Sunshine Hooking in our New Digs

Finally! I remembered to take my camera to a Sunshine meeting, so I can share what my hooking friends are up to. As usual, there’s a wide variety of wonderful work underway.

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Jean is working on a Maude Lewis piece. I love those oxen…they have such personality.

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Our creative Cynthia, is hooking a “wonky” Christmas tree. She intends to cut it out and applique it to a blue silk background. She has used a  variety of materials as well as yarn to create the “bling”.

Gail is also hooking a “wonky” Christmas tree.DSCF7101

….this one quite large, and also using a variety of hand cut materials. The reds she  spread out to choose from are spectacular..DSCF7102

That hot pink is to die for!

Mary is creating a Christmas tree hot pad…I suspect it will be used before long.DSCF7110

Linda is also hooking a “hot pad”…(and I just now realized it should be rotated ….since the tea is actually being poured into the cup)….sorry Linda.DSCF7104Sitting beside her was  this amazing little bag she made to keep her tools in. The flowers are done in “Quilly” by rolling up strips, sewing through them for shape, then sewing them to the background, which is then hooked. Oh I wish I had more patience with creating “little things”.

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Speaking of “little things”, Cheri is creating more of her very popular “lady” necklaces. They are bought up as fast as she can make them.DSCF7113

Our other Gail is hooking colourful daisies…DSCF7105

Luise is finishing her little piece done in memory of Hilda Hayes (using Hilda’s wool)DSCF7123

….she’s also finishing up the wings of this beautiful 3-D angel.DSCF7124

Fiona is working on a piece she began at a workshop with Deanne Fitzpatrick….instructions were….draw something important to you, and draw it BIG.

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….so this is Fiona and her husband standing on their dock in front of the Green River (just started….green of course). It will have two borders…the second having a variety of wild flowers common in this area. I can’t wait to watch this wonderful piece develop.

Karen is creating this path to??? . I’m not sure if she will eventually tell us, or leave it to the imagination.DSCF7114

This musical piece is for Liz’s grandson in New Zealand.DSCF7126

Jeanne is working on the background of this piece which has all of her grandchildren’s names.

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Jeanne acquired this piece at a sale at RUG. It had been a  from a workshop on landscapes, and a bit of it was already hooked. Rather than end up with seven small pictures, she decided to hook the four seasons, plus an evening and morning sky, and dedicate it to her grandchildren in one large rug. I hope they don’t fight over who gets it.

Apparently this Hex symbol was supposed to be done in primary colours, but the hooker’s preference  was for more subtle tones..DSCF7111

Isabelle found her sweet primitive bunny on a sales table as well.DSCF7117

This exquisite Initial has Waldoboro work in the centre.DSCF7120

….and this geometric will become a colourful hall runner.DSCF7119

Edie continues with her floral rug…DSCF7122

….while others knit ….DSCF7121

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….and Judi was sorting worms.DSCF7112

All of this was happening at our wonderful new location….Rotary Place…..DSCF7136

….the windows on one side look out on…..DSCF7133

….that’s right….a hockey rink….and on the other side…DSCF7130

Yup! ….another hockey rink. Now what could be more Canadian than that!

Hijab and Moths

The hooking on Hijab is complete, and I must say I’m pleased with the way the background turned out.DSCF7095

After steaming, I did some tweaking of the face and the bottom edge. The edge was somewhat uneven because many of the rows of hooking had ended on an angle. I improved that by adding a few loops in places that appeared jagged. I may have to make further adjustments when I begin the finishing if it doesn’t fold back smoothly.

Now I’m ready to move on to the next project. Recently I stumbled upon this skirt, which had been packed away for MANY  MANY years.DSCF7096Oh what memories. Although I now have an aversion to my poor sewing machine, it wasn’t always the case. My mom was an excellent seamstress, and when I was just a teenager, with her help  I  made a three piece suit (very chique at the time)….the skirt, a jacket, and a long sleeveless coat…..all fully lined and the plaids carefully matched at every seam. To this day it remains my finest sewing accomplishment and holds such sweet memories of my mom.The skirt is all that remains, so I decided I would take it apart and use it for my next hooking project.

