Another Mea Culpa

It’s been awhile since the last post because (here’s the mea culpa) I went to an art show with dead batteries in my camera! We were at the delightful A La Arte gala last Saturday in Beaverton (the opening of their “Big Bite” festival), which for the first time included fibre art pieces. It was wonderful, but you’ll have to take my word for it. The best I can do is show you my three pieces that were included, with apologies to Sunshine rughookers Cynthia Young, Gail Mueller, and Liz Edwards, as well as a number of other wonderful fibre artists….and of course the traditional artists and sculptors as well.

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Sir John was there.

DSCF2137….and Emma Sue, who likes to travel…DSCF4059

…and “Black and White” made its first public appearance.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on the background of “Signa Meus Vita” . The flash emphasizes the variation in background shades, they are not nearly as pronounced in real life.DSCF6719

It will be touch and go whether I have enough wool to finish it, since I used over 1/2 yard when dyeing the original darker corner colours.

I’m looking forward to a get together next Tuesday.  It’s a day long hook in and collection of both sale and display pieces for the Plowing Match. I have fresh batteries already loaded in my camera!

Don’t Do As I Do

Yes. My ugly habit of “packing” has reared its ugly head once again. It looks so beautiful while stretched tightly on the frame, but take it off and hang it up and it has buckles and bows in it that weren’t meant to go on shoes! For anyone who wonders what “packing” is…it’s pulling either the loops or the rows too closely together so that the hooking doesn’t lie flat when it is off the stretched frame. This can usually be corrected with a good steaming, but I want to fix most of it by re-hooking the problem areas.

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So after slapping myself on the wrists since I should know better, I’ve been fixing it as I continue to hook the background. In this photo I’ve already adjusted the scroll of the cancer sign, but there is still buckling in other areas, as you can see.

When I hooked this section of the background and hung it up, I wasn’t pleased with the outcome (quite apart from the packing). Let me back up and explain. I’m very much a visual learner. (which surprised me when I discovered it, because I have spent the majority of my life as a singer and vocal teacher.)….but I am not an auditory learner, I learn primarily by seeing. That’s why, many of my hooking decisions are made after I hang my piece and look at it for a period of time. I had been merrily hooking away on an echo background, letting the echos merge where they would….but in  this part, the background was all wrong…..whereas this part….DSCF6707

….the background was right. As I looked at it I realized that what I liked was the rippling out effect from the main body of symbols….It seemed to add life and vitality to what symbolically  was me. Now my hooking of the background is no longer without specific direction, and I will redo large parts to enhance that ripple effect.

These two supervise my every move and were obviously disgusted with my packed hooking…..Hopefully they’ll approve of the finished version a little more.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Decided and Done

I just reread the last post, and I realize at that time, I said I was going to try a very very light yellow to outline the zodiac signs……nope! That’s not what I did. I went  a bit darker (dyed over Dorr natural) , and liked the effect…..too bright and green to use a background, but just right to use as an outline. I removed the overdyed darker wools altogether (oh my ….what a pile of worms!)

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The final outlining is a lot lighter than the “marker” rows I had hooked, but they look almost as dark with the flash. In reality they show up, but don’t stick out….just what I wanted.

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Now it should be clear sailing as I complete the background. I’m already planning my next project in my mind.

Thanks for following along.

On The Edge

Today’s musings revolve around how to hook the edge ….I wanted more depth of colour at the edges but I wasn’t sure how to merge the corners so that the whole piece looked cohesive and didn’t draw the eye away from the central motive.

Lacking any brilliant ideas, I plunged in to see what would happen.

I gathered up some off white pieces, some pale greys and oatmeal and dyed them with golden pear to extend the range of colours I had available.

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In the picture they look nicely graduated, but in reality, the gap between the lights and the darks is quite extreme. I went ahead and used it on the corners thinking I could merge back into the lighter colours  but I still needed an intermediate colour to blend the two areas. I tried dyeing a darker version over natural wool, but that was too bright, and too green. DSCF6693

I tried “dulling” it down….one piece with “grey”, the other with “clay”, and ended up with pieces that were just as dark as the first batch. I tried various ways of blending the light and dark, but nothing looked right. Frustrated, I hung the piece up where I could see it as I watched TV, and contemplated what to do. DSCF6692

It finally hit me that the dark corners were doing exactly what I didn’t want….they were drawing my eyes away from the central motives. They had to go.

I grabbed the hooking from the wall and set to work on the “pisces” corner…..ripping out the dark and the pale outline, and then re-outling the symbol in the very lightest of the dark colours .

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My plan now is to use the light colours all the way to the edge,….dye some wool a VERY light golden pear to outline the zodiac symbols (I don’t want them to stand out as much as this ) and see how I like that. My pile of worms and unusable wool from this project threatens to swamp me….but I’ll stick with it until I’m happy with the result.

