People, Places, Passion..A Tribute to Margaret Kennedy

The Sunshine Rug Hookers were treated on Tuesday to a wonderful talk and the reminiscences of Margaret’s life , particularly through her rug hooking. She began by explaining that as soon as she developed the ability to design and hook her own patterns, she was moved to create pieces significant to her in one of the three “P’s”….people, places, and her passions.

…But of course, before she got to that point, she started with the (then) obligatory shaded flowers. She didn’t like the pattern, or the flowers or the colours, and joked that it was a wonder she ever finished it…but finish it she did,,, and now she loves it, and it lies beside her bed where she happily steps on it every morning as she gets out of bed.


Deanne Fitzpatrick was an early influence…


….and she was beginning her own expression by adding Ontario symbols around the border. She laughingly recounted that she had read about Deanne’s suggestion of the staggered outline, and that was why this dear lady has large black freckles on her body.


She eventually travelled to Nova Scotia for a course with Deanne, and by now her style and subject matter were firmly her own. This is her son and their Standard Schnauzer ivy.

She  was very interested in her ancestors who had settled in western Canada, and did several small pictures copied from old photos.


A large version of one of these is on her ‘to do’ list.

Margaret is an avid hiker and loves nature, so these maple leaves ar very close to her heart.


Her sister and their activities together are  frequent topics for her rugs.


….it looks like a very happy memory….

This piece of the two of them skating as children, is hooked entirely from ‘as is’ blankets cut by hand into strips about 1/2 inch wide.


She had to set it aside until she found a blanket the right colour to complete the ice at the bottom. This has recently been found, so she can now finish this wonderful memory rug.

She showed us the original pattern she drew for this rug, and you can see that it evolved into something quite different as the planning progressed, eventually losing many of the background details and even many of the people.DSCF6020

This wonderful rug was hooked for her husband, who wanted a rug to go on the floor and to be only neutrals.  It is entitled “The Fen” and contains outlines of plants and animals found in a marsh near their country home.


Margaret paid a lovely tribute to the Sunshine group, who she said, were not only a wonderful and supportive group of people, but she so appreciated the many ideas that she was exposed to through the workshops presented by the many talented teachers  in the group.

Her bird….taught by Linda Wilson…


….an introduction to needle felting….DSCF6017


This is a cosy for her coffee pot which wraps around the pot and fastens with the loops.

….a workshop on special stitches….


….(which she says she can’t finish since she wouldn’t then be able to see the back and know how to replicate the stitches),  and many other small projects done through the inspiration of the group…

DSCF6004Margaret keeps a file of ideas and inspirations, and draws her patterns from these pictures. She shared the germ of several future rugs with us….these wonderful japanese designs….


….and this inspiration of a cross country skate style skier.


Margaret is an avid skier, and in fact had a skiing date right after our meeting.DSCF6018

….as you can see here on the left, she is appropriately and elegantly dressed for a rug hookers meeting, but with one swift movement…..DSCF6028

(sorry that it’s blurry….I was laughing too hard to hold the camera steady) ….off comes the dress……..on goes the ski jacket……


…and she’s ready to go! Thanks Margaret for a wonderful morning.

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).


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.


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 .


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


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


On closer inspection, has a myriad of related colours.


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


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.


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!

Background Dilemma

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Sunshine Rug Hookers, we had an interesting discussion. Margaret is hooking this rug for her son and daughter-in-law. She is ready to begin the background.


So last Saturday, she and Mary Anne had a wonderful day’s outing to Martina Lasar’s lovely log cabin shop in Caledon, where she purchased this wool for the background.


Problem solved you might say…..but Margaret’s dilemma was how to hook the background to best set off the whole piece. She decided to elicit ideas from the many talented hookers in the group, and to that end, she made a rough sketch of the piece, and asked people to draw in their idea of how best to hook the background.


There were almost as many ideas as there were hookers. Some of the suggestions were….echoing the wheel movement of the border…..straight line hooking as a foil for the circular aspects of the bike and the border……..squiggles to provide a mottled background which wouldn’t compete with the foreground…….choosing a wide variety of cuts to give a diversity to the background….a background of small circles to subtly reinforce the “wheel” aspect………. all terrific options…..which just reminds us that the background, although not what immediately grabs the eye (hopefully) is an important feature in creating the overall effect.

I’ll let you know what she decides to go with.

