Hooking Those Last Little Bits

Even with the most straightforward hooking, there are those tricky little bits to solve.  DSCN1292 2

….such as ending up with a space that doesn’t fit the strip width….requiring a search for a little fatter or skinnier strip to fill the space properly or cutting a specialized strip to fit. In this case, both strips were removed and….DSCN1293

…fatter ones used to nicely fill the space.  I often leave my cutter making slightly different strip sizes to allow for this sort of “fix”. Although not readily apparent, the ‘fill’ strips here are slightly wider than the rest.

As I neared completing the background and was looking over the final results, I was bothered by this spot…DSCN1289The yellow block ran into the darker edge colour. Throughout the piece, I had tried to highlight the blocks by having a light colour around their edges. I knew if I left it, my eye would always be drawn to that spot and it would bug me.DSCN1297

A simple fix using a lighter grey.  (….wasn’t I lucky that that coffee spill landed harmlessly on the waste backing at the edge!)DSCN1301 2The hooking is complete. Next step…..steaming….DSCN1304I love it  when I flip that freshly steamed rug over and see the completed and steamed work for the first time. DSCN1303I’ll just enjoy it for a few days while I dye my yarn for whipping and gather up the nerve to once again open up my poor neglected sewing machine and zigzag the edges.

Happy Canada Day tomorrow to all my fellow Canadians. A big party is in store for our 150th.

Thanks for stopping by.

Creating the Background

While having coffee with a friend recently, for some reason we got chatting about thinking processes. She mentioned that she is a logical thinker, going from step to step to come to a final conclusion….and how it was sometimes difficult for her to remember that that is not how everyone thinks….aha! and that would be ME! As I think and plan, my mind goes off in a multitude of directions with a wide variety of possibilities, which I then must sort through for pros and cons to come to a “best” solution. It has taken me a long time to realize that My way is OK too…it’s not disorganized….it’s multi organized. Being as well, a visual learner, I often need to “see” the results before making a final decision. DSCN1182….and so it is with the background of Floating Blocks. This is my stack of “married” light neutrals. ….and the first few areas hooked in….DSCN1272After several tries, I decided that I liked the lighter colours ,with just the odd darker piece, using fairly short strips and changing colours frequently.

With that decision, filling in the interior spaces was uneventful, easy hooking.DSCN1282Next decision…..hooking all around the edges….If I kept using the lightest colours only, I knew I wouldn’t have enough wool. I needed to make use of the darker wool as well. It still needed to “go with” the interior spaces. I decided to have some rows of darker wool around the outside and then blend it lighter as it neared the interior. DSCN1278I liked that effect, and dug through the strips each time to find just the right colour….. making progress quite slow. Since I was blending the tones, it finally dawned on me to sort the strips into dark, medium, and light to make it much quicker to find just the right strip each time. DSCN1275…..ah….so much easier and quicker now.DSCN1280I can see my way to the end now…all the way around, with enough wool, and an edge colour which  grounds the rug as well as one which I can more easily replicate with yarn for whipping the outside.

I eventually get there, but my path is definitely neither straight nor step by step.  I’m happy with my way. Mind you that still leaves me wishing my junk drawer was more like Sandi’s….totally organized with everything in its place. …but there’s no hope of that happening any time soon!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

R.U.G. May 2017 Part Two

As mentioned, Marylou spoke to the group in the morning. ……..about the rug hooking museum of course, but also about a wonderful rug now owned by our hosts….The Simcoe County Museum. About 20 years ago, the members of the Huronia Branch jointly hooked a rug to donate to the museum where they meet each month. This amazing rug is about 7′ or 8′ x about 15′ (it’s massive). It had been displayed at the time , but then was taken down and carefully stored away. Being of Canadian content, Marylou thought it would be nice to have it on display during Canada’s 150th birthday. The museum agreed to once again hang it, and it was given pride of place in the large meeting room for everyone at R.U.G. to enjoy.

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The design is by Thor Hansen,  who was a Canadian designer and craft promoter   of Danish descent.   An interesting interview about him and his work can be viewed here:

Designer Thor Hansen – Huronia Museum Show

…just an aside…the Huronia Museum that houses much of his work  is in Midland about 20 miles from the Simcoe County Museum where we meet.

