What’s Up?

There was lots going on at the Sunshine Rug Hookers meeting this week. It was interesting to see the influence of various fall events playing out in people’s work.

Evidence of Sandra Marshall’s Punch Hooking Workshop was all around.DSCN0197I think Kathleen designed this pattern using templates brought by Sandra.

DSCN0202Teresa is working with finer wool and a different sized punch than what I chose. She says she’s having trouble deciding how close to punch the rows.

DSCN0201Mary’s mom had three boxes of embroidery floss like this, so she is doing some very fine punching with it…DSCN0200(I have just such a box and I hope to try a similar project in the future)

Betty brought her ’embellishment project’ to show what she has accomplished so far….DSCN0181It is just stunning. I should have taken a photo from the side so you could see the 3D effects .

Linda Wilson’s recent mini class on stained glass inspired Karen to dig out a pattern she had on hand, and wow! She has been busy.DSCN0191I love the colour palette.

Linda had purchased a kit designed to teach values.DSCN0185….a simple view of trees….and many shades of green.

Recently, a well known hooker and teacher ,Hilda Wells, gave up hooking due to ill health, and held a sale of her patterns, wool, and equipment.

Gail is hooking one of her pieces…..DSCN0188….and Jean is finishing off another that was started by Hilda….DSCN0186Aren’t those shaded flowers beautiful. I love the dark colour that Jean has chosen for the background (I’m always drawn to dark backgrounds)

DSCN0187Diane is still finishing Hilda Hayes last piece…DSCN0189She said that little leaf by the bird will be coming out.


Jean C. is working on a commission..DSCN0180….she needs to produce a lot of her proddy broaches.

DSCN0199Janet has her prancing rooster under way…

DSCN0182Edie is using up scraps to make her ‘squares’ rug.

DSCN0193 (1)….and Marion is using a variety of textures….wool, yarn, sari silk, and quillies (standing wool circles).

….and I….DSCN0209….finally finished the whipping  on my Lunenburg rug.

DSCN0207Chris is knitting this delightful outfit for a ‘baby doll’ .(apparently I am quite behind the times since I didn’t know what a ‘baby doll’ was).

Cheri has nearly finished this beautiful, free flowing piece.

DSCN0203She hand cuts her fabric and uses a wide variety of materials.DSCN0204The results are always amazing.

I’ve shown Fiona’s rug at various points along its progress, but her addition of her “British flag” sandals really tickled my funny bone. I absolutely love them….and want to see them in person!DSCN0195….the border is made of wildflowers found around their Green River homeDSCN0196

(excluding my camera strap…which snuck in the photo by mistake)

This is a large rug…DSCN0194

…and one that will eventually be cherished by future generations I’m sure.

Aren’t we a busy and diverse group?

Thanks for stopping by.


Dyeing The Colour Wheel

Early in November I’m attending a workshop and I’m to bring 1/16th yard of each of the colours in the colour wheel. So Friday I got out the dye equipment and got to work.DSCN0065To begin with….. Although I dye my own wool and do my own colour planning, I am by no means knowledgable when it comes to colour theory. In spite of trying, my eyes glaze over when someone starts discussing  split complementary harmony or analogous or tetrardic harmony………I rely heavily on the fact that I am a visual learner, and end up making my decisions based on what looks right to me. (and very often rehook what I’ve done because it DOESN’T look right to me). I’d probably save myself a lot of time and effort if I just followed the rules….but what’s the fun in that? So I even had to hunt for a colour wheel to refresh  my mind on the colours I needed to dye. Perhaps I’ll finally remember what they are and their order having done this exercise.DSCN0066

I began by going through all my dyes to come up with as many single dyes as I could that might give me one of the colours I needed. I don’t have  colour swatches to refer so this was the simplest method for me. Starting at the top and going clockwise, I chose Pro Chem Sun Yellow, (I thought plain yellow was too ‘lemony’) The pen indicates yellow orange (don’t have a dye that colour) Cushing Orange, Pro Chem Poppy Red for orange red, Majic Carpet Red, and under it Pro Chem Magenta (ended up using magenta), Majic Carpet Red Violet, Cushing Purple, Majic Carpet Blue Violet, both Cushing and Majic Carpet Blue (ended up using Majic carpet) , for blue green I thought (whatever that cushing dye is or Pro Chem Mallard Green …..neither of which worked) I thought bottle green would be a true green (wrong), and the last pen  in the place for yellow green .DSCN0068

Next I checked my stash to see what colours I might already have…..I found yellow green…..orange……yellow……and yellow orange.DSCN0069That left me with 8 colours to dye.

Most were straight forward. In checking “bottle green” I found it was distinctly blue green…..so I used it for that. The mallard Green was actually the closest to a forest green, but still a bit blueish, so I added a wet toothpick of  yellow to the dye bath. (I drop a bit of the dye bath on a paper towel to check colours before dyeing).

DSCN0072Here are my 8 colours on the line .DSCN0071

You can’t see the colours very well in this shot, but I like the look of them against the trees.