 

 

Creating a Secret

I guess it isn’t really much of a secret if I’m telling about it here, but I’ve had some fun this afternoon creating it and now it remains to be seen if I can pull it off.

Once agin I’ll just relate my thought processes. I didn’t like the fact that there are large empty spaces at the four corners of Signa Meus Vita….a lot of dead space. On the other hand, I’ve gone to a lot of care to make sure the background would enhance the symbols and in no way compete with them. So my question was…how can I make the background more interesting without taking away from the central part. I had already decided to increase the depth of the golden pear colour as it went to the outside, but could I add anything more? I know….I could “hide” symbols at the corners by doing them in a wee bit different colour of golden pear than the surroundings.

OK….good idea…but what symbols could I use? I thought of hiding some symbols of the negative aspects of myself, but quickly discarded that stupid idea and went searching the internet for inspiration. I settled on zodiac signs …myself, my husband, my three sons and my only sister .( who died a year ago of cancer)…that required four signs…perfect!

After some thinking, some sketching, some measuring, and some drawing, here is pisces.DSCF6677….representing my two youngest sons.

Cancer……DSCF6674

….representing my eldest son and myself.

Virgo……DSCF6676

…..representing my husband

….and aquarius ……DSCF6675

…representing my sister who was my best friend, confidante, and craft mentor.DSCF6678

I’ll leave it to you to find them when the hooking is completed.

 

Golden Pear

I’ve been gradually augmenting my supply of Pro Chem dyes, and I try to pick up a few more each time I’m at an event .DSCF6667 Golden Pear was one of my purchases at this year’s annual, and I’m oh so glad it was. It’s a rather dull greeny-yellow….certainly not something that would catch your eye, but it has turned out to be just the colour I visualized for the background of Signa Meus Vita.DSCF6673

Well that’s not exactly true.  What I thought would work was a pale yellow. I wasn’t sure how pale or how yellow, so I tried bits and pieces I had on hand, and held up swatches from Jewel Tones against the hooked parts. It soon became apparent that any kind of bright pale yellow wasn’t the look I was after, and I settled on a dull one….then thought it reminded me of “golden pear” and sure enough when I checked my “pro Chem ” swatch sheet, it was just right. Choosing a single colour over a recipe of several dyes is just a lot easier for me, as I add and spot dye in various amounts in the pot. Also while at the annual, I picked up an $8 grab bag of wool that turned out to be mostly pieces of various shades of off white or beige. I spot dyed these and about 1/2 yd of Dorr natural with a weak solution of golden pear ….about 1/8th tsp for the whole batch of (I’m guessing) about 1 1/2 yds ….. with 1/2 of the solution in the bath, and 1/2 spotted over the top later.

After trying several methods, I settled on using the palest to outline the symbols, and filled with  random darker pieces.DSCF6658

The pictures aren’t true to the colours, but hopefully give the idea of the effect.DSCF6659DSCF6664

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I’m having fun with it while I watch the Tour de France each day.  I still haven’t decided how I will do the outer parts of the background. ….always something to ponder.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hooking in the Heat

I’m sure most people think of hooking as a cool or cold weather activity, but I get a lot of hooking done in the summer….that’s because I don’t function well in hot humid weather, and I shut myself away in my hooking area with the air conditioner on full blast. That’s what has happened for the last few days.

I’ve been filling and tweaking. I drew the pattern freehand on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper, then had it blown up, and some of the discrepancies are magnified in the large version. The pattern itself is not symmetrical but I want it to be at least balanced. I thought the two  Maouri friendship twists were at a different angle to the sides and contemplated major adjustments to correct them….but when I checked…..

DSCF6631DSCF6633….they are both at exactly the same angle….I’ll just have to extend the border on the right about 6 ditches further over.

The peace sign did however need some adjustment both in the oval outside, and the inside parts.DSCF6585…since it was partially hooked when I did this, it required lots of rehooking both of the peace sign, and the elements it was touching.

DSCF6635 I’m much happier with it now. In this photo you can see how dark the maouri twist is at the top…(unlike the one on the other side) so I reworked that as well to get some light green in the top section.

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I completed my “three sons” at the top….

DSCF6640….so the last big “fill” is the swan.

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….and finishing the tears…..doing more tweaking…….and deciding on both a colour and hooking style for the background…..lots to keep me busy while it’s too hot to do much else.

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Happy Canada day to all fellow Canadians. I had tears in my eyes this morning as I watched the boys’ choir from BC sing O Canada on the steps of Parliament Hill. So moving.

 

Whew!

After going around in circles for several days, I finally came up with an answer to my colour  planning dilemma  for Signa Meus Vita (the symbols of my life)

While mentally going through all the options for the treble clef at the bottom, I even considered what it would look like if I used the very dark blue of the central spider. That’s when it hit me. Before settling on the very dark blue, I had dyed that colour in a much lighter dip dye, then discarded it for the richer deep centre…..but of course! That would be perfect for the treble clef. I wasn’t introducing a new colour, just a much lighter version. I would use it again at the top. This allowed me to use lilac in the motherhood symbol and make the peace symbol turquoise. I knew it was the answer the moment I thought of it.

