Is that Yellow?

The saying is…a change is as good as a rest…and unexpectedly, I am really enjoying the change to hooking with small cuts for my Lunenburg landscape.


Working on large pieces with wide cuts has meant many dyeing sessions to get the colours. It has also resulted in bins and bins of the bits left over from these projects.  Now I’m really enjoying digging through the bins to find a small piece just the right colour for “whatever’.  I did dye wool for the brightest red buildings  (poppy red), but other than that I’ve been able to find everything I’ve needed so far.

I’m not sure if it’s the light, or my eyes, but last night, I almost took out all the hooking of the yellow boat. In the artificial light at night, the yellow looked really pale, almost lemonish, and I hated it. I even went so far as to dig through my colours once again looking for something with more orange. Fortunately I decided to leave it until morning because now in the daylight, the colour is deep and exactly what I want. Obviously light can make a significant difference in how colour is perceived. ( and I’ve already had cataract surgery in both eyes, so that’s not the problem)

Just a quickie post this morning, as I’m off to shop, then to a retirement party for one of my teacher friends this afternoon.  When I return to my hooking this evening, I’ll remember not to judge the colours in the lamplight.

It’s a Woman’s Prerogative…..

Yup…..I’ve changed my mind. Well….in a way. I think I’m addicted to hooking, and while I wait for the arrival of the black and white wool for the Sir John cartoon, I have nothing to hook . Then AHA! How could I have forgotten my Lunenburg landscape. I bought this pattern in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia at Encompassing Designs last September. It is on burlap, (which I don’t like) but I immediately loved the pattern and it made such a wonderful memento of our trip and our week long stay in Lunenburg, where this view delighted my eyes countless times.  Then I got home and packed it away….got busy with other projects and literally forgot about it. It makes perfect sense to hook it now for these reasons:

1) I need practise hooking in small cuts again before I start the cartoon

2) I want something rather mindless to hook on while I watch the Olympics (the cartoon will require concentration)

3) I have a year to finish the cartoon so there’s no rush

4)I haven’t anything else to hook

5) I want to

6) I’m an expert at rationalizing reasons to do what I want

So here it is just underway.

DSCF5989Where possible I’m using a 6 cut , but all the outlining and details are a 4 or a 3. One interesting note….

DSCF5993I find I’m not using my small bent Moshimer hook at all. Even for the 3 cuts, I find I have far more control with my much larger bent Irish hook. It’s not as large as my 6mm hook and I bought it to use on 6 cuts, but I love it now for the fine cuts too.

DSCF5992I’ve just finished dyeing 1/8 yard of poppy red to have a few even brighter  buildings and since it is once again snowing and the temperature is -18 C ( that’s 0 F) I think I’ll stay put and do some hooking today.


Starting and Ending

I’m on the last legs of the hooking for my eldest son’s ‘dog memory’ rug….(about time since it was for his birthday last July).


Hooking the background was fun and relaxing and straightforward . I did some tweaking of the colours, removing all  of the dark red colour that I felt popped out too much. Then it was a search through my worms to find wool for Winston (the lab) and Jessie (the shepherd/huskie).


WInston is hooked with leftovers from Adele.


….and Jessie from bits and pieces of unknown origin…


He is almost finished. Jessie has a special story. He was acquired from the SPCA in Regina Saskatchewan by my middle son Mark who at the time had 3 small children. Unfortunately one of the children was rough with Jessie, and he retaliated by nipping him. Mark’s wife no longer felt it was safe to have him, and Mark tried to return him to the SPCA. However, having bitten a child, Mark was told he was now unadoptable, and would be euthanized. Mark was devastated, and as a last resort, phoned his older brother in Ontario to see if he would save Jessie’s life. Scott agreed, and so Jessie made the long trip by air from Regina to Toronto, and lived a happy life with Bogey (the lab/great dane)  in the Ontario woods of Medonte.


….so that’s the “finishing part”…..I have been “starting” my Sir John cartoon……well actually getting prepared to start.

Having decided on a size, I drew a grid on the picture. I actually goofed with this, and drew 1 cm squares, when it should have been 2 cm squares.


I fixed it as best I could, and numbered and lettered the squares for easy drawing reference.

Using red dot on my 2″ grid board, I then drew the basic outlines of the cartoon. (I pretty much ignore the 1″ dots on the red dot as I’ve found they are not entirely accurate….the 2″ grid you see in the photo is from the board underneath))

DSCF5979….in progress….



This was then positioned and pinned on the background and slowly drawn over with a sharpie to produce the pattern….


….Ready to start hooking.

I’m in the process of getting the wool for this project, so it will be awhile before the hooking actually begins. You might think …black and white….what’s so hard about colour choice with that???? …..  but it’s not quite that simple. Thanks so much to Elizabeth Marino,  Wanda Kerr,  Michelle Halber, Ivi Collier, and various Yahookers for their colour help and suggestions about how best to hook a cartoon entirely in black and white. I’m excited to get this project underway.