Our group is preparing to help celebrate Sir John A. MacDonald’s birthday (I think 200th?) in February 2015. (for my American readers…Sir John A. MacDonald was the first Prime minister of Canada, and “revered”  as  the Father of Confederation…..somewhat as the Canadian version of George Washington…although the country was negotiated into existence….not fought for).

To that end we are looking at hooking some “old style” rugs, and Margaret found these patterns which were probably purchased by her grandmother.


What could be more Canadian than this old  Bluenose pattern of beaver……or this pictorial depicting the making of maple sugar….


….in fact….Margaret hooked this rug years ago (she said it was actually just her second piece).


I love love love it. I could look at all the colours used in the snow  for ages. It’s not only an example of an early rug pattern, but a depiction of a typical Canadian farm activity and how sugaring was done in the “good old days”.

Both of these patterns are now available from Rags to Rugs in Pictou Nova Scotia.  Check them out (and many other Bluenose patterns) at

I’ll have to get my thinking cap on about what I can hook to contribute  to the celebration show.

October Sunshine Show and Tell

While I was off in the maritimes, Sunshine Hookers were hard at work. Since we had a show and tell at my first meeting back, I’ll share their progress here.


This is a wonderful rug by Ann Hallett celebrating the Coldwater river (which runs through the village of Coldwater).


Kathy is re-creating her mom’s garden.


Lynda is working on “chippy” begun at the workshop with Wendie Scott Davis.


An almost completed barn…


…designed by Mary Ann’s dh in the style of Deanne Fitzpatrick. (I hope I have that information correct Mary Ann)


I love that water…


This is ready to be bound without whipping …I really must try that sometime.

DSCF5698Gayle has just started this Sheila Klugescheid pattern. I think it’s called “Summer Flowers”.


Jeanne is making a set of chair pads…each with different flowers….not sure which number this is.


You can always count on Gail for amazing colour and design.


Judy’s starting to finish these wonderful animals. LOVE the colours!


Edie’s chicks are hatching…in preparation for the International Plowing Match next fall where the Quilt and Rug Fair will be exhibited


I should know who is hooking these morning glories, but I don’t  remember…..sigh.


Margaret is creating a wonderful rug for her son and daughter-in-law.


Judith is designing this colourful undersea adventure as she goes.


Jeanne found this whimsical old pattern and brought it in to show us. It is being copied to hook on new backing. What a great old pattern.

In the meantime, I’m working away on my old pattern, and I’ll show my progress and dyeing failures and successes with it in the next post.

The Barn Project Unveiled

Saturday was once again the meeting of R.U.G. and the day when the rugs entered in “the barn project” were handed in, and shown to all those present……just to fill in the background for those of you who are new to my blog….R.U.G. stands for “ruggers united gathering”, and is held twice a year at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie Ontario Canada. It is an open gathering attended by rug hooking guilds and individuals from a large area of central Ontario. Different guilds and groups are hosts for the meetings which involve show and tell, vendors, a program, and over the years it has evolved into a large and active gathering.

Two years ago the Huronia Branch of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in cooperation with the Simcoe County Museum, announced an exhibition of rug hooking celebrating the barns of rural Canada, a fast disappearing feature of our landscape. By the May R.U.G. 2014  gathering, these rugs will be on display at the museum, then will go on a tour of other museums for a couple of years. At Saturday’s R.U.G., they were handed in, and shown for the first time to everyone there. There were 58 rugs entered from all over Canada. There wasn’t room for them to be displayed in any way yet, so the pictures I took were just of them being “walked” around.  Unfortunately some are missing. In spite of help from Wendy Bowes in taking the photos while I was busy, my batteries faded and finally died altogether. Jean Chabot came to the rescue with an extra set of batteries, but in the process, I missed some of the rugs, and the pictures taken of a few while the batteries were on their “last legs” are far  from good, but I’ll include some of them anyway, just so you can see the wide range of barns and styles in this upcoming show.


While I remember comments about some of the barns, I’ll post them largely without comment as there are so many. This is the first half, the second  half I’ll show in the next blog post.DSCF5633

Many of the pieces were story rugs full of personal significance.DSCF5634

A few dealt with architechtural aspects and their inspiration.DSCF5635

This was the only 3-D entry…mounted round silos.DSCF5406

The picture of my barn didn’t turn out, but I’ve included a (before binding) photo of it in the slot where I presented it.DSCF5636DSCF5637DSCF5639DSCF5640DSCF5645DSCF5646DSCF5647DSCF5650

This is a terrible photo, but I’ve included it because my favourite part is the ladies in the bottom..DSCF5649

This is the top half of the same barn.DSCF5652DSCF5653DSCF5654DSCF5655DSCF5656

On Saturday, each hooker told a bit about their rug, and for the show itself, there will be a printed synopsis with each rug. My apologies to the people whose rugs I missed.

