Hooking in the Heat

I’m sure most people think of hooking as a cool or cold weather activity, but I get a lot of hooking done in the summer….that’s because I don’t function well in hot humid weather, and I shut myself away in my hooking area with the air conditioner on full blast. That’s what has happened for the last few days.

I’ve been filling and tweaking. I drew the pattern freehand on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper, then had it blown up, and some of the discrepancies are magnified in the large version. The pattern itself is not symmetrical but I want it to be at least balanced. I thought the two  Maouri friendship twists were at a different angle to the sides and contemplated major adjustments to correct them….but when I checked…..

DSCF6631DSCF6633….they are both at exactly the same angle….I’ll just have to extend the border on the right about 6 ditches further over.

The peace sign did however need some adjustment both in the oval outside, and the inside parts.DSCF6585…since it was partially hooked when I did this, it required lots of rehooking both of the peace sign, and the elements it was touching.

DSCF6635 I’m much happier with it now. In this photo you can see how dark the maouri twist is at the top…(unlike the one on the other side) so I reworked that as well to get some light green in the top section.

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I completed my “three sons” at the top….

DSCF6640….so the last big “fill” is the swan.

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….and finishing the tears…..doing more tweaking…….and deciding on both a colour and hooking style for the background…..lots to keep me busy while it’s too hot to do much else.

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Happy Canada day to all fellow Canadians. I had tears in my eyes this morning as I watched the boys’ choir from BC sing O Canada on the steps of Parliament Hill. So moving.

 

A Palette but no Plan

 

There was a fatal flaw in my colour choices for my Signa Meus Vita piece. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it is made up of a small number of large elements, and that didn’t leave options for enough repetition. My poor brain has been spinning this past week on how to place them.

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At this point I was blissfully unaware of the problem.

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I liked the bottom part, but the big blob of raspberry didn’t fit…..and all together it made me cringe….DSCF6613

….so it has been a great learning experience. While I loved this…DSCF6605

…….my piece with it’s large elements just didn’t translate to create anything like this . So back to the drawing board.

I reduced the colours in the palette…..removed the peach and the raspberry altogether, which allowed for more  repetition of the five colours I had left. I took the blue and dyed it very dark and used that for the central spider element…..something to anchor everything else.

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I went around in circles for days trying to come up with the best way to locate the colours, and finally just added a strip to each element in a possible colour to give me some idea of the outcome.  I make up my mind, then I think of something that I feel would look better, so I change my mind…..then the process repeats!!!!!  Yikes.

…..in the meantime….I thought the tears might look effective with something sparkly. I have a great gold ropey thread that would work well if I could find it in silver. Of course my local fabric store didn’t have that, but I found a fine sequin rope that I thought might be very effective. Well I was wrong again!DSCF6609

…after tugging the sequins through the backing, they wouldn’t all lay face up, so the effect was lost. (as well as the shape).

…attempt #2 at the tears…I was able to acquire part of a beautiful silk shirt that had been from Hilda Hayes’ stash. (I loved that I would have a symbol of that dear lady in my “symbolic” piece.)

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The photo doesn’t show it but the silk has a lovely shine.

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….so here it stands to date. I want to redo the green twist on the right….I don’t like the way I’ve manipulated the shading, and it’s too fat…..and I’m debating the possibility of replacing all the lilac with peach, since it also seems very subdued….who knows how it will end up!

….and finishing….

The finishing continues while I get ready for the annual this weekend. I’m so proud of myself that I haven’t started anything new! (Although I have lots of ideas swirling in my head, and I’ve even started a little notebook of ideas. ) I’m just itching to get into the dye pots and create some beautiful wool.

But instead, I put the last touches on the six Klimt inspired trivets. I decided to trim the edges all in black, and had just enough of the background wool to cut #8 strips for the edges.

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I ran a small bead of tacky glue around the edge….DSCF6390

…and carefully laid the strip along the edge. (by using a #8 cut, it is wide enough to cover the felt the backing and the hooking (which is a #6) making a smooth finish.

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…one doneDSCF6396

….six done…on to the next….Lunenburg Harbour…DSCF6397

Although I’ve hooked a border, and this will hang on the wall, …….since it is hooked on burlap, I decided not to just turn it under, but to whip a tiny edge as I did on Sir John.

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…I’ve just got it under way.

On my to do list for the annual, I’ve got “extra camera batteries” so hopefully the next post will have lots of photos of rugs from the display at Durham College.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Sir John on the Go

I’m surprised at how much fun I’m having hooking with mainly #3 and #2 cuts. I’ve never before used a #2 and it’s been years since I’ve hooked anything entirely in a #3.