A Tribute to Diane Audia

Diane’s mom Doris Graham, is a long time rug hooker, and member of the Sunshine Rug Hookers. ( a tribute to Doris was posted in May 2011….check the archives, or the Tribute categories to see her work).  As Doris’s health failed, and she was confined to a wheel chair, Diane began bringing her to the meetings each week, and staying with her. Rather than just sitting  for the morning and watching, she decided that she might as well learn how to hook.

That was five years ago. Her mom, now living in a nursing home, is no longer able to hook, but Diane has taken up the torch…in a big way. She is past president of the group, is currently treasurer and for the past two years she has been the organizer for the rug hooking portion of the Quilt and Rug Fair at the Simcoe County Museum in September.


….her lovely first rug.

Her interest was really aroused when she attended a workshop given by Jennifer Manuell. She said she chose the very smallest pattern available, but ended up loving hooking it.


A friend who had once given hooking a try, gave Diane the pattern and wool for a rug that they had never done. Diane was a little taken back by the size, but decided it was a good opportunity to learn about shading flowers.


What a wonderful job she did!

On a trip to Nova Scotia, she discovered the Cheticamp style of hooking. It uses specific colours and generally depicts flowers all hooked with yarn.


She was so pleased that the yarn didn’t slip and loved hooking this.

She has hooked a variety of proddy broaches…DSCF5972

….and mug rugs…..


But her biggest project to date was her first pictorial, hooked for the Barn Project. It is a bird’s eye view of her mother’s family farm. (…and if you are a member of OHCG it is one of the rugs featured  in the article about the barn project… the latest issue). Of course she didn’t have it with her (the project rugs are in the hands of the museum now), and the picture I took of it at RUG was when my batteries were dying so it is hardly visible, but I’ll post it anyway.


As she was hooking it, she would take it to her mother to show her, and her mom was so thrilled with it, and the memories it evoked, that Diane seriously thought of not entering it in the project, and giving it to her mom. However she realized that her mom wouldn’t leave it out in her room for fear of it getting damaged or lost, so she took this photo of it and had it framed….to sit by her mom’s bedside….

DSCF5968…and the actual rug went off to the Museum.

Diane’s hand skills before taking up hooking were in crocheting…..





DSCF5961….and knitting…


Thanks you so much Diane for sharing your wonderful work with us , and thank you too for your continuing contributions to the smooth running of the Sunshine Rug Hookers.

How Do I Hang Thee?

….let me count the ways.

There are countless ways to hang our hooked pieces, and I am always looking for that one way that suits me best. For those who like sewing, lovely tabs which show above the hooking make a nice finish….but I hate sewing! Others frame their work, but that is expensive, and not a look that I generally want. …so I keep trying different ways.

Emma Sue is quite small and is simply hung with a strip of tack board (or whatever you call the edge pieces used to install wall to wall carpeting)DSCF5935


My “no penny penny rug” is larger, so Ray used the tack board all the way around to keep it straight and secure on the wall.



This method works well, but leaves a lot of holes in the wall, and if for any reason you want to take the rug down for awhile, you have an ugly frame on the wall.

When I was hanging Hygieia (or more accurately, when Ray was hanging Hygieia) I wanted a more decorative way of doing it, and being that the rug was large and heavy, it needed to be able to support her weight. We bought a heavy curtain rod with  fancy finials, andsecured it at both ends and in the middle. Ray had rebuilt the wall with support behind the dry wall so it would hold it easily.



I inserted a metal rod in the bottom pocket to hold it down and help it to hang straight. (it doesn’t ordinarily stick out)


This topic is on my mind, because this week we have been putting our living room back together after another renovation task is completed, and finally hanging art work and putting up Adele and Althea where we can enjoy them every day. Again I wanted a decorative way to hang them, but nothing as extensive (or as expensive) as what we used for Hygieia. I just love the simple solution we came up with.

I found solid brass pull knobs at Home depot, and Ray installed then on the end of a piece of 5/8″ dowel. He then put two large heavy brass hooks into the wall and hung the pieces. I put a smaller piece of dowling in the bottom sleeve to hod them down.


Here is Althea in her place of honour.


….and Adele in hers….



We’re on a roll…as I write this, Ray is preparing another dowel to hang my Dahlov Ipcar piece in the TV room.

A yucky January thaw is suddenly upon us, and we’ve gone from ridiculous cold and snow  to mild and melting . I have my fingers crossed that the basement doesn’t flood, or the world become a skating rink when it once again drops below freezing. Never a dull moment this winter!

Winter texting

We’re in the middle of the “polar vortex” (along with the rest of North America) and once again the temperatures are frigid and the snow banks are huge.


This is the view out the window beside my computer. I must add that we are faring better than areas that aren’t accustomed to large snowfalls. Our roads and sidewalks are plowed, although the sidewalks are beginning to look like tunnels.


(photo by Brad Windover)  So needless to say, I’ve been staying in and doing lots of hooking.

Lacking a smart phone for communication, my texting has been of the hooking sort.



I used a 6 cut for the lettering (large enough to stand out, small enough for me to handle the letter details).