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The style is “post modern”  and depicts Canada Geese flying over a stylized sea . The Huronia group used a quilt frame to hook it, and it was rolled appropriately as it progressed. Marylou recalled that various members would work on it at meetings and said it was truly a joint effort. DSCN1200….Here Marylou and Fiona are trying to get out of the way so I can get a good shot of it…

Another aside…..a very much smaller version of this design appears in Celebration XXIV hooked by OHCG member Tatiana Knodel.

The afternoon was devoted to a talk about hooking Paisley designs . Suzanne Hill presented the history of paisley and related how the Grey Highlander group explored this wonderful and well loved design.

She presented a quilt top made of countless paisley fabrics which perfectly demonstrated many typical colour combinations.

These were some of my favourites.

Being a pattern designer herself, Suzanne created a number of paisley patterns for the group to try….the variation in colour palettes gives each a distinct feeling. Each of these has a black or grey background, but an entirely different feeling according to the colours chosen. She named this pattern ‘Polka Dot Paisley’.DSCN1256DSCN1242DSCN1257DSCN1231

The same dramatic differences in effect caused by colour are seen in this pattern called ‘Crazy For Paisley’.DSCN1239DSCN1233DSCN1234DSCN1255DSCN1244DSCN1252DSCN1241DSCN1236For those wanting to hook something smaller, or to make some hot pads….she created several ‘Little Paisley’ patterns.  Note the variety….. some are made into pillows, some needle punched or hooked with yarn, and some with beautiful crocheted edges.DSCN1258DSCN1250DSCN1247DSCN1251DSCN1259DSCN1246DSCN1253There were also two examples of paisley patterns by Martina Lesar.DSCN1237This one done in yarn,….and this one…DSCN1245…surrounded by colourful shapes.

The whole presentation was delightful and informative. I heard countless comments afterwards about how much it was enjoyed. Many thanks to Suzanne Hill for her designs, inspiration and explanations.

All in all it was a day full of great rugs, good shopping, delicious food, and friendly people.

If you missed it, it will all happen again in October.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

R.U.G. May 2017 part 1

I am so proud of myself. I am notorious for getting to R.U.G. either without my camera, or with failing batteries, but this time all worked well and I came home with 78 photos of the events of the day. Not all are good of course, but I can certainly share the events of the day and many of the great rugs on view.

But I’m getting ahead of myself….first….a quick update on my “Floating Blocks”. I was able to finish all the blocks while at R.U.G. on Saturday, so I’ve been experimenting with how I want to hook the background. Actually, I made my mind up quite quickly….eliminating straight lines and alternating rows of one colour and settling on this. It’s just underway, and it needs some tweaking as to to how I mix the colours, but here’s the start….DSCN1273

Now to R.U.G…..it’s an active day…..hooking, visiting, learning, shopping and of course eating. those wonderful snacks thanks to our hosts for the day, Grey Highlands.

When we arrived everyone quickly settled in to hook, eat and visit.DSCN1260DSCN1195DSCN1261…note the rug on the wall created by the Huronia Branch to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Different individuals hooked the squares and then they were mounted on suitable “Canadian” fabric. What a great celebration rug. DSCN1198As you see , the upcoming sesquicentennial was well represented throughout the day. Marylou Justason modelled appropriate fashionwear to celebrate our country, as she explained the origins of R.U.G. (Ruggers United Gathering) and promoted the Rug Hooking Museum .

 

There were a number of vendors…and who doesn’t need to add to their stash?

Ann Hallett….

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JoAnne Harris from Wool Gathering…. (I’m sorry for the facial expression  JoAnne, you were deep in conversation when I snapped several photos  and I never caught one with a smile)….the wool looks great though.

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Karen Lediard of By The Bay Studio…..DSCN1226….who had lovely Canadian themed pillow patterns for sale …DSCN1229Ruth Emerson… DSCN1227…she too had Canadiana covered with these delightful beaver pinsDSCN1228

 

……….Suzanne Hill who had many patterns for sale, including most of those shown in the afternoon feature on “Paisley” . Suzanne was also the presenter of that most interesting and informative presentation. (more on that to follow in the next post)DSCN1221

 

Marylou Justason , our tireless promoter for the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, was once more raising funds on their behalf. She had invited donations of good recycled wool,  to be sold at R.U.G.  I (and many others) purchased a number of great batches, and not only replenished my stash, but  helped out the museum in a small way at the same time.DSCN1218….and Chris Poole was there to sharpen scissors and cutting wheels and other repairs. My one regret of the day was that I forgot to bring my dull scissors to get them sharpened.DSCN1219 2There was a ‘Show and Tell’ to end the morning…..here are a few of the rugs we enjoyed seeing. I apologize that I didn’t get the names of the hookers.

