The Third Building.. My Modus Operandi

My modus operandi is definitely….”if at first you don’t succeed….try, try again”.  And boy was it being used when I hooked the third building. Now that it’s finished, I can see that I had several concerns to deal with simultaneously, but I actually only dealt with them one at a time. When one was fixed it was still wrong because of the second problem…..etc. etc.

1.) The door on the top section didn’t make sense, so it came out.DSCN1697

2.) I initially hooked the building with shades of the very light mahogany (pink as it turned out)DSCN1700….I didn’t like the pink effect at all and the perspective was all wrong, I did like the touches of  light purple, so I searched my stash for some light mauve. DSCN1708I quickly realized that didn’t have enough light shades, so off to the dye pots and I dyed some very light violet and ‘cushing’ purple.

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3.) I finally liked the colours, but the shading was wrong for the building to appear with the right angles.  DSCN1703

4.)  The face of the bottom section needed to be darker and some shading at the top right to have part of the wall recede. Top left and bottom sections are one face, so they need to be more the same shadesDSCN1714

Finally the building looked right to me….needed some final touches…

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I made countless other tiny adjustments as I went along  but right or wrong…I’m finally satisfied with it now.

Next step ….the cobble stones…or flag stones…not sure yet what they will be. No doubt I’ll need several tries to be satisfied with them too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Hooking the Buildings

After completing the arch, I was so happy to move on to the buildings visible in the background. Some time ago, inspired by a post by Gene Shepherd on dyeing very pale tints, I dyed a few small pieces of wool in very pale colours and thought these would provide interest for the buildings, but not compete with the women. Before starting I dyed quite a few more, and had these to choose from.DSCN1696

I dyed these in the microwave, since it is so much easier when you are dyeing small pieces. To set the dye, they can then all be simmered together in clear water and vinegar. I started with 1/256th tsp. of dye in 1cbw (cup of boiling water) then often only added a few tbsp. of the solution to the dye bath. (or you could use the wet toothpick method) I made at least two values of each colour, and also included a strip of undyed natural Dorr for edge highlights. (top left) Dyes used  were, clay, mouse grey, golden pear, mahogany, and violet, plus a couple of unknown left overs that I found in my stash.DSCN1683I wanted the roof of this building to appear to be of tile, and mused about the best way to create that impression. I considered using a light plaid and selectively using the strips, I considered separating rows with a tiny (#2) row of black, and finally decided to simply try this light mottled grey, hooking it in straight lines matching each loop carefully all the way down. Ta dah…the simplest solution worked. (love it when that happens)DSCN1686I chose brown and yellow tones for the next building, with a bit of mottled taupe wool for the door and beams. DSCN1690One row of natural helps to highlight the corner of the building. I’m using quite a bit of antigodlin hooking for this ‘stucco’ and I find it harder on my hands. So….a day of no hooking yesterday and the sore finger feels much better. My plan is to use the mahogany tones for the third building (they turned out peachy pink) . I’m not sure how I’ll like that, but I’ll see what happens.

We had our first major snowstorm of the season last night so it’s a good day to stay in, curl up and hook. ….supervised of course by these two.DSCN1680

Thanks for stopping by

 

The Power of Value

Do you often find you have some part of your hooking that really pleases you? For me it is frequently just a small touch that really warms my heart. It has worked just the way I had hoped….or perhaps even better.

In the virgins piece it was aways the hair of the virgin in blue that pleased me. DSCN1664So as I carefully hooked the archway around her lovely red hair, I was so disappointed to see the flyaway curls I liked so well fade into obscurity.  (sorry, but I neglected to take a picture of it at this stage) I wanted it to still pop out as it had done so well against the white rug warp. But it didn’t. I edged it with grey, which worked well for the wall, but the hair detail got lost. I tried Deanne Fitzpatrick’s trick of small dot of colour along the edge…nope! I tried some black, then some white, then I went in search for the left over wool from her hair.

I have to admit that it was only when the detail disappeared that I realized that both the wall and the edges of her hair were medium values and both quite dull. (this photo was before the wall went in around her hair, but you can see that the hair tips are all medium value)DSCN1662

So simple really. The two medium values together (wall and curl edges) blended together. So I took the brightest hair colour and added some of that to each of the flyaway curls which were backed by the arch. YES! DSCN1675With the bright vibrant orange/yellow added the curls popped back out.  As so often happens with me, I had to see it wrong before I was able to  figure out how to do it right. (my curse of being a visual learner).