…then I used a 4 cut to outline the lettering. I have no clue how I’m going to incorporate the text into the Magdelena style blocks!

So when in doubt….do something else….so today I’ll go back to the dogs and work on Winston (the yellow lab) and Jesse…the “huskie” type.

In the meantime, with Ray’s mathematical help, I’ve figured out the size I’ll hook the black and white Sir John cartoon.

DSCF5830Here’s the thinking process we went through….the cartoon is square, with Sir John’s head sticking out the top. A square is not considered a visually pleasing shape for a picture, and the only way to change it was to add on at the top.  We fiddled around with what looked best, and ended up by extending it 2 cm. This made the cartoon 19.5 cm x 21.5 cm. Then using my pressing board which is covered in 1″ squares, we blocked out an area simply converting centimetres to inches as a starting point….but to our surprise, that size looked great! So the hooking will be 19.5 inches by 21.5 inches. The next step will be to draw a grid on the cartoon at 2 cm. intervals, which I will then use to draw on red dot on my 2″ grid board. (It’s actually easier to do than to explain!)

Stay warm everyone!

Text or No Text

Because my eldest son (unlike his brothers) stuck only to dogs as pets, I realized that I had a lot of negative space in the rug.  At first I thought I would just have more patchwork areas, but as work progressed, I wasn’t pleased with the large empty spaces.

DSCF5904My answer was to add text, and for several days, I envisioned various shapes, styles, and words that might work.  I finally settled on a phrase I saw on a cartoon on facebook…loved it immediately.

“Life is better with a dog”

I’m not a mathematically oriented person, so counting rows, spaces ditches etc. is not something I do naturally, but this was the time to get out the ruler.

The first step was to organize the saying itself.


I counted the letters and spaces between the words, and divided it into upper half and lower half, and found the centre of each part…..14 spaces (blocks) needed for the top, and 10 for the bottom.

Next came centering and drawing the blocks on the backing.


one inch spaces for the letters….

DSCF5908…tall letters 2.5 inches high…..


….small letters 1.5 inches high…and x’s drawn into the boxes between words so I remember to leave them blank…


…then using my best “primary teacher” printing for the words….


…tah dah…..Now for the fun part….the hooking.

New Year’s Resolve

New Year’s Day here in my home town is bright clear and beautiful. We have copious amounts of snow (about 3 feet on the ground) and it’s very cold…but if you love winter as I do…this is the perfect winter’s day.DSCF5903

My hooking plans for the start of the year are made, so I’m a happy hooker. My first task is to finish the primitive “pet’ memory rug for my eldest son.

As you may recall, I made one for my youngest son…a rug of his pets over the years done in a style inspired by Magdelea Briner.  This one is in the same style….very little detail in the dogs, but enough for them to be recognizable. His current dog Smoke, a miniature schnauzer, is largest, and in the centre.


I used a grey herringbone tweed to get the “salt and pepper ” effect of his coat. (The rug wasn’t laying flat when I took these photos, so please excuse the wobbles in their shapes (they aren’t there in reality).


Aubin was a wonderful yellow lab….the main pet of his youth, and his bedtime companion for many years.


Diahmi was our first schnauzer. What a character he was. Unfortunately he was killed by a car when he was quite young. (he had cropped ears, while Scott’s present schnauzer has natural ears)



We soon acquired Brannigan, our only black and silver schnauzer. He lived to a ripe old age, and spread joy and laughter to everyone.

When Scott married and moved to the country, his first dog was Winston, another yellow lab (who I haven’t yet hooked), then Bogey, He was a lab/ great dane cross, with the lab colouration, and the great dane size. Fortunately Scott had a nice picture of him to help me out,

DSCF5896(sorry about the flash glare on the glass of the photo)



As you can see behind him, I had originally drawn him smaller, but I thought his size should have more emphasis, so I redid him using a red marker the second time. I ended up using wool I had dyed for flesh tones to get his colour.

DSCF5902…so here’s my progress to date ….5 down and two to go.  I think I may take out that dark round in the patch to the left of Brannigan, it sees too prominent…but I’ll leave it for now.

In the meantime…I’m planning an exciting new project….a piece for the celebration activities  for Sir John A. Mac Donald’s 200th birthday in 2015.

I’ve fallen in love with this cartoon.



….and I think it is just perfect (note the bottle of “hootch” in his back pocket). The words on the cake are…”Happy Birthday Sir John Eh?”…..did we overuse “eh”even 200 years ago???

The words at the bottom say “Peterson” and Vancouver Sun, so I thought it would be a simple matter to find the cartoonist and get his permission to hook it. Unfortunately I found that he had died in October, and I couldn’t figure out how to get permission . Fortunately the lady who originally found it remembered the name of the site where she saw it, “” and so I contacted them. They own the rights, and gave me permission to hook it…. I was thrilled.

I plan to do it in black and white, and while I complete Scott’s pets, I’ll be deciding on size for this next project, and actually drawing the pattern for the Sir John piece. I hope I can do it justice.

Stay tuned….and stay warm. Happy New Year!