De”fence”-ing

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…..you 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.

 

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.

 

Stained Glass in Fabric

Last week at Sunshine Rug Hooking, Linda Wilson gave a demonstration about hooking stained glass. Without my camera, I thought I’d missed my chance to share this technique, but as it happens, I wasn’t the only one to forget last week, and several people brought their stained glass work to share this week. So I wanted to show that work, and for those who may never have tried it, outline some basic steps to achieve the effect.

I have only hooked this one simple example, and you can see that I’ve never done the finishing. I always wanted to surround it with a real stained glass frame, but somehow that has never happened.DSCN0094

The day I got this pattern is one I’ll long remember. I had just started hooking, and my friend June Baker and I struck out one February day  to drive to Sheila Klugescheid’s house some miles away, to purchase hooking supplies. A raging snow storm blew up when we were on the road, and by the time we arrived, we had to struggle through about a foot of freshly fallen snow to get to her door. I found this pattern, and Shiela helped me choose the wool, then gave me the quickest lesson ever on how to hook stained glass. We couldn’t stay long for fear we would be completely snowed in.

Here’s the essence of her instructions for anyone who hasn’t tried it and might be interested….

Choosing wool:

-a dark colour for the leading (mine is deep taupe)

-spot dye or casserole dye for the background and details

Cutting wool:

-carefully keep the strips in the order in which they are cut and hook them in order (I used two sided tape affixed to cardboard to keep them in the right order)

Hooking

-Begin with the leading ( she suggested I cut it a size larger than the regular size,,,,in this case #4 for leading, #3 for the rest)

-Hook each section in straight lines (Shiela suggested sections touching go in opposite directions….although some people hook it all the same way)

….ANY ERRORS IN THIS INFORMATION ARE DUE TO MY FAULTY MEMORY….and are not the fault of Sheila!!!

Edie brought three examples to share today. Rather than a spot dye, she used a dip dye for the gowns.

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This little tree is mounted on actual stained glass.

 

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Jean made this piece for her mother.DSCN0088

She said she wasn’t pleased with it because she couldn’t keep the leading lines straight.

Her second piece didn’t start out as an underwater scene, but as she hooked the foliage, that’s what it suggested to her so that’s what it became. To keep the leading lines even in this one, she “tunnelled” the loops. DSCN0089

When she said this…someone in the group said, “I thought you weren’t supposed to do that! ” ….the reply?  ” You’re not….unless it creates the effect you’re after” How true for almost every “hooking rule” there is.

Kathy brought some examples of quilted and appliqué stained glass.DSCN0083

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What a wonderful way to decorate the house for Christmas. (such a talented lady)

Last week If I’d had my camera, I could have taken photos of beautiful  examples by several other people and included the extensive directions that Linda Wilson shared with the group . I apologize to them ( and especially Linda) for neglecting to do that.

Teresa has had a very productive fall. Along with a number of knitting projects, she has completed her shaded flowers piece,…..

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…..and a hit and miss rug for her bedroom,DSCN0092

Congratulations Teresa. Love them both.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dyeing The Colour Wheel

Early in November I’m attending a workshop and I’m to bring 1/16th yard of each of the colours in the colour wheel. So Friday I got out the dye equipment and got to work.DSCN0065To begin with….. Although I dye my own wool and do my own colour planning, I am by no means knowledgable when it comes to colour theory. In spite of trying, my eyes glaze over when someone starts discussing  split complementary harmony or analogous or tetrardic harmony………I rely heavily on the fact that I am a visual learner, and end up making my decisions based on what looks right to me. (and very often rehook what I’ve done because it DOESN’T look right to me). I’d probably save myself a lot of time and effort if I just followed the rules….but what’s the fun in that? So I even had to hunt for a colour wheel to refresh  my mind on the colours I needed to dye. Perhaps I’ll finally remember what they are and their order having done this exercise.DSCN0066

I began by going through all my dyes to come up with as many single dyes as I could that might give me one of the colours I needed. I don’t have  colour swatches to refer so this was the simplest method for me. Starting at the top and going clockwise, I chose Pro Chem Sun Yellow, (I thought plain yellow was too ‘lemony’) The pen indicates yellow orange (don’t have a dye that colour) Cushing Orange, Pro Chem Poppy Red for orange red, Majic Carpet Red, and under it Pro Chem Magenta (ended up using magenta), Majic Carpet Red Violet, Cushing Purple, Majic Carpet Blue Violet, both Cushing and Majic Carpet Blue (ended up using Majic carpet) , for blue green I thought (whatever that cushing dye is or Pro Chem Mallard Green …..neither of which worked) I thought bottle green would be a true green (wrong), and the last pen  in the place for yellow green .DSCN0068

Next I checked my stash to see what colours I might already have…..I found yellow green…..orange……yellow……and yellow orange.DSCN0069That left me with 8 colours to dye.