I keep thinking of that old saying….small things amuse small minds….and this small thing (now improved) has really pleased me.DSCN1676

I hope your hooking is pleasing you too!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sky Style

I’ve finally finished the roadside and pavement of my Prairie Sky piece, (after making a number of colour changes and adjustments to the hooking style). I ended up using a variety of materials….3 different plaids, wool yarn and two different colours of sari silk. DSCN1569Now to turn my full attention to the sky.

I’d tried some areas and ripped most out. I needed to make a decision about how I was actually going to hook it as well , of course, as the colour choices.

My initial colour selection was this: blues I dug out of my stash.DSCN1533….but as I  experimented, I didn’t like the effect of the very dark blues at all. I needed more pale shades. DSCN1535I took this photo awhile ago and I’m not sure why there are only two pieces since I actually dyed four light shades these being the lightest and darkest.

I wanted the clouds to be highlighted, and so I’m using a variety of white wool yarns plus Dorr natural wool .DSCN1551My biggest dilemma was this…….would I hook the sky straight across (bottom right sky sample) or wavy and directional (cloud beginnings). I thought about this for a number of weeks while completing the bottom roadside section. The answer I came up with? Do both. I’ll make the clouds contour the actual shapes and the sky will be pretty well straight lines.  Every time I go through this sort of process, I think afterwards….that is so OBVIOUS! why did it take me so long to figure it out?  So I’m on my way…DSCN1567I knew I would need to dye more pale blue shades and yesterday was the day.

DSCN1563I now have  a wide variety of blue shades to use in finishing my sky.

Many thanks to Lucy Richard  of The Wooly Mason Jar. I recently watched her video about how to dye 1/2 yard of wool  using her amazing colour wheel system of dyeing. I’ve never tried her system,  but I picked up a number of hints from the video which were really helpful. …some hints about micro wave dyeing eg. timing and when she adds the mordent, and using Woolite as a rinse at the end.  Hookers are such a diverse community and we can learn so much from each other. Thanks for the tips Lucy.

Whew! the humidex is to be nearly 40 C today, so for me it’s a stay inside, stay cool, and hook day. Hope you have a good day too

Thanks for stopping by.

Building That Wall

It seems Trump isn’t the only one having trouble building a wall. Figuring out how I wanted to hook the walls and arch in my ‘Two Virgins’ piece stopped my progress for a few weeks.

From past experience, I know that I have to see something before I’m sure it works for me. My minds eye certainly isn’t always reliable. This time it took several tries to capture the effect I wanted, and I had to accept several compromises  along the way.DSCN1469…two cuts and styles tried here and an attempt to catch the corner highlight……nope!DSCN1473….a 6 cut and straight lines…..nope!  ….but I liked the effect of the cornerDSCN1496 2….a 6 cut, straight lines and a much lighter wool (thinking of marble at this point)….then tried the arch in a 3 cut and a variety of mixed , darker colours.

At this point, I shared my dilemma with my friend Jean who liked  the arch  best…(as did I)  so on to further experiment with wall options….now using a 3 cut and antigodlin hooking.DSCN1498.Hummmm I like the left, the right is too light.

whew!

…so all the attempts came out and I’m finally on my way with the wall and arch.DSCN1503It’s a large area, and a small cut, so I think I’m set with enough hooking to keep myself busy while watching the olympics next month.

I sometimes get frustrated and think ‘will I ever  come up with the effect I want’, but its so exciting when I finally can look at my work and say “Yes! That’s what I was after.”

The compromises I mentioned…..1.) now a lighter sky colour to figure out

2.) lots more work using a 3cut rather than a 6 and antigodlin hooking rather than straight lines.

…….both incidental since I’m pleased with the effect.

If at first you don’t succeed…..

Thanks for stopping by

Virgins’ Faces

Last week was a very big week if you are a curling fan. The Roar of the Rings Tournament decided on the teams to represent Canada in February’s Winter Olympics. Needless to say, I was glued to the TV, and particularly on Sunday while the finals were on. To help ease the tension, I hooked while I watched and by the end of the day, I had completed the faces of both virgins.

