Catching Up

It has been several months since I last posted, the longest gap in all the years I’ve been recording my hooking adventures here. With fall well under way and a skiff of snow on the ground this morning, it’s time for me to get rejuvenated and re-enthused about hooking.

While I did very little hooking in the past few months, I did complete my Prairie Sky, framed it, and gave it to my son and daughter-in-law when they visited at Thanksgiving.DSCN1618

Since they are in the process of relocating from the prairies to Ontario, it also seems an appropriate reminder of home.

I’ve  noticed several people on facebook asking recently about how to frame a piece of hooking and as you might expect there are quite a variety of methods. I’m certainly no expert, having only framed two of my pieces, but this is how I completed this piece. I seldom hook a border, so I wanted to set off the hooking  by using matting around the edges. (I decided to record it here so that I can remember what I did. )

  1. thoroughly steam and block  the piece so that it was an accurate rectangle
  2. purchased a frame that was larger than my hooked piece, and matting slightly bigger than the frame
  3. I had the matting cut to exactly fit the size of the hooking
  4. purchased foam board to back the hooking and cut it to fit the hooking
  5. stretched the hooking over the foam board by lacing with very strong ‘thread’ (I actually unravelled strands of  rug warp and used that)DSCN1614…here it is underway
  6. when finished I clipped the ends to about 3″ and glued them to adjacent strands making a neat back (which no one will ever see)
  7. I removed and discarded the glass from the frame, and popped the hooking through the matting.
  8. I used strong tape on the back to hold the hooking even against the matting, then added the cardboard filler and finished back of the frame.

I’m sure that’s neither the best nor most efficient way to do it, but it worked to my satisfaction.

Now it’s back to my unfinished ‘Virgins’.DSCN1652I am determined to compete the arch before going on to the village, and I’ve actually hooked quite a bit of the light left hand section in the past few days. I still have lots to go , as you can see, and I’m being very careful not to waste any wool, so that I will have enough. Much of it was left over from the background of my ‘stacked log cabin’ piece, and I’m even cutting down my left over #8 strips.DSCN1654DSCN1658….now I’m using #3, so while a bit fiddley….it works well.DSCN1659

…one strip ….DSCN1660….becomes 3 (or 2….depending)

I’ve also come to a decision about one of the dilemmas holding me back in this piece…..the sky! According to the parable , it must be either night, or at least evening. I’ve made the arch dark, and a night sky would not look good against that at all. (didn’t plan that ahead very well!) So…..my solution (at this point anyway) is to ditch the parable, and the lamps the ladies are holding, and leave myself the option of any sky colour I want. Now it’s just two medieval maidens! DSCN1653

I feel better already!

Now if I can just find that flesh coloured wool to complete the two hands…….

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Sky Style

I’ve finally finished the roadside and pavement of my Prairie Sky piece, (after making a number of colour changes and adjustments to the hooking style). I ended up using a variety of materials….3 different plaids, wool yarn and two different colours of sari silk. DSCN1569Now to turn my full attention to the sky.

I’d tried some areas and ripped most out. I needed to make a decision about how I was actually going to hook it as well , of course, as the colour choices.

My initial colour selection was this: blues I dug out of my stash.DSCN1533….but as I  experimented, I didn’t like the effect of the very dark blues at all. I needed more pale shades. DSCN1535I took this photo awhile ago and I’m not sure why there are only two pieces since I actually dyed four light shades these being the lightest and darkest.

I wanted the clouds to be highlighted, and so I’m using a variety of white wool yarns plus Dorr natural wool .DSCN1551My biggest dilemma was this…….would I hook the sky straight across (bottom right sky sample) or wavy and directional (cloud beginnings). I thought about this for a number of weeks while completing the bottom roadside section. The answer I came up with? Do both. I’ll make the clouds contour the actual shapes and the sky will be pretty well straight lines.  Every time I go through this sort of process, I think afterwards….that is so OBVIOUS! why did it take me so long to figure it out?  So I’m on my way…DSCN1567I knew I would need to dye more pale blue shades and yesterday was the day.

DSCN1563I now have  a wide variety of blue shades to use in finishing my sky.

Many thanks to Lucy Richard  of The Wooly Mason Jar. I recently watched her video about how to dye 1/2 yard of wool  using her amazing colour wheel system of dyeing. I’ve never tried her system,  but I picked up a number of hints from the video which were really helpful. …some hints about micro wave dyeing eg. timing and when she adds the mordent, and using Woolite as a rinse at the end.  Hookers are such a diverse community and we can learn so much from each other. Thanks for the tips Lucy.

Whew! the humidex is to be nearly 40 C today, so for me it’s a stay inside, stay cool, and hook day. Hope you have a good day too

Thanks for stopping by.

