GET READY, GET SET….

I love this part of the rug hooking process…the getting it all ready part. The pattern is decided upon and now the fun begins.

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The first step was to enlarge my photo. My original is 3″ x 5″ and it will be the basis for my 5′ x 7′ rug.  There are a number of ways to achieve this and I chose the very easiest. I took my little picture to a copy shop and had it enlarged to 48″ x 80″  .  That’s not the size of the rug, but the background can then easily be extended to the required  60″ x 84″ with 6″ extra background on each side, and 2″ extra at top and bottom.

DSCN0324Here was the first glimpse I had of it  down on the living room floor.  (you can see how tiny the original was)

It quickly became apparent that my arthritic knees wouldn’t let me work on it there, so, Ray came to the rescue once again. He  quickly created a 5′ x 8′ table top for me to work on, and donated his workroom for the process . That made it much easier to do the required measuring and drawing for the edges. Well as you can see he has momentarily taken it over, but he has promised to remove the carpentry tools as soon as I need it again.DSCN0331

Preparing the backing was a bit complicated. I had ordered three yards of rug warp a couple of months ago, with this project as a vague possibility in my mind. When I made the decision to go ahead with it, I discovered that the hall rug was larger than I’d thought, and the rug warp was narrower than I remembered. . Three yards wasn’t enough! After a day spent making diagrams and looking at options which wouldn’t require importing extra wide rug warp from the states, I figured out a way forward.  My friend JoAnne Harris from “Wool Gathering” quickly came to my rescue with a swap of my three yards for the required four yards. The very next day she personally delivered it to my door no less . (unheard of personal service since we live 100 km. apart) A thousand thank you’s to her!!

I had determined that by splitting the 4 yards of backing into two 2 yard pieces, and putting them side by side, It would work perfectly. I would however have to hook the two sections together. I saw Cheri Hempseed do this with a large rug a few years ago, and a quick call to her confirmed how she had done it.

Leave about a two inch overlap and simply hook through the two pieces of backing for that section. DSCN0332`To make sure that I could hook through two pieces of rug warp at once, I did a little test strip, and it worked just fine. I think using a hook with a wide shank (I use a 6mm hook when working with an 8 cut)  easily opens the holes wide enough to lift the wool strip through. I will baste the two pieces together when the time comes. For the initial hooking stages, it will be much easier to handle in two sections

In the meantime…..I started thinking about the wool I’d need….lots of wool!  With 5 times the coverage, I’ll need about 19.5 square yards of wool in total.  (my little note book is full of diagrams and mathematical calculations already for this rug) and I’ll need at least 10 yards of background.DSCN0326

So while I’ve been gradually working on preparing the pattern itself, I’ve been gathering a  variety of plaids and textures from my stash to use for the background. I started my dyeing with the blues. I chose three colours of blue dye….brilliant blue, national blue and navy, (all Pro Chem) I used 1/8th tsp of each in 1 CBW, and added vinegar to each cup. I put 1/2 of the navy in the pan of simmering water, added the wool and gradually spotted everything else over the top. That batch is lighter than I want for most of it, so the next time I used 1/4 tsp of each colour . Since most of it is recycled wool, many of  the pieces are irregular shaped but  I guess each batch was about 1 yard.DSCN0330

So here I am with blue tinged finger nails, and hands tender from scrubbing off the dye stains, but I’ve got a small stack of beautiful blues . It’s a start, but I can’t wait to try other colours as well. (I see some mahogany in my immediate future).

I’ll get to actually drawing the pattern on the backing soon. I’ve still got some details to sort out , mostly concerning the overlap section.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Finishing Mug Rugs & Table Mats

A couple of weeks ago two different people came up to me to say thank you for a tip on finishing small potholders etc. They had both had difficulty gluing down a finished back without bumps and globs showing through. Since I was just finishing up some mug rugs, I thought there might be others who would appreciate seeing how I do it.

I love hunting for mugs which have a “hookable” picture on them, since they are fun to hook, and  my family really seems to appreciate them.

DSCN0211This one was an obvious choice as being easy to hook.

DSCN0243Both one son and his wife have names starting with “S”  so this was really appropriate.

