Wendie’s Workshop…… Part One

What a wonderful two days I’ve just had. Wendie Scott Davis’s workshop “From Photo to Mat…As easy As That” had intrigued me ever since I first heard about it at Trent Hooking School two years ago…..and I wasn’t disappointed.

It deals with using your computer as a tool to select and adjust photos for hooking, transfer your photo from computer to backing, chose and keep a record of your  colour palette and lots of tips and tricks along the way. Add to that…a dynamic knowledgeable  teacher, great friends, and a very comfortable venue, and you have a recipe for a great workshop.

Just look at this wonderful example Wendie brought…done mostly in an 8 cutDSCF5010

I am so impressed with the position and effect of the skin tone values, and so excited to learn how to do that.

Here are some photos I took randomly around the room on the first day.


Wendie is preparing to show Kathy how to transfer her picture.

DSCF5002She brought a light box for drawing our patterns, and it was a busy spot. DSCF5008…but first we had to decide the size and outline the perimeter.DSCF5001Pat transferred her pattern using dots through the tracing paper.DSCF5003Linda darkened her tracing paper pattern before drawing it on on her backing.DSCF5004…. as you can see from Wendy’s pattern (That’s Wendy….not Wendie) , Our patterns consisted of  a bare outline of the details….this is her pattern taken from a photo she took of a moose at the edge of a forest !

DSCF5028One of the neatest tricks Wendie shared was how to do this triple whipped edge. (If you look closely, you can see it on the first picture of the post) I don’t love whipping by any means, but this made a terrific finish, and I’m going to try it at the first opportunity. It looks almost like a frame when it is completed.

Next time I’ll show the photos from the second day…and the start we made on our pictures.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Question of Value

At some point in almost every rug I hook, the problem of values too closely associated and side by side rears its troublesome head.  That’s happened again this week, so I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I’ve dealt with it in the past.

Sometimes it’s possible to change one colour enough that the shapes become clear.dscf4013-jpeg-scaled1000 In this little spring swap mat, I changed the mother bird’s breast to a darker tone so that the baby bird showed up against her.

DSCF4843Sometimes outlining will solve the problem, or even etching an edge with something very fine like embroidery cotton can also work.dscf4834-jpeg-scaled1000 Sometimes I have even decided that clarity isn’t a priority, and I’ve decided to leave it alone


In this section of the background of Althea, I purposely let this dip dyed lotus flower meld into the background.

So  (I said to myself)….which one would work for this week’s value problem……  the far lower right branches of the pine tree against the sky in my Wanda landscape. DSCF4982

The value of the sky and the tree branches are too close.

In reality, the branches wouldn’t necessarily all stand out against the night sky, so perhaps I’ll just ignore it. On the other hand, I’ve considered taking the very dark sky all the way down to the horizon line on that side, but I wonder if that will make the sky look unconnected. Would it make any sense to use some very light spots so the branches will show up against the sky (as I did on the far trees)?  As usual, I decided to leave it alone while I ponder these possibilities, and worked in another area. ,,,,(maybe that’s my new slogan….when in doubt….hook somewhere else)

My intention is to eventually re-name this piece “Severn in the Moonlight “. The Severn River shoreline is certainly not grassy, so Initially I made suggestions of rocks with some vegetation in a few places. DSCF4977So much brown seemed unbalanced and unrealistic, so I added more vegetation, and even some lighter greens in a few places where the moonlight might catch it. (Here it is partially changed)DSCF4978 Now I think I’m happy with the near shore.

Next Thursday and Friday I’ll be attending a workshop with Wendie Scott Davis, so I’m excited at the prospect of learning something new. I’ve chosen my photo, and I think I’ll dye some wool this week for that venture.Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 11.53.59 AM I

I’m going to attempt to re-create this picture of my sister and I, but I haven’t yet decided on hooking a  realistic or an impressionistic version.

On Tuesday, The Sunshine Rug Hookers are having a mini workshop on making  Trillium brooches, so I’m looking forward to that as well. DSCF4947For those of you in other areas than mine…the trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. It blooms in the spring and soon the forest floors will be carpeted in  white  all over the countryside. It is said that if picked, they will not bloom again for 7 years, so picking them is strongly discouraged (if not illegal).

So I’ve got a wonderful, busy hooking week ahead. I’ll take my camera along so I can share these events with you too.

In the meantime…..I’ll continue debating….dark all the way down????? edging???? ignoring?????

UUmmmm…..decisions decisions.

Thanks for stopping by.

Oh So Blue

I spent  lots of time this week carefully choosing the colours for the sky so that the branches of the pine tree still stood out against it, while the sky itself still looked believable and blended smoothly. After finishing the one side, I took a break and moved on to hooking the shore.


