The Case of the Travelling Suit (and Oily Matters)

The internet is a wonderful tool! I, like many…have lots of “internet” friends….people whom I have never met in person, but because of common interests , frequently converse and share ideas via social media. Shirley is the ultimate example of an internet friend.

She was the public school friend of my nephews and nieces and we became internet friends when she became interested in my rug hooking (having seen it on my niece’s internet page.) We chatted a few times on messenger and then a few months ago she told me she had a suit she wanted to send me to recycle in my rug hooking. I really appreciated the offer, but since we lived several thousand miles apart, I explained that the cost of sending it would be prohibitive. Not to be thwarted, she sent it from Victoria BC to Ontario with her brother who had come to visit. He then drove it to Newmarket where he gave it to another niece , who in turn gave it to a second niece who happens to frequently work at a vet’s clinic in my town, where I drove to pick it up. DSCN0723And what a suit it is…..DSCN0726….absolutely gorgeous pure virgin Irish wool. I spent one evening with my trusty seam ripper and carefully took it apart, washed and dried it to ‘full’ the wool, and I have now the most beautiful stack of soft black wool you could imagine. DSCN0729 (1)I haven’t yet taken the jacket apart, that will be more complicated and time consuming, but I am truly grateful to Shirley for her efforts in getting this beautiful gift to me.

In the meantime I have been making some progress on “Oil on Water”.DSCN0713I had stalled for awhile, debating about how I would hook the large blue sections which swept off to the right of the centre part. I finally just grabbed a pen, drew some lines and started hooking. Since I am such a visual learner, that immediately showed me what I liked and what needed to be changed. For instance, I disliked these two “banana” shaped blobs, and altered them to this….DSCN0716I had to pause and dye more of this vivid blue….It is just Pro Chem 990 (brilliant blue) ….DSCN0720…..for 1 yd natural….1/4 tsp in 1CBW in the dye bath then spotted after 20 minutes and adding the vinegar with a further 1/8th tsp in 1CBW. (my sealpoint Akuma appears to approve). I like the highlights this provides.

Then….since I love to jump around when hooking….I realized I needed to centre the prominent ‘blob’ which is near the bottom of the top section of the rug. While freewheeling with various elements, it was now seriously off centre.DSCN0731DSCN0732I played with a variety of colour choices….DSCN0733…and at first I thought I liked this but something just wasn’t right for me..DSCN0736.Then I changed the muted raspberry for the rhodamine red, and immediately liked it  much more.DSCN0738DSCN0739That pops!

At the moment, I am thinking a great deal about the significance of directional hooking. My first idea was to echo hook the blue from the top down, but I soon discovered that the valleys quickly became rounded and the sharp movement was lost.(I had already adjusted the points in this photo). I’ve changed the pure echo into  creating leaf like shapes which preserve the outward movement of the oil as it moves away from the centre of the piece. ….a small detail….but for me it is the accumulation of small details which please me in the overall effect.DSCN0744….and that is the essence of the joy of rug hooking for me….to create something which excites and pleases me. I hope your hooking gives you the same satisfaction.

Thanks again to Shirley…..now to tackle the jacket…

….and thank YOU for stopping by.

The Kuna and their Molas

This blog has always been primarily about my rug hooking adventures and  while I have not avoided mention of my family, they are not usually the subject of my writing here. Now I find that the current adventure of my youngest son Mathieu and his girl friend Melanie, has a rug hooking connection which I hope others may find interesting. 220px-Cabañas_Guna_Yala I recently had breakfast with them during a layover in Toronto on their way from Calgary to Panama city where they would then make their way to a remote corner of the country.DSCN0711 They are currently spending a month long artist residency living among the Kuna people (originators of the mola designs) in the village of Armila , Panama, near the border of Columbia. (marked B on this map)7ba0604a1cfecd13b04e41f033e085e4“This town of about 600 people is the epitome of remote. There are no roads to Armila. The only way in is via foot or boat. They speak the native language of Dulegaya. Our living space was a grass roof, grass walled house like all the rest of the traditionally built homes. The experience was authentic. Across the street, or rather the sandy path wide enough for a burro and a some side loaded cargo baskets, was our host Luperio and his family. Next door was their corner store, which sold what became one of my favorite indulgences, Brinky cookies… Central American OREOs.”…..from an article by EriksonimagesThey have no wifi connectivity, or even electricity, and will be living in a thatched hut on the ocean, immersed in the Kuna culture.

