That Old Background Dilemma

I’ve often heard it said that you should chose your background first, but even that doesn’t always work for me.

For ‘Dream Big’, my current little ‘graffiti’ project, I had chosen for the background what I thought was a light grey. It seemed a good foil for the strong bright colours of the words, plus was suggestive of a cement wall, the frequent background for graffiti artists.


As I started, I could envision the colour being effective.

NOPE! Wrong once again.

I spent a whole evening happily hooking a grey background, and up close it looked fine. BUT when I hung it up and stood back to look at it, my light grey background wasn’t light at all….it was medium. The green disappeared altogether, and the bright turquoise became washed out and dull.  I was so disgusted with it that I immediately ripped it out without once thinking that I should have taken a picture of it to illustrate “what not to do”.

After a few days of wanting to pitch the whole piece,I thought that perhaps the grey could still be used if I outlined the bright colours with a real contrast. I tried a dark grey….ugly. I tried a dark teal blue…..didn’t like the effect of introducing a totally new colour. So I decided to try the bright raspberry and the dark wine….


….but that took away the impact of the little streaks and bubbles     (note to self…check the setting on the camera before snapping the picture so you don’t end up with distorted colours like this)

….so I tried the dark wine by itself….


….finally! I liked that result.


Even so….. I’ve decided to ditch my original grey and go for a lighter, more mottled background grey. So  the dye pots will be out today, and I’ll try “mouse grey” ( which has a purple/pink cast to it which I hope will go nicely with the rest of the colour palette). So much for trying to use a piece of ‘as is’ wool from my stash.

Such glorious fall weather here in Central Ontario just now, it’s hard to stay indoors for long. The leaves are just starting to change, the sun is shining and and the temperature is balmy. (22 degrees celsius yesterday). It’s my favourite time of year, treasured even more since it is so brief. The very air seems laden with the ripeness of harvest.




Third and Last Post from the Ploughing Match



The Life Styles area was composed of several large tents. Ours even had a wooden floor (the only one I saw that did). This tent housed the rug hookers, quilters, spinners, lace makers, knitters felters and all things fibre. DSCF6819

It was so big, you could hardly see from one end to the other. The quilts hung in the centre and rug hooking including the Barn Project took up one end. Booths and demonstrations from the various member groups of SCACA (Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Association) were down this side. All the rugs and quilts were securely wrapped in plastic to prevent any possible damage.  (But made them very hard to photograph). Here is a small sampling of the quilts.DSCF6831






I find it fascinating to watch the spinners.


Jean and I were demonstrating hooking (In the only warm corner in the tent)….everyone else had several layers of clothing.


….and just outside the tent was a quilt made of mums on a very large bed (81 pots of mums to be exact).

So now it’s back to normal and looking forward to R.U.G. on Oct. 4th


International Ploughing Match Part 2 -Outdoor activities

While I spent my day inside one of the giant tents in the Life Styles section of the IPM, the official photographer was busy covering a wide variety of events. Here are some photos that he took of the events on opening day.

Obviously a ploughing match features ploughing competitions….


….using a tractor


…using horses and sitting….


…using horses and walking…


…even using mules!

There were large draft horses pulling wagons….


….and some not nearly so large…..5-005


….there was new equipment…


….and not so new equipment…6-003

…the police were on hand….


….along with lots of Canadian pride….


It was a day to stand tall!


….more to come  from inside the fibre arts lifestyle tent.



The International Ploughing Match 2014

Yesterday I spent  the day at the International  Ploughing Match. It was a very special experience and this morning I received an email and these great photos from Margaret Kennedy, who has graciously let me post them here .

Following are Margaret’s comments and photos:

“It was a glorious day at the IPM, the sky filled with clouds that would delight any rug hooker. Cold, windy yes. We needed lots of layers, even gloves, but we were not deterred.

Here are some photos of the day starting with dignitaries including Premier Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horvath speaking.


Lots of school children arrived and were given special attention by Cheri and Marie.





And of course we would be lost sheep without exact instructions from our devoted leaders, Linda Wilson and Diane Audia.


Isabel’s IPM (International Ploughing Match) rug won praises that would reach the heavens.”




The rest of the photos were taken by Margaret, but the comments are mine.


The Traditional Hooked Rug sales booth was full of wonderful items to purchase.




The Barn Project was on full display.




Margaret said that four photos towards the end are of Louis Gervais’ work who is a wet felter, and I hope these are the right photos.






Margaret sent a photo of one quilt  entitled roughly, ‘Heading Home’.


Tomorrow I’ll post some of the photos I took. They’re not nearly as good as Margaret’s, but will show the immense tent we were in,(one of dozens) more of the quilts and some of the grounds.

The Ploughing Match is on until Saturday (Sept 20th) so if you’re in the vicinity of Ivy Ontario there are hundreds of acres to explore .



Borrowing an Idea

Signa Meus Vita is now steamed and lies flat and ready for the next step……the finishing.  (the variations in the background are not nearly as extreme as the photo makes them seem.)DSCF6775

The steaming itself presented a bit of a problem because of the “silk tears”. I didn’t want them to be squashed down , so I very carefully worked around them with the iron. However there were spots where they were too close together for me to steam the hooking and avoid them.  Luckily I found that if I quickly flipped the piece over and puffed the silk up with my fingernail, no harm was done.DSCF6778

They still stood nicely above the hooking.

The decision needed now was how to finish the edges. I knew i didn’t want a border, a whipped edge, or a frame. I want it to be a “hanging” as in “tapestry” style, as opposed to a framed “picture”. … on Tuesday at our first fall meeting of Sunshine Rug Hookers, I sat down with Cynthia (one of the most creative people I know), to ask her advice on how she had finished a rug I had seen and admired.

This picture of it doesn’t do it justice, but you can see the effect of the beautiful slub silk border, which has been lightly padded.


….so with her information in mind I headed off to Fabricland, and found this beautiful slubbed silk which perfectly recreates the picture I had in my mind


….once again the colours aren’t true….they go together very well in reality.

….as I said to Cynthia, I’m nervous to start the edging procedure, so I’m procrastinating by writing a blog about it instead. The plan is to create a type of “show binding” by cutting  bias strips of the silk which will be lightly padded with a small strip of quilt batting . ….just have to get up the nerve to start..

I’ve been hooking a bit more on “Dream Big” …less than two weeks now to the Ploughing match, so I should have some left to hook while demonstarting.DSCF6788Thanks for stopping by.