DSCN0237I thought this was really pretty as well. I chose to hook just the one flower on the bottom.

I enjoy rummaging through my bits and pieces to come up with appropriate colours. DSCN0210.jpgThis one was a great exercise in hooking diagonally.

When the hooking is completed, I secure the edge by putting tacky glue right around the edge, and smoothing it out away from the hooking with a ruler.DSCN0220DSCN0221This secures the hooking for when the backing is cut away.

I use a fairly heavy black felt for the back, and cut a piece that is slightly too big.DSCN0224.jpg

Oops….I grabbed very dull scissors to cut this piece.

Apply tacky glue to the back of the hooking…..DSCN0225Then…(and this is the part I didn’t do at first, and ended up with a lumpy backing)….use a ruler or flat edge to smooth the glue into the hooking…DSCN0226I make sure the wool is covered and as well as a bit of the backing on the edges…DSCN0228 (1)….then gently press the felt down all over and let it dry.DSCN0230 (1)Then cut away the backing and excess felt from the top side making a smooth edge right next to the hooking. (good sharp scissors needed )DSCN0234 (1)The layers on the edge are even and ready to be covered.

I cut strips that are a few sizes bigger than the hooking (in this case the hooking is a #4 and the edging is a #6).

The final step is my least favourite, and I’m still trying to think of a way to make it less messy…..

I put a bead of glue along the strip and then drag the ruler along it to spread the glue (I did it on a plastic bag to save my desk from being covered in glue)DSCN0235This piece is smoothed along the edges for the final finishing touch. Finally, by pinching and shaping the corners while the glue is still wet, you can get a nice square turn.DSCN0236…….and here are the finished little mug rugs…..

DSCN0249DSCN0248DSCN0250DSCN0251I know that none of this is new to most hookers, but for those of you who are newbies, or have never tried this method, perhaps it will be helpful.

So from my house to yours…..DSCN0252…..I wish you the happiest of holidays and the making of wonderful memories with your loved ones.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Background Creative Process

As with all my hooking, creating the background for Grumpy Owl is an ongoing process. After failing miserably with my first attempt (the blues), My inspiration came from this misty moon photo.3684907-moon-over-the-sea-moon

I took a yard of Dorr natural, and ripped it into 1/8th yard pieces. I began by dyeing each one with 1/128th tsp golden pear. One piece I left that way for the surface of the moon. The others I spot overdyed with a variety of colours, singly and combined……pink sand, cantaloupe, mouse grey, clay, and charcoal (1/128th tsp) (pro chem colours).

This is what I ended up with….DSCF7656….these 6, plus two others with double the golden pear background (which I didn’t like)DSCF7659The moon is now underway.

DSCF7657…and I like the general background effect.DSCF7660I added some smudgy wisps of clouds in front of the moon……..and darker colours toward the bottom. To make the edges of the moon a little brighter, I edged it with one row of #3 cut Dorr natural.DSCF7666I felt I didn’t have enough contrast, or deep enough colours for the bottom, so I overdyed these two pieces with pink sand and mouse grey.DSCF7670…the jury is still out on the bottom part.

I discovered that while this piece was too bright and had too much contrast….DSCF7671

if I flipped it over and used the other side…..DSCF7672….it was muted and created lovely highlights.

I still felt that the moon didn’t “pop” quite as much as I’d like, so last night, I removed the outline strip, and the 3 cut highlight, and added a wider outline in Dorr natural.DSCF7675

I don’t particularly like it close up, but, but from a bit of a distance, it gives the moon some backlight “glow”.

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It has been a while since I’ve done this large a background in a 4 cut…..I think somebody keeps enlarging the spaces!

I’m looking forward to the Quilt, Rug and Craft Fair at the Simcoe County Museum which runs from Sept 18 to 20. Drop by if you can. It is always a feast for the eyes, with many disciplines of fibre arts on display and for sale.

I’ll be sure to take my camera.

Thanks for stopping by.

Birds of a Feather…

Oh my….I realized a few days ago that I have some tweaking to do on Grumpy Owl. The tips of the feathers on the left are too dark, and the transition from light to dark on the right is too abrupt.DSCF7621I added a bit more shading to the transition from light cheek feathers to the dark head ones.