“The Kuna Indians are a strongly-knit tribal society living on a chain of islands called San Blas Archipelago, on the Atlantic side of the Republic of Panama. Believed to be descendants of the Caribs, the Kuna Indians still live in much the same manner as their ancestors. The San Blas people have cleverly managed to retain their tribal identity and contentedly lead a moral balanced life, free from the complexities of modern, highly-organized societies.
The Kuna have a matriarchal society in which the line of inheritance passes through the women. A young man, after marriage, must live in his mother-in-law’s house and work for several years under apprenticeship to his father-in-law. Divorce is uncommon, although it requires no more than the husband to gather his clothes and move out of the house. The daughters of the Kuna people are prized because they will eventually bring additional manpower into the family.”  …..from an article by Sherry Thorup.

 

“The Kuna are famous for their bright molas, a colorful textile art form made with the techniques of appliqué and reverse appliqué. Mola panels are used to make the blouses of the Kuna women’s national dress, which is worn daily by many Kuna women. Mola means “clothing” in the Kuna language. The Kuna word for a mola blouse is Tulemola, (or “dulemola”) “Kuna people’s clothing.” ……from wikipedia

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The beautiful  mola designs of the Kuna people have been embraced by rug hookers for some time. I have long recognized the style in rug hooking, but knew really nothing about its origin, other than that it came from the Caribbean. When I first began rug hooking, the Sunshine Group had recently had a “mola” workshop and the style popped up on countless pieces. The vivid colours and animal designs make it immediately recognizable.

I just discovered that there are no less than 70 boards on pinterest that are devoted to molas .images-3images-2

While tourists call them  molas and readily buy them as souvenirs, the decorative style  is

still worn on the clothing of the Kuna women.images-1170px-Panama-Kuna_0610a

 

a-welcome-dance-by-the-local-kuna-tribe-armila-panama-july-2014-edhpxgWhere Mathieu and Melanie are staying there is a 4 km long beach which is one of the world’s largest nesting ground for leatherback turtles. The Kuna people work diligently to preserve this special area and protect the turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs, and the young when they hatch.p543928560-4

“One girl, who manages the town’s only telephone, was asked why they didn’t touch the turtles. She told me a story about a young girl who went out on the beach and put her hands on the side of a leatherback. Her hands got stuck, “like a magnet,” and the turtle dragged her into the sea. Contact with leatherbacks is also said to cause complications during childbirth, but above all, the Kuna believe that they are distantly related to turtles, and so treat them with the same respect as they would relatives.”……from an article on leatherbacks in Armila

I’m really looking forward to hearing about Mathieu and Melanie’s adventures and seeing their photos when they return to Canada in August . I may even be inspired to hook a “mola” of my own.

Thanks for stopping by.

Summer Send Off

Sunshine Rug Hookers don’t meet during July and August, and today was our final get together until September. We gathered at Couchiching Beach Park for a day of hooking laughter and food. Unlike last year when it was cold and windy, the weather was perfect….a lovely breeze off the water, and a choice of sun or shade to enjoy.DSCN0674This is a special spot in our town, with the band shell and water to one side…..DSCN0694……and Samuel D. Champlain and the beach on  another side.

There was a wide variety of work being done. Lots of hooking of course…..DSCN0676Linda is whipping the edge of her little oriental….DSCN0680I was sewing down the back of my Lunenburg landscape…..DSCN0700Suzanne was beginning the lettering of her little mat….DSCN0699Gail is working on a pot holder….DSCN0678Chris has her sunflowers well under way.DSCN0698….this delightful winter scene is using a variety  of fibres….DSCN0677…a celtic dragon design  (love that colour palette)…DSCN0695Jean is doing a log cabin design using up some of her worms….DSCN0683Kathleen is creating a multi fibre tree. I’m so sorry the wool in the centre isn’t as vibrant in the photo as in person. It was really striking.DSCN0693Woops….sorry about the shadow….Edie is doing this stained glass morning glory pattern from Shiela Klugescheid . DSCN0689Isabelle is finishing her kaleidiscope pattern for her grandson.DSCN0691….and Linda L. is working on a stained glass pattern as well. She came dressed to match her work….DSCN0692….and she wasn’t the only one……Helen was totally colour co-ordinated with her knitting….DSCN0686….with the exception of her red shoes….which she kept hidden under her bag! (We’re obviously a very ‘fashion forward’ group).DSCN0685Kathy was knitting as well ….DSCN0690….and Mary was ‘corking’ this beautiful wool, which she intends to braid.