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I’m very pleased with the rather serene mood I feel from these colours.

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Now I’ll ponder a background colour which I hope will enhance that quiet mood.

A Palette but no Plan

 

There was a fatal flaw in my colour choices for my Signa Meus Vita piece. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it is made up of a small number of large elements, and that didn’t leave options for enough repetition. My poor brain has been spinning this past week on how to place them.

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At this point I was blissfully unaware of the problem.

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I liked the bottom part, but the big blob of raspberry didn’t fit…..and all together it made me cringe….DSCF6613

….so it has been a great learning experience. While I loved this…DSCF6605

…….my piece with it’s large elements just didn’t translate to create anything like this . So back to the drawing board.

I reduced the colours in the palette…..removed the peach and the raspberry altogether, which allowed for more  repetition of the five colours I had left. I took the blue and dyed it very dark and used that for the central spider element…..something to anchor everything else.

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I went around in circles for days trying to come up with the best way to locate the colours, and finally just added a strip to each element in a possible colour to give me some idea of the outcome.  I make up my mind, then I think of something that I feel would look better, so I change my mind…..then the process repeats!!!!!  Yikes.

…..in the meantime….I thought the tears might look effective with something sparkly. I have a great gold ropey thread that would work well if I could find it in silver. Of course my local fabric store didn’t have that, but I found a fine sequin rope that I thought might be very effective. Well I was wrong again!DSCF6609

…after tugging the sequins through the backing, they wouldn’t all lay face up, so the effect was lost. (as well as the shape).

…attempt #2 at the tears…I was able to acquire part of a beautiful silk shirt that had been from Hilda Hayes’ stash. (I loved that I would have a symbol of that dear lady in my “symbolic” piece.)

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The photo doesn’t show it but the silk has a lovely shine.

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….so here it stands to date. I want to redo the green twist on the right….I don’t like the way I’ve manipulated the shading, and it’s too fat…..and I’m debating the possibility of replacing all the lilac with peach, since it also seems very subdued….who knows how it will end up!

My Creative Process

I know…I know….I was determined not to start anything new until I had done all the finishing on completed pieces. I didn’t mean to…..it just happened.

Well….sort of…..here’s what transpired. As I was whipping Lunenburg Harbour, I couldn’t help but think about what I might like to hook next, so I started clipping inspiration ideas for a large hall rug.

DSCF6595 DSCF6596Then the new Rug Hooking Magazine arrived, and while reading the article “Folklife Rugs”, I started sketching symbols of my life. DSCF6599

I didn’t like it at all.  It was very literal, and everything just plopped down, but I did like the concept, so I started looking for symbols.  I liked the treble clef in the centre, not because music is any longer the centre of my life, but because its shape allowed me to overlay the other items around it. Then I realized that celtic symbols did just that, so I started researching them. That led to symbols found in other cultures, and I eventually ended up with a variety which I felt were all significant to me.

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I replaced the treble clef in the centre with an african symbol for creativity which would allow me to “hang” the other symbols on its arms.

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It’s a west African Adrinfa spider symbol called Anaise and denotes creativity and wisdom (but I’ll skip the wisdom part for me).

I drew several sketches which I either discarded or redrew.DSCF6602

A chain denotes friendship, but I couldn’t see a way to include one, so I searched other cultures for friendship symbols that I liked. I found the Maori Pikorua .

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(sorry it’s so fuzzy)

Married love and fidelity doesn’t seem to have been a high priority with “symbol makers” but eventually I found this lovely one…DSCF6600

 

After many tries, and thanks to a great eraser, I came up with a design I was satisfied with, then took it to the local “Copy Shop” and had it blown up to 36″ long.

DSCF6561 ……drew it on “red dot” then transferred it to my backing.

DSCF6583….male symbols for my three sons

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….peace in my soul, my life and my family….

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….marital love and fidelity….DSCF6588

…..happiness….DSCF6590

…..friendshipDSCF6587……….motherhood….and scattered throughout….the tears of sorrow and loss and grief….(the treble clef I dropped to the bottom to anchor the whole design.

At the same time I had no idea about a colour plan that might work. I just felt I’d know what it was when I saw it. (and I’m still not certain that what I have so far is what I’ll end up with).

I liked this photoDSCF6604oops fuzzy again….so I decided to try dip dyes.

This colour scheme caught my eye a few days ago. I think it’s done by Donna DiPalma and I ran across it on The Welcome Mat.DSCF6605

I got out the Jewel Tones swatches and came up with this….DSCF6606

….so yesterday I started dyeing a few samples and got these…..DSCF6572

…..which of course I had to try last night….

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It’s called “Signa Meus Vita”….the symbols of my life.

I will get back to the finishing…..just not sure when…..