So simple really. The two medium values together (wall and curl edges) blended together. So I took the brightest hair colour and added some of that to each of the flyaway curls which were backed by the arch. YES! DSCN1675With the bright vibrant orange/yellow added the curls popped back out.  As so often happens with me, I had to see it wrong before I was able to  figure out how to do it right. (my curse of being a visual learner).

I keep thinking of that old saying….small things amuse small minds….and this small thing (now improved) has really pleased me.DSCN1676

I hope your hooking is pleasing you too!

Thanks for stopping by.

Hands On

Well now I know why I didn’t hook the remaining three hands when I hooked the rest of the maidens nearly a year ago.  They were tricky! …It took me several attempts, a couple of methods and lots of pulling out and trying something different.DSCN1662

Most, if not all of the black outlining will come out eventually, but at the moment it helps keep the shape and makes it easier for me to see the outline.DSCN1671 2

(…sorry…that photo wasn’t fuzzy in the media library.) They are hooked with a #2 cut and finding a black that was thin enough but woven tightly enough to cut that thin, took me several tries. (Shirley, a piece of your black suit worked really well) The hands themselves are Dorr wool which I dyed myself, and it cuts into a #2 strip well, but a lot of wool is just too loosely woven to cut into such a tiny strip (2/32 ” wide)DSCN1672DSCN1669

They look pretty awful up close like that, but from a distance, not so bad. I’m sure there will still be tweaking to do, but I’ll wait until the background is in.DSCN1665

Back to finishing the arch now, and trying to find the  wool I used for the plants so I can add more greenery.

It’s late fall here in central Ontario, lots of leaves still on the tress, but we’ve had several skiffs of snow with more expected this weekend.  The steely grey November skies are often overhead already  so it’s nice to snuggle up with my hooking while watching curling, or baseball, or hockey, or  basketball …(lots of sports to choose from at the moment, and a great time to be a Raptors or Leafs fan).

….back to my curling game and hooking frame….

Thanks for stopping by.

Catching Up

It has been several months since I last posted, the longest gap in all the years I’ve been recording my hooking adventures here. With fall well under way and a skiff of snow on the ground this morning, it’s time for me to get rejuvenated and re-enthused about hooking.

While I did very little hooking in the past few months, I did complete my Prairie Sky, framed it, and gave it to my son and daughter-in-law when they visited at Thanksgiving.DSCN1618

Since they are in the process of relocating from the prairies to Ontario, it also seems an appropriate reminder of home.

I’ve  noticed several people on facebook asking recently about how to frame a piece of hooking and as you might expect there are quite a variety of methods. I’m certainly no expert, having only framed two of my pieces, but this is how I completed this piece. I seldom hook a border, so I wanted to set off the hooking  by using matting around the edges. (I decided to record it here so that I can remember what I did. )

  1. thoroughly steam and block  the piece so that it was an accurate rectangle
  2. purchased a frame that was larger than my hooked piece, and matting slightly bigger than the frame
  3. I had the matting cut to exactly fit the size of the hooking
  4. purchased foam board to back the hooking and cut it to fit the hooking
  5. stretched the hooking over the foam board by lacing with very strong ‘thread’ (I actually unravelled strands of  rug warp and used that)DSCN1614…here it is underway
  6. when finished I clipped the ends to about 3″ and glued them to adjacent strands making a neat back (which no one will ever see)
  7. I removed and discarded the glass from the frame, and popped the hooking through the matting.
  8. I used strong tape on the back to hold the hooking even against the matting, then added the cardboard filler and finished back of the frame.

I’m sure that’s neither the best nor most efficient way to do it, but it worked to my satisfaction.

Now it’s back to my unfinished ‘Virgins’.DSCN1652I am determined to compete the arch before going on to the village, and I’ve actually hooked quite a bit of the light left hand section in the past few days. I still have lots to go , as you can see, and I’m being very careful not to waste any wool, so that I will have enough. Much of it was left over from the background of my ‘stacked log cabin’ piece, and I’m even cutting down my left over #8 strips.DSCN1654DSCN1658….now I’m using #3, so while a bit fiddley….it works well.DSCN1659

…one strip ….DSCN1660….becomes 3 (or 2….depending)

I’ve also come to a decision about one of the dilemmas holding me back in this piece…..the sky! According to the parable , it must be either night, or at least evening. I’ve made the arch dark, and a night sky would not look good against that at all. (didn’t plan that ahead very well!) So…..my solution (at this point anyway) is to ditch the parable, and the lamps the ladies are holding, and leave myself the option of any sky colour I want. Now it’s just two medieval maidens! DSCN1653

I feel better already!

Now if I can just find that flesh coloured wool to complete the two hands…….

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Sky Style

I’ve finally finished the roadside and pavement of my Prairie Sky piece, (after making a number of colour changes and adjustments to the hooking style). I ended up using a variety of materials….3 different plaids, wool yarn and two different colours of sari silk. DSCN1569Now to turn my full attention to the sky.

