Proddy Broaches Revisited

I received a “wish” from my daughter-in-law recently, for a proddy broach in the style of a prairie lily. I was quite flattered and more than delighted to see what I could come up with.

Not being a prairie girl myself,  my first task was to google prairie lilies to see what they looked like.

Aha, much like the day lilies I have growing in abundance in my yard. (…..well will have growing if spring ever arrives)

With only six petals, I felt I’d better use blanket weight wool so it wouldn’t be too flimsy….but my supply of blankets is non-existent, and  in fact all I could find was one piece of beige that I’d rejected in other projects because it was too heavy.

OK. I could make this work. What dye(s) would magically transform this blah beige into a vibrant orange. I looked through my charts and decided to try mustard, golden yellow, cantaloupe. and orange.


I dyed a little test strip of each colour….and….

got this…….mustard….too dark and too red    2nd down….cantaloupe……YES!

3rd down……orange ….too dark    bottom…..golden yellow…..too yellow, but with possibilities


I dyed two pieces with the cantaloupe (OK), and two pieces I dyed golden yellow, then dip dyed them sideways on both edges with cantaloupe. These were my favourites. They would have some shading and yellow in  the throat.

I began with a test flower.


….and just laid out the petals on my desk to get an idea of the outcome. 6″ was a bit too big, so I cut down all of the petals about 1/2 “. Of course fixing one problem just presented me with another..cutting them down made them also narrower. I need enough backing covered in the centre to attach the pin and hold the whole thing together without it showing through to the front. Not having the option of adding more petals, I made skinny “lily-leaves” and placed them between the petals.



….then ….out with my trusty “Tacky Glue” and on to the finishing. First I glued the ends of the leaves under the petals.

…then the backing. Many people sew the broach pins to the back, but I choose to purchase the ones that have a sponge sticky pad.  I use a hole punch and pop my pin through the holes, then glue the backing and pin to the back of the flower (staying within the backing circle) The pin sticks to the back and absorbs the glue holding it in place securely.  I’ve found if I use something to spread the glue evenly (like a ruler, old credit card, or piece of heavy construction paper) it makes a much smoother backing.

…a day to dry, and I’m ready for the final step……cutting off the excess backing. I do it from the top so as not to cut into the petals or leaves by mistake.


Finally I use a black fabric marker around the edge to make that white backing edge less obvious.So tomorrow….into the mail and off to Regina, where my wonderful  clever and talented daughter-in-law will have a prairie lily  (the symbol of the Saskatchewan NDP party) to wear on her lapel as she begins door to door canvassing as the NDP candidate for Regina Pasqua in the upcoming provincial election. Thank you Heather for allowing me to have a weeny teeny part in your exciting campaign.






Prodding Little

While I wait for the inspiration muse to find me once again, I’m making another special request for my son Mathieu. …small boutonieres  to fit on the lapel of a new jacket. The trick being that the lapels are very narrow….only 2″. …and the request is for black with a white centre, and white with a black centre.

(I’ll begin by saying I’m going to detail this process so I have a record should I be asked to make more weenie ones)

My first task was to decide how small a circle I would use. I grew up with imperial measurement, and now live in a metric world, so I couldn’t find an “inches” ruler… conversion skills are limited, but I do know that 10cm is 4 inches, so 2 inches must be 5 cm, so I was set! Being very scientific…I used a lid from my nail polish remover to draw the circles….it was 2.5 cm in diameter, leaving space for the outside petals to spill over.



Wow, the circles looked really small. I would have to adjust the strip sizes.




…my first three efforts. The top white one uses #8 strips. the other two were ripped. I formed the inside white row on the left by knotting an end, then pulling up the other end and knotting it, then clipping the ends.


The centre black section of this one was made by prodding square end strips, then clipping them into a fringe.

I couldn’t stick to just black and white when I came upon this red wool. It looked exactly the colour of a new pair of slacks Mathieu had just purchased (although my colour memory is pretty bad). I used the red and oatmeal for this little flower.



