Barn in Spring

If you’re a regular reader of my hooking journey…you’ll know that a few weeks ago, Ray and I tried to retrace our steps from last fall and find the barn(s) we photographed in November. No luck ….they had disappeared!

This was niggling at both of us…so last Sunday we set out again to try and find the elusive barn. This time…success. We just needed to go a little further east. There it was in all it’s sad glory.


I don’t know if it had deteriorated over the winter…or if I was just more aware of it.


This is the picture I’m hooking from…it was taken on an overcast November day.


This is roughly the same shot…taken on a bright spring day. The crack under the first window seemed much larger…and the missing boards seemed to stand out more sharply.


I tried to create the larger gap in the wall….and failed miserably….this will be coming out!!!


I added the fully missing board (although it’s placement isn’t accurate… that doesn’t concern me)


This time I walked around the entire building (well 3 sides) . I love this view of the back, and what I would suppose are sections of the original stone foundation. 


The far corner has crumbled away completely leaving the top unsupported. 


I’d love to hook this picture of the side with the deserted gate leaning against the wall. Actually I’d love to do the last two pictures….and I’m thinking of doing them smaller, and having a group of three views of the same barn.


On the other hand….while I’m really enjoying all this work with neutrals…I think I’d have to get a “colour fix” by hooking something nice and bright and cheerful in between. 

barnboard and mossy walls

There’s been very little actual progress this week…but lots of pulling out and reworking…

After trying several ways, I liked the effect of squiggly hooking with a variety of colours for the moss…, but it still didn’t look right to me. 


I re-worked sections of it to try and get a streaky effect without it being straight lines.


I had another problem as well…


……the small tree branch on the right was fading out against the darker barnboard at the top, but I needed the lighter colour to show up against the dark green at the bottom.


I finally solved that by re-hooking the tree in the darkest silver grey I had, and taking  the dark green mossy section out altogether. 

The other….(and still not completely corrected problem) is trying to keep the barnboards relatively straight from top to bottom. At first I thought…easy…just hook in the same ditch top to bottom. But it’s not quite that simple….


……The black breaks, and the fine cut barnboard edgings (which don’t always go all the way to the top) leave gaps between the hooking rows above them if I just hook straight up. So I’m fudging it …and adjusting as I go along to try and keep it at least LOOKING straight. I’m not very good at it so I’ve done lots of reverse hooking  (I hate that term) . (you can see I didn’t get quite the same pattern when I re-hooked the green barnboards on the left)


The greys don’t show up at all true when I use my flash…so I found a bit of sunshine this morning and took this with no flash to see if the colours were better….they are….some.

It may sound like I’m frustrated by all of this….but in fact…I find it exciting and fun to 1) see the problems….and 2) figure out a way to solve them that pleases me . I learn so much with every project I do.

barn bits

It’s taken me until today to be able to verbalize what I’m trying to do with my barn hooking. (I’m a little slow when it comes to these things)…..and I’m going to write it down here so I don’t lose sight of the end-game while I’m bogged down in the details.

I don’t want to recreate the photo, I want to re-interpret the photo so that the end result  is more like a painting in fiber. (I hope I hope)


I decided early on that the trees would be in shades of mouse grey, and the barnboard in shades of silver grey….so one would show up against the other.


When I started working on the barn boards, I soon realized that the wool was too evenly coloured. I had three different shades…so I spot dyed them all with 1/128th tsp. silver grey to get a more uneven effect.


I over dyed some of the silver grey with olive drab in an attempt to create the mossy sections on the barn boards (I put some in at the left), but it doesn’t look like moss at all…so out it came.

After several attemps at delineating the boards…I settled on cutting in half a #6 cut of the darkest wool , and hooking it lower than the #8 cut ‘boards’, so that it almost sinks out of sight. I could have used a #2 or #3 cut…but I’m too lazy to keep changing the cutter heads.


At first I hooked these shadow lines to the top of the boards…but soon realized they had to vary in length to get any sort of realistic effect. (It’s not as blue in real life as the flash makes it out to be)

Now I’m experimenting with the small patch of ground….something mostly neutral, and dead-grassy looking.


This is some of the olive drab that didn’t work for moss, some wonderful wool yarn I’m hoping will work, and a bit of blue/gree/white plaid….still very much in the experimentation stage.


I like the colours of the moss on the cement wall section…but it still isn’t right…some more work to fine a technique I like for it too.

To go totally off topic…while Jen Manuell was watching moose in her back yard….(you’ve got to check it out  ), my Easter weekend was much tamer. Two of my three sons made it home, my sister was here, and we had a wonderful family dinner on Sunday.


Here Mathieu is getting ready to leave for an afternoon of mountain biking at Hardwood Hills.

I hope everyone had as lovely a holiday weekend as I did.

A tribute to Gail La Berge

I just hate it when this happens!

First Tuesday…tribute day at Sunshine rughookers…and thinking I would avoid any problems…I changed the batteries in my camera…and headed out.

But alas!!……my rechargable batteries had given up recharging…and the camera turned off mere seconds after  I turned it on each time. So I have very few pictures of Gail’s work…and those I do have were snapped quickly before the dying batteries finally gave up altogether….which they soon did.


Three lovely pillows…the one on the right is a pattern she got while visiting Dorr…and is a favourite of mine. I particularly like the colour pallette…the vivid coral just sets it off (but you can’t really appreciate it from this photo).


I love this piece…what wonderful details. It also surprised me…being a fine cut…and not the style Gail usually hooks. She said is was requested by a family member  (sorry Gail I can’t remember who….I think one of her two daughters) so she hooked it for her.


A wonderful primitive horse with an interesting straight line background.


I think this was a free pattern in RHM…again beautifully hooked.


This is a combination of penny rug, applique, and hooking from a workshop given by Bea Grant. Everything Gail hooks is so well done. I always admire her beautiful even loops.

Like so many rug hookers…Gail is multi-talented. 


She showed us examples of her doll making, (this was actually three diffrent styles of dolls…but the back two are hidden)


Her spectacular quilts…that’s Gail on the right..


….and countless other wonders (which my camera refused to record)…such as baskets she had woven out of dried leaves from her garden, and crocheting….and although she didn’t have any to show…she used to make willow furniture which was on the grounds of their ‘bed and breakfast’ home in the woods in Haliburton.

Gail was born and grew up in Orillia…and in fact we were school mates….born the same year. We lost track of each other, and she moved to  Minden (further north) where she and her husband lived for many years. One of my favourite memories of joining Sunshine Rug Hookers, was the wonderful welcome she gave me, and my re-connection with Gail.

Gail concluded by saying “I don’t consider myself a great hooker…but I consider myself a ‘Happy Hooker’.

Gail…I’m so sorry I couldn’t get pictures of so many of your pieces, and wasn’t able to do justice to your beautiful work.

As soon as I get new batteries…I’ll post my progress on the barn.