DSCN1206DSCN1207DSCN1212DSCN1210DSCN1208DSCN1214DSCN1211DSCN1209DSCN1215..the new gender neutral words for O Canada are on the back.DSCN1216.DSCN1213We heard a touching story of this hooker’s search for a suitably sized maple leaf to use as a pattern in this striking rug. Remarkably, in the middle of winter  it appeared as if by magic .

Next instalment will be about the afternoon ‘Paisley’ presentation and a remarkable rug which took up much of one wall in our meeting room.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Only Four to Go

I can’t believe how quickly this rug has progressed. For the most part I only hook in the evenings for an hour or two, but the hooking on this has been easy and enjoyable. DSCN1192….and as the title says…I only have four more blocks to hook.

I was surprised at how well my age-old “doodling self-rules” worked when planning the colours. For years, when I talked on the phone I would doodle with coloured pencils (mostly looping scrolls) and would always try to use the fewest colours possible with no colours touching themselves.

For the Floating Blocks, I wanted red and yellow to be dominant (and most frequent) with the three other colours complimentary and evenly distributed. That was very easy to start, but required adjustment as one section began to border on another and the colour options diminished.

I made one final little change yesterday. When spread on the floor, I noticed that there was one background section that was significantly larger than the others. It was so easy to just draw in one additional square in that space to make it more the size of the rest. This is a perfect pattern for when you want easy hooking and designing!DSCN1193I added the 4″x 4″ in this space. All 5 colours are already encircling the area, but I chose Y-G (yellow green) . Although not ideal, it is not touching itself and there will be background separating the two green blocks. I will also try to use different greens to give it a new look, for example, I’ll definitely avoid using that very acid yellow green used in the right hand square.

As with most things I do, coming up with the background wool has also been a process. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted it neutral and light.  I had some ‘oatmeal’ from Dorr, but it seemed dull when I held it up to the hooking. I had a small piece of slightly darker textured wool that I liked, but not nearly enough . For a time, I thought I would go shopping for something that I thought was perfect, and went browsing through various online shops to see what might be available. What bothered me about this, was that the goal when I began this rug, was to use up my wool scraps, not ‘dyeing’ or ‘buying’ to make it.

With that in mind, went through my stash, pulling out all the light… greys, tans, browns, off whites I could find. I was surprised at how much wool I ended up with. I decided that I would ‘marry’ them all and come up with a light neutral background. (….that’s not really dyeing I told myself…)

There was way too much for even my largest pan, so I ripped each piece in two so that I could do two batches and the end colour would be pretty much the same. Now I have to admit (confess) , after seeing one half finished, I decided there might not be enough wool, sooo…

I added 1/4th yard of Dorr natural to the second batch. There was little enough colour available to be re-distributed, so after removing the wool from the soapy water stage, (here’s the confession…I broke my own rules) I added 1/128th tsp of both ‘clay’ and ‘mouse grey’ to the pan before adding the vinegar and putting the wool back.(both colours I knew I had used in dyeing the original colours). DSCN1188The colour changes weren’t dramatic, but were subtle and will hopefully work.DSCN1189 2I can imagine them making an unobtrusive background to the vivid blocks. (hope I’m right).

There’s really just one big decision left to be made. How will I hook the background…..following the contour of each space? straight across? mix the colours throughout? make each space mostly one colour?

I’ve decided to try a few ways and see which one I like best. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Floating Blocks Progress

DSCN1132 2Isn’t “Hit and Miss” a misnomer ? I don’t know of anyone who actually hooked one by blindly sticking their hand in the bag, grabbing a strip and hooking whatever colour came out. However this rug IS being entirely hooked with leftover small bits and pieces so I think it qualifies as “Hit and Miss” and I’m having lots of fun with the creation of each block.DSCN1129I began by hooking all the large squares in the foreground in reds and yellows. …decided that the additional colours would be blue, blue/green and yellow/green and  was amazed that I was able to come up with a good sized bag of leftovers of each!