DSCN0679This exquisite embroidery piece is entitled “Writing on the Wall” and is from a painting of the same name.  Such delicate work!DSCN0688Wendy was just enjoying the day. (sorry Wendy, I couldn’t resist…..she was actually knitting too)DSCN0682.jpgWhile we don’t meet again until September, there are already plans afoot for a project for the group in the fall……Teresa brought her friendship rug done with a group from the Purple Sock in Coldwater, and a similar project is proposed for us. Friends completing one square each in the rug of each participant giving us a lovely memento of those we hook with.DSCN0681I love this idea, and I hope we go ahead with it in the fall.

 

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This was a special treat for dessert to celebrate the day. Thanks  Suzanne.

In the mean time….summer is here!!!DSCN0701

Enjoy!

 

 

A HAPPY ENDING

My beloved standard schnauzer Baxter will be fifteen in the fall and he is beginning to show his age.

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His ability to hold on when he needs to “go” has diminished (much to his horror and shame), and occasionally I’ve discovered a puddle at the back door,or a damp spot where he has been laying. DSCF7414

This geometric rug lies on the floor at the foot of our bed and was long ago claimed by him  as his bed.

With these accidents occurring, I checked the condition of this rug and discovered that indeed it was in a bad way. It was either throw it out, or try and wash it thoroughly.

I’ve never washed one of my wool rugs before, but in this case there was nothing to lose. If I couldn’t get the doggie urine out it would be in the garbage.

I laid it in the bathtub and let it soak in cool water, swished it thoroughly and rinsed it out. I was appalled by the dirt and sand (and yellow water ) that came out. I did this several times, with the same result each time. I headed to the store looking for ‘Zero’….the soap I used to use for wool sweaters back in the olden days when twin sets were still popular, but it has obviously gone the way of the dodo bird. It’s replacement is ‘Woolite’ so home I went with a bottle and high hopes that it would work and the dyes wouldn’t run.

I think I soaked, washed and rinsed it with the soap about 5 times until there was no grit or discolouration coming from it, then did it once more for good measure. Much to my delight, the dye stayed intact.DSCN0671

I hung it up over the grating on the veranda and left it there for several days to dry and be in the fresh air. I am absolutely delighted with the results. It hasn’t looked this good since it was first hooked.DSCN0672

It certainly isn’t going back on the floor though. I have a very washable blanket now folded up at the foot of the bed and Baxter seems to think that is just fine to sleep on.

I’m not saying that every rug would do so well with this treatment, but it worked well in this case.

I’m so glad I gave it a try and didn’t throw it out.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Hook a Kaleidoscope

Although I wasn’t able to get to the Spring R.U.G. a couple of weeks ago, Melodie (the incoming president from Huronia Guild) visited our Sunshine group on Tuesday and brought some of the rugs from their programme on hooking a Kaleidoscope. Such  a great way to create a pattern!DSCN0627

I remember as a child the fun of twisting that little kaleidoscope gizmo and watching through one eye as the fantastic patterns changed and evolved . What a terrific idea to hook them.DSCN0618The possibilities are endless.DSCN0623They look complex and difficult to create, but no actually they’re not…..Melodie showed us how it was done…. A circle of tracing paper in the size desired  is folded in half, and then halved again and again to create a pie shape.DSCN0654

The pattern for this segment is drawn.DSCN0655….open the next segment and draw the mirror image of the firstDSCN0657….repeat all the way around…Tadah!! a kaleidoscope pattern.

It can remain as a circle, have the corners squared off or even used in the shape of the pattern.