The picture don’t show how small these are.

The next step is to spread glue all around the base. Normally I secure the petals with an elastic so they don’t get glue on them, but this proved impossible because they were so small and the elastic just slipped off.



I solved this little problem by wrapping card stock pieces around each one, then adding the elastic to hold it .DSCF5326

Then I applied and spread the glue using another piece of cardstock. (I still got lots on my fingers)  Looks like sushi!

The next step was to apply leaves. I went through my green scraps, and found that the black needed a really strong acid green to show it off. I cut little half leaves….3 for each flower.



…after this I reshaped the bottoms to make them shorter, and to fit around the bottom of the flower, then glued them to the back of the appropriate petals with the bottom snuggly against the backing.



When thoroughly dry I started the finishing.



….ready for the final step. I purchased broach pins at Michael’s, and used the 1″ size. I like the ones that have a stick-on back. I cut felt pieces and used my tiny punch to make a hole for the pin to come through.



Then I spread glue on the back of the proddy, positioned and pressed the pin and felt into place and let it dry overnight.



Today, all that was left, was to carefully cut around the original circle. I find it best to do this from the flower side, not the back side, avoiding cutting in too close.



Tah dah!   Mathieu’s little boutonieres

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.

A Special Request

Last week I had a special request from my son Mathieu. He asked if I would make a brooch for him. Here’s the story.

Friday he would be attending a family wedding.   Mathieu was escorting his very good friend Scarlet, and wanted to buy a tie to match her dress. However he was unable to find one in the right colour, so decided that a boutonniere to match would be a good option. Soooo would mom make one?

I was delighted to be asked…….a photo of Scarlet’s dress was sent to me, and I got out the dye pots.image

Ummm…I thought…a coral pink….and went and dyed 2 pieces   1/16yd each…one a dip dye, one just mottled. Boy did I get it wrong! The slightly dulled cantaloupe was WAY too orange, so I started again. This time with salmon. Still too orangey….so I added  1/2 in. of a toothpick of magenta…..on the right track….but still not right….I think I did that twice more, until I finally had it.

I thumbed through Gene’s proddy flower book for a refresher on the flower types, and made this. I hasten to add that my camera isn’t very accurate with colours, …so these don’t look the same at all, although they were. I chose the centre to go with Mathieu’s shirt.


I had the whole thing finished, when I realized it would look better with some leaves. I cut half leaves and glued them to the petals, tucking the edge under the felt backing.

Here’s the finished product.DSCF5162

…and here it is being worn…


The wedding was at an absolutely lovely country venue…so why oh why did I take this picture in the parking lot of all places!


…my great niece and her proud dadDSCF5182

…in an arbor of trees…DSCF5172…..and my ‘bunch’.

This and That

My friend Cecelia recently finished her second rug. What a beauty! DSCF5067

It is 3 and 4 cut, and she had it professionally framed.  In the picture, it is propped on the piano in our meeting room, but it’s real home is a place of honour on her living room wall. I love the story she told, that her husband had never commented on it all the time she worked on it, but now that it’s finished and hanging, he proudly invites friends into the house to “come and see what my wife made!”  What a feat for a second rug!

A few weeks ago, we had a mini workshop at Sunshine Rug Hookers on making trillium proddy pins to sell as fund raisers at the Quilt and Rug Fair held in September.DSCF4989

Here is a finished one…quick and easy…and just the sort of thing people like to buy at craft fairs. They are sculptured and thus have a 3-D effect.


Edie had hers underway in no time.

The next week we had a refresher course on making proddy pins. The possibilities are endless with these.


…and they’re also highly popular at sales.

I’ve mentioned several times the rug Aurora Rose that our group inherited, completed, and raffled off at R.U.G.

SAM_1228-1We also had a little sale at one of our meetings, and sold the wool that was left over after it was hooked .SAM_2222

As a result…our president Diane, was able to present a cheque for $525 to Gilda’s Club, a wonderful Cancer support Group. ( I appologize for the sideways picture…try as I might I couldn’t turn it.)

