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


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 .



Part Two…. Barn Project on Display


Here are the rest of the photos of the Barn Project I took on Saturday.DSCF6352

“The Grain Bag by the Front Door” contains many childhood memories.DSCF6341DSCF6353

Barn at Lawless Ranch, Anarchist Pass, BC….. winner Judges’ Choice Award


The Smith Family Fruit Barn typical of the style in the Niagara region.DSCF6363

“Lee Valley Barn” in the township of Sables-Spanish Rivers. This barn is still in use. Historical Significance award.


“Reverence for the Bell Barn” award for Best Exemplifies Heritage Presentation DSCF6355

“Mount Olivet Lilac Ridge” DSCF6356

“Evening Milking” DSCF6357

“The Madill’s FarmDSCF6358

“Walker’s barn in Horseshoe Valley. Avant Barn Award for the Most Artistic InterpretationDSCF6359

“Spring Chores”DSCF6360“Man Maketh, Nature Taketh”  Theme Award for best depiction of the loss of a traditional barn.

Oh my!! That’s 31 barns, but there were 62 entries. I only managed to get shots of half of them. Here are a few of the others ….photos I had taken in October when they were first handed in….


“Barn Swallows”  with the disappearance of the barns follows a scarcity of the swallowsDSCF5632

“The Barns of my Youth”….Luise Bishop Award for  Best Pictorial and Gwen Robertson Memorial Award for Best Depiction of Rural LifestyleDSCF5634

“Rural Cathedral”DSCF5633“Bossie’s Barn” …memories of activities around a barn in Cantic, QuebecDSCF5635“Barnyard Sculpture” ….the only 3D pieceDSCF5636

“The Wallace Barn”DSCF5637“Grandpa’s Farm”DSCF5645DSCF5656DSCF5664“Our Farm” near Whitby. All the buildings are now gone.


I still missed 20 barns and my sincere apologies to those whose pieces I’ve missed.  It goes without saying that this is a terrific show of our heritage, and the art of rug hooking. Thanks again to the Huronia Committee and the Simcoe County Museum for making it possible.

A Tribute to Diane Audia

Diane’s mom Doris Graham, is a long time rug hooker, and member of the Sunshine Rug Hookers. ( a tribute to Doris was posted in May 2011….check the archives, or the Tribute categories to see her work).  As Doris’s health failed, and she was confined to a wheel chair, Diane began bringing her to the meetings each week, and staying with her. Rather than just sitting  for the morning and watching, she decided that she might as well learn how to hook.

That was five years ago. Her mom, now living in a nursing home, is no longer able to hook, but Diane has taken up the torch…in a big way. She is past president of the group, is currently treasurer and for the past two years she has been the organizer for the rug hooking portion of the Quilt and Rug Fair at the Simcoe County Museum in September.


….her lovely first rug.

Her interest was really aroused when she attended a workshop given by Jennifer Manuell. She said she chose the very smallest pattern available, but ended up loving hooking it.


A friend who had once given hooking a try, gave Diane the pattern and wool for a rug that they had never done. Diane was a little taken back by the size, but decided it was a good opportunity to learn about shading flowers.


What a wonderful job she did!

On a trip to Nova Scotia, she discovered the Cheticamp style of hooking. It uses specific colours and generally depicts flowers all hooked with yarn.


She was so pleased that the yarn didn’t slip and loved hooking this.

She has hooked a variety of proddy broaches…DSCF5972

….and mug rugs…..


But her biggest project to date was her first pictorial, hooked for the Barn Project. It is a bird’s eye view of her mother’s family farm. (…and if you are a member of OHCG it is one of the rugs featured  in the article about the barn project… the latest issue). Of course she didn’t have it with her (the project rugs are in the hands of the museum now), and the picture I took of it at RUG was when my batteries were dying so it is hardly visible, but I’ll post it anyway.


As she was hooking it, she would take it to her mother to show her, and her mom was so thrilled with it, and the memories it evoked, that Diane seriously thought of not entering it in the project, and giving it to her mom. However she realized that her mom wouldn’t leave it out in her room for fear of it getting damaged or lost, so she took this photo of it and had it framed….to sit by her mom’s bedside….

DSCF5968…and the actual rug went off to the Museum.

Diane’s hand skills before taking up hooking were in crocheting…..





DSCF5961….and knitting…


Thanks you so much Diane for sharing your wonderful work with us , and thank you too for your continuing contributions to the smooth running of the Sunshine Rug Hookers.