DSCN0626….to make an elegant pillow…DSCN0648Another popular version was to make a mat using a grandchild’s name….DSCN0643 (1)At first glance all you see is a wonderful pattern, but on closer inspection…..DSCN0619…..the whole pattern is based on Zachery’s name.DSCN0622Olivia chose her own colours…DSCN0621

DSCN0639I saw Isabelle creating hers, and thought it was a super ‘greek key’ style pattern never realizing it was actually all based on her grandson Logan’s name. (she used a ‘corked’ edging….another clever trick I intend to remember)DSCN0620She’s busy now hooking another for …..DSCN0628…..Damon.

Emily’s rug includes a shiny gold chainstitch separating the sections…..

DSCN0659…..it’s squared off with her last name……DSCN0658…..has a fancy edging…..DSCN0660….a beautiful backingDSCN0661…..complete with a note from Grandma.DSCN0662Sarah is a lucky girl to have this personal keepsake compete with added bling, decorative buttons….DSCN0663….a beautiful corded edge…..DSCN0664an elegant backing, and a loving note. Grandma Wilson (aka Linda Wilson) certainly outdid herself with these beautiful keepsakes for her granddaughters.

A great big thank you to Melodie for bringing and demonstrating the rugs, I don’t feel so badly now for having missed R.U.G. (I’ll bet you liked seeing them too).

Thanks for stopping by.

Inspiration- Another Point of View

As ‘Oil on Water’ gets bigger and heavier (already the hooked part is 42″ x 32″) it is apparent that when I go out to hooking activities,  (or when I need a break from it) I’ll need something smaller to work on. At the annual, I picked up a package of “Ribbon Candy” from Fish Eye Sisters. It’s lengths of cotton batik precut into strips, and it’s beautiful.DSCN0613

I had no idea what I would hook with it, but the two little examples hooked by Jennifer Manuell (one of the two “fish eye sisters”) were delightful little landscapes. My first inclination was to follow suit and hook a landscape. To that end I had chosen a package with a wide variety of colours including blues, greens and browns.DSCN0612

I sorted  the strips according to colour and sat back waiting for it to speak to me. ….silence!  I realized I didn’t want to just hook a version of what Jen had created (and I could never hope to emulate it half as well). I stuffed it all back into the bag and carried on with my day.

For some reason, I later found myself looking at “Emma Sue”, my first hooked face, done at what I consider my ‘watershed’ workshop. It was the first time I realized that I had the potential to create something I was really pleased with and could create with wool much more than I had previously realized. (…and I am eternally grateful to Anne Boissinot for her expertise and encouragement at that event). I love the ‘painterly ‘aspect of hooking.DSCN0615

I’ve also been fascinated by the concept that it is value, not colour , that determines what we perceive. I’ve drooled over wonderful pieces which prove this concept but had never tried it myself…..until now. Last night I made the decision to try this with my ‘candy strips’. A tiny version about 6″ x 10″.DSCN0614 I began by sorting the strips again. This time according to value….light medium and dark  (and a few left overs which were bright) . I may be opening up myself to total failure, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Here goes…..

‘Oil on Water ‘ Progress Report

The title of this post should really read “Oil on Water – Little Progress”. It seems I spend much more time  debating how I will hook areas, than actually doing it.DSCN0605.jpgOne concern that needed lots of contemplation were the little rivulets of a slightly lighter colour of blue  on the left side.DSCN0607 There will be many more of these, so I had to come up with a way to keep them subtle, but visible. They show up readily when viewed up close, but tend to disappear at a distance. I decided to try an outline just on one side. The outline colours are actually the main cantaloupe and raspberry colours dyed over an ‘oatmeal ‘ wool. I particularly like the ‘oatmeal cantaloupe ‘ wool for the small connecting details. It blends but doesn’t dominate. (I used this a lot when hooking Hygieia…creating a bright and dull version of the same red by using the same dye formula over both Dorr natural and Dorr oatmeal)DSCN0610

I’m still debating how I will tackle the large area of bright blue which extends out to the right of the ” flames” . Since I couldn’t decide how to go forward with that, I moved to the lower right of this upper section of the rug, and encountered another problem to solve. Since the grid isn’t proportionate to the picture, I have to alter sizes and shapes and as I get closer to the area where the two halves will be joined, it becomes more important that details are in the same relative spot.DSCN0608There has been a lot of drawing and redrawing on the backing to position elements so they will match when I join the sections.DSCN0606So this is what it looks like to date. Lots of fun involved in the process and the decision making. This is a new way for me to tackle a rug (drawing the pattern freehand as I go along) and as usual I’m learning a lot from my trials and errors.