Fixing the Grain Field

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Initially I was pleased with the way the field turned out, but that didn’t last long. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the entire colour was wrong….too orange. The deciding blow came when I took it outside on my way to the wool shop and realized that in the natural light, the oranges didn’t even match! I would never be happy with it so……DSCN1546

….out it came. My plan was to dye wool in an appropriate yellow, and I even had the wool soaking and had searched through my dyes and colour charts for the best option.

As luck would have it, my granddaughter came for a visit. She had tried hooking on several other visits, and first decided she liked hooking with yarn, and then discovered the punch needle. ….a perfect fit for her. While here, she received a wonderful package of an entire set of Amy Oxford punches. What a treat! I think I was as excited about them as she was. We headed off to Coldwater for a day out which would include a visit to “The Purple Sock” and looking for wonderful wool for her to try with her new punches. Amongst the beautiful yarn, was a basket of sari silk twists, and I came home with this beautiful yellow to use for my grain field.DSCN1547

Once it was wound into a ball, Akuma and Akira inspected it and approved. I split the strips and cut off the shreddings  and got to work.This was the rough version….DSCN1548

 

….which I tweaked by adding bits to the voids.DSCN1551

 

I really like the sheen of the sari silk, as if the light it catching it.

Now to have fun trying to create a prairie sky. I’m using wool strips and a variety of yarns. Not sure how it will turn out, but I’m having fun experimenting with it.

On a somber personal note…my heart is heavy today. We said goodbye to our  beloved Standard Schnauzer Baxter yesterday. He was 16 1/2 years old and had had a wonderful life, giving us years of laughter, loyalty and mischief. He was our constant companion, snow ball hunter, and eavesdropper to every conversation.  I awoke this morning to find his buddy Akuma sitting forlornly beside his empty bed. The house is silent today without him and my tears are still frequent.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

A Change is as Good as a Rest

I’ve been working on The Virgins for quite some time, and suddenly got sick of hooking that wall. In fact   I found I didn’t  like any of it anymore. Time for a break.DSCN1524Fortunately just about this time, my daughter-in-law took a photo of the Saskatchewan prairie sky .IMG_1928

As an Ontario girl, I’m always so impressed with that amazing expanse of prairie land and sky. I immediately wanted to hook it. A perfect foil to the intricate detail of The Virgins.

With Heather’s blessing  and permission to use her photo, I packed up all the accoutrements of The Virgins piece and set about on a new venture. I rummaged through my stash, and came up with this as a starter…some rug warp, some wool, some yarn, some sari silk.DSCN1533…and set to work on the stubble field…DSCN1534 2DSCN1536

I realized the blues I have on hand will have to be supplmented, and set about dyeing some lighter shades.

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Still not sure about this…so while watching the Women’s World’s curling on the weekend…I switched to the ‘weed verge’ closer to the road.DSCN1539I’m really enjoying hooking this…just the change of pace I needed.

I’ll be back to The Virgins….later…when I love them once again.

In the meantime..

Thanks for stopping by.

Creating the Background

While having coffee with a friend recently, for some reason we got chatting about thinking processes. She mentioned that she is a logical thinker, going from step to step to come to a final conclusion….and how it was sometimes difficult for her to remember that that is not how everyone thinks….aha! and that would be ME! As I think and plan, my mind goes off in a multitude of directions with a wide variety of possibilities, which I then must sort through for pros and cons to come to a “best” solution. It has taken me a long time to realize that My way is OK too…it’s not disorganized….it’s multi organized. Being as well, a visual learner, I often need to “see” the results before making a final decision. DSCN1182….and so it is with the background of Floating Blocks. This is my stack of “married” light neutrals. ….and the first few areas hooked in….DSCN1272After several tries, I decided that I liked the lighter colours ,with just the odd darker piece, using fairly short strips and changing colours frequently.

With that decision, filling in the interior spaces was uneventful, easy hooking.DSCN1282Next decision…..hooking all around the edges….If I kept using the lightest colours only, I knew I wouldn’t have enough wool. I needed to make use of the darker wool as well. It still needed to “go with” the interior spaces. I decided to have some rows of darker wool around the outside and then blend it lighter as it neared the interior. DSCN1278I liked that effect, and dug through the strips each time to find just the right colour….. making progress quite slow. Since I was blending the tones, it finally dawned on me to sort the strips into dark, medium, and light to make it much quicker to find just the right strip each time. DSCN1275…..ah….so much easier and quicker now.DSCN1280I can see my way to the end now…all the way around, with enough wool, and an edge colour which  grounds the rug as well as one which I can more easily replicate with yarn for whipping the outside.

I eventually get there, but my path is definitely neither straight nor step by step.  I’m happy with my way. Mind you that still leaves me wishing my junk drawer was more like Sandi’s….totally organized with everything in its place. …but there’s no hope of that happening any time soon!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Floating Blocks and Sunshine at Work

I’ve been playing this week…..with my new smaller hall rug. At least for now I’m calling it “Floating Blocks”. DSCN1121It’s been fun hunting up all the bits and pieces from past rugs, and hooking them into the 6″x 8″ rectangles to start.