Before……DSCF7619….after….DSCF7624….a very subtle difference, but I feel batter about it. On the other side I changed the dark tips for a lighter tone, but then discovered a larger problem.

DSCF7622….for some reason, I began shading each feather dark to light (left to right) then realized after a full evening’s work, that the shading was backwards. It needs to be light to dark…like the other side of his head.DSCF7625So while I was waiting for the gumption to take out my mistake, I decided to dye some wool for the background. DSCF7626I love the colours, but I won’t know how they’ll work until I try them out. The photo shows them brighter then they really are, but you get the idea.

Still not inspired to redo the feathers, last night I began work on the fence. My idea is to have it a weathered grey (but a different grey than the bird) . I began outlining with a dark plaid. (Just an aside here….and reminder to myself …..when I cut the plaid with a #3, it was a bit “hairy” or “ravelly”, so I gave it a quick hand wash with soap and warm water and then dried it in the dryer. It fluffed it up just enough to make it much nicer to hook with)

DSCF7630Then I gathered up some possible colours for the fence.

The lightest is for the spaces between the boards. The main grey is wool left over from my barn project.DSCF7634I’m trying the fencing in an 8 cut , but I’m not sure yet if I like that. DSCF7631….or the colour. I’ll let it settle in my mind for a bit before I make a final decision.

I just bet I’ll start on the background colours next. I have absolutely no patience waiting to try something I’m excited about hooking. Fortunately with this medium that’s not a problem.

Finally I want to share the wonders and frustrations of technology that I’ve experienced today. For some reason, my computer would not upload my photos from my camera, and after trying everything I could think of, I finally messaged my son Mathieu in Calgary for help. He made several suggestions and finally wrote “try rebooting”. Voila! It worked. …but then he mentioned that he was not in fact at home, but rather eating breakfast at a restaurant with friends in Victoria British Columbia. ….my own personal technician who offers advice while eating bacon and eggs thousands of miles away…..

Thanks for stopping by.

Background Considerations

While surviving our latest heatwave, I’ve been hooking away on Grumpy Owl’s feathers.

DSCF7609 (1)I’m pleased with the start I’ve made on his head , and I hope I can maintain the effect as I move to the left and the feathers become lighter.

DSCF7610It’s time to begin seriously thinking of how I’m going to do the background. Regular readers  here will know that this is seldom a straight forward decision for me…..so I need to get it underway long before the actual hooking begins.  I know many teachers stress choosing the background before hooking even begins, but my brain doesn’t work that way. My vision of the piece evolves with its creation.

Originally I had intended to stay true to the drawing, and have a neutral, sepia background.DSCF7615 (1)…..but I feel that it washes out poor Grumpy rather than enhancing him!

OK colour it is.DSCF7614 (1)….but certainly not this one……

how about purple blues?DSCF7613….better but too dull…DSCF7611….how about turquoise blues with a dip dye out to the edges? I like that but not the even control of the dip dye. I think my imagination wants something a little wilder…..maybe….DSCF7617…use both purple and turquoise blues….with an aura of the lightest blue.

Yes that idea definitely has possibilities. But no final decision as yet. I keep think he may be Grumpy because dawn is approaching and he’s tired…..so do I need some sunrise colours? ….or it’s dusk, and he’s just waking up? This is the fun part. I love digging through my stash looking for inspiration.

Happy hooking everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

Maud Lewis

Mary Lou had a great Maud Lewis surprise to show us at R.U.G. on Saturday.

But I’m jumping the gun a bit. First for some background. For those not familiar with the name Maud Lewis….she might be described as the Grandma Moses of the Maritimes, undoubtedly Canada’s most famous folk artist. …and patterns of her paintings are very popular with rug hookers.

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The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has this information about her life….
“Early Years
Maud Lewis (1903-1970) was born to John and Agnes Dowley in South Ohio, Nova Scotia. As a child, Maud spent most of her time alone, mostly because she felt uncomfortable about her differences around the other children. She had been born with almost no chin and was always much smaller than everyone else. However, Maud seemed to be a happy child who enjoyed the time she spent with her parents and brother. Maud’s mother started her painting Christmas cards to sell and thus her career as an artist began.

