Wendie workshop Part 2

On the second day of the workshop, Wendie showed us how to use our computers to create a colour palette for any photo we wanted to hook.  I think this will be a VERY useful tool for me, and I’m looking forward using it.

Then we spent the rest of the day working on our mats.DSCF5015In the last post I showed this pattern before Wendy (with a Y) started hooking….it was mostly squiggles….I love how the moose and foliage is beginning to emerge.DSCF5013Linda chose a picture of their hotel in Cuba. She chose to hook shiny nylons to give life to the flowers in the garden. I wish the picture showed how effective this was.DSCF5016

We were encouraged not to hook figures, but shapes in each colour, and be patient until it all came together. Helen is doing just that.DSCF5014

I’m looking forward to seeing this as it progresses.DSCF5021Moose are popular wildlife to hook in our area. Looks like this one was on the move.DSCF5023

Karen has her giraffe underway.DSCF5022

People chose all sizes of wildlife…..From the very large…to the very small….Lynda is hooking a chipmunk.DSCF5024

Cecelia chose a photo of her son’s two golden retrievers.DSCF5025…….and Diane is hooking a picture of her grandson on a rocking horse.DSCF5019

Jan is starting a still life incorporating a coffee mug.

DSCF5018Marion has started a portrait of her house.DSCF5020There is such a touching story to go with this photo…I hope Pat won’t mind that I share it . She sold her cottage and was moving to town. This was taken on the last day she had possession, shortly before they left. Her grand daughter and her friend were sitting on the end of the dock saying….goodbye lake….goodbye dock…..goodbye trees. DSCF5017Kathy’s photo also has a special story. These are her parents sitting in the garden. Her father used to hand feed the chickadees, so she has added them (one in his hand, and one on his head) as a special memento of her dad. (you can just see the outlines for the birds).  She was able to alter the picture to remove a third person sitting on the bench, and add the birds to make it a true memory mat.DSCF5032I have to confess, I didn’t take a picture of my portrait of my sister and I as it existed on the second day. This was taken the next day when I had made significant alterations. Although it is mainly a 6 cut, I used smaller cuts for the eyes and some other details. I reverse hooked the teeth (hooked from the back side), which worked really well….letting them sink behind the lips.DSCF5033At this point, I’ve started my own head…but it still need major changes…to the eyes, mouth, and chin. I have to say I REFUSE to hook in my double chin….I’m claiming artistic license!

I took a break from the portrait on Sunday, and made some changes to my Wanda landscape.


When I looked at it for a time…I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the haze around the moon, so I googled pictures of moonlight on water, and realized that the moon was only hazy if there were clouds in the sky….Duh…..DSCF5031

So I did lots of taking out, and reworked portions of the sky.

Ta dah….it’s done.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Question of Value

At some point in almost every rug I hook, the problem of values too closely associated and side by side rears its troublesome head.  That’s happened again this week, so I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I’ve dealt with it in the past.

Sometimes it’s possible to change one colour enough that the shapes become clear.dscf4013-jpeg-scaled1000 In this little spring swap mat, I changed the mother bird’s breast to a darker tone so that the baby bird showed up against her.

DSCF4843Sometimes outlining will solve the problem, or even etching an edge with something very fine like embroidery cotton can also work.dscf4834-jpeg-scaled1000 Sometimes I have even decided that clarity isn’t a priority, and I’ve decided to leave it alone


In this section of the background of Althea, I purposely let this dip dyed lotus flower meld into the background.

So  (I said to myself)….which one would work for this week’s value problem……  the far lower right branches of the pine tree against the sky in my Wanda landscape. DSCF4982

The value of the sky and the tree branches are too close.

In reality, the branches wouldn’t necessarily all stand out against the night sky, so perhaps I’ll just ignore it. On the other hand, I’ve considered taking the very dark sky all the way down to the horizon line on that side, but I wonder if that will make the sky look unconnected. Would it make any sense to use some very light spots so the branches will show up against the sky (as I did on the far trees)?  As usual, I decided to leave it alone while I ponder these possibilities, and worked in another area. ,,,,(maybe that’s my new slogan….when in doubt….hook somewhere else)

My intention is to eventually re-name this piece “Severn in the Moonlight “. The Severn River shoreline is certainly not grassy, so Initially I made suggestions of rocks with some vegetation in a few places. DSCF4977So much brown seemed unbalanced and unrealistic, so I added more vegetation, and even some lighter greens in a few places where the moonlight might catch it. (Here it is partially changed)DSCF4978 Now I think I’m happy with the near shore.

Next Thursday and Friday I’ll be attending a workshop with Wendie Scott Davis, so I’m excited at the prospect of learning something new. I’ve chosen my photo, and I think I’ll dye some wool this week for that venture.Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 11.53.59 AM I

I’m going to attempt to re-create this picture of my sister and I, but I haven’t yet decided on hooking a  realistic or an impressionistic version.

On Tuesday, The Sunshine Rug Hookers are having a mini workshop on making  Trillium brooches, so I’m looking forward to that as well. DSCF4947For those of you in other areas than mine…the trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. It blooms in the spring and soon the forest floors will be carpeted in  white  all over the countryside. It is said that if picked, they will not bloom again for 7 years, so picking them is strongly discouraged (if not illegal).

So I’ve got a wonderful, busy hooking week ahead. I’ll take my camera along so I can share these events with you too.