Some in reds…and some in yellows….and more to do….DSCN1120I’ll be adding other colours as well, but they will be further back, since I want the reds and yellows to be dominant.

I did encounter a slight problem that was new for me. While drawing the pattern, I discovered that there were several flaws in the backing….3 places where the thread had broken. One had been woven back in both ways…so no problem there. But in two spots, the break had been repaired by only tying the two cotton threads together in a knot.  I was really concerned that with the tension of the wool strips, it might eventually pull apart.

I consulted with my friend and expert Jean, who suggested that I weave the area  around the break with strong upholstery thread to prevent any possible break in the future.DSCN1117You can see some of the repair at the bottom right. It’s been a very long time since I did any darning, but that long lost art came in handy. The outside edge of this block was hooked through the weaving with no difficulty.

Meanwhile….it was a busy morning  at the Sunshine Rug Hooking Meeting. It was called a “work day”…i.e. working on items which the group will have for sale at the Annual Quilt and Rug Fair held each September. It is our only fund raising opportunity  of the year so members pitch in to help make it a success.DSCN1101This hit and miss table runner was hooked by many members……and will be won in a raffle…as will this beautiful pillow…DSCN1102 These coasters were hooked by many members as well.DSCN1100….other sale items already completed include….DSCN1099Santas…DSCN1098…tree ornaments…DSCN1096….hooked broaches (I realize now that some are made to be ‘point up’ so they look ‘off kilter’ the way I’ve photographed them).DSCN1097….here’s the back of one…DSCN1105…necklaces to set off any outfit…DSCN1107…and available in a variety of colours.

and many more items underway…DSCN1092Christmas tree ornaments…DSCN1110…little Santa boot pins…DSCN1108…a variety of goodies….DSCN1109….and more broaches…this one having beads sewn around the edges…

It was a productive day and I know when September rolls around the sales table will be loaded with wonderful hooked items.

 

From Inspiration to Pattern

My large abstract rug is finished and now residing in its new home.I'm home_edited-1

In preparation for its arrival, the purchaser had her furniture reupholstered and found paintings for her walls which echoed the colours and mood of the rug. I am so gratified by how much she likes it and the lovely home it now has.

After a few days with no hooking during which time my hooking area (i.e. our bedroom) received a thorough spring cleaning, I was once again anticipating my next project. I must admit I’d been thinking about it for some time.

Although I had at times said my next project would be tiny….I lied!

It is planned to be 40″ x 60″. Much smaller than the abstract, but I plan to put it in the upstairs hall where I had originally intended to put the large rug. This mat however will be entirely different. (and have lots more floor showing around it)

I’ve long been fascinated by quilt patterns and log cabin patterns  and decided I wanted to do something ‘hit and miss’ using some of the leftovers in my stash. I went hunting. Bea Brock’s  book on making ‘Scrappy Rugs’ was a great resource and inspiration . (thanks Jean for lending me your copy ) I was drawn to her pattern ‘Wonky Diamonds’ until I discovered that a friend had just started to hook it. Back to the drawing board.

Some time ago, I saw this traditional quilt pattern and loved the idea of the layering of the ‘squares’. DSCN1088

As I thought about my new project, I went back and found the picture and decided that this idea was just what I wanted. This time I  plan to  take Hygeia into consideration. She hangs in the stair well overlooking the landing so the dominant colours will be reds and yellows with a neutral background.DSCN0610

I started sketching ideas….DSCN1089

I’m hoping that the neutral background will make the blocks look as if they are floating.

Last night I got a little more serious. I got out graph paper and drew a scale model of the mat….each square on the paper equals 2″  for my 40′ x 60′ rug. This would let me decide on the best size for the blocks.DSCN1090

After trying various sizes, I’ve settled on both squares and rectangles, sized 6″ x8″,  6″x6″,  6″x4″ and 4″x4″.  This is by no means a set pattern as I’ll determine placement and numbers as I go along.

This morning, Ray made patterns for me using some left over matting board.DSCN1091This will make it much easier to draw the overlapping blocks on the backing without having to worry about measuring.

So now the fun begins. and I plan to start the actual drawing of the pattern today.

I hope you have fun creating your rug patterns too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Unpacking

Nope…I’m not unpacking my suitcase, but my rug. While some people have to fill in spaces when they have finished their hooking….I sometimes have to reduce the wool I’ve used. My tendency is to hook  too closely together. I try to be mindful of this as I hook, but over the large expanse of my big rug, even after steaming there was fixing to do.dscn1064-1I remove the strip that is too close….dscn1065….carefully cut it down a bit, and rehook it in the same space. I did that in a number of spots and it worked well and the rug lay flat.