The Barn Project Unveiled

Saturday was once again the meeting of R.U.G. and the day when the rugs entered in “the barn project” were handed in, and shown to all those present……just to fill in the background for those of you who are new to my blog….R.U.G. stands for “ruggers united gathering”, and is held twice a year at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie Ontario Canada. It is an open gathering attended by rug hooking guilds and individuals from a large area of central Ontario. Different guilds and groups are hosts for the meetings which involve show and tell, vendors, a program, and over the years it has evolved into a large and active gathering.

Two years ago the Huronia Branch of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in cooperation with the Simcoe County Museum, announced an exhibition of rug hooking celebrating the barns of rural Canada, a fast disappearing feature of our landscape. By the May R.U.G. 2014  gathering, these rugs will be on display at the museum, then will go on a tour of other museums for a couple of years. At Saturday’s R.U.G., they were handed in, and shown for the first time to everyone there. There were 58 rugs entered from all over Canada. There wasn’t room for them to be displayed in any way yet, so the pictures I took were just of them being “walked” around.  Unfortunately some are missing. In spite of help from Wendy Bowes in taking the photos while I was busy, my batteries faded and finally died altogether. Jean Chabot came to the rescue with an extra set of batteries, but in the process, I missed some of the rugs, and the pictures taken of a few while the batteries were on their “last legs” are far  from good, but I’ll include some of them anyway, just so you can see the wide range of barns and styles in this upcoming show.


While I remember comments about some of the barns, I’ll post them largely without comment as there are so many. This is the first half, the second  half I’ll show in the next blog post.DSCF5633

Many of the pieces were story rugs full of personal significance.DSCF5634

A few dealt with architechtural aspects and their inspiration.DSCF5635

This was the only 3-D entry…mounted round silos.DSCF5406

The picture of my barn didn’t turn out, but I’ve included a (before binding) photo of it in the slot where I presented it.DSCF5636DSCF5637DSCF5639DSCF5640DSCF5645DSCF5646DSCF5647DSCF5650

This is a terrible photo, but I’ve included it because my favourite part is the ladies in the bottom..DSCF5649

This is the top half of the same barn.DSCF5652DSCF5653DSCF5654DSCF5655DSCF5656

On Saturday, each hooker told a bit about their rug, and for the show itself, there will be a printed synopsis with each rug. My apologies to the people whose rugs I missed.

Stay tuned for the rest of the barns in the next post.

Mission Accomplished

I’m feeling a little smug. At about noon yesterday, I completed the hooking on the barn rug and it has gone from something I actively disliked to something that really pleases me. I can’t thank Wendie Scott Davis enough for her suggestions and encouragement. She had originally introduced me the the Be Funky site (during her workshop “From Photo to Mat as Easy as That”), which let me see the photo with a whole new realm of possibilities, then she offered concrete suggestions about what to keep, and what to change.

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before I started the redo. (the last few posts have detailed its transformation to this last final step)


The last area for tweaking was the central light coloured sapling. Here’s the be funky image, and you can see that it is much lighter than the other trees.

BeFunky_barn project

This is the pre-tweaked version…everything OK but the lack of highlights on that tree.


I’d added highlights in the upper sections, but Wendie felt (and I agreed) that highlighting the bottom as well would really “spark” it up.

Now you’d think that was a simple redo…but boy did I struggle. First was the choice of wool. I tried a pale silver grey, and the lightest mauve grey from the wooden section, and decided on the mauve grey since it “popped’ more. Then where in the tree to put the lighter part…I tried the centre, and it looked silly. I finally settled on the left side, but then it didn’t show up against the light wall colour. Then I tried changing the wall colour to a mossy green in the small section between the window and the tree. That didn’t work either, so I took that all out, put back the beige, and used the dark tree colour to outline the left side of the tree. I thought I was done.


….except…..the light section kept grabbing my eye. It was too prominent, and too stripy. By the next morning I was mentally comparing it to the stripe down a skunks back, and I knew I had to change it.

SOooo I analyzed what it was I didn’t like….the colour of the stripe, the depth of the outlining, the fact that the light wall colour next to the window was exactly the same width as the highlight stripe……and I set out once again to change it. I changed the mauve grey to the silver grey, just in the part below the wooden section. I changed the outline from the dark grey to the medium grey, and cut a narrower strip so that it wouldn’t be so prominent. I increased the light wall colour to fill in sections so that it wasn’t just one long piece all the same size. Once I made up my mind, this part went really quickly, and here’s the finished product:


It’s done, and I’m satisfied with it. Thrilled in fact that I was able to turn a piece that I actively disliked into one I’m happy to own.

Doing the Redo

I LOVE hooking with transitional wool!


