A “Woops” Works Out

OK first I’d better set the scene. I was ready to finish Sir John’s jacket, and hook his vest. The vest on the cartoon had always bothered me a bit because it was  the same fabric as the jacket, and didn’t stand out as much as I would have liked. DSCF5978


Using just black and white my options were limited, so I went ahead to repeat the same look. It had been a couple of weeks since I’d hooked on the jacket, and I couldn’t remember which wool I’d used for the nubby tweed effect. As I dug through the pile, nothing seemed right, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember exactly what I’d used. I finally settled on a grey herringbone which seemed the only likely choice, and began hooking the vest. Oh no, it was not the same wool at all, but to my delight, it created the same effect in a lighter shade and let the vest stand out nicely.


When I went back to the basket holding my wool for this project, the wool fairies had mysteriously returned the wool I had first looked for. It was right there where it should have been. (I know it wasn’t in the basket when I looked the first time).


My forgetfulness wasn’t finished with me yet! I couldn’t remember which cut I’d used, and cut a few strips of #4 to begin finishing the jacket itself. What a difference that 1/32nd of an inch makes in a fine plaid! It should have been a #3.


…as you can see (even though the photo is so blurry) the #4 patch on the right doesn’t match the other tweed at all.


Being retired is a mixed bag of blessings indeed! So much more time to do the things I love, so much time wasted by the occasional forgetfulness which catches most of us out when we least expect it. This topic was triggered by a funny video sent to me by my friend Jean this morning.


It gave me my morning chuckle. I hope it gives you one too!

The Spring That Isn’t

Although spring has officially arrived, here in central Ontario we are still gripped with winter weather. This morning the temperature was – 17 C  (almost 0 F), and yesterday we awoke to a fresh snowfall of  23cm (nearly 10 in).DSCF6197

I took this this morning from the balcony door….the snow on the balcony is waist high, and the bank in our neighbour’s driveway is well over 6 feet high. No tulips or crocus for us in the foreseeable future!

SO with smiles on our faces, and boots and heavy coats still very much necessary, a few of us got together to hook.


Gail is working on a wonderful piece for the Sir John A MacDonald 200th birthday celebration. As Canada’s first prime minister, MacDonald was largely responsible for the development and implementation of the railway system across our vast land which was a vital cornerstone of confederation.DSCF6181

The symbolism in her design is inspired!. The map of Canada is created from the smoke from the engine, and the background shows the aspects of the country from sea to sea. The rails run into the Pacific in the foreground, then as you move east  into the background, you see the Rockies, the wheat fields of the prairies, and at the horizon tiny details of the east. Wow!

Others were working on items to show or sell at the ploughing match.


Ann’s sow is well on its way.

DSCF6182Jeanne has almost finished hooking her ploughing scene.

….and I’ve completed my 6 trivets which will be on the sales table.

DSCF6188 DSCF6189 DSCF6190 DSCF6191 DSCF6193

Woops! Well that must be a freudian slip! I like these 5, but not the 6th so much, and mysteriously there is no photo of it!

Teresa found a treasure through a sales venue (I can’t remember which one) . For a very reasonable price, she got a sit on frame (I’m really jealous), plus a variety of wool etc, plus this Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern (already begun) and all the wool to finish it.  She said it was really difficult to get going on it since someone else had started it, but she’s off and running now.DSCF6177

(Don’t you love her colourful socks! She’s a master knitter!)DSCF6178


I had hoped to have Baxter all groomed by now, but we only managed one session on the grooming table…..but indeed under this….


I found this…..DSCF6196

….so now it’s off to the grooming table to reduce the wooly body to that of a sleek gentleman. (well at least sleek….anyone familiar with schnauzers knows they are monkeys not gentlemen!)

Hairy Chores

I spent the weekend with one “hairy” chore and expect to spend the week ahead with another one.

Hooking Sir John’s untidy mop was both fun and a challenge. I used the original cartoon as a general guide, then went my own way. The challenge was to get the movement, and yet not have it look stripy. to have some “clumps” but have them still look like hair.


I put very little detail into the pattern of the hair  when I drew it….just a general outline as a guide, and I began blindly by hooking a few black lines.


….then adding a variety of greys. I found that even a #2 cut black was very strong, so on the left side I changed the black out for a dark grey


Before starting the right side, I drew in some extra detail , then started with the black lines, and filled in the rest.

I used quite a variety of greys to get the effect of the hair.


Along with a bit of white, these are the wools I used. ( note…the wool 2nd and 4th from the left is all one piece, and I didn’t use the section that has a greenish cast.  Another chore was to select greys of the same tone)


Done….with the exception of changing the black at the bottom of the left side. It sticks out, so I’ll redo those lines in a finer cut of dark grey. (I think they must be #3 not #2).

Now my subject for the second hairy chore won’t likely be quite so cooperative!