Every once in a while I stumble on exactly the right wool for exactly the right spot. I feel like that about the wool I used for the shadow under the pine tree. DSCF4959It’s a very dark plaid with lots of hidden colours……DSCF4956Although it looks almost black in reality, the flash shows up the variety of colours in it, and it creates such a spark to the hooking (especially those ting gold specks). You can just imagine that there are lots of interesting things on the ground, but it’s too dark to see them clearly.  It’s my favourite section of this piece (at least today)DSCF4970

I knew I wanted the very tops of the trees to be lighter to reflect the moonlight. My first effort at that was a crashing failure! I started with a row of the pale off white along the tops of the trees, then began the sky above it. I didn’t take a picture of it because it was so ugly I tore it out immediately! There is a little piece of the white left above the trees on the right….note to self….that’s not how to create light on the tops of trees!!!   Helen reminded me of a technique she had learned from Deanne Fitzpatrick….sporadic loops ….Then I remembered….DSCF4973

I used that technique on Charlie the Caterpillar….The left side of his bow tie didn’t show up well against the background, so I put a few lighter loops along the edge.

I found a pale green, cut the strips quite small (about a 3), and added them just at the tips of the trees.DSCF4961Whew!! then when I added the sky I got just the effect I wanted….as if the moonlight is catching the treetops.DSCF4964

With lots of blues to choose from…I selected just two to hook the water….both had a slightly purple tone…one lighter, one darker. I thought it would be a slight contrast to the sky, and give the impression of deep water in the river. I got this close to being finished when I ran out of wool. I rummaged through my stash, and found a piece that while it had lots of green showing on the top, was mostly the right colour if I turned it over. DSCF4967

I cut out a small piece and added it in to finish. I don’t think you can even see a difference. How lucky can you get.

I’m still debating on how to do the rest of the shore line….browns? greys? greens for grass?  Stay tuned to see what emerges.

Once again our ground is covered with snow this morning  -20 C last night near here….and yet it’s supposed to be 17 C tomorrow (I think that’s high 60’s F).  You’ve got to love spring in central Ontario!

Thanks for stopping by.

Show and Tell at Sunshine Rug Hookers Meeting

I am surrounded each week with such wonderful hookers and friends, and haven’t shared in a while what they are working on….so yesterday, armed with fresh batteries and my trusty camera, I caught up with what everyone was doing. I hope you’ll be as impressed as I was.


Karen has just finished these striking zebras. She said she thinks she will frame them.DSCF4951She is currently working on this wonderful winter scene, and has just the corners to do.DSCF4937

Diane bought this Cheticamp pattern last year while visiting Nova Scotia.


Edie has nearly finished her scrappy rug. I’m glad it’s not me having to finish that scalloped edge…but I can’t wait to see how she does it.


Judi started this rug at a workshop with Deanne Fitzpatrick (also in Nova Scotia) She said they were to just start pulling hoops in lots of colours. She explained it’s a simple pattern she’s created, just sky, mountains and foreground.DSCF4936

also in Judi’s bag was this wonderful Emily Carr adaptation, which she began in a workshop at Trent Rug Hooking Camp.


Barbara has just completed this striking bell pull.  I LOVE black backgrounds.DSCF4931

Joanne is making mug rugs. That’s one of my favourite colour palettes.


Isabel is working on this traditional styled hot pad….


….and has just completed this piece….I’m not sure if it is to be a pillow or a chair seat


Some of you may be familiar with Cheri’s wonderful specialty. She makes these little portraits into necklaces, and they are a popular item where ever they are seen. I have one she did of my sister and I, which even has correct hair and eye colouring. It is one of my prized possessions.DSCF4933

The detail she manages to put into these tiny creations is quite astounding.DSCF4925Gayle’s hooking technique is one I have tried to emulate. It is superb.DSCF4946

Cynthia created this cute little Easter bunny in a cabbage patch. Her creativity is always an inspiration.DSCF4927

Talk about creativity! I am in awe of what Fiona does. These are 4 pictures of the same lake with her granddaughters swimming in 2 of the pictures.DSCF4926

This is her free form interpretation…but…she is so creative….DSCF4928

The sections separating the pictures are depicting sand and shoreline rocks, which she knit into the hooking.DSCF4930

She said the body of her granddaughter in the picture reminded her of a mermaid, so she created an impression of one by first picking up and crocheting a row around the area, then switching to knitting the body in a variety of textured wools. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

We were discussing making brooches as a fund raiser, and someone produced this wonderful trillium pin, as an example.DSCF4947It is exquisite.

You may remember Marion’s wonderful embroidery and lace work (check Jan 22 2013 post in the archives). She recently attended a workshop given by a native artist who is working to preserve the aboriginal women’s crafts of quilling, beading, moose hair stitchery etc.  She made this strawberry at this workshop.


This scissors fob was amazing….each thread was threaded with a delicate matching bead. DSCF4949_2That fine work is not even close to the realm of possibility for me!!

