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!

 

R.U.G. October 2014 and Finishing Signa Meus Vita

Normally I come home from R.U.G. with tons of photos and lots to tell, but this time I’ve failed misreably! I was only there for about an hour, and nearly all the “show and tell” rugs had been removed. Just these two beautiful roosters remained!

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(whoops….just now noticed the painted toes!)

It was a perfect time  for shopping however with a number of great vendors there.

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I had worked diligently on Friday to have Signa Meus Vita completed to show, but alas, it wasn’t to be….so I’ll “show and tell” the completion story here!

Anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis knows that I have a “love/ hate ” relationship with my sewing machine. I had decided I wanted a padded show binding for the Signa piece, which meant sewing a perfect seam along the edge of my hooking to attach the slub silk to the edge. Knowing that this task, if not impossible for me, would at least risk another case of heart failure, I turned to my friend Jeanne, (a master hand quilter and expert with all things having to do with sewing), and begged her to sew the seam for me .

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Here she is wearing one of her quilted creations at the ploughing match.

To my surprise and delight, when she returned it, she had completed the entire show binding!!! To say I was thrilled was an understatement….sewn, padded and hand sewn underneath.DSCF6870

She didn’t sew down the mitres at the corners, leaving it for me to decide if I’d rather leave them open. All that remained was for me to sew and attach the tabs for hanging and steam or press the binding (which I haven’t done yet)

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Don’t you love it when a vision in your mind comes into reality? Especially when you are helped out by one of the generous and skilled members of your “hooking family”. Thanks so much Jeanne.

That Old Background Dilemma

I’ve often heard it said that you should chose your background first, but even that doesn’t always work for me.

For ‘Dream Big’, my current little ‘graffiti’ project, I had chosen for the background what I thought was a light grey. It seemed a good foil for the strong bright colours of the words, plus was suggestive of a cement wall, the frequent background for graffiti artists.

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As I started, I could envision the colour being effective.

NOPE! Wrong once again.

I spent a whole evening happily hooking a grey background, and up close it looked fine. BUT when I hung it up and stood back to look at it, my light grey background wasn’t light at all….it was medium. The green disappeared altogether, and the bright turquoise became washed out and dull.  I was so disgusted with it that I immediately ripped it out without once thinking that I should have taken a picture of it to illustrate “what not to do”.

After a few days of wanting to pitch the whole piece,I thought that perhaps the grey could still be used if I outlined the bright colours with a real contrast. I tried a dark grey….ugly. I tried a dark teal blue…..didn’t like the effect of introducing a totally new colour. So I decided to try the bright raspberry and the dark wine….

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….but that took away the impact of the little streaks and bubbles     (note to self…check the setting on the camera before snapping the picture so you don’t end up with distorted colours like this)

….so I tried the dark wine by itself….

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….finally! I liked that result.

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Even so….. I’ve decided to ditch my original grey and go for a lighter, more mottled background grey. So  the dye pots will be out today, and I’ll try “mouse grey” ( which has a purple/pink cast to it which I hope will go nicely with the rest of the colour palette). So much for trying to use a piece of ‘as is’ wool from my stash.

Such glorious fall weather here in Central Ontario just now, it’s hard to stay indoors for long. The leaves are just starting to change, the sun is shining and and the temperature is balmy. (22 degrees celsius yesterday). It’s my favourite time of year, treasured even more since it is so brief. The very air seems laden with the ripeness of harvest.

 

 

 

Third and Last Post from the Ploughing Match

 

 

The Life Styles area was composed of several large tents. Ours even had a wooden floor (the only one I saw that did). This tent housed the rug hookers, quilters, spinners, lace makers, knitters felters and all things fibre. DSCF6819

It was so big, you could hardly see from one end to the other. The quilts hung in the centre and rug hooking including the Barn Project took up one end. Booths and demonstrations from the various member groups of SCACA (Simcoe County Arts and Crafts Association) were down this side. All the rugs and quilts were securely wrapped in plastic to prevent any possible damage.  (But made them very hard to photograph). Here is a small sampling of the quilts.DSCF6831

 

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I find it fascinating to watch the spinners.

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Jean and I were demonstrating hooking (In the only warm corner in the tent)….everyone else had several layers of clothing.

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….and just outside the tent was a quilt made of mums on a very large bed (81 pots of mums to be exact).

So now it’s back to normal and looking forward to R.U.G. on Oct. 4th

 

International Ploughing Match Part 2 -Outdoor activities

While I spent my day inside one of the giant tents in the Life Styles section of the IPM, the official photographer was busy covering a wide variety of events. Here are some photos that he took of the events on opening day.

Obviously a ploughing match features ploughing competitions….

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….using a tractor

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…using horses and sitting….

