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

 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).


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.

Two Down…????? To Go …plus Pan Am

That’s right. I’ve completely finished two rugs, and I haven’t counted how many yet to go.

Sir John was the first , since I needed to show him as a part of the Sunshine Sir John A. group at R.U.G.. What an adventure that was. I found out the Tuesday before R.U.G. that he was needed, and although I could have shown him unfinished, I was determined to have it completely done. It seemed reasonable….just the few gaps in the background and completing the rows of black around the edge. DSCF6300


By Thursday evening, I had completed the hooking, zigzagged the edge, cut and used my clips to secure the edge, and then steamed it down. Friday I would just have to sew down the back edge, creating the packets from the backing. Easy and quick!. (here’s the back…)


I snapped this photo just after steaming the edge down, and went off to bed.

Friday morning I flipped it over, and discovered that the white backing showed up along the edges of the black border, and I knew I’d never be happy with it if I finished it the way I’d intended. After contemplating a variety of possible solutions, I finally settled on whipping the edge in black yarn…..just a teeny tiny whipped edge to cover up the white. Great idea…but it took me HOURS! I worked literally all day Friday, and then stitched the whole thing down after supper Friday night.

I was so tired that I didn’t even take a picture of the finished piece, and now it’s gone off with the pieces to be displayed at the annual. I’ll eventually get a photo of it finished to post here.

Yesterday I completed “Scott’s Dogs”. No drama with the finishing of this one. Whew! I tried a different way to finish a rug for hanging (well a bit different for me). I whipped the edge through the binding tape, and tacked it down (Gene Shepherd’s technique) , then created loops along the top using strips of the binding tape.


The black loops don’t really show up against the black tape. I made 5 loops across the back so hopefully that’s enough to have it hang nicely.

That’s number two finished.


And now for a flashback to R.U.G. Along with the barn display, there was a display of rugs celebrating the Pan Am Games. Here’s the background.

The Pan AM (Pan American …all the countries of North and South America) games are to be held next year in Toronto. OHCG is hoping to have a Canadian hooked rug to present to each country, and both groups and individuals have been working on the project for some time. Designs were submitted, and hookers could choose one of the selected designs or one of their own. Some of these rugs were on display at R.U.G.


There was certainly lots of eye candy at R.U.G. what with the Barn Project and the Pan Am Rugs, and the usual wonderful “show and tell” which I didn’t get even one photo of!

I’m looking forward to the Annual at Durham College in two weeks where I know there will be another wonderful rug display. For now it’s back to the finishing for me!  Next……


Starting and Ending

I’m on the last legs of the hooking for my eldest son’s ‘dog memory’ rug….(about time since it was for his birthday last July).


Hooking the background was fun and relaxing and straightforward . I did some tweaking of the colours, removing all  of the dark red colour that I felt popped out too much. Then it was a search through my worms to find wool for Winston (the lab) and Jessie (the shepherd/huskie).


WInston is hooked with leftovers from Adele.


….and Jessie from bits and pieces of unknown origin…


He is almost finished. Jessie has a special story. He was acquired from the SPCA in Regina Saskatchewan by my middle son Mark who at the time had 3 small children. Unfortunately one of the children was rough with Jessie, and he retaliated by nipping him. Mark’s wife no longer felt it was safe to have him, and Mark tried to return him to the SPCA. However, having bitten a child, Mark was told he was now unadoptable, and would be euthanized. Mark was devastated, and as a last resort, phoned his older brother in Ontario to see if he would save Jessie’s life. Scott agreed, and so Jessie made the long trip by air from Regina to Toronto, and lived a happy life with Bogey (the lab/great dane)  in the Ontario woods of Medonte.


….so that’s the “finishing part”…..I have been “starting” my Sir John cartoon……well actually getting prepared to start.

Having decided on a size, I drew a grid on the picture. I actually goofed with this, and drew 1 cm squares, when it should have been 2 cm squares.


I fixed it as best I could, and numbered and lettered the squares for easy drawing reference.

Using red dot on my 2″ grid board, I then drew the basic outlines of the cartoon. (I pretty much ignore the 1″ dots on the red dot as I’ve found they are not entirely accurate….the 2″ grid you see in the photo is from the board underneath))

DSCF5979….in progress….



This was then positioned and pinned on the background and slowly drawn over with a sharpie to produce the pattern….


….Ready to start hooking.

I’m in the process of getting the wool for this project, so it will be awhile before the hooking actually begins. You might think …black and white….what’s so hard about colour choice with that???? …..  but it’s not quite that simple. Thanks so much to Elizabeth Marino,  Wanda Kerr,  Michelle Halber, Ivi Collier, and various Yahookers for their colour help and suggestions about how best to hook a cartoon entirely in black and white. I’m excited to get this project underway.

Too Hot to Handle

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not I hot weather person. Give me a snow fall any day, a biting wind  even, and it doesn’t phase me.


This is my idea of a spectacular day.

So getting through the weather we have had in central Ontario for the last week has been a struggle. 34 C  (93F) with a humidex of over 40F (104F) is not my idea of fun. All of this to explain why I haven’t picked up a hook in several days.

Last weekend, the memory rug, now renamed Mathieu’s Pets, was finished and delivered.

DSCF5290Several proddy broaches have been made and sent to my daughter-in-law in Regina


…., and then instead of forging ahead with a new and exciting project at the beginning of the week, the temperature soared and both motivation and energy  deserted me. Late this afternoon, we had a severe thunderstorm, and high winds, and the temperature dropped from 34 to 22 (72F) in 15 minutes. If the heat wave is truly over, I’m sure my  inspiration will return. Please bear with with me.

