Finishing Review

I’ve finished the whipping and binding of Twin Roses, and was surprised at how many people were interested in seeing the method I was using to finish it. I’ve shown it here before, but thought some people might like to see it demonstrated….so here is the process.  (It will also serve as a reminder for me the next time I do it).

I begin by folding the backing to the back and clipping the binding tape to it (no sewing or basting involved….I like that) ….Hold the rug facing you, then weave the end into the backing to start. (I’m actually starting a new length of wool in this photo as I was part way through )


Bring the needle up at the back at about 1/4 inch depth (Or however deep you want the whipping to be.)


Pull the wool up leaving a tail, and bring it forward over your finger. Hold this loop with your thumb , and insert the needle front to back right into the hole of your edge hooking.


Check the back to make sure the needle is at the same depth each time so you have a straight line of whipping on the back.



Pull the wool through and snuggle it down smoothly….repeat.

At the corners, I just go around keeping the stitches as even as possible.


When the whipping was finished, I clipped the backing away up to the zigzagged edge (which I made sure was close enough to be under the edge of the binding tape).DSCF5755

I do a false mitre on the corners by folding the tape right under, t (These photos were taken before I cut away the extra backing…. this step would actually be done after it is cut away)


………then folding back over the  top.

DSCF5759The backing tape is then sewed down with an invisible stitch. I like this method since it keeps the hand sewing to a minimum.



The front is neat, and sits below the hooking.



Here’s the back.  Whipping is finished, and the backing ready to be cut away, and the tape tacked down.



One more project completed. I have some small pieces to finish next, and I’m going to try a new finishing technique (well new to me).  I’ll share the results in the next post. I hope it turns out.

Christmas is Coming

You could tell that Christmas is coming at the Sunshine meeting on Tuesday. Gail brought in some Christmas themed pieces made with alternate fibres as examples for our Christmas hook in/ potluck to be held in December. We’re going to have a fun day. with an activity I’ve never done before, but it sounds sooooo interesting and fun to do. Everone is to bring a 5″ x 5″ square of backing ready to hook on, and examples of alternate fibres.  These  will be hung on a clothes line, and everyone can help themselves and hook a small mat on the backing with what you can find that you like.

Here are Gail’s “Happy Trees”


They make me smile. She said she used nylons, ribbon, yarn, and a bit of wool.


More merry trees….these are decorated.


Cynthia brought in a stunning broach made mostly with cotton prints.

Gail is presently working on this Christmas piece…again using a wide variety of fibres.


…because she went so close to the edge, she is crocheting the edge with a combination of ribbon and yarn….


….aren’t those colours striking? The fine red yarn gives it stability in the crocheting.

Lots of other people were working on Christmas projects as well….


This is an adaptation of Jennifer Manuell’s Christmas stocking. Others were working on their own Christmas designs…..


….a Christmas stocking…..


….a wonderful winter evergreen (love the colours)….


…and Christmas stars.

An amazing surprise appeared near the end of the meeting. Judi arrived with this  barely started pattern, including all the wool and instructions. She had been at a “Button ” collectors’ meeting in another town,and someone brought it in, knowing that there were hookers attending, and gave it to her.


It is a large Claire Murray pattern……with only a bit started…


….with all of the yarn numbered and in bags…..DSCF5791

Jeanne took it and is very excited about hooking it. We were all fascinated by the yarn….it was more like “cord” as perhaps you can see in this photo. Never before having seen a Claire Murray pattern, I don’t know if this is typical of her yarn.

The sun is shining, the ground is covered with snow, and it is truly winter in central Ontario. We’re off to Toronto to attend the opening of my son’s art show this evening. I’m a proud momma.

Background Dilemma

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Sunshine Rug Hookers, we had an interesting discussion. Margaret is hooking this rug for her son and daughter-in-law. She is ready to begin the background.


So last Saturday, she and Mary Anne had a wonderful day’s outing to Martina Lasar’s lovely log cabin shop in Caledon, where she purchased this wool for the background.


Problem solved you might say…..but Margaret’s dilemma was how to hook the background to best set off the whole piece. She decided to elicit ideas from the many talented hookers in the group, and to that end, she made a rough sketch of the piece, and asked people to draw in their idea of how best to hook the background.


There were almost as many ideas as there were hookers. Some of the suggestions were….echoing the wheel movement of the border…..straight line hooking as a foil for the circular aspects of the bike and the border……..squiggles to provide a mottled background which wouldn’t compete with the foreground…….choosing a wide variety of cuts to give a diversity to the background….a background of small circles to subtly reinforce the “wheel” aspect………. all terrific options…..which just reminds us that the background, although not what immediately grabs the eye (hopefully) is an important feature in creating the overall effect.

I’ll let you know what she decides to go with.

Our group is preparing to help celebrate Sir John A. MacDonald’s birthday (I think 200th?) in February 2015. (for my American readers…Sir John A. MacDonald was the first Prime minister of Canada, and “revered”  as  the Father of Confederation…..somewhat as the Canadian version of George Washington…although the country was negotiated into existence….not fought for).