I just  couldn’t resist including this hilarious and wonderful creation made by Cynthia. She bought a jersey balloon dress (is that what you call those dresses which are pulled in at the hem so they fluff out?)…at the local Good WIll, and proceeded to create this amazing “work tunic” (that’s my name for it…she may have another)


…. She cut off the bottom band, and slit the sides, pulling the pocket to the outside and inserting a gusset. (the pocket isn’t easily see….it’s beside her left hand)DSCF4940

She made the neckline fit with tucks and buttons…..DSCF4942

….redesigned the back to show off her hour-glass figure…..DSCF4944….and clipped and decorated the sleeves.  What a lady!!!

I’m sure you’ll agree that I’m one lucky hooker to get to spend hours each week with such a creative and congenial group of women!!

Thanks for stopping by. Love love love it when you comment!

Working at Night

I have very little experience hooking landscapes, and none whatsoever with a night scene,  so I’m enjoying getting back to the teaching piece with Wanda Kerr…(in case you missed my earlier explanation….it’s an online course which is free to members of The Welcome Mat.) I’ve completed the large tree, and some of the far shore trees, and decided to start the night sky.DSCF4862I chose this variety of blues from my stash, but I wasn’t comfortable with the wide variation in the blues. I had promised myself I wouldn’t dye new wool for this project, and I didn’t….not really…..well I didn’t use any dye…….so that makes it fair. What I did do was take all this wool plus a bunch of already cut strips and soak it all in warm water and dish detergent, then simmer it all until quite a bit of dye had bled out. Then I added citric acid, and simmered until the water cleared. In other words I just redistributed the dye.DSCF4916Now  my colours are more homogeneous, and I’m much happier with them.DSCF4918 I used an off white (very pale grey) for the moon, and I tried a couple of options for the circle around the moon. This blue will NOT be staying put. Nor as I kept going, was I happy with the colour of the moon. The grey made it dull and I wanted it to have more ‘spark’ The two lightest blues were not a part of the “brew”.

As you can see, I also changed the location of the moon. It seemed to be too far off to the left, and I want it to be the centre of attraction….Just another example of my “mind changing”. I put it to the left originally, thinking it left more space for the reflection on the water……what can I say!

DSCF4919   To improve the moon, I cut a few pieces of natural Dorr in a 4 cut  and worked them in randomly . That gave it the  ‘life’ I was looking for.


I used a pale spot dye for the reflection of the moon on the water, …but…DSCF4922

…ended up adding some of the Dorr natural to this as well.  I haven’t decided yet just how I will do the rest of the reflection in the water, and I’m not really happy with the small trees….but this is my natural way to hook….trial and error….I tried to think everything out scientifically before I began the way Wanda suggested,…and ended up changing my mind anyway. …so I’m doing it the way that makes me happy.

There is still lots of snow on my front yard, but today I saw some snow bells peeking out along the driveway. Spring can’t be too far away now.

Thanks for stopping by.


The Finishing Touches

Over the weekend I finished the last little bits of background on Althea, then spent yesterday on the finishing touches. To start with she looked like this.DSCF4880I began with her left eye, which still bothered me even after twice trying to fix it before.

I decided that it was too wide at the edge of her face, so I took out the little white part at the edge and swept the upper eye down around the pupil.DSCF4901Then I tackled the nose. It too had undergone several changes (none of which I liked) and I knew it would be hard to take out because of the embroidery thread which was sewn in to create the outline.DSCF4904It took me ages, using a pair of tweezers to remove the grey, and the tiny pieces I’d used for the edge of the nose. Then I pondered how to make it better, stared at my pictures, and thought about advice I’d received. I finally made two alterations…..I made the right nostril larger, thus changing the entire angle of the nose, and then straightening the nose itself, and reducing the bottom left, since it was now more in profile that before.  Does that make sense??DSCF4905This is her new nose.

Another area that bothered me was the grey outline on her skin. It looked too much like a coloured outline, rather than a shadow…..so I took out the part around her face. I found a piece of flesh tone wool that I had overdyed grey, and thought it might be less stark than the grey I’d used. I removed the part between her face and hair completely, and left a bit of her cheek with no outlining. I used a #4 cut and hooked it very low so it would not be so prominent. I touched up the flesh by replacing that brownish strip to the right of her lips, and added a few more pinkish “face strips”  at the top of her neck to help in the transition from one “batch of flesh wool” to the next.DSCF4909Whew!! Done. All that remains is the steaming and finishing.

Unfortunately, I’ve once again injured my knee and standing to steam her will have to wait a bit. DSCF4910Yikes…perhaps I should stop looking at her…because now that I’ve altered her eye and her nose…I think I should change her mouth as well. …but then I think it’s just the angle of this photo.    I’m done…she’s done.DSCF4907

So here she is…my Althea….an adaptation of Klimt‘s “Lady with Fan”.  36″ x 36″ wool on rugwarp, completed in 4 months…December 2012 to March 2013….a tribute to my sister Audrey who died January 10th, 2013.