I started with the jacket, just hooking blobs as I saw them.DSCF6124

I’m using black, a grey tweed, and a grey cashmere. It’s amazing the colour variations you can see when you really, really look.

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…A case in point is the oval pin in his cravat. When I first looked, it seemed white, so I hooked it this way.  Then I realized it didn’t look right, so I looked VERY closely, and then rehooked it this way.

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Much better. Of course I have to jump all over the place (no patience), so I tried working on his face, beginning with his lips. (I normally start a face with the eyes, but decided not to this time).

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Sometimes when you hook what you see, it isn’t just right, so I adjusted the top lip.

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I gradually worked my way upward, and then tackled the right eye. This black and white version doesn’t allow me to follow any of the steps I have learned for hooking eyes, so it was truly trial and error.

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I probably should have gone right on to the eye on the left while I was on a roll, but I took a break and went instead to the cravat.  DSCF5978

As you can see, it has very prominent white ovals on a black background, and I searched and searched looking for a wool I though might give me that effect. Then I remembered a wonderful black and  white two coloured border Jean had hooked as the outline in her Holstein cow hot pad, and thought perhaps that might work.

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It gets rather messy on the back as you alternate a white then a black loop, and the ends need to stay at the back, but as this will always hang on a wall, it doesn’t really matter, and I got the effect I was after.

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I’m stalled at this point while I dye some more black wool . I’m going to overdye some dark plum cashmere with black and bottle green, and hopefully I’ll get to that later today.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun using brightly coloured worms to hook the Klimt motif hot pads. Again, I’m jumping around from one to the other.

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This afternoon, I’m off to the opening of the International Women’s Day Art Show at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.  I’ll check on how Emma Sue is holding up under the scrutiny!

Trial and Error

I couldn’t wait any longer!  Last night I gathered my blacks and greys and plunged into the hooking of Sir John.

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This whole thing will be trial and error, with only my eyes to determine what works. I’ve never tried to hook in black and white before, never tried to hook a cartoon before, in fact, I’ve never seen a hooked black and white cartoon at all. I’ve studied some monochromatic neutral pieces, but when striving for the look of a black and white photo, the colours used and styles of hooking are quite different than what I’m attempting.

My first job was to set up my bliss cutter with a #3 cutter head (I don’t have that size for my Beeline cutter (:  .) , and to my surprise I could cut neither a 3 cut or a 4 cut using the black wool I bought for this piece. After lots of wiggling and adjusting I finally got it to cut on the #4, but realized in the process that it is way too heavy. (feels almost like blanket weight wool,) so at the moment I’m working with bits of the lighter weight black I have, and trying to decide if I will over dye some dark wool I already have., or buy some more black making sure I ask for a regular weight, but a tight enough weave that even cutting a #2 is possible.

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I had no idea where to start, but just plunged in doing some outlining with a #4 in the heavy black.  (that will all be coming out) ….it’s way too heavy and predominate.

Then I moved to the jacket. and made my first discovery (learning curve?) of the project. It works best to work in sections using a small part of the original cartoon and just hooking the blobs/shapes that I see, and ignoring the overall piece. (that little tidbit of wisdom from Wendie Scott Davis and the workshop I took with her….thanks Wendie) I can actually see the creases of the arm of the jacket making sense now.

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If you can believe it, I’ve actually hand cut some #4 strips in half to try some finer outlining later today, but I think I’ll be changing out my #4 cutter head for a #2 in short order . I’ll wait until Ray can help me though as I can’t manage changing the Frazer 500 head on my own (I’m mechanically challenged).

I’m saving my plowing match hot pads for hooking away from home, as they require little concentration so they don’t impede the all important conversations of a group of hookers.

This one is finished:

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…and this one is stalled…sigh…

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…and there are 4 others not yet begun. (I took all the design elements from Klimt paintings )   The colours are dependent on the availability of worms and scraps.

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Oh yes….and my Historic Lunenburg is finished (hooking that is). I’m finally happy with the sky (after several attempts). Ah! wish I was back there.  Such a beautiful spot.

A Work Day for the Plowing Match

This September, the International Plowing Match will be held near the village of Ivy , not far south of where I Iive in central Ontario.  The annual Quilt and Rug Fair is to be included as a part of the plowing match, and will run for a week (instead of a weekend) and have exposure for our work to many many more people than we could normally expect. This is a big deal for rughookers in our area, so we’re busy preparing for it now. (of course rug hookers need little excuse to get together for a hook in!!!)

Last Tuesday we held an all day hook in to get sale items underway.DSCF6086

Wearable art/jewelry particularly brooches are always popular.

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Margaret is making a variety of small waldoboro pins for different seasons.

Proddy brooches seldom lie on a sales table very long.

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Cynthia, ever creative, has devised these beautiful pins .

