More from Trent and Hygieia progress

While my back recuperates from my week away…I’ve done quite a bit of hooking on Hygieia. I’ve been working on what I know… to start…that is the face and head piece.. (ha ha 3rd face I’ve done…I’m hardly an expert) and at the same time contemplating how I will deal with her gown and the ribbons.



I kept the close up photo of Hygieia’s face, and Adele beside me as I worked…and referred to them both constantly. Some aspects of the wool don’t translate accurately from the painting. For example…in every picture of Hygieia, her lips actually turn down…but although she looks serious, she doesn’t look angry..this didn’t work however with the wool. Any downturn of the black line between her lips, and she immediately looked grumpy so I reshaped the lips. The eyebrows were another area. Although in the paintings she has much thicker ones, the minute a second line of wool is added, she scowls, so I just use 1 row.


Her nose is different from the others I’ve done..straight on…and looking up at it from slightly below. Keeping it from looking like a pig’s nose, and getting the nostrils right were a challenge. It took three tries for the nostrils. first I did them in black and they were too prominent…then I tried the light grey outline colour, and they disappeared…finally I used a  medium grey ….just right.

The sweep under the eye on the right got too high…and doesn’t match the other side…so


I pulled that part back and fiddled with the lines so they better matched the other side.

Her chin has a dip on the right side which I don’t like…and I will smooth that out later. 


The decorations in her head piece are cat’s paws done with pancake dyed yellow so there is lots of colour variation in each small circle. 


For her headpiece, I’m using a variety of colours to give the appearance of black….there is actually no black in it…very dark navy, purple, a dark brown/black plaid, and  lots of black watch plaid. (thanks to Margaret Kennedy for showing me this technique) The result is a colour that vibrates rather than being static.


There is quite a wide discrepancy in the headpiece decorations in the various versions I have looked at. I decided to leave many out, and let the “black” be the focal point there…it seems to me to anchor the top of the piece and will be good with so much colour to go underneath in the gown and ribbons.

..And now back to  Trent. Each evening  there was an event of some sort. On Monday it was a trunk sale….held in the parking lot of Lady Eaton college…everyone was invited to bring any craft related item they no longer wanted


Rug hookers are great bargain hunters and are addicted to fiber so it shouldn’t have been surprising to see the wild frenzy of buying as if wool was a rare commodity!


There were lots of old patterns


Linda’s wools were snapped up rapidly


Specialty yarns were scooped up for that special effect….or whipping…..or hooking…or…


Hedore…(the only male hooker at the camp) is an amazing hooker using nylons exclusively. He brought his left overs to the trunk sale. I had to restrain myself here…They were so beautiful I almost convinced myself to hook with nylons again.


Luise had a wonderful selection of tatted work for sale.


Our fearless co-director…Mary Janet…. promised to be a ‘perfect angel’ this year.   The evening concluded with ice cream cones for all.




Trent School of Rug Hooking

Home again! What a wonderful….fun….informative week….and Hygieia is at last underway. I don’t have a lap top…so I wasn’t able to post while I was at Trent  (not that there would have been time in any case)…but I kept a pictorial record…until the batteries in my camera died…. GRRR (why didn’t I think to change them before I left).

I’ll begin with what I accomplished on Hygieia throughout the week. One of the first things Linda Sullivan (my teacher for the Art Nouveau class) stressed, was finding the foreground…and establishing that so that it would stand in front of the other aspects of the piece.


In Hygieia, that is her arm and the snake…so the wools for that were chosen first…and that is where I began hooking. To create the highlights in the arm…I cut a lengthwise strip of the flesh dipdye…used the lightest part at the top, then cut it off and flipped it using the darkest part next to it and then hooking downwards.

At Linda’s suggestion, I extended the neckpiece up higher which gives her a much more attractive neck, and eliminates a seeming double chin…(horrors!) Since I was doing such a large piece (she is 3′ x 6′) I just did a portion of each area…then moved on to something else.


Since I have never attempted hands before…that’s what I worked on next… again using lengthwise strips…sometimes cut as in the arm…and sometimes letting the shading just flow. Her right hand is held with quite a twist,(we had a lot of fun trying to put our own hand in that position….without a lot of success) and I finally re-adjusted the outlines so I think that it now appears correctly…with the thumb to the back.


In some of the renditions I found of Hygieia….the hair is not visible at all…it appears that the headpiece covers her whole head. One close up, however quite clearly shows curly brown hair, and that is how I decided to hook her. One of the signature aspects of Art Nouveau is outlining…so I’m beginning each detail with dark outlining.


Her hair is done in a brown/black textured wool which I hooked unevenly…pulling some loops quite long to give a realistic, curly appearance.

None of what I have hooked this week is cast in stone…and there will undoubtedly be adjustments.( Already I think I want to slightly reshape the top lip line but I’ll add the flesh before I make a final decision on that)

What a lovely, serene setting we had to work in. Trent University is situated in Peterborough Ontario, in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes region and was built in the 1960’s. As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law,… at the time a newly graduated young architect,… worked for the master architect, Ronald Thom and was involved in it’s creation.