In the meantime…..I’ll continue debating….dark all the way down????? edging???? ignoring?????

UUmmmm…..decisions decisions.

Thanks for stopping by.

Working at Night

I have very little experience hooking landscapes, and none whatsoever with a night scene,  so I’m enjoying getting back to the teaching piece with Wanda Kerr…(in case you missed my earlier explanation….it’s an online course which is free to members of The Welcome Mat.) I’ve completed the large tree, and some of the far shore trees, and decided to start the night sky.DSCF4862I chose this variety of blues from my stash, but I wasn’t comfortable with the wide variation in the blues. I had promised myself I wouldn’t dye new wool for this project, and I didn’t….not really…..well I didn’t use any dye…….so that makes it fair. What I did do was take all this wool plus a bunch of already cut strips and soak it all in warm water and dish detergent, then simmer it all until quite a bit of dye had bled out. Then I added citric acid, and simmered until the water cleared. In other words I just redistributed the dye.DSCF4916Now  my colours are more homogeneous, and I’m much happier with them.DSCF4918 I used an off white (very pale grey) for the moon, and I tried a couple of options for the circle around the moon. This blue will NOT be staying put. Nor as I kept going, was I happy with the colour of the moon. The grey made it dull and I wanted it to have more ‘spark’ The two lightest blues were not a part of the “brew”.

As you can see, I also changed the location of the moon. It seemed to be too far off to the left, and I want it to be the centre of attraction….Just another example of my “mind changing”. I put it to the left originally, thinking it left more space for the reflection on the water……what can I say!

DSCF4919   To improve the moon, I cut a few pieces of natural Dorr in a 4 cut  and worked them in randomly . That gave it the  ‘life’ I was looking for.


I used a pale spot dye for the reflection of the moon on the water, …but…DSCF4922

…ended up adding some of the Dorr natural to this as well.  I haven’t decided yet just how I will do the rest of the reflection in the water, and I’m not really happy with the small trees….but this is my natural way to hook….trial and error….I tried to think everything out scientifically before I began the way Wanda suggested,…and ended up changing my mind anyway. …so I’m doing it the way that makes me happy.

There is still lots of snow on my front yard, but today I saw some snow bells peeking out along the driveway. Spring can’t be too far away now.

Thanks for stopping by.


Working With Values

I am oh so bad with colour theory! Unless pushed, I know I don’t think in technical “colour terms” the way I should/could.  It’s not that I don’t consider value, intensity, tint, shade, etc. etc., I just don’t think in those actual terms. I make an uneducated guess, and fix/change as I’m working . I spend a great deal of time looking at my work and deciding what works and what doesn’t work, As a result I have a lot of difficulty choosing an entire colour palette before I begin hooking, and usually end up with a drastic departure from my original ideas. Since I dye my own wool, this isn’t as much of a  problem as it would be if I had to choose all my colours from a store or vendor beforehand.

BUT…I want to get better at it, and Wanda Kerr’s on-line course is a great way to force myself to consider value as decider number one when it comes to wool choice….to analyze in terms of plane and cohesion BEFORE I start to hook.

I’m going to try and hook this little piece entirely from existing wool in my stash, but the operative word there is TRY. I am at heart a monochromatic person, so if the colours are too different, I may have to amend them in a little blending stew.DSCF4847Here’s my pattern.DSCF4862I chose a selection of blues from my stash that I thought might work, but they cover a wide range of values.DSCF4870I settled on these medium and dark values, plus the greyish white for the moonDSCF4867These browns are possibilities for the groundDSCF4868I found two bags of green strips that may workDSCF4871…and began sorting them according to valueDSCF4872They were mostly an 8 cut, so I’m cutting them down the middle so they are roughly a 4 cutDSCF4874I haven’t forgotten Althea. I’ve been working away on the background, and it’s nearly done. Then I will be forced to tackle her hand, and the re-do of her nose. I’ll need to be in the right mood when I sit down to destroy her face, and re-hook it.

Although it is officially spring, we still have about a foot of snow on the front lawn, so no need yet to think about spring clean-up and yard work. I can happily stay indoors and hook to my heart’s content.

Thanks for stopping by.

This and That

The other day at a hooking gathering, we were discussing our work for the barn project. I mentioned that I had grown to dislike mine, and had put it away unfinished.DSCF4846
Although I was faithful to the photo in most aspects, it seemed boring and BLAH. Gail and Cheri (two wonderful and creative hookers) suggested that perhaps it needed a spark of colour  hidden in the foliage, or barnboards. Lynda even donated some rich wine strips for the purpose. So that is what I’m contemplating with my poor old barnDSCF4847

Those of you who are members of the Welcome Mat, likely know that Wanda has had an online course recently dealing with aspects of landscape. What a wonderful learning opportunity. I have drawn the pattern, but haven’t started mine yet, but I can hardly wait to try and incorporate her ideas .

This and That

…and finally I have been plugging away at the background of Althea.I was surprised at how much wool it took.  I dyed one yard, thinking that there really wasn’t much open area to cover. ( it’s 36″ x 36″ ) but I’ve had to dye an extra 1/2 yard to have enough to finish it.  Although I used the same recipe, I decided to make some subtle changes, so that there was a little wider range of colour shades and intensites to work with. I simply added a little less than 1/2 of the dye bath to the original pot before adding the wool, then waited longer before I spooned on the second half . I’m happy with the results.