To that end we are looking at hooking some “old style” rugs, and Margaret found these patterns which were probably purchased by her grandmother.


What could be more Canadian than this old  Bluenose pattern of beaver……or this pictorial depicting the making of maple sugar….


….in fact….Margaret hooked this rug years ago (she said it was actually just her second piece).


I love love love it. I could look at all the colours used in the snow  for ages. It’s not only an example of an early rug pattern, but a depiction of a typical Canadian farm activity and how sugaring was done in the “good old days”.

Both of these patterns are now available from Rags to Rugs in Pictou Nova Scotia.  Check them out (and many other Bluenose patterns) at

I’ll have to get my thinking cap on about what I can hook to contribute  to the celebration show.

Out of the November Blahs

I love all four seasons here in central Ontario, but undoubtedly my least favourite month is November. The leaves are gone, it is dark, dull and dreary awaiting the beauty of winter and the bracing bite of cold air that invigorates me. So I was delighted to wake up this morning to our first significant snowfall.


My spirits rose immediately.


So after a week or so of not hooking much, I feel ready to snuggle up and get busy on my eldest son’s birthday rug.

It will once again be a primitive style record of his dogs…the same style as the one I did for my youngest son. (three sons so the middle one’s pets will also be a project).


I had no problem with the outlines for the schnauzers and labs. It’s easy to find good profiles of purebred dogs. The tricky part was for the two mixed breed dogs that I had seldom seen when they were alive. Fortunately Scott had lovely framed photos of them, so I did the best I could.


I completely redid Bogie after I realized the size was too small for a fellow who boasted some great dane ancestry.

Now I’m anxious to get hooking these well loved pets.

I did complete the little Twin Sheep pattern I purchased at Dianne Fitzpatrick’s shop. While I find it physically impossible to hook in her free-form style, I did use her wool, and I plan to send it as a little gift to my great,great nephew.


Here’s the significance behind these wee sheep. My maiden name was Lamb, and my sister and I exchanged Lamb gifts and referred to ourselves as the Lamb girls. Baby Elliot was born last January on the same day and just a few hours after my sister died of cancer. This is a little reminder that the two Lamb girls (great grandmother, and great great aunt) will always be with him, in spirit if not in life.

A New Dyeing Adventure

Yes, a new adventure, at least for me. Although I have been dyeing my own wool for several years now, I have never yet dyed yarn to whip a rug.  With the spotted/mottled background of the Twin Roses rug, I knew I’d never find yarn to go with it, and a solid colour I felt would distract from the mat.

So….I’m dyeing yarn for the first time. My first step was to watch Gene Shepherd’s video on the subject, and I picked up quite a few pointers which I’m sure will help in this process. The second was to consult with Ann Hallett, who also gave me help and suggestions for a successful result.  Then to buy the white wool yarn to be hooked. There is only one place in my town that carries an all wool yarn, and wouldn’t you know it, they had no white. A quick call to “The Purple Sock” a wonderful yarn shop in the village of Coldwater (about 15 miles from here) and I had found my wool.

The first tip I learned from Gene Shepherd, was to prepare the skein so that it will stay without becoming a bird’s nest in the dyeing process. (Tie it in at least 4 places.)


…..just divide the skein in three, and loop a piece of yarn around each so it is secure, but can spread out.

Now a time out……and an aside….I got to this point in the process, had my camera at my side to record the dyeing, and guess what….I forgot to take any pictures at all…..never thought of it again until the wool was dyed and lying on a towel!!  I was so annoyed at myself.


Here’s a quick recap of what I did (without visuals).

The dyeing itself was just the same as the spot dyeing of the background. Spread the skein in a flat pan of simmering water so that it is spread out as much as possible, DSCF5727

(spread out the wool to cover the bottom of the pan and as much as possible so the yarn is exposed to absorb the dye….in the pan….not on the table like this photo)

…..and spot with dye baths plus citric acid. (again I used turquoise, blue 440, lilac, and blue violet).

I wanted the same intensity as the background …so here’s how I figured out how much dye to use (another great tip from Gene Shepherd’s video).  1/4 yard wool is about 3 oz. 1 skein of yarn is about 4 oz. I had dyed 1/2 yard at a time, and used 1/128th tsp of each dye, so I figured I needed a little more than half the dye of the original background. I roughly measured 1/2 of 1/128th tsp of each colour, and ta dah….ended up with the same intensity.


…some arm stretching help from DH and I’m ready to get on with the finishing.


In the meantime, I had finished hooking the background, so here it is ready to steam and bind.


Having forgotten to take photos of the dyeing process, I then went ahead and forgot to take my camera to a wonderful hook in I attended on Wednesday with the hookers in Gravenhurst. So I can’t show you all the rugs on display there, or the wonderful food and hospitality they showed the 13 of us who were there from Sunshine Rug Hooking group. ARGHHHHH!