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…using horses and walking…

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…even using mules!

There were large draft horses pulling wagons….

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….and some not nearly so large…..5-005

 

….there was new equipment…

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…the police were on hand….

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….along with lots of Canadian pride….

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It was a day to stand tall!

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….more to come  from inside the fibre arts lifestyle tent.

 

 

The International Ploughing Match 2014

Yesterday I spent  the day at the International  Ploughing Match. It was a very special experience and this morning I received an email and these great photos from Margaret Kennedy, who has graciously let me post them here .

Following are Margaret’s comments and photos:

“It was a glorious day at the IPM, the sky filled with clouds that would delight any rug hooker. Cold, windy yes. We needed lots of layers, even gloves, but we were not deterred.

Here are some photos of the day starting with dignitaries including Premier Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horvath speaking.

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Lots of school children arrived and were given special attention by Cheri and Marie.

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And of course we would be lost sheep without exact instructions from our devoted leaders, Linda Wilson and Diane Audia.

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Isabel’s IPM (International Ploughing Match) rug won praises that would reach the heavens.”

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The rest of the photos were taken by Margaret, but the comments are mine.

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The Traditional Hooked Rug sales booth was full of wonderful items to purchase.

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The Barn Project was on full display.

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Margaret said that four photos towards the end are of Louis Gervais’ work who is a wet felter, and I hope these are the right photos.

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Margaret sent a photo of one quilt  entitled roughly, ‘Heading Home’.

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Tomorrow I’ll post some of the photos I took. They’re not nearly as good as Margaret’s, but will show the immense tent we were in,(one of dozens) more of the quilts and some of the grounds.

The Ploughing Match is on until Saturday (Sept 20th) so if you’re in the vicinity of Ivy Ontario there are hundreds of acres to explore .

 

 

Borrowing an Idea

Signa Meus Vita is now steamed and lies flat and ready for the next step……the finishing.  (the variations in the background are not nearly as extreme as the photo makes them seem.)DSCF6775

The steaming itself presented a bit of a problem because of the “silk tears”. I didn’t want them to be squashed down , so I very carefully worked around them with the iron. However there were spots where they were too close together for me to steam the hooking and avoid them.  Luckily I found that if I quickly flipped the piece over and puffed the silk up with my fingernail, no harm was done.DSCF6778

They still stood nicely above the hooking.

The decision needed now was how to finish the edges. I knew i didn’t want a border, a whipped edge, or a frame. I want it to be a “hanging” as in “tapestry” style, as opposed to a framed “picture”. …..so on Tuesday at our first fall meeting of Sunshine Rug Hookers, I sat down with Cynthia (one of the most creative people I know), to ask her advice on how she had finished a rug I had seen and admired.

This picture of it doesn’t do it justice, but you can see the effect of the beautiful slub silk border, which has been lightly padded.

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….so with her information in mind I headed off to Fabricland, and found this beautiful slubbed silk which perfectly recreates the picture I had in my mind

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….once again the colours aren’t true….they go together very well in reality.

….as I said to Cynthia, I’m nervous to start the edging procedure, so I’m procrastinating by writing a blog about it instead. The plan is to create a type of “show binding” by cutting  bias strips of the silk which will be lightly padded with a small strip of quilt batting . ….just have to get up the nerve to start..

I’ve been hooking a bit more on “Dream Big” …less than two weeks now to the Ploughing match, so I should have some left to hook while demonstarting.DSCF6788Thanks for stopping by.

 

Dream Big

I’m demonstrating for a day at the upcoming International Ploughing Match, and obviously have to have some hooking to do. Having just completed my last project, that meant I had to get something underway quickly. Hmmmm  what to do???  Cheri and Gail came to the rescue.  They’re both investigating “graffiti” which  is the theme for next year’s annual….and were amazed and excited about the scope and intricacy  of this “street art”. Sounded like a great idea to me.

…..something simple and not too big that I can get working on quickly…..this caught my eye. Not the colours, or the text but the style.

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…… then out with the pencils to sketch ideas. When I was satisfied with the lettering, I traced it with a sharpie,

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added some “extras”DSCF6761

….then headed to the Copy Shop and had them double the size to 17″ x  22″

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I don’t have a light table, but this is a small project, and I was anxious to get it underway, so I used the window method to transfer the pattern to my backing.DSCF6770

All this involves is taping the pattern to the window, then (having drawn the dimensions on the backing), taping the backing over top, and drawing the pattern directly. It’s not as accurate as my usual method, but great for a simple project. (just don’t save money by buying your green paint tape at a dollar store as I did….it didn’t stick well and kept slipping).

So now it’s started.DSCF6773

Now my only problem is to go slowly enough that I still have some to finish while hooking at the ploughing match…..or I could begin planning my next project….