Alas, after washing it I discovered it had quite a few moth holes. I washed it again, and took it all apart, but then wondered if it was folly to try and hook with it. I consulted my wonderful friends on “Yahookers” and received great advice from both JoAnne Harris and Ivi Collier. ….1) put it in the freezer for a couple of weeks, wash again, then use avoiding the holes   2) test the strips for possible weakness by pulling the ends before hooking them.DSCF7097

So here it is…disassembled, frozen, and awaiting a new life. Now to get on with the planning and drawing (and maybe even some finishing that should be done first….but never is).

Thanks for stopping by.

Sir John at OMAH

A week ago, the exhibit to celebrate Sir John A. MacDonald’s 200th birthday opened at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.DSCF7064

You might well ask…what has this to do with rug hooking? Well here is the background. About a year ago, the various organizations in town were notified of this upcoming celebration, and were invited to participate. The Sunshine rug hookers decided to see if this was an event we could contribute to, and Mary Anne Grant volunteered to attend the committee meeting. Indeed it was, and for the past year we have been hooking pieces to celebrate Canada’s first prime minister. With Mary Anne’s guidance, enthusiasm, and information, our group contributed not only hooked pieces but other fiber work of the day including tatting, embroidery, quilting, cross stitch and crochet. And so the exhibition not only features the political events and social scene of the times, but also a fine display of the handwork being done by women in Canada in the 1800’s as well.

Sir John himself, (who visited the annual last spring), is lounging in his parlour (newspaper cast aside)……(hooked by Luise Bishop)DSCF7047…….with his wife looking on.DSCF7051

 

Of course the building of the railway connecting this vast country from coast to coast was perhaps Sir John’s finest achievement. DSCF7076

Gail Mueller’s wonderful rug celebrates its importance, and other exhibits and articles told the story.DSCF7061

There were many surveying instruments used in the building on display, but I seem to have missed taking a photo of them.

A painting by M. Van Halen…DSCF7056

…and my contribution….. this hooked caricature based on a cartoon by Peterson….DSCF7049

As you can see by the caricature, Sir John wasn’t averse to a wee tipple, and there was even a display of books and bottles related to the whiskey industry.DSCF7079

This was Sir John’s home “Earnscliff” in Ottawa. DSCF7083

…and the parlour of his home….DSCF7084

…..so very “Victorian” with its abundance of decorative articles….so many of them fibre related. There were many examples in the exhibit. Rugs and chair pads…DSCF7050 DSCF7067….pillow cases, quilts and table cloths and blankets…DSCF7072 DSCF7058 DSCF7074….cross stitch…DSCF7068

….embroidered pictures…DSCF7085….and of course that essential Victorian decorative item….the doily.DSCF7070 DSCF7073

DSCF7069….examples of First Nation handwork of the times..DSCF7075

…even a warm (and well used) buffalo coat…DSCF7066….all looked over with appreciation by Victoria herself….wonderfully interpreted by Cynthia Young.DSCF7088DSCF7062Perhaps the most touching article for me was this…..common in an era where many children failed to live to maturity…..a photo of the child with a lock of hair….a precious keepsake of a lost child.DSCF7081

Happy Birthday Sir John. Thank you for helping to create this wonderful country I call home.

 

 

 

And Now the Background….

The face is completed, and I’ve done a bit more tweaking of the left eye. (increasing the black in the corner )

DSCF7020Time to get the dye pots out again for the background. I spent some time looking very carefully at the photo to decide what colours I could see and decide how best to dye them. I settled on using four dyes: golden pear, clay, pink sand, and chocolate brown. I worked with 1/8th yard pieces once again, and used 8 different versions…some with all the colours, some without either the brown, or the pink sand, and varying amounts to create effects/  I used just 1/16th yard to try the green colour of the aura using just golden pear and a weeny bit of clay to dull it down. The other 1/16th yard I dyed with just 1/256th tsp golden pear for the light part around her head.

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….it is mostly rather ugly wool in the piece, but I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be beautiful in the piece to create something beautiful when hooked. I want the background to compliment the hijab and draw the eye toward the centre and the eyes of the girl. DSCF7039

 

It’s underway….I’m not certain if the aura will stay or not.