Most were straight forward. In checking “bottle green” I found it was distinctly blue green…..so I used it for that. The mallard Green was actually the closest to a forest green, but still a bit blueish, so I added a wet toothpick of  yellow to the dye bath. (I drop a bit of the dye bath on a paper towel to check colours before dyeing).

DSCN0072Here are my 8 colours on the line .DSCN0071

You can’t see the colours very well in this shot, but I like the look of them against the trees.

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Here’s my colour wheel  ready for the workshop. (although I may dye a different orange….the one from my stash is pretty dark)

I dyed each piece in the microwave….so much faster when dyeing small pieces. I used 1/16th tsp of dye to  1 CBW (cup of boiling water) for the dye bath and added vinegar to each dye bath itself. (probably could have used less in many cases…as sometimes not all the dye was taken up when the wool was at a satisfactory colour) The dye bath is added to boiling water in a microwave safe bowl (I have some designated plastic bowls for microwave dyeing) and set to cook for about 5 minutes . (longer as needed)

…..not scientific, not perfect, but fun and quick. (the whole dye session took me about an hour) and I love the results.

 

Now to see how they are used at the workshop.

Happy Halloween everyone. 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.

March Sunshine Hooking Part 2

We had several guests with us at the last Sunshine get together, and enjoyed seeing their work. I’m not good at remembering names, so please excuse the errors and omissions.DSCF7377Janice is doing Whirligig, a pattern by Suzanne Hill.

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Elizabeth is enjoying her introduction to rug hookingDSCF7390

This is a one end of a very large rug designed by Martina Lazar. The colours just pop against that light background.

The fishes below will be hung as wall plaques.

DSCF7400I was very interested in how they were being finished. I have always avoided hooking convoluted shapes, because I had no idea how one would bind the edges.DSCF7401This hooker (I apologize for not knowing her name) has come up with a wonderful method which not only provides a great finish, but sets off the vibrant colours with the black edging. She is using material like a bias tape which surrounds the raw edges and hides them completely when sewn in place on both sides.DSCF7402I’m surely going to remember this method, and if I ever get the nerve to attempt such a moving edge, I’ll give it a try.

Anne was hooking stars.DSCF7396….and Mary Ann is building a funky house….DSCF7378

Our knitter/hookers were also hard at work. I drool when I look at their wool.DSCF7398

Those colours are such favourites of mine, and I so admire the picot edge on Kathy’s work. Who would want to cover up the beautiful detail in Theresa’a socks by hiding them in shoes???DSCF7399

If and when I get back to my own knitting, I’m going to try knitting socks from the toe up.

Gail….I know for sure I took a photo of your knitting, but my camera gremlin must have been hungry and swallowed it….because it is nowhere to be found!!

I’ve been enjoying hooking Hilda’s English Sunset. I’m only sorry it is so small, and I’ll soon have it finished.DSCF7410

 

Happy hooking. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Hijab and Moths

The hooking on Hijab is complete, and I must say I’m pleased with the way the background turned out.DSCF7095

After steaming, I did some tweaking of the face and the bottom edge. The edge was somewhat uneven because many of the rows of hooking had ended on an angle. I improved that by adding a few loops in places that appeared jagged. I may have to make further adjustments when I begin the finishing if it doesn’t fold back smoothly.

Now I’m ready to move on to the next project. Recently I stumbled upon this skirt, which had been packed away for MANY  MANY years.DSCF7096Oh what memories. Although I now have an aversion to my poor sewing machine, it wasn’t always the case. My mom was an excellent seamstress, and when I was just a teenager, with her help  I  made a three piece suit (very chique at the time)….the skirt, a jacket, and a long sleeveless coat…..all fully lined and the plaids carefully matched at every seam. To this day it remains my finest sewing accomplishment and holds such sweet memories of my mom.The skirt is all that remains, so I decided I would take it apart and use it for my next hooking project.

Alas, after washing it I discovered it had quite a few moth holes. I washed it again, and took it all apart, but then wondered if it was folly to try and hook with it. I consulted my wonderful friends on “Yahookers” and received great advice from both JoAnne Harris and Ivi Collier. ….1) put it in the freezer for a couple of weeks, wash again, then use avoiding the holes   2) test the strips for possible weakness by pulling the ends before hooking them.DSCF7097

So here it is…disassembled, frozen, and awaiting a new life. Now to get on with the planning and drawing (and maybe even some finishing that should be done first….but never is).