I decided on the placement of the colours as I went along….trying to make sure they were evenly distributed and balanced throughout.DSCN1133As you can see…I made some changes as I went along….and even in this photo…I need to change one of the B-G’s (blue/greens) on the left since I realize that I do not have  a blue along the outside left edge.

A note for newbies who may be viewing this….Hookers work from foreground to background….(as opposed to painters who can layer on top) and this rug makes it really apparent why.  As I work down layer by layer, it is easy to keep the squares even and straight but it would be impossible the other way. By mistake the other evening, I started hooking one square that had an edge overlapping it. Being too lazy to rip it out and start a different one, I had to leave a bit extra on each strip at that edge so I could finish it properly after the top square is hooked, which will be fiddly and time consuming. (You can see the tag ends on the red block in the middle below.)DSCN1131So this is my progress to date.

In preparation for hooking the background, I’ve gathered up all my bits and pieces of light neutrals (beiges, sands and greys) . I’m still trying to decide if I will hook them as is, or marry the colours in a large stew pot so they are closer in colour. At the moment I’m leaning to the latter.

If I didn’t live in a household with two cats and a dog, I’d think seriously of creams for the background since I love the vibrant colours against the white backing. Too many mucky paws in my house for that to work though.

Thanks for stopping by.

Floating Blocks and Sunshine at Work

I’ve been playing this week…..with my new smaller hall rug. At least for now I’m calling it “Floating Blocks”. DSCN1121It’s been fun hunting up all the bits and pieces from past rugs, and hooking them into the 6″x 8″ rectangles to start.

Some in reds…and some in yellows….and more to do….DSCN1120I’ll be adding other colours as well, but they will be further back, since I want the reds and yellows to be dominant.

I did encounter a slight problem that was new for me. While drawing the pattern, I discovered that there were several flaws in the backing….3 places where the thread had broken. One had been woven back in both ways…so no problem there. But in two spots, the break had been repaired by only tying the two cotton threads together in a knot.  I was really concerned that with the tension of the wool strips, it might eventually pull apart.

I consulted with my friend and expert Jean, who suggested that I weave the area  around the break with strong upholstery thread to prevent any possible break in the future.DSCN1117You can see some of the repair at the bottom right. It’s been a very long time since I did any darning, but that long lost art came in handy. The outside edge of this block was hooked through the weaving with no difficulty.

Meanwhile….it was a busy morning  at the Sunshine Rug Hooking Meeting. It was called a “work day”…i.e. working on items which the group will have for sale at the Annual Quilt and Rug Fair held each September. It is our only fund raising opportunity  of the year so members pitch in to help make it a success.DSCN1101This hit and miss table runner was hooked by many members……and will be won in a raffle…as will this beautiful pillow…DSCN1102 These coasters were hooked by many members as well.DSCN1100….other sale items already completed include….DSCN1099Santas…DSCN1098…tree ornaments…DSCN1096….hooked broaches (I realize now that some are made to be ‘point up’ so they look ‘off kilter’ the way I’ve photographed them).DSCN1097….here’s the back of one…DSCN1105…necklaces to set off any outfit…DSCN1107…and available in a variety of colours.

and many more items underway…DSCN1092Christmas tree ornaments…DSCN1110…little Santa boot pins…DSCN1108…a variety of goodies….DSCN1109….and more broaches…this one having beads sewn around the edges…

It was a productive day and I know when September rolls around the sales table will be loaded with wonderful hooked items.

 

From Inspiration to Pattern

My large abstract rug is finished and now residing in its new home.I'm home_edited-1

In preparation for its arrival, the purchaser had her furniture reupholstered and found paintings for her walls which echoed the colours and mood of the rug. I am so gratified by how much she likes it and the lovely home it now has.

After a few days with no hooking during which time my hooking area (i.e. our bedroom) received a thorough spring cleaning, I was once again anticipating my next project. I must admit I’d been thinking about it for some time.

Although I had at times said my next project would be tiny….I lied!

It is planned to be 40″ x 60″. Much smaller than the abstract, but I plan to put it in the upstairs hall where I had originally intended to put the large rug. This mat however will be entirely different. (and have lots more floor showing around it)

I’ve long been fascinated by quilt patterns and log cabin patterns  and decided I wanted to do something ‘hit and miss’ using some of the leftovers in my stash. I went hunting. Bea Brock’s  book on making ‘Scrappy Rugs’ was a great resource and inspiration . (thanks Jean for lending me your copy ) I was drawn to her pattern ‘Wonky Diamonds’ until I discovered that a friend had just started to hook it. Back to the drawing board.