I mentioned in an earlier post about the usefulness of the darker edges of each piece. They are certainly my most prized strips as I work on the background.  By hooking with the dark edges together, I can create a subtle darker line, much finer than the actual #6 strips I’m using.

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I think these add texture and interest ….can you see the 8 spots I’ve used this little technique in this corner? .

DSCF7043This is my progress to date.

If you live or visit in the Orillia area, OMAH (the Orillia Museum of Art and History) has just opened it’s Sir John A. MacDonald exhibit to celebrate his 200th birthday. It features many  hooked pieces in a celebration of our founding father’s life and times. Hopefully I’ll get some photos of it to share here.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Directional Hooking and Eye Surgery

As I’ve worked on Hijab, I’ve become aware of just how important  directional hooking is when trying to capture the draping of fabric. The hooded section over her head needed care, but when I got to the shoulder, I had to stop and really study the photo to figure out how I could create a realistic effect.  The direction of the hooking had to be combined with the direction of the shading …..which slanted a different way. I took photos of the process so I would have  it for future reference.DSCF6996

The arch needed to gradually flatten out to a straight line at the bottom, while at the same time the dull section on the right needed to be “arrow shaped” DSCF6997

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With the hijab itself completed, I could no longer put off making decisions about the face. After lots of thought, I went back to the first face I ever did…Emma Sue. She was hooked at a wonderful workshop I attended given by Anne Boissonoit several years ago. Emma Sue would be my directional guide.DSCF2137

I printed out a copy of her to have in front of me while I hooked, then forged ahead.

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It soon became apparent however that I had a major problem!!! (I had noticed it before…but ignored it)….The left eye was too far over to the left…..there was too much space between her eyes.DSCF7003

There was nothing for it….the eye had to come out.DSCF7004

I  carefully laid the removed wool out in the order of the eye, and re-drew it (with a red marker) slightly to the right. Then hooked a new eye (adding more black to the top lid and cutting down the iris).

It’s not a huge change, but to me, it makes all the difference. Now to finish the face while I contemplate how to create that wonderful background.DSCF7008

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Winter has arrived in central Ontario. It has been snowing all day today, and is to continue most of the week. The snow boots are out, the snowblower is working, the trees are etched with white, and I’m settling in to enjoy my winter wonderland.

Thanks for stopping by.

Why I Mottle

Recently on Lucy Richard’s wonderful site on facebook”The Wooly Mason Jar Rughooking”, the question was asked, do you use mottled or evenly dyed wool in your projects?  My response was that I used mottled the vast majority of the time. There are very valid reasons to use either one or the other, depending on the project and the desired effects, as well as just plain personal preference….Here is why I love using mottled wool in my projects.

This is the sequence of my hooking in the last week.

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I tweaked the point of the hijab at the centre of her forehead, by changing to a light strip that had more of the mustard colour showingDSCF6987 DSCF6989 DSCF6990 DSCF6993

This is the wool I used…. just four mottled colours which provide me with lots of options…

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Dyeing mottled wool works for me.  Here’s my general method: instead of adding all of the dye solution to the dye bath, just add 1/2 of the dye solution. Add the wool, then wait a bit, then pour the remaining dye solution over the top of the wool. poke the wool down to make sure it is all covered, but don’t stir (the more you stir, the less it will mottle).

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Playing With Colour

The two things that inspired me to hook “Hijab” were the lady’s eyes, and the vibrant colour of the hijab itself.

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Dyeing the wool to get the deep vibrancy, and shadows has been  learning experience. I was looking for the essence and effect rather than an exact duplication of colours. I began with Jewel Tones colour # 73, and reduced the amounts for the 1/8th yard pieces I was using. (1/8th yd so that I didn’t waste too much wool if the colours were totally wrong.) My basic formula was: (pro chem dyes):   1/8 tsp red,    1/16 tsp bright red     1/128 tsp evergreen    1/64th tsp brown

Here are the first 3 …from the right 1) original formula 2) mustard added to 1/2 of formula 3) reds reversedDSCF6949

Number 3  was still not as vibrant as I wanted, so I added an extra bit of bright red, and eliminated the brown altogether.