Thanks for stopping by.

Directional Hooking and Eye Surgery

As I’ve worked on Hijab, I’ve become aware of just how important  directional hooking is when trying to capture the draping of fabric. The hooded section over her head needed care, but when I got to the shoulder, I had to stop and really study the photo to figure out how I could create a realistic effect.  The direction of the hooking had to be combined with the direction of the shading …..which slanted a different way. I took photos of the process so I would have  it for future reference.DSCF6996

The arch needed to gradually flatten out to a straight line at the bottom, while at the same time the dull section on the right needed to be “arrow shaped” DSCF6997

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With the hijab itself completed, I could no longer put off making decisions about the face. After lots of thought, I went back to the first face I ever did…Emma Sue. She was hooked at a wonderful workshop I attended given by Anne Boissonoit several years ago. Emma Sue would be my directional guide.DSCF2137

I printed out a copy of her to have in front of me while I hooked, then forged ahead.

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It soon became apparent however that I had a major problem!!! (I had noticed it before…but ignored it)….The left eye was too far over to the left…..there was too much space between her eyes.DSCF7003

There was nothing for it….the eye had to come out.DSCF7004

I  carefully laid the removed wool out in the order of the eye, and re-drew it (with a red marker) slightly to the right. Then hooked a new eye (adding more black to the top lid and cutting down the iris).

It’s not a huge change, but to me, it makes all the difference. Now to finish the face while I contemplate how to create that wonderful background.DSCF7008

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Winter has arrived in central Ontario. It has been snowing all day today, and is to continue most of the week. The snow boots are out, the snowblower is working, the trees are etched with white, and I’m settling in to enjoy my winter wonderland.

Thanks for stopping by.

Why I Mottle

Recently on Lucy Richard’s wonderful site on facebook”The Wooly Mason Jar Rughooking”, the question was asked, do you use mottled or evenly dyed wool in your projects?  My response was that I used mottled the vast majority of the time. There are very valid reasons to use either one or the other, depending on the project and the desired effects, as well as just plain personal preference….Here is why I love using mottled wool in my projects.

This is the sequence of my hooking in the last week.

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I tweaked the point of the hijab at the centre of her forehead, by changing to a light strip that had more of the mustard colour showingDSCF6987 DSCF6989 DSCF6990 DSCF6993

This is the wool I used…. just four mottled colours which provide me with lots of options…

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Dyeing mottled wool works for me.  Here’s my general method: instead of adding all of the dye solution to the dye bath, just add 1/2 of the dye solution. Add the wool, then wait a bit, then pour the remaining dye solution over the top of the wool. poke the wool down to make sure it is all covered, but don’t stir (the more you stir, the less it will mottle).

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Playing With Colour

The two things that inspired me to hook “Hijab” were the lady’s eyes, and the vibrant colour of the hijab itself.

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Dyeing the wool to get the deep vibrancy, and shadows has been  learning experience. I was looking for the essence and effect rather than an exact duplication of colours. I began with Jewel Tones colour # 73, and reduced the amounts for the 1/8th yard pieces I was using. (1/8th yd so that I didn’t waste too much wool if the colours were totally wrong.) My basic formula was: (pro chem dyes):   1/8 tsp red,    1/16 tsp bright red     1/128 tsp evergreen    1/64th tsp brown

Here are the first 3 …from the right 1) original formula 2) mustard added to 1/2 of formula 3) reds reversedDSCF6949

Number 3  was still not as vibrant as I wanted, so I added an extra bit of bright red, and eliminated the brown altogether.

DSCF6969Now I had my bright colour. For the duller shadowed red I used the original formula and stirred it a bit to make it smoother. (woops I don’t have a photo of that)

 

The very dark (looks black but it isn’t) was a piece I found in my stash which was primarily died with mahogany.DSCF6980

 My flash distorts the colours so much that this probably doesn’t make sense, but at least it will serve as a record for me of what I have done.

One of my favourite little tricks is using the dark edge of piece of wool to help delineate a change of colours.DSCF6967

You can see it clearly here.

Here is the progression so far.DSCF6958DSCF6965DSCF6979

I’m at the stage now where all I can see are things I don’t like, but I know I go through this with everything I hook. It is truly a process, albeit one I love.

Thanks for stopping by.