I’d tried some areas and ripped most out. I needed to make a decision about how I was actually going to hook it as well , of course, as the colour choices.

My initial colour selection was this: blues I dug out of my stash.DSCN1533….but as I  experimented, I didn’t like the effect of the very dark blues at all. I needed more pale shades. DSCN1535I took this photo awhile ago and I’m not sure why there are only two pieces since I actually dyed four light shades these being the lightest and darkest.

I wanted the clouds to be highlighted, and so I’m using a variety of white wool yarns plus Dorr natural wool .DSCN1551My biggest dilemma was this…….would I hook the sky straight across (bottom right sky sample) or wavy and directional (cloud beginnings). I thought about this for a number of weeks while completing the bottom roadside section. The answer I came up with? Do both. I’ll make the clouds contour the actual shapes and the sky will be pretty well straight lines.  Every time I go through this sort of process, I think afterwards….that is so OBVIOUS! why did it take me so long to figure it out?  So I’m on my way…DSCN1567I knew I would need to dye more pale blue shades and yesterday was the day.

DSCN1563I now have  a wide variety of blue shades to use in finishing my sky.

Many thanks to Lucy Richard  of The Wooly Mason Jar. I recently watched her video about how to dye 1/2 yard of wool  using her amazing colour wheel system of dyeing. I’ve never tried her system,  but I picked up a number of hints from the video which were really helpful. …some hints about micro wave dyeing eg. timing and when she adds the mordent, and using Woolite as a rinse at the end.  Hookers are such a diverse community and we can learn so much from each other. Thanks for the tips Lucy.

Whew! the humidex is to be nearly 40 C today, so for me it’s a stay inside, stay cool, and hook day. Hope you have a good day too

Thanks for stopping by.

Fixing the Grain Field

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Initially I was pleased with the way the field turned out, but that didn’t last long. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the entire colour was wrong….too orange. The deciding blow came when I took it outside on my way to the wool shop and realized that in the natural light, the oranges didn’t even match! I would never be happy with it so……DSCN1546

….out it came. My plan was to dye wool in an appropriate yellow, and I even had the wool soaking and had searched through my dyes and colour charts for the best option.

As luck would have it, my granddaughter came for a visit. She had tried hooking on several other visits, and first decided she liked hooking with yarn, and then discovered the punch needle. ….a perfect fit for her. While here, she received a wonderful package of an entire set of Amy Oxford punches. What a treat! I think I was as excited about them as she was. We headed off to Coldwater for a day out which would include a visit to “The Purple Sock” and looking for wonderful wool for her to try with her new punches. Amongst the beautiful yarn, was a basket of sari silk twists, and I came home with this beautiful yellow to use for my grain field.DSCN1547

Once it was wound into a ball, Akuma and Akira inspected it and approved. I split the strips and cut off the shreddings  and got to work.This was the rough version….DSCN1548

 

….which I tweaked by adding bits to the voids.DSCN1551

 

I really like the sheen of the sari silk, as if the light it catching it.

Now to have fun trying to create a prairie sky. I’m using wool strips and a variety of yarns. Not sure how it will turn out, but I’m having fun experimenting with it.

On a somber personal note…my heart is heavy today. We said goodbye to our  beloved Standard Schnauzer Baxter yesterday. He was 16 1/2 years old and had had a wonderful life, giving us years of laughter, loyalty and mischief. He was our constant companion, snow ball hunter, and eavesdropper to every conversation.  I awoke this morning to find his buddy Akuma sitting forlornly beside his empty bed. The house is silent today without him and my tears are still frequent.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

A Change is as Good as a Rest

I’ve been working on The Virgins for quite some time, and suddenly got sick of hooking that wall. In fact   I found I didn’t  like any of it anymore. Time for a break.DSCN1524Fortunately just about this time, my daughter-in-law took a photo of the Saskatchewan prairie sky .IMG_1928

As an Ontario girl, I’m always so impressed with that amazing expanse of prairie land and sky. I immediately wanted to hook it. A perfect foil to the intricate detail of The Virgins.

With Heather’s blessing  and permission to use her photo, I packed up all the accoutrements of The Virgins piece and set about on a new venture. I rummaged through my stash, and came up with this as a starter…some rug warp, some wool, some yarn, some sari silk.DSCN1533…and set to work on the stubble field…DSCN1534 2DSCN1536

I realized the blues I have on hand will have to be supplmented, and set about dyeing some lighter shades.

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Still not sure about this…so while watching the Women’s World’s curling on the weekend…I switched to the ‘weed verge’ closer to the road.DSCN1539I’m really enjoying hooking this…just the change of pace I needed.

I’ll be back to The Virgins….later…when I love them once again.

In the meantime..

