Preparing Adele

While much of north america is well into spring -like conditions, here in central Ontario, we are still very much in the grip of winter. I’m not complaining…I love winter, and Sunday and Monday were wonderful ,brilliant winter days, with fresh snow  and a wonderland out of every window. Perfect days to cocoon and do nothing except watch the Briar (that’s the Canadian Men’s curling championships ) and work on hooking activities.


I dyed another 1/2 yard of antique black for the hall runner, and a yard of caserole dyeing in a variety of yellow colours. While not as striking as the red  batch, I think it will be very useful. I also dyed 1/2 yard of a sort of flesh tone for my second Glimt project…Adele, but the jury is still out on that.


I drew, and traced the pattern for Adele on linen. I settled on 24″ x 36″. I originally was going to have it 30″ x 36″ but I found the shape looked ‘clunky’,  Ray said it was because it was way off the ‘golden mean’ ….which is the perfect ratio, ….so now it’s closer…and a more pleasing shape to my eye. When I removed the red dot, I went over the whole thing again to make it crisp and clear, and bound the edges with my trusty green painters tape. Yahoo! Its ready.


Emma Sue

I’ve only ever once attempted to do a face when I knew what I was doing. So I studied Emma Sue and got out the notes from Anne Boisinot’s Creative Expressive Faces workshop and went over all the details for hooking one. It’s because of that workshop, and the wonderful notes she gave us that I have the nerve to try hooking these two faces (Adele and Hygieia). Anne broke down all the aspects of the face, and gave marvelous details on how to approach each part. Before I begin, I will find bits and pieces for the eyes and lips.

I pondered where to start, but I think it will be the face…starting with the eyes. (by the way…I’ve set myself a sort of 10 minute challenge….I must hook some background on the hall runner every day!)

Saluting Willa Mercer

The Sunshine Rug Hookers have begun a new activity. On the first Tuesday of each month, they are featuring the work and background of one hooker. This began in February with the hooking of Hilda Hayes, our most senior member, and continued in March with a presentation of the work of Willa Mercer, one of the founding members. I think this is such a grand idea, and thought I would share the work of these wonderful talented hookers.


Willa showed an array of her hooked pieces from brooches, Christmas ornaments, 3D Christmas trees, a number of examples of Father Christmas, boxes, chair pads, and of course mats. 


Her work included celtic designs, silhouettes, primitives, and memory rugs.


Willa had always been interested in traditional crafts, and began her hooking career by signing up for a 10 week course through the Neighbourhood School Programme in Orillia. The instructor was Luise Bishop. Willa was “hooked” and continued taking any available local courses and enjoyed attending workshops such as the OHCG Annual, and Trent School of Rug Hooking throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. She became an OHCG qualified teacher, and has been an active teacher until recently.



I’ve heard Willa refer to herself as “the queen of frugal”, and she claims to love the hunt for materials to recycle, and the actual process of recycling them, almost as much as she does hooking. After I had several bad experiences purchasing garments to reuse, which ended up shredding, a few wise words from Willa about how to choose wool , and how to ‘full’ it properly, saved me from becoming strictly a ‘new’ wool user. Thanks Willa, for this and all the tips and words of wisdom you share so readily with those of us who are in need of help!


Hygieia…how much wool of each colour???

I have quite a bit of dyeing to do…with these various projects, so I decided I’d better be a little more organized about my requirements. This is an area I haven’t worried about until now…for the hall rugs, I just kept dyeing more wool as I needed it. However, I found, with the change of water, that in a different season, I couldn’t duplicate some colours, and I’ve been advised by Linda Sullivan, the teacher for Trent, to do all my dyeing for Hygieia  now. That means I have to figure out in advance, how much of each colour I may need. 

I’m quite a ‘low’ hooker…that is ….I don’t pull my loops very high. I think 4x coverage should be fine, but I wouldn’t want to run out, so I’ll be very generous when estimating the amounts needed. To date I have dyed 2 yards of red, and 1 yard of gold. (not counting the pancake dyed wool, or the red houndstooth)

I laid out the wool roughly on the pattern to see what it should cover.


I’ve dyed enough to cover this much. 1 1/2 yards more of red will probably suffice, but I’ll do 2 yards to allow plenty, and freedom to choose the variations I want.


By folding a strip of the gold in 4’s, and  lying it along the shape of the snake, I estimate it will take about 1/2 yard to do it.


1/8th yard will easily complete each circle, and there are 10 of them that would be 1 1/4 yd’s, plus all the small gold ovals, which should easily be completed with 3/4 yd…making a total of 2 yards gold required, but I’ll probably do at least a total of 2 1/2 yards of gold. I’ll follow the same process, when I decide the colours I want for the flesh, and the background etc. I also need an outlining colour. At this point I’m thinking of using a very dark mahogany …but I need to see what it looks like before I decide.


I’ll start off with a warning.  Don’t simmer your wool, and cook your roast at the same time! As soon as  I put the casserole/pancake dye pan on the top of the stove, the pork roast for dinner went in the oven. I always start a roast off at 450 degrees for ten minutes, then turn it down to 325 degrees. In my excitement with the wool and checking it, I forgot to turn down the oven, and the roast spent 3 hours in a very hot environment. Ever try to slice a roast with 1/2 inch crunchy char all over it?

The pattern for Hygieia is completed. It was sometimes tricky trying to make sure all the ribbons  made sense and actually went somewhere, but I’m pleased with the final result.


The pattern completed on the red dot


Head detail of red dot


head detail of the actual linen patternAfter the initial tracing, I went over it all on the linen itself to make sure it was sharp and clear.


There it is!!  

 I would love to plunge right in and get started at it, but……I’m going to Trent in June, and this is to be my project , so I’ll regretfully roll it up and wait until I get there to work on it. 

That does leave me with another dilemma however. Sunshine Rug Hookers are responsible for the program at RUGG in the fall, and we’re each doing a rug based on a general theme  (broken down to actually be..a still life…or one  inspired by Glimt). Hygieia was also to be my presentation rug, but in all honesty, there is no way I can begin a 6′ x 3′ rug in June, and have it completed and bound by early October!

Yesterday I wandered around the house looking for inspiration to do a reasonable sized still life, but nothing struck my fancy. This morning, I was leafing through my beautiful book on Glimt, and decided I would do a geometric based on one of his fantastical backgrounds. My always supportive dh thought I should try one of his heads, and wouldn’t you know,


I turned the page and there it was!  ….the background I was going to do, around the head in a blow up picture! Soooo   I’m off again. I’ve never hooked a rug from a photo so that in itself will be a new experience…and perhaps better to first try it on something of a smaller scale. Out with the pencil to do calculations once again!


I am also hooking each day on the black background of my hall rug, and it is gradually starting to fill in!