DSCF6070I was fascinated by how she made them. The silk had holes cut out for the hooking , then was  decoratively sewn on both sides of the linen, allowing the hooking to be done on the linen with the silk background already there….here they are in progress….

DSCF6072…this is the back side…and this….

DSCF6071….is the front. The strip was inserted into the hoop to hold taut for hooking.

Hot pads are another favourite sales item, and we have a variety of them in progress.

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Jean  is doing a series of animals (appropriate for a plowing match).

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Helen found this article on how to create a spiral, and is trying that.DSCF6082DSCF6097

I’m doing some which use Klimt motifs.

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Christmas articles are also always popular, and we will have a nice variety.

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Cathy is making lots of these sweet hanging Santas.

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…and perhaps my favourite….Jean has made one little bag, and plans on making more.

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DSCF6058Gail couldn’t resist and so we have our first sales…

Edie found these patterns which had been tucked away for a long time. They too will make lovely hot pads.

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It was a fun and productive day.DSCF6090DSCF6085

….and just to put the icing on the cake…..2 curling gold, and 2 hockey gold for Canada. I am a happy hooker indeed!

Olympian Lunenburg

Yes, I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the TV this week watching the Olympics, and most of the time I have been hooking at the same time.  As a result, the Lunenburg piece is really coming along.

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I was able to find wool in my stash for everything, until I came to the sky. That I would have to dye. I used a mixture of various blues, and added the pieces at 30 second intervals to get a variety of shades.DSCF6036

I thought the end result looked quite lovely….

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….until I started hooking them. WOW! What was I thinking? They were all WAY too deep. My excuse is that I had been working with such saturated colours, that they seemed quite light as I was dyeing them.

I am running out of Dorr natural, but had a small piece left , so I dyed that using 1/128th tsp instead of 1/8th. I also found a piece of just barely blue wool.

Try #2….

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I decided I needed some pure white for clouds, and used a lovely white I have that has a slightly fuzzy surface even though it’s wool.

Try #3….DSCF6057

…as I go up higher, I’m gradually adding little bits of the very lightest blue of the first batch. Hopefully the darker colours will be OK for the water.

In the meantime, I’m having fun hooking the border. I chose a variety of wool …all dark values, and I’m hooking it in hit and miss.

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…it gives the border a lot of life, and to me, it looks a bit like old wood.  Lots of fun and easy for when the concentration must be totally directed to the TV screen.

I’m so proud of all the Canadian athletes at the Olympics, but I’m not sure if my heart can take much more snowboard cross!

GO CANADA GO

Winter texting

We’re in the middle of the “polar vortex” (along with the rest of North America) and once again the temperatures are frigid and the snow banks are huge.

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This is the view out the window beside my computer. I must add that we are faring better than areas that aren’t accustomed to large snowfalls. Our roads and sidewalks are plowed, although the sidewalks are beginning to look like tunnels.

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(photo by Brad Windover)  So needless to say, I’ve been staying in and doing lots of hooking.

Lacking a smart phone for communication, my texting has been of the hooking sort.

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I used a 6 cut for the lettering (large enough to stand out, small enough for me to handle the letter details).

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…then I used a 4 cut to outline the lettering. I have no clue how I’m going to incorporate the text into the Magdelena style blocks!

So when in doubt….do something else….so today I’ll go back to the dogs and work on Winston (the yellow lab) and Jesse…the “huskie” type.

In the meantime, with Ray’s mathematical help, I’ve figured out the size I’ll hook the black and white Sir John cartoon.

DSCF5830Here’s the thinking process we went through….the cartoon is square, with Sir John’s head sticking out the top. A square is not considered a visually pleasing shape for a picture, and the only way to change it was to add on at the top.  We fiddled around with what looked best, and ended up by extending it 2 cm. This made the cartoon 19.5 cm x 21.5 cm. Then using my pressing board which is covered in 1″ squares, we blocked out an area simply converting centimetres to inches as a starting point….but to our surprise, that size looked great! So the hooking will be 19.5 inches by 21.5 inches. The next step will be to draw a grid on the cartoon at 2 cm. intervals, which I will then use to draw on red dot on my 2″ grid board. (It’s actually easier to do than to explain!)

Stay warm everyone!

A Tribute to Helen Brown

I have been so remiss this fall in recording the monthly tributes we have at Sunshine Rug Hookers Meetings. I have managed to be absent for every first Tuesday so far. Fortunately, another rug hooker took some photos of Helen Brown’s hooking and sent them to me so I can share her lovely work which was featured on the first Tuesday in December.