Thanks for stopping by.

Annual 2016 Post 4

The vast number of amazing rugs on display at this year’s annual was truly a feast for the eyes. Here’s the last instalment of those I managed to photograph. DSCN0573DSCN0562DSCN0582DSCN0541I’m sorry this is out of focus. It is hooked entirely from ‘as is’ blankets cut by hand.DSCN0528DSCN0572DSCN0555DSCN0554DSCN0587DSCN0575DSCN0543DSCN0566I can almost feel the hot sun! The use of light is soooo effective.

DSCN0571DSCN0558DSCN0556DSCN0599DSCN0578DSCN0560DSCN0557DSCN0592DSCN0520DSCN0527DSCN0509DSCN0550DSCN0552DSCN0565….another reversed hooking background…DSCN0553… proddy flowers creating a 3D effectDSCN0539The skill and diversity  of the hooking artists of Ontario was certainly evident at this wonderful exhibition.

While I was off feasting my eyes and enjoying my weekend, Ray was home by himself, and having to sleep alone…….well not quite…..my spot in the bed was immediately taken over.DSCN0604Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Annual 2016 Post 3

As it’s name implies, traditional rug hooking was primarily for creating rugs. While that is still a large part of what we rug hookers create, more and more we see both works of art to be hung on walls or utilitarian objects for other uses being created.

Here are some of the non-floor items on display last weekend. I’ll begin with a few of the utilitarian items I saw.DSCN0591

DSCN0590These bags were made at a workshop given by Bea Grant. The hooking is done right into the wool fabric (as opposed to the more usual backing)DSCN0602.jpgThis one uses both pennies and appliqué.

There were many lovely pillows to be found, but these three stunning examples really caught my eye.DSCN0523DSCN0526 (1)DSCN0498…decorative items…..DSCN0586The pumpkin stems are real…DSCN0529a vase….created by hooking into a crocheted base…..DSCN0544…sculptured hooking….

DSCN0600….and even hooked slippers.

Many are created as works of art to be given place of pride on a wall.DSCN0518The polar bears are stuffed appliqué.DSCN0532DSCN0536.jpgDSCN0549DSCN0588DSCN0577.jpgDSCN0563.jpg

DSCN0547DSCN0574DSCN0534 (1)DSCN0548DSCN0545I must apologize to Kathy. I shouldn’t have used the flash, because this beautiful abstract actually shows only as deep purple/blues.DSCN0559DSCN0589The background of this piece is done in reverse hooking (literally hooked from the back) which allows the foreground to stand out with a 3D effect.

I’ll finish with two pieces that really had a personal impact on me.DSCN0593‘The simplicity and elegance of the design and the very restricted colour palette made this beautiful piece one I’ll long remember.

DSCN0576….and this  literally brought tears to my eyes. The title is “I Want To Go Back”.

I’ll finish up tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Annual 2016 Post 2

Every year, the annual has a theme. 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of OHCG, and the theme this year was “Going for Gold”.DSCN0504

Members are always invited to hook a piece reflecting the theme, and these are then displayed in a group and a winner is chosen. This year the hooking reflected a wide interpretation of the theme idea, making for a fascinating variety in the display. DSCN0514DSCN0511DSCN0507DSCN0505DSCN0515DSCN0506….and the winner was….13124607_10154120938930762_3407957103574331152_n….this delightful footstool, hooked entirely with reminiscences from 50 years ago.

Rugs can be on display only, or entered for competition in a variety of categories. Once again, somehow I failed to get photos of all the winners. I’m missing the ‘oriental’  and the ‘fine cut’ winners, and I apologize for being unable to show them……but, here are the others….

DSCN0597The winner of the wide cut classification…DSCN0595The pictorial winner….DSCN0570This fascinating piece was affixed to a round shape, and the woodpecker was sculpted to stand out from the tree. Unfortunately that doesn’t really show up in the photo.DSCN0601

This amazing rug won two awards. The award for original design, and the R0wan ‘People’s Choice Award.’ The detail, and the stories in it require a very long look, and I’m sure it will be a family treasure for generations to come.

I still have many more rugs to share, so tune in tomorrow for the next instalment.