The Paths of Inspiration

Sometimes for me, inspiration  is swift and sure, coming like a bolt out of the blue.  But more often, it is a long and convoluted twisting path with many dead ends and blind alleys. I’ve learned to keep searching until I feel that wonderful excitement in knowing that YES! this is what I want to hook

For a long time, I’ve been intending to replace this rug which lies in our upstairs hall.DSCN0315I’ve repaired fraying edges and several splits along the side, but duct tape on the underside can only do so much.

As is usual, my creative process is multi- directional and convoluted, but this time it has transpired over several years. I began using a journal to collect ideas and pictures that inspired me., and although most will not be used for this project, it is a useful tool and a great reminder of what I like. Now that I’m ready to make a decision and begin this rug, I went back to it once again .

So….here’s a record of my ideas, and decisions as I settled on how I would tackle my “upper hall rug”.

I was inspired by these Yellina prints. I liked the flower like motives and the overlapping as they moved out from the centre.DSCN0317DSCN0318….however I discarded the idea of flowers entirely, as being more feminine than  I wanted for this project.

I then turned to the idea of an abstract pattern. (sorry for the fuzzy photos). I immediately thought of Deanne Fitzpatrick’s beautiful monochromatics.


Oh so beautiful, but her wonderful , high, freeform style is not one I can emulate, and for me is much of the charm of these rugs. Mine would just not end up having that depth.12604682_1186069824754403_7020163080713360433_oThis is an antique puzzle rug, and rather like another idea that was floating in my mind…to create the outline of an historical building in my town, and then hide it within multi coloured shapes. While the idea intrigued me , after several sketches, when I tried to picture the result, it just didn’t make me happy.

This latch hook rug made me smile. It would be an easy pattern idea, and would use up lots of existing wool in my stash. 6aa18ba904e0148ba1834b59916763d6

It was at this point that I realized I was looking for the wow factor, and for me this idea just didn’t have it. I wanted something that took my breath away and would excite me each time I stood back to look at it.

I saw just such a rug being worked on at our rug hooking meeting on Tuesday. It was an overhead view of water and a shore with beautiful blues and greens , in the water, rocks and other various colours. It was wonderful, it was perfect, but it wasn’t my idea. I even went so far as to spend several hours looking through images of rocks in water to see if there was another form of the same idea that I might use to inspire me.

I loved this one…Rocks-Under-Water-Crystal-Creek1….but the reality is too much like Marg’s idea. I needed my own.

So back to my inspiration journal, and a series of ideas I’d found a long time ago. DSCN0313This multicoloured swirly pattern is created with lights on the floor of a Moroccan Cathedral.

I liked the pattern idea, and it reminded me of oil on water so I looked for just that…images of oil on water.DSCN0311….how beautiful and bold is that…..DSCN0312….or this with basically just the two colours……..but when I revisited this next example…I knew I’d found my answer….


I love the shapes, I love the colour palette (except the expanse of dark on the left). I think I have found my answer. ….one that was in my journal all along. It has the feel of a nebula about it with the excitement of fire, and the serenity of the circles. While I liked it before, now it is speaking to me personally.

Now for the next step.






DSCN0270My first project for the new year is to complete Grumpy Owl. Long ago, (several months at least) I stopped hooking the head feathers when I realized that the shading was dark to light on the left, and the opposite way on the right. While I debated how to deal with that, I finished other areas. Now I could no longer put it off.

DSCN0281My solution? Let them meet in the middle, with light wool on both sides of the merging feathers. (the jury is still out on this solution).

That leaves only the bottom section to hook.

DSCF7631Just a reminder….the original is a dot work drawing done by my talented son Mathieu and therefore doesn’t have the detail of a hooked piece. I thought it was a fence, and had tried out a version using the same technique as I had done on the side of my barn. BUT….when last home, Mathieu told me that he hadn’t intended it to be a fence at all….hmmmmm…..what to do? When in doubt….wait and ponder.

Well with everything else hooked, the waiting time was over, and decision time was upon me. I ripped out the old ‘fence’ and spot dyed a variety of fabrics with some different greys and a sand (I think it was khaki drab….but my recipe book is on a different floor, so I’m guessing)

DSCN0275I switched to an #8 cut and started hooking a rocky perch  for Grumpy.DSCN0277

The rock fissures and the details around the talons are the tricky part, and I’ll digress for a bit as I record how I kept the vertical aspect, while filling in around them.

If you have a  cutter with an adjustable guide, like the Frazer 500….DSCN0291….or one of the Beehive, Townsend, or  Ault type….DSCN0292… will probably have experienced cutting your wool when the guide is not set exactly correctly, and ended up with that first strip the wrong size…..DSCN0294In this case the first strip was wider than an 8. Rather than adjust the wool guide, I left it, and those wider strips are just perfect for filling in  the slightly larger spaces.

Of course there were spots that needed smaller sizes, and I am not averse to cutting a section or the end of a strip to make it fit smoothly.DSCN0302

….(Do you know how hard it is to hold the scissors, hold the camera, and also take the photo? ….this took several tries….and finally balanced the scissor handles with my knee.)

DSCN0307Here you can see how (upper right of the ‘rock’) the extra wide piece fits nicely between the black, and a smaller strip will fit neatly into the small space just to its  left. It’s slow going, but for me the result is worth it. The talons are unimpeded, and the rock face is going in the right direction.DSCN0274

Winter is fully upon us here in central Ontario, with a nasty icy day forecast. I’m staying home to snuggle up, watch the curling, and hook. I hope you have a nice day too.

Thanks for stopping by.


Looking Backward and Foreward

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s that time to reflect on the past, and make plans (dare I say resolutions) for the new year. So I decided to review just what I had hooked in 2015.

I completed several rugs. Hijab……for the Women’s Day Art Show….DSCF7260

Creating Hijab was fun and interesting, (that’s a shadow across the top not a stain).  DSCF6994

I learned a lot in creating the red scarf with just three different shades of  mottled wool.


This little bunny which was hooked in a challenge. It is not quite finished here. I’ve never liked it , so perhaps that’s why I can’t find a shot of the completed rug.

I hooked this little seascape using wool which was distributed amongst the Sunshine Rug Hookers from the stash of the late Hilda Hayes. We each hooked something which reminded us in some way of Hilda.She and her family came from England in the late sixties, and I thought this serene English seaside sunset was appropriate. DSCF7481It is now framed and hanging in my front hall.

I was hooking zentangles for awhile for our group demonstration at R.U.G. and this one is now whipped and  sits atop my hall table.DSCF7480I completed a number of small projects….DSCF7477

… these pins for my DIL

….and these mug rugs for various relatives  and friends…DSCN0064DSCN0061DSCN0062


I whipped the edge of my Lunenburg rug…..DSCN0209….so it is finally complete….

I have my two “workshop pieces ”  underway but not completed….DSCN0164DSCN0163

(actually they are both farther along than this, but my camera has once again stopped uploading pictures  GRRRRRRR!!!)

The largest project, which I’ve been working on all year, is Grumpy Owl. DSCN0009Since this photo was taken, I’ve finished the background and done some reworking of the moon.DSCN0263….it is whiter, with more clouds and fewer “squiggles”and there may well be further adjustments to it.

So that was 2015.

Now for 2016, I’m ready to get back to working on my sweet Grumpy Owl and to finish it as my first project of the  year.

As for a New Year’s hooking resolution?  It is to  hook without pressured deadlines and to enjoy every loop I pull. Let’s see if I can keep this one.

Thanks for stopping by.