Here’s my colour wheel  ready for the workshop. (although I may dye a different orange….the one from my stash is pretty dark)

I dyed each piece in the microwave….so much faster when dyeing small pieces. I used 1/16th tsp of dye to  1 CBW (cup of boiling water) for the dye bath and added vinegar to each dye bath itself. (probably could have used less in many cases…as sometimes not all the dye was taken up when the wool was at a satisfactory colour) The dye bath is added to boiling water in a microwave safe bowl (I have some designated plastic bowls for microwave dyeing) and set to cook for about 5 minutes . (longer as needed)

…..not scientific, not perfect, but fun and quick. (the whole dye session took me about an hour) and I love the results.


Now to see how they are used at the workshop.

Happy Halloween everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer Manuell Workshop


Last Sunday and Monday, the Sunshine Rug Hookers hosted two one day workshops given by Jennifer Manuell. The topic was making hooked jewelry, but no matter what the topic, attending a workshop given by Jennifer is both fun and informative.DSCF6896

Jennifer’s bubbly personality, high degree of organization, and vast knowledge ensure a wonderful experience for everyone there. Our host, Linda Wilson provided the perfect venue so it was a fun and informative day.

Jennifer’s  jewelry examples, left us all with something to aspire to in the future.








Her personal choice of colour palette is very distinctive and recognizable, and one I have tried to emulate at various times, but alas, those brights always seem to speak to me too loudly.

Thanks to Teresa Morneau for sending her pictures to share as well as those I managed to take. (sorry Teresa, I can’t seen to enlarge your shots)

Here we are “in progress”.











By our meeting on Tuesday morning, a few had finished their first piece. (I only got photos of three)

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We all came away with all the materials to make a second, larger and more complicated piece, so there will be lots of new jewelry being sported in our area in the coming months.

My personal thanks to Jennifer for a great day, and Linda for allowing us to once again use her studio.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. My turkey is thawing!


A Work Day for the Plowing Match

This September, the International Plowing Match will be held near the village of Ivy , not far south of where I Iive in central Ontario.  The annual Quilt and Rug Fair is to be included as a part of the plowing match, and will run for a week (instead of a weekend) and have exposure for our work to many many more people than we could normally expect. This is a big deal for rughookers in our area, so we’re busy preparing for it now. (of course rug hookers need little excuse to get together for a hook in!!!)

Last Tuesday we held an all day hook in to get sale items underway.DSCF6086

Wearable art/jewelry particularly brooches are always popular.


Margaret is making a variety of small waldoboro pins for different seasons.

Proddy brooches seldom lie on a sales table very long.



Cynthia, ever creative, has devised these beautiful pins .

DSCF6070I was fascinated by how she made them. The silk had holes cut out for the hooking , then was  decoratively sewn on both sides of the linen, allowing the hooking to be done on the linen with the silk background already there….here they are in progress….

DSCF6072…this is the back side…and this….

DSCF6071….is the front. The strip was inserted into the hoop to hold taut for hooking.

Hot pads are another favourite sales item, and we have a variety of them in progress.


Jean  is doing a series of animals (appropriate for a plowing match).


Helen found this article on how to create a spiral, and is trying that.DSCF6082DSCF6097

I’m doing some which use Klimt motifs.


Christmas articles are also always popular, and we will have a nice variety.


Cathy is making lots of these sweet hanging Santas.


…and perhaps my favourite….Jean has made one little bag, and plans on making more.


DSCF6058Gail couldn’t resist and so we have our first sales…

Edie found these patterns which had been tucked away for a long time. They too will make lovely hot pads.


It was a fun and productive day.DSCF6090DSCF6085

….and just to put the icing on the cake…..2 curling gold, and 2 hockey gold for Canada. I am a happy hooker indeed!

My “Sisters” Portrait

When I went to the photo mat workshop two weeks ago, I had chosen two possible pictures to do.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 11.53.59 AM

…this one….which I thought was probably the best photo, but the colours weren’t interesting.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 11.57.19 AM

…and this one …which has better composition (Wendy told me that).

I decided on the second,…and got to work. I found it both rewarding and frustrating. …rewarding as I saw my sister’s face start to develop….and frustrating  trying to capture myself, and figure out how to do the background.

After trying different versions of the waitress in the upper left, I finally decided that the background bore no importance or interest in the photo and eliminated it altogether. Then came the dilemma of how to hook it.

I gathered a variety of colours, and draped them around the hooking, finally choosing to make a half frame with a small piece of dip dyed wool pink to grey, then filling in the rest. I tried the mottled pink first , but eventually took that out leaving it only as the outline around my head, and I used a spot dye and squiggles to fill in the rest.