Her life and only experience of the world extended to an area between her birthplace in Yarmouth County and her married home in Marshalltown, Digby County. In 1935 Maud’s father died and in 1937, her mother followed. As was typical at the time, her brother inherited the family home. After living with her brother for a short while she moved to Digby to live with her aunt. There she met Everett Lewis, an itinerant fish peddler, and married him shortly after in 1938.

Life in the House
Maud spent the rest of her life living with Everett in their house in
Marshalltown. The two had what has been perceived as a formidable companionship, despite any character flaws neighbors found in Everett. Because of Maud’s worsening rheumatoid arthritis, she was unable to do housework. Everett took care of the house, and Maud brought in money through her paintings. The two were a pair that Maud was proud to be a part of.

The home they lived in was tiny in stature but large in character. Despite the lack of modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, the house shows that Maud’s life in Marshalltown was full of enjoyment through her art. Those who stopped after seeing her roadside sign, “Paintings for sale”, found a quiet woman with a delightful smile. Her pleasure didn’t come from the pride of having done a painting, but the creative act itself and the enjoyment others seemed to get from her work.

Through newspaper and magazine articles, as well as television documentaries, Maud became well known and a reputation grew that’s still growing today.

The House
After the death of Maud Lewis in 1970, and subsequently of her husband, Everett Lewis, in 1979, the lovingly painted home began to deteriorate. In reaction, a group of concerned citizens from the Digby area started the Maud Lewis Painted House Society; their only goal was to save this valued landmark.

After a number of years of fundraising, the society realized that the project was going to take more resources than they could gather. In 1984, the house was sold to the Province of Nova Scotia and turned over to the care of Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

In 1996, with funds from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage and from private individuals, the processes of conservation and restoration began. The final, fully restored house is on permanent display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.”maudlewishouse

Her house was only 10′ x 12′

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Well….Mary Lou Justason is the tireless director at large for RHMNA (Rug Hooking Museum of North America) , and as it turns out has been able to acquire five Maud Lewis paintings for the museum. Here is her story…..

“Last fall I talked by phone to Anne Phillips McCreary Juhasz, an elderly cousin of my husband, at her home in Chicago. She is a retired professor of education at Loyola University having started her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse in Ontario.
We spoke of her getting her affairs in order. After all, she is 93.
Among her treasures were five Maud Lewis paintings which she had purchased, while on vacation, in the late 40’s and directly from Maud Lewis, a little gnome of a lady, at her wee tiny house near Digby, Nova Scotia. When I told her about the Hooked Rug Museum of North America and suggested repatriating the paintings to them in Nova Scotia, she was interested.
Incidentally, she paid 25 cents for each painting.  They were chosen from a great stack of paintings accessed up a rickety ladder into a loft. Anne needed a flashlight to see what was up there. She got them framed simply but without glass and for a long time they were in her storage unit in her condo buildings
Over the winter and with many phone calls and letters bck and forth, we sorted out the details of getting them to me in Florida so I could transport them back to Canada.
Finally, with an early deadline, she or a trusted friend got them shipped to us in Florida and we brought them home to Honey Harbour.
They had a brief visit to RUG (Ruggers United Gathering) at the Simcoe County Museum, just outside Barrie, ON on Saturday where they were much appreciated.
They now have arrived in Nova Scotia and are with Suzanne Conrod.
They will be displayed there along with a donor plaque acknowledging Anne’s gift. They have had quite a journey and if they could talk, the tale would be much more interesting than I could ever spin, but I am happy they are back in Nova Scotia.”
….didn’t I say Mary Lou was a tireless ambassador for RHMNA…..
Well of course I was at R.U.G. and got to see them in person….and want to share them with you.
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( thanks to Marg Arland for sharing her photos)
It was such a treat to get to see them in person.
As I said…they are very popular subjects for hooking  and are sold by many vendors, particularly in the Maritimes.  (Please note that all works by Maud Lewis are copyright and the authority to license others to reproduce them rests solely with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.)   As it happens, Jean is working on a Maud Lewis piece right now….DSCF7528
The yoked oxen were a favourite subject and appear in many paintings…..Jean’s work is a spring time version. Maud Lewis’s wonderful clear colours and simple happy style make her work immediately recognizable and beloved…..as well as readily adapted to being hooked.
Thanks for stopping by.