 

The wise virgin…..DSCN1453

….and the foolish virginDSCN1457

I know she looks like she has a milk moustache….(just cover-up to be removed later) hiding some mistakes I made in the original pattern drawing. I wanted to see what the profile actually looked like.

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I was pleased and surprised with how they turned out…..my first attempt at such tiny detailed faces. (done in #2 and #3).

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Some notes to myself in case I want to do this again sometime.

1.) all done in various shades of two basic colours….yellow and pink

2.)all done with bits and scraps from my stash

3.) pre-cut strips which were too wide, I carefully recut to #2 and it worked well

4.) followed the basic procedures taught to me by Anne Boissinot for eyes, nose and mouth

5.) I followed the face and neck value choices and placement taught to me by Wendie Scott Davis

6.) I remembered a recent discussion on cheek shadowing by Gail Mueller and Cheri Hempseed, and followed that advice. Thanks to all these ladies for sharing their expertise.

N.B. I must never forget that my work is the result of applying the information passed on by the skilled people I have been privileged to work with.  (I know…it should be “with whom I have been privileged to work”….but that sounds so formal)

Just hands and lamps now to hook before I tackle the arch and background. I’m still struggling with design and colour choices for that. I think it will require several “test” areas to see which I think will be best. The primary dilemma is whether to go dark or light.

So the faces are done and the curling is over. I’m happy with the faces, and although my favourites didn’t win the curling, I’m really happy with the teams that will represent Canada, I’m sure they will do us proud. Go Homan and Koe.

All in all a great Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Revisions and Background decisions

Have you ever noticed something in your work that you didn’t like, and suddenly that’s all that you can see? Well that’s what happened to me with my wise virgin. I noticed that her breasts were decidedly lopsided. DSCN1422The poor girl needed radical surgery, and for my peace of mind, she needed it at once.DSCN1423

Lots of fiddling about  was needed. It’s surprising how much is involved to move that small section down a bit,  but finally she looks much better.

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The other area of struggle has been the centre of the left side of her skirt (my left).  She’s holding it back, but it just looks like a mish mash. I reduced the light section to see if that helped….DSCN1435….and it does, especially when viewed from a distance, but I’m still not satisfied with it. It will get makeover later when I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.

I love the wild head of hair on this lady , and wanted to do it justice. My first choice of colours was too drab and bah, …..DSCN1442 2so I dug in my bits and pieces for something to give it more pizazz., and I came up with thisDSCN1443

I like how just the hints of orange and pink bring her hair to life…DSCN1440DSCN1439 In the meantime, the background  has been on my mind. I had several ideas, including being on a path with a misty background, a medieval castle in the background, doing a total disconnect with an abstract background of some sort…or?…. Then for some reason, I thought of having them stand in an arch, and immediately went in search of ideas for an “arch to suit”.  These three caught my eye…..DSCN1445DSCN1444DSCN1446

To find out how it might look, I cut out pictures of two left over virgins (not the ones I chose to use) ….DSCN1447….then posed them in front of the arches…..Arch number two I eliminated right away. Down to this one….DSCN1419…..or this one….DSCN1420……and the winner is this last one.  I like the stone blocks, and the greenery hanging down.

I have no intention of doing anything more than use the basic ideas and shapes, (I think the car would really spoil the effect don’t you?)    The potential sky colour is another problem  to solve  in the future, but I am having so much fun with this. Gee I love rug hooking!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Compromise

In my last post, I was all set to forge ahead with the second virgin’s dress using turquoise and cantaloupe. I wasn’t sure if it would work….DSCN1391 I hooked just a small amount and wasn’t happy with it. I felt that it not only had no connection with the rest of the piece, but it was too bright and dominated far too much.

On the other hand….if I continued, it would be surrounded by lots of turquoise, which might well tone it down . DSCN1387I thought about another option….If I used a pink, it would tie the two costumes together and make the whole thing more harmonious.DSCN1386

I considered these two options for several days. The first was more disconnected than I wanted, the second more harmonious than I wanted.