….here is my first finished version. I like the background….not happy with my face…nose off centre, chin too broad and lopsided, eyes still too wide, (although at this point I’d already reduced them once)

So I spent Saturday evening reworking the eyes, lips, nose and chin. DSCF5093

I extended the shadow above the right eye,  added a small strip below each eye to reduce the size, made the smile wider and the upper lip smaller, reworked the teeth, reduced the nose and centered it better, and trimmed down the chin. Did I mention that I reverse hooked the teeth? That way they sink into the mouth….a neat little trick. (not original of course….someone else at the course was reverse hooking for a special effect…I think it was Linda Wilson….and it suddenly dawned on me that it might be a great way to make the teeth more realistic…..sometimes it pays to snoop at what your neighbours are doing )

I’m still not thrilled with my face, but I think at this point it’s the best I can do with my present skills. I’m really interested in increasing my abilities in “wide” cut painterly style portraits. (well not exactly “wide” this is a 6 cut) …..and I’m looking forward to tackling another one.

HOWEVER….that’s not what I plan to do next. I’m preparing to venture into the world of primitives….for the first time.  I’ll tell you all about my plans in the next post.

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

Preparing for a New Project

I’m so excited. I’m going to Trent Rug Hooking School in June. This will be my first time not only to go to Trent, but any Rug hooking school. (You could even count the number of workshops I’ve been at on one hand.) For those of you who may not be familiar with it, it’s held each year in Peterborough Ontario on the campus of Trent University in June. There are about 7 courses offered, and you take a full week in one course.(30 hours of instruction) I’m taking Colour and Motion in Art Nouveau with Linda Sullivan.


Before I even knew this course was available, I had decided to use Gustav Klimt as the inspiration for my next rug. This was not an idea that came to me out of the blue, but actually originated with Deanne Fitzpatrick, and shared with Sunshine Rughookers by Cynthia Young, a wonderfully creative and artistic hooker in our group. In all honesty I had never heard of Gustav Glimt, so I came home and googled him, and was immediately fascinated with his paintings. Every time I look at one I see more and more interesting features, colours, shapes.


The minute I saw  “Hygieia” or “Medicine” I was taken by both the colour and movement.  This would be my inspiration. However the longer I looked at it, the more I was drawn to the entire painting, and now I intend to actually try to hook it. I’m no artist, so I’m mulling over how I will get the outline of it to my backing.


Here’s what I’ve come up with. The picture is twice as long as it is wide, so that simplifies things. I think I will blow up the best picture of it I can find, draw a grid over the picture, and use that to re-draw it onto the red dot grid. I was thinking I would do something in the nature of 30″ x 60″ but my DH thinks it would be wonderful to hang in the stairwell.(it’s about 15′ high)…so it may grow if that is to be its final destination…..you see It’s not my fault I end up hooking humongous rugs!!

My Little Santa

I have seen and admired the most wonderful 3D versions of Father Christmas/Kris Kringle/Santa. My only attempt at one I did last Christmas at a workshop with Linda Wilson (she’s obviously taught me a lot!) Mine is a little fellow about 10″ tall.


The beard is done in a cotton. I think it was a 4 cut for the body. The edging on the coat and sleeves is a feathery ribbon. It’s done on burlap, and when sewn together, and the base sewn under and up, it stands nicely without needing any extra support.

He is sitting on the piano beside the Christmas tree to supervise all the carol playing in the next few weeks.

In the background you can see the  cute little blue Santa ornament I received in the gift exchange at the Sunshine rughookers Christmas potluck on Tuesday.

Nature’s Elements

The one day workshop given by Linda Wilson had been requested by the hooking group in a town just 20 miles north of where I live.( I’m lucky to live in a hooking mecca, with four groups within a 25 mile radius plus one in our city.) Everyone did the same pattern…Nature’s Elements, from Heartland Creations. That was fine by me. I love the pattern, but what I was really after was knowledge and experience hooking a landscape, so I could eventually do some personal ones.

Most people worked on scottish burlap (the backing of choice here.)..and it has a lovely even weave, but Sheila Klugescheid did one for me on monk’s cloth, and my wrist is really thankful! (I get enough injuries from occasional encounters with my gripper strips)


The main geographic feature in the pattern is the large evergreen in the foreground, and most of the morning was spent dealing with it. I had taken along my tub of greens, as did everyone else. We divided our wool into values of dark, medium and light. I ended up with a  yellow green, and decided on 8 different wools to use for the tree…mostly from my own stash, but supplimented by recycled wool from Linda. She wouldn’t let us use what she called ‘really good wool’. This was the place to use recycled, loose weave, or frayed pieces, since it made the tree more effective.

It’s done in what  Linda called ‘messy sculpting’ , pulling long loops and cutting them higgeldy-piggeldy, while at the same time shading them from light to dark values for each bough. My first attempt at the trunk was completely lost against the branches, so I pulled it out later, and redid it in much lighter more vibrant camel and red brown check, so it would stand out. The rest of the piece is done in flat hooking, giving the tree a bit of three dimensional form.

My tree has ended up quite dark, and that presents the problem of having it stand out against the dark background. I was originally going to use a black background, but decided on a dark black and green plaid which has some tiny gold threads in it. I thought it would give the background more life. I edged the top of the tree in a lighter green #4 cut, and that helps it stand out some, but I’m still not satisfied with it. It stands out clearly in good light, but as the light fades, so does the distinction . ….maybe it’s just my eyes??