Stay tuned for the rest of the barns in the next post.

Sunshine Rug Hookers Meet Again

After the summer, Sunshine Rug Hookers always meet for the first time on the day after Labour Day. We get off to a running start since the Rug and Quilt Fair is held on the 3rd Saturday of September at the Simcoe County Museum and there’s lots of preparation necessary.

It was great to see what everyone had been working on over the summer., or  starting as a fall project.


Someone had started hooking this polar bear with nylons and decided that nylons weren’t for them…..gave it to Luise…and she is now going to do her magic


Edie is just beginning this piece called A Yard of Chicks.


Hilda continues with her project…..well into her 90’s and with very little sight, she is an inspiration for us all.


Jeanne’s project is applique rather than hooking. She is making a fall table centrepiece. This woman is a wizard with a needle and thread.


Jan is working on a Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern which she started while taking one of Deanne’s on-line courses. It’s called Poppies on the Edge of Town.


Mary  is working on  a pattern by Deanne’s sister. (what a talented family)


At first Teresa didn’t want me to take a photo of this, but she relented when I said what a good story it would make. She had watched the video of the Doris Eaton method of finishing, and liked it on the first rug she did it on. (black tape and a black background). After getting part way through this piece, she realized she didn’t like the white tape against the grey background, and is now deciding how to fix it…..the grey will come out, and it may end up all white, or at least white around the edges….final decision still to come…..learning point….the background and the tape need to match for the best results of this technique. (she points out that what she really should have done was dye the tape to match the background before applying it.)


Diane is making coasters to sell at the Quilt and rug Fair….but it looks more like wearable art here.


Kathy didn’t bring a hooking project, but in fact was doing the most important chore of the morning….preparing the sign-up sheet for coffee and goodies for the year. (We hookers need sweets and stimulation to keep going).


Helen has finished her unique memory rug of her Mom, which even includes the recipe for her Tomato Butter.

DSCF5429Ann says she’s getting to the end of her pile of unfinished projects. She had to make adjustments to her turkey when she realized that “she” was a “he”. Don’t you love that unique background.


Over the summer, Lynda completed this wonderful Sheila Klugescheid pattern. She hooked the sheep with wool which came directly from Scotland. The vertical hooking of the background is really effective .


Jackie is finishing this inherited fine shading piece. She has a wonderful silk cording to go around the edge of the pillow.


Cynthia’s wonderful creativity runs in the family. Her sister sent her a box of “goodies” with a note saying use this to make something,,,,and “make something” she did! This amazing mixed media quilted hanging is a work of art….with applique, and hooking with wools, yarns, silks etc, and topped off with a binding made from beautiful fabric which had belonged to her late mother-in-law. Just wow!


Linda’s Pan Am rug is really taking shape. I marvel at how her stick figures so accurately represent the various sports.


…and now to veer totally off topic….I want to share this monster with you. It grew unbidden and uninvited just in front of our compost box, and is rapidly taking over that corner of the yard. The compost box has completely disappeared. Ray and I have been eating yellow zuchinni nearly every night (I’ve been searching for different ways to cook it)……We’ve no idea how the seed(s) came to be there in the first place….I haven’t bought yellow zuchinni in years. Manna from heaven!

Let’s Party

Tuesday was the year end get together for the Sunshine Rughookers….a day of hooking…a yummy pot luck…friends to visit…..hooking projects to see….and all at a wonderful lakeside location. DSCF5248_2

Mary Lou had a slide show and many wonderful stories from the opening of The Rug Hooking Museum of North America in Nova Scotia. (we had two representatives there…Mary Lou, and Linda Wilson)

It was a perfect day…but oh so hot! I had no swimsuit, but not to be dissuaded by such a tiny detail…I stripped off my t-shirt…and swam in my clothes. Cold water never felt sooooo good. Spending the rest of the day in wet pants and underwear was a small price to pay for being cool.  (no alcohol was involved in this incident)


That speck in the water is me ….perfectly decent with only my head showing. (Gayle couldn’t believe I’d do such a thing., and grabbed my camera to take the picture)

Later in the day we watched a loon swimming by and a great blue heron flying past…..all this within the city limits.

