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!

 

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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….and not so new equipment…6-003

…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.