Helen hooked with a group in Toronto until moving to Orillia a few years ago, and we are so happy that they decided to move north. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She has a daughter living in Halifax, and travels frequently to the east coast, often taking classes with Deanne Fitzpatrick in Amhurst. She says much of her hooking reflects Deanne’s influence. These playful, colourful maritime houses and the treatment of the water all reflect the Fitzpatrick style. (as well as the high freeform hooking which I seem incapable of doing….although I have tried).

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This was Helen’s first rug. She told me she ordered the pattern ( by Ann Hallet) from Rittermere’s because she liked it so well, never realizing she would one day be hooking with Ann in the same group. I’m sure Ann was pleased to see this lovely interpretation of her pattern too.

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A striking wall hanging with the faceless people so characteristic of Deanne’s style, as well as the skillful use of so many colours and shades of green to create the grass. Helen is also a skilled knitter, and made the beautiful sweater she is wearing .

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The piece on the left is a closeup of a portion of a red trillium, inspired by another workshop with Deanne Fitzpatrick.

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Her ‘in progress’ abstract piece which at first glance seems to be in blue…..but…..

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On closer inspection, has a myriad of related colours.

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….even the youngest present was fascinated and needed a close up look.

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Regular readers will be familiar with this unique piece. Last June Helen travelled to Cornwall and took a week long course with Dianne Cox and Sue Dove. This is the result….a deconstructed version of a favourite recipe of her mother’s (I watch the Food Network, that’s how I know the term “deconstructed” ). The recipe itself is written in the bottom right. Her story of the creative process they went through during the course was fascinating.

Helen is always ready to try new and different techniques. This one for her milk weed pod combines her hooking and knitting/crocheting abilities.

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She started by crocheting the shape of the pod into the backing. She then picked up the crocheted loops with a circular knitting needle on one half, and knit the shape of the pod. This was then stuffed with “fluff” and then knit down to create a 3 dimensional milkweed. It was finished by hooking the top with “curly locks” yarn.  I wish I had another photo to show the full effect and the wonderful 3 D milkweed pod.

Our Christmas Pot Luck and Hook In will be on Tuesday, and we’re all going to experiment with hooking alternate fibers. I’ll make sure I take my camera!

A New Dyeing Adventure

Yes, a new adventure, at least for me. Although I have been dyeing my own wool for several years now, I have never yet dyed yarn to whip a rug.  With the spotted/mottled background of the Twin Roses rug, I knew I’d never find yarn to go with it, and a solid colour I felt would distract from the mat.

So….I’m dyeing yarn for the first time. My first step was to watch Gene Shepherd’s video on the subject, and I picked up quite a few pointers which I’m sure will help in this process. The second was to consult with Ann Hallett, who also gave me help and suggestions for a successful result.  Then to buy the white wool yarn to be hooked. There is only one place in my town that carries an all wool yarn, and wouldn’t you know it, they had no white. A quick call to “The Purple Sock” a wonderful yarn shop in the village of Coldwater (about 15 miles from here) and I had found my wool.

The first tip I learned from Gene Shepherd, was to prepare the skein so that it will stay without becoming a bird’s nest in the dyeing process. (Tie it in at least 4 places.)

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…..just divide the skein in three, and loop a piece of yarn around each so it is secure, but can spread out.

Now a time out……and an aside….I got to this point in the process, had my camera at my side to record the dyeing, and guess what….I forgot to take any pictures at all…..never thought of it again until the wool was dyed and lying on a towel!!  I was so annoyed at myself.

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Here’s a quick recap of what I did (without visuals).

The dyeing itself was just the same as the spot dyeing of the background. Spread the skein in a flat pan of simmering water so that it is spread out as much as possible, DSCF5727

(spread out the wool to cover the bottom of the pan and as much as possible so the yarn is exposed to absorb the dye….in the pan….not on the table like this photo)

…..and spot with dye baths plus citric acid. (again I used turquoise, blue 440, lilac, and blue violet).

I wanted the same intensity as the background …so here’s how I figured out how much dye to use (another great tip from Gene Shepherd’s video).  1/4 yard wool is about 3 oz. 1 skein of yarn is about 4 oz. I had dyed 1/2 yard at a time, and used 1/128th tsp of each dye, so I figured I needed a little more than half the dye of the original background. I roughly measured 1/2 of 1/128th tsp of each colour, and ta dah….ended up with the same intensity.

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…some arm stretching help from DH and I’m ready to get on with the finishing.

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In the meantime, I had finished hooking the background, so here it is ready to steam and bind.

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Having forgotten to take photos of the dyeing process, I then went ahead and forgot to take my camera to a wonderful hook in I attended on Wednesday with the hookers in Gravenhurst. So I can’t show you all the rugs on display there, or the wonderful food and hospitality they showed the 13 of us who were there from Sunshine Rug Hooking group. ARGHHHHH!