Cynthia and Helen had just returned from taking a course in Cornwall England, and shared their wonderful adventure with us..  Helen, brought her work and told us all about how they came up with their designs…fascinating!  All based on de-constructing and re-creating. Everything was hooked with “as is” found fabrics picked up at used clothing stores….and chosen solely for the colours and effects they could provide. T shirts, skirts, dresses, shawls…anything at all was used.


Helen’s piece…a tribute to her mother….is based on her mother’s Tomato Butter, a family favourite. Helen transferred the actual recipe to cloth and hooked it into the bottom right of the piece. The rest shows the various components or the Tomato butter. What a special memento this will be!

Cheri and Gail have just returned from a trip to the states, where they spent a day with fibre artist Rea Harrell. This was not their first visit to her studio, and they were drawn back again by her wonderful and innovative work.


This amazing “container” made by Rea, was first crocheted, then the hooking was done into the crocheting, with a variety of other techniques, like the coiled wool, yarn and beads etc

Lucky Cheri and Gayle, had a day’s workshop with her and this is Gail’s piece.


….and Cheri’s


Both Gail and Cheri are talented innovative artists in their own right, and used to hooking in the “freeform” style with purposely uneven heights, so the biggest change for them was keeping the loops once again even and uniform in these pieces. They practiced the designing by drawing with their eyes closed.

Jean brought another interesting rug. Here’s the story behind it.


A number of years ago, a gentleman gave her this large, nearly finished rug. It had been hooked by his wife, who had passed away, and he didn’t want it. It didn’t come with any wool, and wondering how best to finish it, Jean rolled it up, put it in a closet and forgot about it.

She doesn’t want the rug, and so once again the Sunshine hookers are debating about how best to finish it and put it to good use.

I took photos of many people’s work, but I know I missed some as well…so here’s a sampling ….and any details I can remember about the pieces…


Isabel’s moose from Wendie’s photo mat workshop is finished. She’s debating on the colour to use for binding it.


This is a stool cover, being hooked by Jeanne.


Barb says her butterfly piece keeps growing and growing.


This landscape is nearly finished.


The edge of this piece is being crocheted with wool dyed in coffee….never tried that…but what a great colour.


The extra “spark ” of colour was added at the request of the hooker’s son.


This lighthouse was on a table, unattended, so I have no information on it.

We have a sister group of hookers in Gravenhurst, a town about 25 miles north, and they joined us for the day. Here is some of their work.




This hooker is making a rug for her dog, who has recently been ill.


This wonderful “muskoka” pine is being hooked from the photo.

…and I saved the best till last…


…our wonderful Hilda…90 plus years young, and unable to see…she still hooks up a storm, and enjoys a day’s outing with friends.

What a great way to start the summer!

A Tribute to Erma Newhouse

After a two day scare when I thought I had lost my camera forever… dear husband found it and the sigh of relief could be heard all over the house! Soooo I am delighted to be able to share these photos of Erma’s work, after fearing they were lost and gone.


Erma is a multi talented fiber artist, with rug hooking being just one of her many skills.


A striking pillow. My favourite lamb is that off white one. I think he’s the leader of the flock!


This Waldoboro rose is hooked on verel, and was done as a part of her course requirements for the Georgian College diploma in fibre arts.


Erma brought a sampling of the many forms of work she has done…bear making…


….print making…


…silk dyeing….these were sooo beautiful…


weaving ….towells and..



blankets. …and crocheting…


I was intrigued by this blanket…one side has a multi coloured highlight…the other side is green. I’ve never before seen reversible crocheting.


Erma is also a skilled basket weaver…


This little one is actually made from pine needles.


Erma not only made these moccasins, but did the traditional beadwork as well.


You can see on the table examples of her photography and print making as well. My photos of those didn’t turn out.

Thanks Erma for sharing your work with us… are a very talented lady!

and thank YOU for stopping by to see her work.

A Day at R.U.G. Part 2

For me, one of the best things about rug hooking is the wide range of cuts, styles, and materials used by hookers.

DSCF5045Wow…look at the detail in this fine cut landscape. This is another example of a partially finished rug acquired by a hooker who finished it. Hooking in a 3 cut is not what I usually do now…but I certainly admire the fine work done by others.

DSCF5042This colourful leaf mat is a first rug. What a fine beginning! Since taking the photo, I’ve noticed lots of interesting detail that I missed when it was shown. ….all the little bugs throughout…especially the hot pink one in the upper left corner.