DSCF6167 DSCF6169

Under all this mess is a standard schnauzer. Poor Baxter. I haven’t groomed him all winter. He’s 12 years old now and beginning to feel the cold, so I decided to let his coat get long. I strip his coat by hand, so we have many hours ahead on the grooming table. Not terrific  fun for either of us, but I’m sure there is a handsome dog somewhere under all that hair, and I’m determined to find him!

Creating a Bottle of Hootch

One of the things that most caught my fancy when I first saw this cartoon, was the bottle of “hootch” tucked in Sir John’s pocket. What a funny tribute to his known proclivity for a “wee dram”. …..but I am ahead of myself…..I was working on his face, and then began his hair…I think the most difficult part so far….to get the shape the colours and the messiness all at the same time.DSCF6150

As I went along, I changed his ear lobes (which still aren’t right), and softened his hairline at the forehead (which I do like), then I sketched in more detail as a guide for the hair on the right.


Then typically, I decided to try something new, and wondered if I could hook the bottle of whiskey.

In my initial efforts at hooking his jacket, I had hooked the open pocket flaps at the edges of the bottle.


When I decided to hook the bottle, I immediately realized that this was backwards. The bottle needed to be hooked first, then the pocket worked around it. So that little piece of messy hooking came out.


Then using a #2 cut and a variety of greys, I tackled the bottle.


It’s surprising how long it took to hook this little bottle, and there was quite a bit of tweaking    and adding little touches here and there (there is more colour variety than shows up in this photo). When I was satisfied, I then added the pocket flaps back in,DSCF6161

While I was in the area, I went on to hook the cuffs of both the jacket and the shirt.  (his hand is another item which will require extensive renovation so it looks a bit more life-like)….but that’s another day’s project.


Today ,March 13th ,winter returned with a vengeance. The only good part being that the old dirty snow is once again covered in a blanket of pristine white. A good day for hooking.

Sir John on the Go

I’m surprised at how much fun I’m having hooking with mainly #3 and #2 cuts. I’ve never before used a #2 and it’s been years since I’ve hooked anything entirely in a #3.

I started with the jacket, just hooking blobs as I saw them.DSCF6124

I’m using black, a grey tweed, and a grey cashmere. It’s amazing the colour variations you can see when you really, really look.


…A case in point is the oval pin in his cravat. When I first looked, it seemed white, so I hooked it this way.  Then I realized it didn’t look right, so I looked VERY closely, and then rehooked it this way.


Much better. Of course I have to jump all over the place (no patience), so I tried working on his face, beginning with his lips. (I normally start a face with the eyes, but decided not to this time).


Sometimes when you hook what you see, it isn’t just right, so I adjusted the top lip.


I gradually worked my way upward, and then tackled the right eye. This black and white version doesn’t allow me to follow any of the steps I have learned for hooking eyes, so it was truly trial and error.


I probably should have gone right on to the eye on the left while I was on a roll, but I took a break and went instead to the cravat.  DSCF5978

As you can see, it has very prominent white ovals on a black background, and I searched and searched looking for a wool I though might give me that effect. Then I remembered a wonderful black and  white two coloured border Jean had hooked as the outline in her Holstein cow hot pad, and thought perhaps that might work.


It gets rather messy on the back as you alternate a white then a black loop, and the ends need to stay at the back, but as this will always hang on a wall, it doesn’t really matter, and I got the effect I was after.


I’m stalled at this point while I dye some more black wool . I’m going to overdye some dark plum cashmere with black and bottle green, and hopefully I’ll get to that later today.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun using brightly coloured worms to hook the Klimt motif hot pads. Again, I’m jumping around from one to the other.




This afternoon, I’m off to the opening of the International Women’s Day Art Show at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.  I’ll check on how Emma Sue is holding up under the scrutiny!

A Final Tribute to Hilda Hayes

On Tuesday, March 4th our dear Hilda passed away peacefully at home in Orillia in her 97th year.


She was an inspiration to us all. In spite of near blindness, she continued to hook, to encourage, and take great delight in “seeing” what everyone else was working on, to joke, and to live life to the fullest. She has left behind many memories for attendees of Trent School of Rug Hooking, which she attended faithfully until just a couple of years ago. She broke her hip in the fall, but within days of leaving the hospital, came to a Sunshine meeting in a wheelchair to say hello and see what we were up to.

Her last large project was a pair of bench covers depicting the four seasons designed by and hooked for her grand daughter Adele. DSCF2447

Although I have had a long connection with her family through music (having taught singing to 2 grandchildren, her daughter, and her son-in-law) , it was as a hooker that I got to know and love her. She will always serve as a beacon to me in the art of graciousness, enthusiasm, and loving kindness. I will miss her sweet smile, kind words. funny witticisms, and unfailing vitality.

Rest in peace my dear friend.