Eventually I came up with a compromise. I overdyed the pinks with prochem raspberry, which kept the “pink idea” but changed the colour and shade from the one used in the first dress.DSCN1399

Still lots of dyeing to do and the dress details need to be refined, but I think I’m pleased with this compromise colour solution.

Now if I could just take a photo that was in focus,…. (I never seem to notice until it’s up on the computer and too late to get another shot).

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my “fuzzy” hooking.

 

 

Learning Through Doing

For me, I like every every project I do to present me with a learning experience and a challenge.   Ultimately if I am successful…(at least in my eyes), I derive a great sense of satisfaction in achieving what I set out to do.DSCN1373

To that end, creating the detailed clothing on the two virgins is a new experience for me, and as usual, some of what I tried , I liked, and some….nope…not at all!  I tried two different approaches on the foolish virgin. For the green portion of the dress, I began with dip dyes (I could have used swatches, but dip dyeing is much easier for me to do). I then cut them into several sections giving me a range from dark to light.  I ripped out that effort since there wasn’t enough variation  to be effective.  I then rehooked it using some much darker green, and a much lighter one (almost yellow) to create the highlights and folds, and was then more pleased with the results. DSCN1385The extremes I used very sparingly, but they made all the difference.

I tried a totally different colour approach for the fuchsia portion of the gown. DSCN1376I did a spot dye using  Majic Carpet red violet, and Primary Fusion #12  (which uses Pro Chem magenta, blue, and black). Then I went through my stash and found all the bits and pieces that went with that. I had a good range of values, though not necessarily matching exactly  in hue. The primary colour is the dip dye and I really like the highlights that it creates in the dress.

My pattern is taken from a 1500’s etching, (with no colour) and the next thing I learned, was that all the lines in the etching don’t necessarily translate well when using colour. I started the fuchsia section of the gown by outlining the lines in the etching in a dark value, and soon realized that many of them made no sense to me and looked ridiculous. I eliminated the vast majority, and went mostly by my own idea of where there might be folds and shadows. There is still one line on the floor section of the train that I will remove, and use a bit lighter colour the fill in that area (and I won’t use a straight line).DSCN1374

So with that bit of experience under my belt, I’m ready now to tackle the gown of the wise virgin. I’ve got two colours ready to go….a spot dye using Pro Chem seabreeze and mallard green, DSCN1382 (I  did 3 versions from dark to light), plus a couple of pieces that I had that went with that.  (for some reason the camera bled the green out of the far blue….it actually goes with the rest much better than this photo shows) The second colour is primarily a cantaloupe and mustard spot dye  done over both natural and oatmeal. DSCN1379I have no idea if this will work, but I’m set to try.

The other thing I’ve learned is that I’m either a lousy photographer, or have a lousy camera when it comes to colour (or maybe both).

Thanks so much for stopping by.

 

Starting the Virgins

This has not been a good summer for us, and as a result I haven’t posted in some time. As things take a turn for the better, I have recently started hooking again, and have made a start on the “foolish Virgin”  (see the last post for  details on my subject choice). I’m using  #2 and #3 cuts with lots of shading and fiddly work…a refreshing change of pace for me after the #8 cuts for both the large abstract and the geometrical Floating Blocks.

While considering a colour palette for the dressses , I looked up images for women’s clothing in the 15th century and having found every colour imaginable on display, I  decided to just use colours that pleased me., whether they were authentic or not.DSCN1366

The two palettes I settled on were:

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and:

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(with no promises to stick to either one)

I soon realized I needed wider variation in both colour and texture for the shadows etc. to be effective, and in fact completely redid the bottom of the green skirt with more contrast, definition and variation before ending up with this version…. sorry…no photo of the mucky one).

With that in mind, I have lots of options available for the fuschia overskirt:DSCN1364

….although I likely won’t use them all. (they’re all more intense than the photo shows)

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I expect I’ll remove some of the dark outlining in the scarf, but leaving it for now.

While working on this part, I’ve been considering questions and options for the background….running the gamut of a cobbled roadway at dusk, pondering how to show the illumination of the wise virgin’s lamp, thoughts of a misty medieval background, or perhaps none of the above and using a purely abstract background of various night colours which deepen as they move outwards…..no decisions on this as yet.

It is so nice to be hooking again and enjoying the act of creating something that pleases my eye.

Thanks for stopping by.