Trial and Error

I couldn’t wait any longer!  Last night I gathered my blacks and greys and plunged into the hooking of Sir John.


This whole thing will be trial and error, with only my eyes to determine what works. I’ve never tried to hook in black and white before, never tried to hook a cartoon before, in fact, I’ve never seen a hooked black and white cartoon at all. I’ve studied some monochromatic neutral pieces, but when striving for the look of a black and white photo, the colours used and styles of hooking are quite different than what I’m attempting.

My first job was to set up my bliss cutter with a #3 cutter head (I don’t have that size for my Beeline cutter (:  .) , and to my surprise I could cut neither a 3 cut or a 4 cut using the black wool I bought for this piece. After lots of wiggling and adjusting I finally got it to cut on the #4, but realized in the process that it is way too heavy. (feels almost like blanket weight wool,) so at the moment I’m working with bits of the lighter weight black I have, and trying to decide if I will over dye some dark wool I already have., or buy some more black making sure I ask for a regular weight, but a tight enough weave that even cutting a #2 is possible.


I had no idea where to start, but just plunged in doing some outlining with a #4 in the heavy black.  (that will all be coming out) ….it’s way too heavy and predominate.

Then I moved to the jacket. and made my first discovery (learning curve?) of the project. It works best to work in sections using a small part of the original cartoon and just hooking the blobs/shapes that I see, and ignoring the overall piece. (that little tidbit of wisdom from Wendie Scott Davis and the workshop I took with her….thanks Wendie) I can actually see the creases of the arm of the jacket making sense now.


If you can believe it, I’ve actually hand cut some #4 strips in half to try some finer outlining later today, but I think I’ll be changing out my #4 cutter head for a #2 in short order . I’ll wait until Ray can help me though as I can’t manage changing the Frazer 500 head on my own (I’m mechanically challenged).

I’m saving my plowing match hot pads for hooking away from home, as they require little concentration so they don’t impede the all important conversations of a group of hookers.

This one is finished:


…and this one is stalled…sigh…


…and there are 4 others not yet begun. (I took all the design elements from Klimt paintings )   The colours are dependent on the availability of worms and scraps.


Oh yes….and my Historic Lunenburg is finished (hooking that is). I’m finally happy with the sky (after several attempts). Ah! wish I was back there.  Such a beautiful spot.


For many of us (dare I say most) there is a significant other in the background (be it spouse, sister, brother, parent, child, or friend) who supports our work either emotionally, physically, or both.

Without my DH’s help and support, not a single piece of mine would be on the wall, and many would not be hooked at all!


This week I presented him with a new problem. Emma Sue is to hang in our local Art History museum for the International Women’s Day Art Show. The following information was amongst the guidelines: “All work to be hung on the wall must have proper d-rings and wire.”

Emma Sue is finished with a whipped binding, and doesn’t even have a casing for a rod, let alone a way to hang her with d-rings  (I had to look that up on google to find out what they were!) but Ray set to work to make her presentable……d-rings and all.


This is the back. He made a frame using carpet strips at the top and bottom, set flush with side pieces, installed the d-rings (wire to follow), and put tape at the edges to assure it was smooth.


On the front he glued acid free artist’s backer board, so she would lie flat. The prongs of the carpet strip at top and bottom will hold her secure.


When she’s on the frame it makes an invisible , but secure support, ready to hang anywhere.


And here she is, affixed to her new frame, and ready to visit the Orillia Museum of Art and History, d-rings wire, and all!

….and here’s my hero…on an earlier mission when he was reframing an entire wall to make a secure home for Hygieia and her 3′ x 6′ weight.


Truly my hooking partner! Thanks a bundle  xx oo

A Work Day for the Plowing Match

This September, the International Plowing Match will be held near the village of Ivy , not far south of where I Iive in central Ontario.  The annual Quilt and Rug Fair is to be included as a part of the plowing match, and will run for a week (instead of a weekend) and have exposure for our work to many many more people than we could normally expect. This is a big deal for rughookers in our area, so we’re busy preparing for it now. (of course rug hookers need little excuse to get together for a hook in!!!)

Last Tuesday we held an all day hook in to get sale items underway.DSCF6086

Wearable art/jewelry particularly brooches are always popular.


Margaret is making a variety of small waldoboro pins for different seasons.

Proddy brooches seldom lie on a sales table very long.



Cynthia, ever creative, has devised these beautiful pins .

DSCF6070I was fascinated by how she made them. The silk had holes cut out for the hooking , then was  decoratively sewn on both sides of the linen, allowing the hooking to be done on the linen with the silk background already there….here they are in progress….

DSCF6072…this is the back side…and this….

DSCF6071….is the front. The strip was inserted into the hoop to hold taut for hooking.

Hot pads are another favourite sales item, and we have a variety of them in progress.


Jean  is doing a series of animals (appropriate for a plowing match).


Helen found this article on how to create a spiral, and is trying that.DSCF6082DSCF6097

I’m doing some which use Klimt motifs.