Thanks for stopping by.

Learning as I Go

When I began The Virgins, my excitement and interest was in hooking the figures themselves. I gave very little thought to the background, with only a  variety of hazy ideas as possibilities. DSCN1466

Of course I ended up settling on having the women stand in an arch (see previous posts for details of the decision) and true to my nature, forged blissfully ahead, trusting I could eventually figure out how to do it.

I am very much a visual learner, so there is a lot of trial and error in my hooking. Creating the arch and wall has really been a prime example of that. My last post dealt with figuring out the colours and style of hooking for it and last week I was pulled up short when I realized I had completely overlooked the need for an inside corner where the arch meets the wall. DSCN1498

This meant searching out and looking at the perspective and the angles required for an inside corner,. This was  followed by some loop removal and redrawing of stones. DSCN1507Oops…that corner needs to extend further….DSCN1508

…better, but still not right. That shadow needs to follow the curve of the arch right down. I just realized now as I was writing this and looking at the photo…..that I may have to redo all the stones above the arch as well so that the whole thing doesn’t fall on their heads! (I’m learning some facts about masonry as I go!) Then I’ll have to reverse the whole thing for the other side.

….and I thought doing the figures would be the hard part!

Thanks for stopping by.

PS…after conferring with my resident building expert…I learned that the arch is safe. It gets its strength from the pressure of the walls pressing in from the sides. Whew!…no crushed virgins!

Building That Wall

It seems Trump isn’t the only one having trouble building a wall. Figuring out how I wanted to hook the walls and arch in my ‘Two Virgins’ piece stopped my progress for a few weeks.

From past experience, I know that I have to see something before I’m sure it works for me. My minds eye certainly isn’t always reliable. This time it took several tries to capture the effect I wanted, and I had to accept several compromises  along the way.DSCN1469…two cuts and styles tried here and an attempt to catch the corner highlight……nope!DSCN1473….a 6 cut and straight lines…..nope!  ….but I liked the effect of the cornerDSCN1496 2….a 6 cut, straight lines and a much lighter wool (thinking of marble at this point)….then tried the arch in a 3 cut and a variety of mixed , darker colours.

At this point, I shared my dilemma with my friend Jean who liked  the arch  best…(as did I)  so on to further experiment with wall options….now using a 3 cut and antigodlin hooking.DSCN1498.Hummmm I like the left, the right is too light.

whew!

…so all the attempts came out and I’m finally on my way with the wall and arch.DSCN1503It’s a large area, and a small cut, so I think I’m set with enough hooking to keep myself busy while watching the olympics next month.

I sometimes get frustrated and think ‘will I ever  come up with the effect I want’, but its so exciting when I finally can look at my work and say “Yes! That’s what I was after.”

The compromises I mentioned…..1.) now a lighter sky colour to figure out

2.) lots more work using a 3cut rather than a 6 and antigodlin hooking rather than straight lines.

…….both incidental since I’m pleased with the effect.

If at first you don’t succeed…..

Thanks for stopping by

Virgins’ Faces

Last week was a very big week if you are a curling fan. The Roar of the Rings Tournament decided on the teams to represent Canada in February’s Winter Olympics. Needless to say, I was glued to the TV, and particularly on Sunday while the finals were on. To help ease the tension, I hooked while I watched and by the end of the day, I had completed the faces of both virgins.

 

The wise virgin…..DSCN1453

….and the foolish virginDSCN1457

I know she looks like she has a milk moustache….(just cover-up to be removed later) hiding some mistakes I made in the original pattern drawing. I wanted to see what the profile actually looked like.

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I was pleased and surprised with how they turned out…..my first attempt at such tiny detailed faces. (done in #2 and #3).

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Some notes to myself in case I want to do this again sometime.

1.) all done in various shades of two basic colours….yellow and pink

2.)all done with bits and scraps from my stash

3.) pre-cut strips which were too wide, I carefully recut to #2 and it worked well

4.) followed the basic procedures taught to me by Anne Boissinot for eyes, nose and mouth

5.) I followed the face and neck value choices and placement taught to me by Wendie Scott Davis

6.) I remembered a recent discussion on cheek shadowing by Gail Mueller and Cheri Hempseed, and followed that advice. Thanks to all these ladies for sharing their expertise.

N.B. I must never forget that my work is the result of applying the information passed on by the skilled people I have been privileged to work with.  (I know…it should be “with whom I have been privileged to work”….but that sounds so formal)

Just hands and lamps now to hook before I tackle the arch and background. I’m still struggling with design and colour choices for that. I think it will require several “test” areas to see which I think will be best. The primary dilemma is whether to go dark or light.

So the faces are done and the curling is over. I’m happy with the faces, and although my favourites didn’t win the curling, I’m really happy with the teams that will represent Canada, I’m sure they will do us proud. Go Homan and Koe.

All in all a great Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.