However….the combination of my tendency to pack, and the wide expanse of echo hooking meant that when laid out on the big table…..it was no longer squared at the corners, or totally straight along the edges. It would need further adjustment.dscn1073I took  out some sections, and shortened many rows at the border. I ended up cutting some new strips in a 6 cut rather than cut them down by hand. dscn1082Ray helped me by setting up guides….with nails and mason’s cord.dscn1083When I had it as straight as possible,  he nailed the edges in place to hold it even. It was a lot of work, but yippee! The edges were now straight.

I needed to set it once again, and rather than steam it on the top side, I covered it with wet towels and left it overnight. (I’ve no idea whether that is condoned or not)dscn1085This morning I removed the towels and it is now drying in place. I still haven’t decided if I will give it a light steam or not before I remove the nails holding it in place.

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Next step will be to zigzag the edge and dye the yarn for whipping.

The Brier begins tomorrow, so I’d love to be able to watch those amazing Canadian men’s curling teams while I whip the edge of the rug….my idea of a great way to spend a week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friendship Rugs Sunshine Style

Last fall the Sunshine Rug Hookers decided to embark on two group projects….one of which was making friendship rugs. The aim was for each participant to end up with a keepsake rug made by other friends in the group.  The whole endeavour was spearheaded by Teresa Moreau who did  a magnificent job of organizing the project. Based on the idea of the Dear Jane Quilt, square sizes were predetermined but the number and arrangement of the squares was decided by each hooker before the rotation began.  Each hooker provided the backing with their choice grid drawn. The rugs would be rotated through the participants each week, making sure that no one saw their own rug as the project progressed. Teresa thought of all the small details so that everyone knew precisely what they were responsible for.

There were 16 participants, so each rug had at least 16 squares. Recently the rugs were revealed and  given back to the owners. Finishing will be done by the rug owners.

Here are the members showing off their rugs shortly after seeing them for the first time .

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That’s our master organizer Teresa peeking out from behind her table runner.img_1972

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Unfortunately I have no picture of Helen’s rug. I wasn’t at the meeting myself  and because of my commitment to my large abstract rug I  had chosen not to participate, but I was delighted that I was sent photos so that I could enjoy seeing them too.img_1973

What a beautiful group of rugs, great mementos of our hooking friends, and such a fun project.

Thanks again Teresa for all your efforts….I’ll reveal the second group project (also organized by Teresa) later when it is completed .

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

International Rug Hooking Day

The Sunshine Rug Hookers recently celebrated International Rug Hooking Day with a hook in, coffee and goodies, and a special show and tell and story time.

There were a number of Christmas themed pieces…neat Santa hangings….dscn0991dscn1004…Kathleen has done a  winter theme….(very appropriate at the moment….it’s snowing heavily)dscn1013…a beautiful fine shaded wreath….dscn1003Ann showed the various ornaments she has on her mantle….special to her since they were made by a variety of friends.dscn1020Margaret is making a Christmas stocking for her Grandson’s first Christmas.dscn1001Others showed work in progress  as well….dscn0989Edie is working on a stained glass piece from Heartland Studios.dscn1025Lynda is hooking a stained glass pattern from Ragg Tyme Studio.dscn1000This is Diane’s current project.

dscn1022Helen designed her pattern from a card…dscn1015….and this is a view of the lake from Kathy’s mom’s yard.

Everyone recounted a favourite hooking moment, piece, story or anecdote. Many of  these rugs have special significance to the hooker…dscn0990….such as Jean’s “grandchildren rug” dscn0997Pat’s Canadian themed pillow….and chair seat….dscn0998dscn1007Jean showed her beautiful ‘tiger’ bag, and recounted the difficulties she had getting the straps.dscn1010Teresa showed her delightful “Bodacious Babe” (I’m not sure that that is exactly her name….but it’s at least close). Lots of alternate fibres in this.

Lambs are always a popular theme…..dscn1023dscn0994dscn0996This was hooked by Mary and was from a photo of her Grandson just before he decided to jump in the water fully clothed.dscn1002Liz hooks using yarn (some of which she spins herself), and loves to create free form patterns which she designs as she goes along. She says she loves hooking because she has learned to hook what makes her happy regardless of what others may say are the ‘rules’. (wise lady)….and she certainly looks happy.dscn0999This rug is special to Diane since it was retrieved from a friend’s china cabinet where it had lain untouched for years and years. She really enjoyed finishing it and giving it a life after its long years of neglect.

Cheri showed her series if “Sun” rugs. Her creativity and amazing use of colour always impress me, and I’d never before seen any of these rugs. dscn1026dscn1028dscn1027dscn1029The entire morning was delightful, and a fitting tribute to Traditional Rug Hooking and the joy it brings to those of us who love pulling those loops.

Thanks for stopping by.