Some time ago, I saw this traditional quilt pattern and loved the idea of the layering of the ‘squares’. DSCN1088

As I thought about my new project, I went back and found the picture and decided that this idea was just what I wanted. This time I  plan to  take Hygeia into consideration. She hangs in the stair well overlooking the landing so the dominant colours will be reds and yellows with a neutral background.DSCN0610

I started sketching ideas….DSCN1089

I’m hoping that the neutral background will make the blocks look as if they are floating.

Last night I got a little more serious. I got out graph paper and drew a scale model of the mat….each square on the paper equals 2″  for my 40′ x 60′ rug. This would let me decide on the best size for the blocks.DSCN1090

After trying various sizes, I’ve settled on both squares and rectangles, sized 6″ x8″,  6″x6″,  6″x4″ and 4″x4″.  This is by no means a set pattern as I’ll determine placement and numbers as I go along.

This morning, Ray made patterns for me using some left over matting board.DSCN1091This will make it much easier to draw the overlapping blocks on the backing without having to worry about measuring.

So now the fun begins. and I plan to start the actual drawing of the pattern today.

I hope you have fun creating your rug patterns too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Unpacking

Nope…I’m not unpacking my suitcase, but my rug. While some people have to fill in spaces when they have finished their hooking….I sometimes have to reduce the wool I’ve used. My tendency is to hook  too closely together. I try to be mindful of this as I hook, but over the large expanse of my big rug, even after steaming there was fixing to do.dscn1064-1I remove the strip that is too close….dscn1065….carefully cut it down a bit, and rehook it in the same space. I did that in a number of spots and it worked well and the rug lay flat.

However….the combination of my tendency to pack, and the wide expanse of echo hooking meant that when laid out on the big table…..it was no longer squared at the corners, or totally straight along the edges. It would need further adjustment.dscn1073I took  out some sections, and shortened many rows at the border. I ended up cutting some new strips in a 6 cut rather than cut them down by hand. dscn1082Ray helped me by setting up guides….with nails and mason’s cord.dscn1083When I had it as straight as possible,  he nailed the edges in place to hold it even. It was a lot of work, but yippee! The edges were now straight.

I needed to set it once again, and rather than steam it on the top side, I covered it with wet towels and left it overnight. (I’ve no idea whether that is condoned or not)dscn1085This morning I removed the towels and it is now drying in place. I still haven’t decided if I will give it a light steam or not before I remove the nails holding it in place.

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Next step will be to zigzag the edge and dye the yarn for whipping.

The Brier begins tomorrow, so I’d love to be able to watch those amazing Canadian men’s curling teams while I whip the edge of the rug….my idea of a great way to spend a week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friendship Rugs Sunshine Style

Last fall the Sunshine Rug Hookers decided to embark on two group projects….one of which was making friendship rugs. The aim was for each participant to end up with a keepsake rug made by other friends in the group.  The whole endeavour was spearheaded by Teresa Moreau who did  a magnificent job of organizing the project. Based on the idea of the Dear Jane Quilt, square sizes were predetermined but the number and arrangement of the squares was decided by each hooker before the rotation began.  Each hooker provided the backing with their choice grid drawn. The rugs would be rotated through the participants each week, making sure that no one saw their own rug as the project progressed. Teresa thought of all the small details so that everyone knew precisely what they were responsible for.

There were 16 participants, so each rug had at least 16 squares. Recently the rugs were revealed and  given back to the owners. Finishing will be done by the rug owners.

Here are the members showing off their rugs shortly after seeing them for the first time .

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That’s our master organizer Teresa peeking out from behind her table runner.img_1972

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Unfortunately I have no picture of Helen’s rug. I wasn’t at the meeting myself  and because of my commitment to my large abstract rug I  had chosen not to participate, but I was delighted that I was sent photos so that I could enjoy seeing them too.img_1973

What a beautiful group of rugs, great mementos of our hooking friends, and such a fun project.

Thanks again Teresa for all your efforts….I’ll reveal the second group project (also organized by Teresa) later when it is completed .

Thanks for stopping by.