It is a unique and interesting university….built almost entirely of concrete…parts with the markings of grey weathered resembling stone. It blends in with the landscape rather than dominating it.


It is set up with the college system (adapted from Oxford University) and has six colleges within the University. This is the main office of Lady Eaton College where we had our rooms and ate breakfast and dinner.


The quadrangle of Lady Eaton College.with tall pines..can you see the bird sculpture? The concrete of this college resembles wood.


I love the symmetry of this courtyard in a nearby college. (One attends the university and ‘belongs’ to one of it’s colleges)


The universit
y is built on both sides of the Otonabee River. Our classes were held across this footbridge in Otonabee College. I love the “tipped pyramid building”…you can just see it’s top on the left.


I was too tired at the end of each day to do much exploring….but there were quiet courtyards and covered walkways in abundance. (Thanks Gail for helping me find some of them)


One of next year’s proposed classes is ‘geometric landscapes’….lots of inspiration at hand for that course! I’d love to hook this picture. In this area the concrete gives the appearance of being imbedded with stone.


My favourite building….the library….built right out into the river. What a wonderful setting for a wonderful week of hooking. 

More about our week, and pictures of the display next time….now to unpack and get the washing machine going!



A Tribute to Luise Bishop

Long before I ever met Luise Bishop, I knew her by reputation…I recall seeing one of her landscapes at an OHCG annual…and I’ve never forgotten how impressed I was with the beauty and detail of that farm scene.

Last September, RUGG had a tribute day for Luise, and following that, she donated a lot of her work to the rug hooking museum in Chester Nova Scotia. She is still a prodigious hooker, but she now gives away everything that she hooks.

Today was “Luise Bishop Day” at Sunshine rug hookers.

I think this one was my favourite.


This piece is called A Yard of Clowns. (It’s 36″ long) It was originally a bolster pillow for her grand daughter’s bed. I could have spent half the morning looking at all the details.


The leash for the goose is a silver cord and it is added throughout giving marvelous sparkly details.


amazing dancing elephants…what detail on the ‘back blanket’.


The horse’s mane is raised in a hairy wool


This is another in the same series called A Yard of Faces. Luise is well known for her wonderful faces. Apparently She did a third one…I think it was A yard of Animals.


She hooked this mountain lion at a workshop with Yon Ciemiewicz. Her comment was…if you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with him….DO! He’s a wonderful teacher.


This is a portrait of her grand daughter’s dog. I watched this come to life a couple of years ago as Luise hooked it…and was fascinated by the process.


A beautiful stained glass piece.


What an intricate initial B. I’ve always admired these and wanted to hook one…and will…one day….She said she did it for a contest for “hooked initials” at the Simcoe County Rug and Quilt Fair one year…and ended up being the only one to do one.


A wonderful wooly sheep….hooked with yarn rather than wool strips. I marvel at the seemingly effortless whipped corded edge around the head! Perfect! I could never do that in a million years!


This is a piece of Molay. It is a Caribbean style….but although I’ve googled it…I can’t find a reference anywhere to it….how alive and colourful.

(I’ve just learned that it’s mola not molay.)A Mola, in the Kuna culture, is a traditional blouse worn by the Indian Women. It is made from two intricately appliquéd panels. These colorful graphic panels have long been admired by visitors to the San Blas Archipelago and are collected as an art form. 

Thanks to MizT (hope you can read the yellow print!)


Luise has been on a spate of hooking polar bears …she did the first one because she found a picture she loved…then she said she h
ad to keep hooking them, because people kept giving her more wonderful pictures of them.


She say’s she’s done at least 5 or 6.


Luise brought this large pansies rug to show me that she hooked ‘big’ rugs too”. (I’m afraid I’ve gained a reputation for hooking large pieces.) Since this is done in #3 and #4…I told her it was equivalent to me hooking an 8′ x 12′ rug. She told us that when hooking large rugs, she kept track of the number of hours it took to do the hooking. She stopping counting on this one at 1000 hours. She estimates it took about 1500 hours to complete!

Luise also does tatting and knitting.


She did this tatted piece for the top of a table. Her grand daughter in BC has a full sized tatted table cloth done for her after she commented on a crocheted table cloth belonging to a friend…”Grandma when are you going to make one for me?” Luise got to work…and 3 years later presented a full sized tatted cloth to her. She says her family are her biggest fans….is it any wonder!


She was even wearing tatted ear rings she made!


She also knit this beautiful sweater!

For many years, Luise was a busy and respected teacher. I consider myself so fortunate that I can now count her as one of my dear hooking friends She is always ready to share advice on any aspect of hooking, relate stories of her many and varied escapades throughout the years, and brighten my day with her wonderful smile!

All those matrix rugs!

While Darlene and I have completed our matrix rugs, the others who were  at the workshop are all progressing as well. Some of them were at our Tuesday get together.