I showed Gayle’s rug while it was still underway, and here it is finished. Gayle was recently on a safari in South Africa, and this rug evokes the colours and shapes she saw there.DSCF5048

….another rug hooked by Gayle. This time a geometric scrappy.


This lovely small landscape hooked by Lorna is another example resulting from Wendie Scott Davis’s workshop (not the recent one I attended).


I love the braided edge on this mat…oh so wish I had the patience and skill to do that! I’m also extremely partial to anything to do with lambs….(Lamb was my maiden name).


I must have been distracted when these two handsome rugs were presented, because I can’t recall any details about them.


I also showed Karen’s spectacular zebras in an earlier post, but she has since had it framed…boy does that ever put the finishing touch on it. The frame has all the colours of the background. Great choice Karen!


I love how the edging line in this floral creates a border while not changing the background colour.

Deanne Fitzpatrick is a very popular designer in this area, whether or not the hooker hooks    in her free form style or not.



Whether its houses…..DSCF5056

….or hockey…her patterns are always so distinctive.

At last year’s annual, famed cartoonist Karen Johnston provided an inch worm (I admit I thought it was a caterpillar) as the “hand out” pattern for all attendees (How appropriate since the theme was “All About Bugs”) You may remember my version….Charlie…who made a repeat visit on the blog post…”Oh So Blue” not long ago.

The ladies from North Bay brought along their completed versions, and had a unique method  of presenting them which I though was so cute.



There were so many I couldn’t fit them all into one photo.

…and I saved the best for last…DSC03727

R.U.G. is a wonderful place or old friends to get together. Dorothy Braithwaite and Hilda Hayes were delighted to reminisce about past good times and high jinks they shared while attending Trent Rug Hooking School.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Day at R.U.G. part 1

For those of you who live in other areas, R.U.G. ( Rughookers United Gathering) is a twice yearly get together held at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie Ontario. Admittance is free (a purse is passed for donations to the museum), and all rug hookers are welcome. It began as a gathering for local groups, but has become popular, and now people travel from a wide area of Ontario to attend.

There are venders, show and tell, a speaker, or programme, and various other activities, and causes that are promoted. (yesterday our group Sunshine Rug Hookers held a draw for this rug. The proceeds all going to Gilda’s Club, a support for cancer patients and their families.)DSCF5063

The rug was donated, partially finished to our group who then finished it, and decided to use it to raise money for a worthy cause. It is circular (it is hanging over a rail in this photo). Someone went home with a great memento of the day!DSCF5035IShow and Tell is always the highlight , with many wonderful rugs and stories shared. I’m sure many of you read Jennifer Manuell’s blog Fish Eye Rugs, and know that she made a life changing (her words) trip to Guatemala this winter. They visited a group of hookers there who are creating rugs from used local clothing…..and she purchased this rug from a Guatemalan lady. The colours and design are so distinctive….it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes.

A small, informal group of hookers get together each week at a yummy shop in the village of Coldwater (about 15 miles west of where I live). The shop, The Purple Sock, specializes in wool and teas (interesting combination), but also carries some hooking supplies. The women in this group read the article in Rug Hooking Magazine about the Yahookers “SIncerely Jane” challenge, and decided to do their own version.DSCF5049DSCF5050DSCF5051DSCF5052 They each bought the book “Dear Jane” and laid out and drew the squares for their rug. Each rug was then passed around to the participants, and each hooker added a square from the original quilt to every rug so that the owner didn’t see her own rug until it was returned with the blocks filled in.

I didn’t take notes about what people said about their rugs, and it is all very informal, so no names were attached to the mats, so if I’ve got some info wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct it


This hooker is working to become a certified Jane McGown teacher, and this is her piece for fine shading.


And her scrolls…


A beautiful scrappy geometric…I’m pretty sure this is by Jo-Anne, and was given to her daughter to put by her bed in residence…her first year away from home at University.


Iris took city transport to catch her ride to R.U.G., so she brought 2 small rugs….this lovely kilim…..


….and this eye catching blues piece…..a variety of textures (including some bling) and some needle punch.


This wonderful mat is from a picture of the hooker’s parents. what amazing hooking!

I’ve got lots more to show….and I’ll do it next post. Right now…..the day is sunny and DH and I are heading out to pick up wonderful fresh drinking water at the spring in Elmvale……the world’s purest water.

Stay tuned for the rest.