In the meantime, I have been hooking away on my memory rug, and received some great input this week from Bea Grant (a wonderful teacher who specializes in primitives) and who just happens to also be a member of Sunshine Rug Hookers.


Thanks Bea for the tips and the encouragement to carry on and “do my own thing”.

A New Background??? Maybe 3rd try will be lucky

Antique black has always been my background colour of choice. So getting this light background right has been a new adventure. I searched through my dye collection again, to see what I could come up with for the new (green only) background colours. I chose the Cushings ‘mint’ I had used before, Majjic Carpet ‘moss green’,  and Prochem ‘drab olive’. I used 1/2 yard Dorr natural, and 1/2 yard oatmeal (each torn in half ).


This time I decided to dye each piece separately and each with just one colour. I used 1/64th tsp of dye in 1 CBW for each 1/4 yard piece, putting 1/2 of the dye bath in the pan, and spooning 1/2 over the wool for the mottled effect I like. I did the moss green and drab olive over the natural wool, and the oatmeal wool I did with the mint and drab olive dyes.


It was interesting that when the drab olive dried, it was way too light (really just off white) , so I re-dyed it  using another 1/64th tsp of drab olive. This time it definitely has blue in it….I think I can still use it, but the blue isn’t noticable on the oatmeal piece that was died with drab olive.

The small bits of background showing through the ribbons, I decided to try with just one colour (moss green), and I like the way it pops the reds out.


Then I thought it was too much contrast with the rest of the background, so I took parts of it out, and did it with several colours of gree…..that was just nasty!…so I rehooked it with the light green. I will have to do a gradual transition to the mottled background. The dip dye I’ve used at the border also doesn’t work….so that will be replaced. I feel that I’m doing more reverse hooking than regular hooking right now, until I get this background settled.

I worked for 2 days on this ‘all green’ background


…but the fact is ….I don’t like it either. I don’t think it enhances the main hooking, and it draws my eye to it far too much. It is also sadly far too much like what I disparagingly call…’public washroom green’. I want something that enhances the figure, but doesn’t call attention to itself.


How I wish I had an ‘artistic eye’, that could envision these things in advance!

Rather than pull anything out at this point, I decided to try just the colours dyed over the oatmeal…they are much duller and more subtle than those dyed over the Dorr natural.


Then I hung it up and I’ve been looking at it now all day. I’m still honestly in a dilemma, not sure how to proceed… motto right now….when in doubt….wait…

The Quilt and Rug Fair is coming up quickly,(September 17th) so I spent a day hooking more ‘proddy pins’. The Sunshine Rug hookers are selling them , and we’re each asked to donate some since this is our main money making event for the year.


I’d like to provide a dozen to sell, plus a few to keep to give away as gifts. I don’t mind making them, but I’m not fond of the finishing (surprise surprise). Since I’m temporarily halted with Hygieia, I have no excuses for leaving them undone!

Taking a break

I actually didn’t hook at all yesterday! I was so intensely involved with Adele, I feel I’ve come up for a bit of air!  ….(and I got up at 4am and watched the royal wedding)


I now have 9 of my projected 12 brooches made. I went back to the originals and added a bit of glitz to them so they now have a bit of sparkle.

Next weekend I’m off to the Matrix workshop with Jennifer Manuell, so my main chore this week is to do three more brooches, and sort wool in preparation for that. …we’re to take as many colours in each colour family as possible. (my stash is still relatively small)


my purple bin


my blue bin


my green bin

I store my wool in basic colour families, but it is mostly just dropped in the appropriate bin.

And….I want to pull some loops on my hall runner background. I promised myself I would work on it 10 minutes a day while I was working on Adele….but I didn’t!


It’s getting so heavy that just rolling it out and back up again is a chore….so it has been rolled up and idle for a couple of months….


this larger section still to be done


and this smaller one

… near to completion!…and yet so far!