This is Cheri’s aztec rug. It’s interesting that when the wool was stacked up, the teal green (second from the centre) was the predominant colour…but as it’s working up, the paler mauves seem to make the strongest impact….I wonder if that will change as the teal is repeated further out?


This is Wendy’s rug. She has been very clever to loop a strip of the intended colour in the centres still to be hooked….it’s so easy to forget what you planned when working with such a wide variety of textures and colours.


Karen is the only one doing the flying geese pattern….I really like it…and wish perhaps I’d chosen to do that design.


Pat (like I did) is outlining her pattern and marking the rows to be hooked in as she goes along. Most don’t need these helps….but they sure made it easier for me.


I’ve been having a “senior’s moment” regarding this rug!! I couldn’t for the life of me remember whose it was….I’ve finally figured out it must be Isabel’s…and if I’m wrong…I’ll apologize later. The ‘gold’ makes a striking contrast against the dark colour group. I think it will ‘set the tone’ of the whole colour palette.

I have actually not worked on finishing my two rugs the last couple of days, I’ve been reading in the evenings….giving my wrist a break. whipping is far harder on it than hooking!

Sunshine Hooking

Three of the hookers from our group are just back from a workshop with Deanne Fitzpatrick in Nova Scotia. The workshop was on hooking abstracts, and both Cheri and Helen had their work with them today. ‘Helen said she was surprised at how much work it was to create the pattern, that a lot of thought and planning went into it. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t show up the pattern very well…it has beautifully balanced shape and motion.


She had originally intended to use a variety of colours, but Deanne encouraged her to make it almost entirely red.


 The variety of red wools and yarns she is using is enough to make me drool! I can’t wait to see it progress. 

I spoke about the class with Helen, and she said that many people had a form or shape in mind that they wanted to interpret in an abstract way. I didn’t have a chance to discuss Cheri’s rug with her…but I think you can tell that her inspiration is a forest.


How spectacular!

Lots of other great work for us to oooh and ahhh over as well.

Mary Lou has made this adorable rug for her Great Granddaughter…..


It fits right in with the theme for next Year’s OHCG Annual….maybe she can “borrow it back” to show there!

Gayle has completed her giant flowers.


The colours are so “her”. I believe she picked up this pattern while visiting the Dorr Mill Store.

Cecelia’s lion is really coming along.


Can you believe that this is just her third rug….second really….she took time out from it to do a small rug at a workshop in the fall.

While Marion is also a rug hooker…she is very involved with the embroidery group.


This is a Dutch style sampler she did in cross stitch.


 She said cross stitch usually uses a vast number of colours, but this one is done with just 13. It is amazingly detailed and fine….she described it as “simple” to do ! Wow!

She is very interested in pulled lace as well, particularly Italian pulled lace. This piece is still in progress.


It is all done in white. She’s holding it against her pink sweater so the holes or “pulled” sections would show up.


 The intricacy of this work boggles my mind!

I’ll update the progress of the matrix rugs in my next post.

Starting the Finishing…Matrix and Adele

Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile, knows that I have a very poor relationship with my sewing machine. The last time it needed attention, the problem seemed unsurmountable to me, but my sister came over and fixed it in no time. This time my friend Cecelia came over and wound the bobbin thread full and so I had no excuses for not getting on with the finishing of both Adele and my Matrix Scissors. 


The Matrix mat is steamed and drying. I plan to use Gene Shepherd’s finishing technique and whip the edge with a dark navy blue.

I’ve been debating for quite awhile on the best way to finish Adele. I didn’t want whipping around the edge, or a show binding. In fact I didn’t want any edging at all to show…so I decided to just fold it under and sew it. On the other hand, I wanted it to look nicely finished. I didn’t want to be embarrassed any time someone flipped it over to look at the underside…( hookers always spend almost as much time looking at the back as at the front) 

It’s just a simple fold under, but I hope by being careful about straight lines, it will still have a nicely finished appearance.


I experimented with how much to fold under and then added half that much again for the “hiding under” fold.


The fold would be at 18 ditches out from the hooking. ( I count ditches rather than measure to keep the linen straight)


I settled on 30 ditches out from the hooking for the outside edge to be folded under, and drew a pencil line in that ditch all the way around. (the darker lines you can see don’t count) I used an elastic zig zag stitch, and sewed around just inside the pencil line…twice.


I got rid of the excess linen by cutting on the pencil line all around.


 My actual fold is in the 18th ditch out, so I carefully pinned the outside edge back….finger ironing in that ditch at the edge all the way around to begin the crease.


I steam pressed this fold on both sides, then removed the pins and pressed it again so it would have a sharp, straight edge (with no pin bumps).


Adele is now spread out on the living room floor to dry overnight, ….then I’ll fold that edge under and stitch it……which means I have no hooking work to do this evening while I watch the hockey game. I may suffer withdrawal!

PS…after 68 days in the hospital….my sister was finally discharged today….Yippee! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers….they were successful!