I Tried….But I Just Can’t

Well my intentions were good….to hook an authentic primitive styled rug…specifically in the style of Magdelena Briner…..but it’s just not in me!


I started hooking Beijong…our Chinese shar pei. (wrinkle dog)..and included the characteristics of the breed….curled tail, small tight ears, square snout, and bulky body. Before you knew it, I had altered his rump and added two more legs to make it look more like him and it no longer looked very primitive.


Then I began the pets we now have (Beijong has been dead for 12 years)….2 siamese cats, and a standard schnauzer. If they were going to be identifiable as siamese (which I wanted) they had to have their points visible……Akuma…the seal point is on the left, and Akira…the lilac point on the right. I hadn’t intended to shade Akuma…but just happened to have wool left over from my large protrait of him  (Heidi Kramer’s pattern fat cat) ….so of course it made sense to use it. ….woops…too much realism again!


Now here’s the real Akira….he helps me  with everything I do at the computer.DSCF5128

Baxter is our Standard Schnauzer and again I readjusted his stance and added a leg to make him more lifelike. (He looks a bit chubby here because the backing isn’t lying flat)

Perhaps if I’d chosen generic animals instead of beloved pets….but I knew I was in trouble even when I was drawing the templates. My need for them to actually look like themselves was too strong. I could happily leave eyes and details out…but could not force myself to add faces that weren’t realistic (so my sitting cats show their backsides)

DSCF5127….so there it is….the end of my attempt…and now I’ll carry on with my memory rug in a wide cut (8) and I’ll use Magdelena style background, (although when I started that I realized I couldn’t be authentic there either).  I’m not putting myself down….just recognizing that what pleases me is what I have to hook…not only in substance, but in style as well.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Much earlier in my hooking journey, I read a book by Deanne Fitzpatrick, and tried to hook a piece in her style…..couldn’t do that either….I am by nature a low hooker, and love the look of even loops, so I can’t get that wonderful effect Deanne creates.

One of the very best things about the Sunshine Rug Hookers group is that we have very skilled traditional hookers in fine cuts who do detailed shading and realistic portraits and landscapes, and we have others who hook with alternate fibers, hand cut their material, and pull high loops, and create pieces which take my breath away….and we have those in the middle…like me….who enjoy wide cuts (6 and 8) and strive for a painterly style. If you’re going to the Annual in Kingston this week end…stop by the Orillia Sunshine Rug Hookers display, and you’ll see what I mean….we do it all!….but I don’t (sigh).

Lynda (also a Sunshine Rughooker) commented on this blog on face book..and said it so well that I wanted to add it here……” I guess some of us are sopranos and some are altos but we have a “harmonious” group.”

Starting Magdelena Briner and Finishing Althea

While I’ve always admired rugs hooked in the primitive style, I was never inspired to hook one myself. But then I kept seeing the rugs of Magdelena Briner Eby on various sites. and was fascinated by her distinctive style and colours. I decided my next venture would be a primitive rug in her style.   I ordered the book “Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdelena Briner Eby” from Woolley Fox  and quickly read it from cover to cover..DSCF5102_2

..and now  I’m beginning my Magdelena style rug. I wanted to use animals that were significant to me, and thought of the wildlife of this area…..deer, beaver, moose etc….but others have done that. I wanted something more personal.

I made a list of the pets my youngest son has had, and it turned out to be 4 dogs, 6 cats, and one white rat, plus numerous fish…..aha…that sounds like a “rug full”….so my next venture is entitled “Mathieu’s Pets”.


I sketched outlines, and made templates on bristol board.


….then simply traced them on the backing.  Right away it becomes apparent why I have never been a “primitives ” hooker….my animals even just as outlines…are way too accurate….but I can only go against my own nature just so far….and this may become more a memory rug than anything else.

I love the colours and backgrounds of the Magdelena rugs, and when I was at  R.U.G. I picked up some wool that I thought of as” Magdelena colours.”


.I have lots of “blacks” to “spark” these up.

..and pulled out a stack of browns I bought last year from Jennifer Manuell..


….sorry…I forgot to crop that plastic bag they are sitting on…..So those are the basic colours I’m thinking of using (but always subject to change).

I’m itching to get hooking now….BUT….first ….the dreaded finishing requirement is once more upon me.

May 25th weekend is the yearly Annual of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in Kingston. And while I’m not going to it this year, the Sunshine Rug Hookers will have a display and Althea is to make the trip on my behalf.

When I finished hooking her, my back and legs were acting up. so I rolled her up without even steaming her. Now she must be finished and ready to go in less than a week.

My first little problem came with the zigzagging when I had to deal with the fact that I had drawn the pattern way too close to one side (who knows why!) I solved that little dilemma by leaving half the tape on the edge and sewing through it so it wouldn’t ravel.


I pulled off the excess when I was done, and didn’t worry about what was left.

My preference for my rugs which will hang on the wall is to just turn the backing under……but I still like it to be a nicely finished rug, with straight edges, and  stitching hidden as much as I can. I fold and steam along the ditches, and have fought with myriad pins during this process in the past . I now have these wonderful little clips  ( intended for quilters) which make the process soooo much easier…not one pin required!


…everything is held securely in place, and I just remove the clips before steaming that section.


I like that straight edge with no pin marks or puckers. I use the backing to create a pocket for the rod, so it is all in one process,. That’s why there are no mitered corners.


So here is Althea, laying up-side-down to dry, and all I have to do now is blind stitch the edges down before next Tuesday….easy..peasy!

Sites where I got my Magdelena inspiration….three of my favourites..check them out!




Thanks for stopping by.