Christmas articles are also always popular, and we will have a nice variety.


Cathy is making lots of these sweet hanging Santas.


…and perhaps my favourite….Jean has made one little bag, and plans on making more.


DSCF6058Gail couldn’t resist and so we have our first sales…

Edie found these patterns which had been tucked away for a long time. They too will make lovely hot pads.


It was a fun and productive day.DSCF6090DSCF6085

….and just to put the icing on the cake…..2 curling gold, and 2 hockey gold for Canada. I am a happy hooker indeed!

Olympian Lunenburg

Yes, I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the TV this week watching the Olympics, and most of the time I have been hooking at the same time.  As a result, the Lunenburg piece is really coming along.


I was able to find wool in my stash for everything, until I came to the sky. That I would have to dye. I used a mixture of various blues, and added the pieces at 30 second intervals to get a variety of shades.DSCF6036

I thought the end result looked quite lovely….


….until I started hooking them. WOW! What was I thinking? They were all WAY too deep. My excuse is that I had been working with such saturated colours, that they seemed quite light as I was dyeing them.

I am running out of Dorr natural, but had a small piece left , so I dyed that using 1/128th tsp instead of 1/8th. I also found a piece of just barely blue wool.

Try #2….


I decided I needed some pure white for clouds, and used a lovely white I have that has a slightly fuzzy surface even though it’s wool.

Try #3….DSCF6057

…as I go up higher, I’m gradually adding little bits of the very lightest blue of the first batch. Hopefully the darker colours will be OK for the water.

In the meantime, I’m having fun hooking the border. I chose a variety of wool …all dark values, and I’m hooking it in hit and miss.



…it gives the border a lot of life, and to me, it looks a bit like old wood.  Lots of fun and easy for when the concentration must be totally directed to the TV screen.

I’m so proud of all the Canadian athletes at the Olympics, but I’m not sure if my heart can take much more snowboard cross!


People, Places, Passion..A Tribute to Margaret Kennedy

The Sunshine Rug Hookers were treated on Tuesday to a wonderful talk and the reminiscences of Margaret’s life , particularly through her rug hooking. She began by explaining that as soon as she developed the ability to design and hook her own patterns, she was moved to create pieces significant to her in one of the three “P’s”….people, places, and her passions.

…But of course, before she got to that point, she started with the (then) obligatory shaded flowers. She didn’t like the pattern, or the flowers or the colours, and joked that it was a wonder she ever finished it…but finish it she did,,, and now she loves it, and it lies beside her bed where she happily steps on it every morning as she gets out of bed.


Deanne Fitzpatrick was an early influence…


….and she was beginning her own expression by adding Ontario symbols around the border. She laughingly recounted that she had read about Deanne’s suggestion of the staggered outline, and that was why this dear lady has large black freckles on her body.


She eventually travelled to Nova Scotia for a course with Deanne, and by now her style and subject matter were firmly her own. This is her son and their Standard Schnauzer ivy.

She  was very interested in her ancestors who had settled in western Canada, and did several small pictures copied from old photos.


A large version of one of these is on her ‘to do’ list.

Margaret is an avid hiker and loves nature, so these maple leaves ar very close to her heart.


Her sister and their activities together are  frequent topics for her rugs.


….it looks like a very happy memory….

This piece of the two of them skating as children, is hooked entirely from ‘as is’ blankets cut by hand into strips about 1/2 inch wide.


She had to set it aside until she found a blanket the right colour to complete the ice at the bottom. This has recently been found, so she can now finish this wonderful memory rug.

She showed us the original pattern she drew for this rug, and you can see that it evolved into something quite different as the planning progressed, eventually losing many of the background details and even many of the people.DSCF6020

This wonderful rug was hooked for her husband, who wanted a rug to go on the floor and to be only neutrals.  It is entitled “The Fen” and contains outlines of plants and animals found in a marsh near their country home.


Margaret paid a lovely tribute to the Sunshine group, who she said, were not only a wonderful and supportive group of people, but she so appreciated the many ideas that she was exposed to through the workshops presented by the many talented teachers  in the group.

Her bird….taught by Linda Wilson…


….an introduction to needle felting….DSCF6017


This is a cosy for her coffee pot which wraps around the pot and fastens with the loops.

….a workshop on special stitches….


….(which she says she can’t finish since she wouldn’t then be able to see the back and know how to replicate the stitches),  and many other small projects done through the inspiration of the group…

DSCF6004Margaret keeps a file of ideas and inspirations, and draws her patterns from these pictures. She shared the germ of several future rugs with us….these wonderful japanese designs….


….and this inspiration of a cross country skate style skier.


Margaret is an avid skier, and in fact had a skiing date right after our meeting.DSCF6018

….as you can see here on the left, she is appropriately and elegantly dressed for a rug hookers meeting, but with one swift movement…..DSCF6028

(sorry that it’s blurry….I was laughing too hard to hold the camera steady) ….off comes the dress……..on goes the ski jacket……


…and she’s ready to go! Thanks Margaret for a wonderful morning.