An English Sunset for Hilda

After the passing our our dear Hilda at age 97 last year, her daughter gave her wool to the Sunshine rug hookers.

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We sold most of it and donated the proceeds to charity, but there were still many lovely pieces left. Mary Lou Justason and Linda Wilson came up with a wonderful idea and put it into action. They divided the wool into about 40 groupings and gave one package  to each of the the Sunshine members. We are now each creating a small hooked piece with this wool to have as a personal memento of our friend. We are planning to show them at R.U.G. and then invite Heather (Hilda’s daughter) to see them all at a meeting in May.

The package I chose was primarily navy, pinks and purples, and I decided to hook an English seaside sunset.

DSCF7363It’s tiny (just 25 cm. x 16 cm……sorry I can’t find an imperial ruler…but that’s approximately 10″ x 6″ ), and I added yellow orange/red and teal from my own wool.DSCF7367

Then, since Hilda’s wool was mainly solid colours, I  used the transition dyeing method (doesn’t use any dye), to create variation and highlights.

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….and ended up with this….DSCF7375So now I’m having great fun creating this little English sea scape, and imaging that Hilda is enjoying the view as well.

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Jean has created “Hilda’s Garden” with her wool.DSC03694

…..aren’t those little quillies delightful?

I’ll share what everyone else makes in a later post.

At our meeting this week I was working on “Hilda’s English Sunset”,  and here’s a glimpse of what everyone else was working on.DSCF7397Joanne’s adorable owl has a very ‘mola’ look to me. DSCF7404

Gail is hooking an abstract bench seat cover.

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Marion was off visiting when I snapped this photo, so I have no explanation for her work.

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Helen is continuing with her abstract moon/ night sky.DSCF7405Charlene told me the title of her lovely dressed tree, but unfortunately but I’ve now forgotten (so sorry Charlene).

DSCF7392Edie is coming along with the background of her floral piece. That lovely mottled background just makes the flowers pop.

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Isabel is just getting this rose underway.

DSCF7388Linda’s grandchild painted this tile and presented it to her. Fearing that it was fragile, and might not stand the test of time……..DSCF7389

…….. she has hooked a replica of this very special keepsake.DSCF7381Liz’s necklace is the inspiration for her present project. A gift from he son-in-law, it is a maori symbol called a kora….DSCF7384

 

….and she is hooking a tribute to it….DSCF7387……using sari silk, and wool which she herself has spun and dyed.

There’s more to show, and I’ll include the rest in a second post.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Transferring my Grumpy Owl Pattern

In the past, I’ve used quite a variety of methods to transfer a pattern onto my backing but this time I am using a “makeshift” light table. Ray acquired a large sheet of plexiglass which is destined to become a proper light table, but in the mean time it will work when propped up on chair backs with a goose neck lamp underneath.  DSCF7174

…and instead of being the job of many hours, it is completed in mere minutes.DSCF7185I absolutely love it…..BUT……..having drawn it….I now want to hook it in a style more faithful to Mathieu’s “dot work” original. I just can’t see cluttering it with a variety of zentangle patterns….so….

Back to the drawing board. I must have a zentangle example hooked for R.U.G. in May. I found a great site called Linda’s Zentangle Patterns and started sketching ideas.DSCF7187

The three patterns to the right are ‘knightbridge’ , ‘drape’, and at the top (my favourite) ‘coral seed’. The two on the left are my own.  I then decided that I would make it to fit the top of an antique washstand that sits in my front hall. That measures 14″ x 30″ …so I reduced that size in half twice, and sketched a plan.DSCF7188

I added another pattern, aptly called ‘triangles’, then I redrew it to the right size, and set up the light table once again.DSCF7193

I made some changes as I went along, but here is the pattern drawn on the backing (with some changes to come still)DSCF7191

Since it will be in the hall, I plan on using the same colours as my hall rugs (here’s an old ‘in progress’ photo showing most of the colours)DSCF2422

I’ve got some dyeing to do in my immediate future. I don’t think I have any of that wool left.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on the white background of my bunny piece.DSCF7186

He’s nearly finished. I can’t wait to get these new projects under way. Why is it that starting something new is always more fun than finishing something off?

Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve Done It Again

I While I admire  the primitive hooking of others, it seems I am not capable of doing it myself.  I realized this when I was hooking the Magdelena Briner inspired ‘dog memory rugs’ for my sons.DSCF5290

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 I seem compelled to add more detail than is required for the primitive style, and my work ends up only “primitive-ish”  ….but somehow I forgot. I blithely started hooking away on the rabbit challenge rug, once again intending it to be primitive, and once again missing the mark . DSCF7146

When I got to this point, I stopped. I liked it less and less as I went along, and finally realized if I left it the way it was, I’d never even finish it. It wasn’t primitive, the lettering wasn’t going to show up against the bunny, and he looked as if he had a serious fur disease and a bad case of hypertension with bulging eyes that threatened to pop out of his head.

Some serious ripping out followed., and a different coloured bunny emerged.DSCF7162

I didn’t have enough browns to do his whole body, so I dressed him up with a jacket.

I learn something new with every piece I hook, and this jacket was my “aha” moment. Here’s the sequence of events.  I was searching for wool that would go with the spot dye I was using for the eggs. I settled on yellow, but the only colour I had enough of was a solidly dyed piece of very bright vibrant yellow. It was too “in your face” and wouldn’t work, so I grabbed all the bits and pieces of paler yellows as well and just started mixing them all together. Much to my surprise, from a distance it looks like a more subdued yellow with a variety of highlights….(note to self….remember this for future reference).

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It’s certainly not my favourite piece, but fun to hook and a relaxing break before I tackle the zentangle Grumpy Owl, which I anticipate will be a major undertaking.  The figure itself is 25″ tall but I haven’t yet decided on the outside measurements. I’ve been tracing over the outline to make it easier to see when I set it up on the light table. I can’t wait to get started on it.DSCF7172

A very happy New Year to all my internet friends. You enrich my life on a daily basis.  I wish you health and contentment in 2015 and a productive year of hooking what you love.

Thanks for stopping by.

Exploring Zentangle

“Zentangle” is a word I’d never heard until recently, but I’m quickly learning more and more. The Sunshine Rug Hookers are responsible for the programme at the spring RUG meeting, and the chosen topic is ‘using Zentangle style doodle patterns in hooking.’

I’m always excited about a challenge, so I’ve jumped in to begin to create a rug using the Zentangle concept of repetitve doodles. Hopefully I’ll have it completed to be a part of the demonstration in April. If you google Zentangle  you’ll find a myriad of amazing designs and pictures. Here are just a couple:

 

After browsing and contemplating, I decided I’d like to do an owl, so I went on a search for a photo of some sort that would be suitable to adapt.

Low and behold, the very next day my son Mathieu posted this photo of a drawing he had just done. He calls it ‘dot work’, and this is Grumpy Owl.It was perfect. I loved it. A phone call later and he sent me an enlarged version….roughly 7″x7″. I took that to the copy shop and had it magnified 400 times, to a copy that is roughly 28″x28″.

I can’t wait to get started. Ray has a large piece of plexiglass which he plans to make into a light table for me, but in the meantime, I plan to prop it up on saw horses and put a light underneath to transfer the pattern to my backing.

In the meantime, I’m working on a challenge with the Yahookers group. The challenge is to do your own rendition of the free pattern in the Nov/Dec edition of Rug Hooking Magazine.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you’re doing this challenge…dont go any further (we’re not supposed to share and influence other participants)

I’ve changed my version from a Christmas bunny (complete with holly on his neck and red whiskers) to something else….not really Easter,,,but maybe….actually it’s just silly…and fun to hook.

….at this point I was trying to decide if I should outline the letters, and looking at a variety of ways. The idea is to have eggs floating in the background. I can’t imagine what I’ll ever do with it when it’s done, but it’s fun hooking it in any case.

Happy holidays everyone. Thanks for stopping by.