I’m quite pleased with my batch of subtle transitions, and the new effect of the barn wall. I’m hooking it vertically, and I like the splotches of colour. Much more effective and like a painting, than the two colour squiggly effect of the first version,

I’ve also redone the right side of the window in different, and lighter colours…the left is still to be altered.

It’s been fun to see the effect of adding just a bit of some bright colours like the peach bits in the light wall, the pale blue in the window sash, and some bright apple green in the mossy wall.


Now the mossy wall…..that’s another story…I’m using the “befunky” version as a general guide, but with alterations when I don’t like the results. One section that’s coming out is the very dark green next to the tree….yuck to that part. The green is too deep and doesn’t blend with the other greens. I do like the bits of yellow green added for highlights, (thanks to JoAnne’s ugly wool swap).

You should see my hooking area! I’m knee deep in small pieces of wool! Always hunting for just that right tone.


The good news is that after a few weeks of the hooking blahs, I’m once again enthused and excited to see what I can accomplish with a hook and a strip of wool.

Revisiting an Unfinished Friend

When I’m working on a rug, the mess of wool around me can get pretty large, so I seldom work on more than one rug at a time, and I try to finish the hooking on each one before I move on. But of course there are exceptions.

Over a year ago, I had worked away happily on my barn rug until it was nearly finished. I left it hanging where I saw it all the time, and the longer I looked at it, the less I liked it. It eventually came to a point where I actively disliked it, and ended by rolling it up, packing the wool up, and putting it away altogether. Now it’s time to deal with it.

When the barn  project was first announced, Ray and I spent a Sunday afternoon driving around the countryside just north of town taking pictures of derelict barns, and I finally decided on hooking this photo.


I don’t hook in the room where my computer is, and I don’t have a laptop, so I printed off a copy of the picture just on 8.5 x 11″ paper, and that was my reference for hooking. I realize now that that was a  mistake because the printed version I was working from  lacked  highs and lows and definition particularly in the wall under the wood.  DSCF5364

There is only a bit of hooking left, and then I had intended to add some grass etc.  with yarn or embroidery along the barn wall, and add a bit of colour on the ground and trees. But the fact remains…I’m just not happy with it. It is SO boring!

On impulse, I put the original photo into “Be Funky” (as taught by Wendie Scott Davis at our spring workshop), and suddenly I loved the picture, and thought….if only….and …how could I???

BeFunky_barn project

I wasn’t sure what to do…..the project must be handed in in October, so a decision needed to be made. Would I ……finish it as I had originally planned……make some alterations to create a more painterly, colourful version like that in the be funky version……rip out the whole thing and start again…..or scrap the whole idea of the barn project altogether.

When in doubt, ask an expert….so I emailed Wendie (including the pictures) and explained my dilemma. What a lady! Within a few hours, I had a reply with both positives and negatives of my work, and lots of ideas of how to create more the “be funky” version without having to start all over.  (It’s not what you know….it’s who you know).


I started by completing the wooden section, and adding some stronger greens to the mossy parts.

On looking at it from a distance however, the darker part above the window looked more like a tree branch than mossy wood, so I reworked that part.


I took out the green section of the lower wall, and will rehook that with stronger greens covering the whole section.


I debated about the best wool to hook the rest of the lower section so that the values and different colours in it would be effective.

I gathered up a variety of wools in the colours I saw, but I would like them to blend into one another.


so….I’ve decided to try transitional dyeing with this lot. (again)  With my past mistakes fresh in my mind……I’m anxious to see if this will work…..stay tuned for the results.

This and That

The other day at a hooking gathering, we were discussing our work for the barn project. I mentioned that I had grown to dislike mine, and had put it away unfinished.DSCF4846
Although I was faithful to the photo in most aspects, it seemed boring and BLAH. Gail and Cheri (two wonderful and creative hookers) suggested that perhaps it needed a spark of colour  hidden in the foliage, or barnboards. Lynda even donated some rich wine strips for the purpose. So that is what I’m contemplating with my poor old barnDSCF4847

Those of you who are members of the Welcome Mat, likely know that Wanda has had an online course recently dealing with aspects of landscape. What a wonderful learning opportunity. I have drawn the pattern, but haven’t started mine yet, but I can hardly wait to try and incorporate her ideas .

This and That

…and finally I have been plugging away at the background of Althea.I was surprised at how much wool it took.  I dyed one yard, thinking that there really wasn’t much open area to cover. ( it’s 36″ x 36″ ) but I’ve had to dye an extra 1/2 yard to have enough to finish it.  Although I used the same recipe, I decided to make some subtle changes, so that there was a little wider range of colour shades and intensites to work with. I simply added a little less than 1/2 of the dye bath to the original pot before adding the wool, then waited longer before I spooned on the second half . I’m happy with the results.