DSCF6969Now I had my bright colour. For the duller shadowed red I used the original formula and stirred it a bit to make it smoother. (woops I don’t have a photo of that)

 

The very dark (looks black but it isn’t) was a piece I found in my stash which was primarily died with mahogany.DSCF6980

 My flash distorts the colours so much that this probably doesn’t make sense, but at least it will serve as a record for me of what I have done.

One of my favourite little tricks is using the dark edge of piece of wool to help delineate a change of colours.DSCF6967

You can see it clearly here.

Here is the progression so far.DSCF6958DSCF6965DSCF6979

I’m at the stage now where all I can see are things I don’t like, but I know I go through this with everything I hook. It is truly a process, albeit one I love.

Thanks for stopping by.

Facing It

I’ve just begun “Hijab”.  I began by experimenting with those beautiful reds for the scarf itself. I used one eighth yard pieces and the microwave method to see what I could come up with. I began with the Jewel Tone formula #72, ( which uses prochem red, bright red, forest green and brown) then reversed the amounts of red and bright red to create a brighter version….then added some mustard to the third version  to get some yellow highlights.  (I always have to remind myself to record the variations as I go along so that I can reproduce the colours if necessary…I tend to just enjoy the process of experimenting )

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I put 1/2 of the solution in the hot water, and pour the other half over the top with minimal stirring. I added the mustard by itself in a separate step.  (These three were each done separately) Then pop it into the microwave for about 5 minutes (checking half way through).  If I choose to do larger pieces, I’lI do them on top of the stove and simmer for an hour, but for experimenting with small pieces, the microwave method is fast and easy.

I always start faces with the eyes, and it always surprises me how they come to life so quickly.

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My first attempt at the nose line gave her a “hooked, witchy look”. DSCF6952

So that’s been straightened and now I’m playing with various colours to create the highlights and shadowed areas of her face.

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I still haven’t decided if I’ll dye wool to do this and have it closely related, or use leftovers and have a wider variation in the colours.

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In the meantime, I already feel as if she’s watching me.

I still haven’t finished the hooking on the background of the Graffitti, but I’ve convinced myself that I need to save that for hooking on Tuesdays with the Sunshine hookers. Hijab requires concentration and wouldn’t go well with conversation and visiting. (Aren’t I clever to have such a good reason not to hook the boring stuff and hook the fun stuff instead?)

Thanks for stopping by.

My Path of Creativity

My creative process is like a path leading to……I don’t know where.  It generally starts with a vague recollection of something I have seen and admired and wished I had hooked. This time it was a head shot of an exotic person…I remember a few that have taken my breath away, and I wanted to try something similar. My search for inspiration began.

Who could be more inspiring than Malala Yousafzai.

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I loved the colour of the sari, and those eyes are so arresting.  With Ray’s help, I “gridded” the picture so that I could draw it 3 times larger for hooking 20″ x 28″.

But then for some reason, the idea of mystery and perhaps feminine subjucation became important, so I searched further, and came up with this .

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What a wonderful background as well. Once again Ray drew a grid for me so that I could draw it to the size 18″ x 24″

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I put the photo in “Be Funky” editing program and using the ‘underpainting’ option, and now have this photo to use as a reference as I hook.

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I can’t wait to get started….lots of dyeing in my immediate future….that rich vibrant red…..how to achieve that striking aura, and the delicious background.

Then the idea of a series ” women from around the world” came to me when I stumbled on this photo and immediately fell in love with it. A totally different style and idea, but it really speaks to me as well, and I plan to hook it in some adapted form.

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I’ve been browsing photos of Chinese wedding headdresses and the costumes of women in Brittany….the options are endless.    Now if I could just hook 24 hours a day….I’d be set!

The reality is that I still haven’t quite finished the background of the grafitti.

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….and although I’ve steamed the padded binding of Signa Meus Vita, I still have to sew on the tabs (they are just pinned on in the photo.

DSCF6937…..and oh my!!! if you could see my work area! A major tidy and organization of all the wool scattered about is an absolute necessity before I start anything!

As the cold weather arrives, I always experience a “nesting” instinct, where I love the cosy refuge of home. The trees have passed their prime (although there’s still lots of colour to be seen) and we have had frost (although not yet a killing frost) so I am preparing to “snuggle in” and enjoy the delights of the upcoming winter.

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.

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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”.

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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!