Starting and Finishing

Anyone who reads my ramblings here, knows that finishing is not my favourite part of rug hooking. As a matter of fact, most of my sewing and whipping is done when I have a deadline to meet. That’s the case now, once again. The Sunshine Rug Hookers are providing the program at R.U.G. at the beginning of May, so I need to have my zentangle, and Hilda’s English Sunset all done.

I procrastinated about sewing the zigzag edges on them for several weeks……why? Because my bobbin was empty, and I would have to rewind it before I could begin. Now if that isn’t the stupidest reason in the world! (but indeed I have had some bad experiences with my badly wound bobbins in the past)  ……however it’s amazing how simple it is when you follow the instructions.  When I finally got down to it, I kept thinking…..this isn’t a problem….what was the big deal?

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I’ve left 3 inches around my little seascape, since I’d like to frame it. I haven’t yet figured out how I’ll do that, so first I’ll finish the zentangle sampler.

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Now this is straight forward finishing. I want to whip it in black yarn with a back tape on the back. I went to get my materials and found that I don’t have enough black wool and my  bent yarn needle has disappeared from the planet. Sooo. yesterday I went to our local yarn/craft shop, and guess what….they are out of black 100% wool. With bated breath I traveled to Michael’s and luckily, they had what I needed. After purchasing a new needle, I remembered, that the old one is in the half completed edge of my Lunenburg landscape! (Serves me right for not having finished it long ago) . So I’m in business and I’m determined to get it underway today.

Of course while finishing is what I HAVE to do, my next project is what is really on my mind. My Grumpy Owl has been getting lots of thought, with ideas pondered and rejected over and over…..wide cut or fine cut?     realism…..or drawing style?   colourful or……monochromatic?

The first decision made was drawing style over realism, and to that end I began outlining with a #3cut in black.

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His shape and expression are sooo endearing, but don’t lend themselves to a realistic interpretation.

I’m leaning toward monochromatic….but using multiple textures and shades. To that end, I gathered up a few different wools….light plaids, a check, light grey, and oatmeal. and overdyed them with Pro Chem clay, mouse grey, and light charcoal.

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….just a bit to see if I liked it….Next step will be to create a much lighter version of this over some natural, then try both out to see if I like the effect. (I’m almost slapping my own hands to make myself whip instead of dye wool this evening)

This afternoon I’ll be taking advantage of this glorious spring weather to enjoy the sunshine while I help Ray clean up the winter debris in the garden. I have a great desire to plant some Morning Glories this year. I remember the ones in my grandmother’s garden, and I’d love to have some of my own. The older I get the more nostalgic I become.

 

Proddy Broaches Revisited

I received a “wish” from my daughter-in-law recently, for a proddy broach in the style of a prairie lily. I was quite flattered and more than delighted to see what I could come up with.

Not being a prairie girl myself,  my first task was to google prairie lilies to see what they looked like.DSCF7447

Aha, much like the day lilies I have growing in abundance in my yard. (…..well will have growing if spring ever arrives)

With only six petals, I felt I’d better use blanket weight wool so it wouldn’t be too flimsy….but my supply of blankets is non-existent, and  in fact all I could find was one piece of beige that I’d rejected in other projects because it was too heavy. DSCF7449

OK. I could make this work. What dye(s) would magically transform this blah beige into a vibrant orange. I looked through my charts and decided to try mustard, golden yellow, cantaloupe. and orange.

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I dyed a little test strip of each colour….and….DSCF7460

got this…..top….mustard….too dark and too red    2nd down….cantaloupe……YES!

3rd down……orange ….too dark    bottom…..golden yellow…..too yellow, but with possibilities

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I dyed two pieces with the cantaloupe (OK), and two pieces I dyed golden yellow, then dip dyed them sideways on both edges with cantaloupe. These were my favourites. They would have some shading and yellow in  the throat.DSCF7463

I began with a test flower.

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….and just laid out the petals on my desk to get an idea of the outcome. 6″ was a bit too big, so I cut down all of the petals about 1/2 “. Of course fixing one problem just presented me with another..cutting them down made them also narrower. I need enough backing covered in the centre to attach the pin and hold the whole thing together without it showing through to the front. Not having the option of adding more petals, I made skinny “lily-leaves” and placed them between the petals.DSCF7466

 

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….then ….out with my trusty “Tacky Glue” and on to the finishing. First I glued the ends of the leaves under the petals.DSCF7472

…then the backing. Many people sew the broach pins to the back, but I choose to purchase the ones that have a sponge sticky pad.  I use a hole punch and pop my pin through the holes, then glue the backing and pin to the back of the flower (staying within the backing circle) The pin sticks to the back and absorbs the glue holding it in place securely.  I’ve found if I use something to spread the glue evenly (like a ruler, old credit card, or piece of heavy construction paper) it makes a much smoother backing.DSCF7473

…a day to dry, and I’m ready for the final step……cutting off the excess backing. I do it from the top so as not to cut into the petals or leaves by mistake.DSCF7475

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Finally I use a black fabric marker around the edge to make that white backing edge less obvious.DSCF7477So tomorrow….into the mail and off to Regina, where my wonderful  clever and talented daughter-in-law will have a prairie lily  (the symbol of the Saskatchewan NDP party) to wear on her lapel as she begins door to door canvassing as the NDP candidate for Regina Pasqua in the upcoming provincial election. Thank you Heather for allowing me to have a weeny teeny part in your exciting campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Demonstrating Transitional Dyeing

On Tuesday, I was asked to give a demonstration of transitional wool dyeing at the Sunshine Rug Hooking meeting. Margaret Kennedy took photos and wrote an account of the process to send to members who were absent. She has kindly given me permission to share her pictures and information on my blog.

“Elizabeth Martel gave a practical and inspiring demonstration of Transitional Dyeing on Tuesday, March 30, 2015._3300087

Dye and Apply: The pastel outlining used Transitionally Dyed wool. Colours are all in the ‘light’ spectrum, yet with more interest than using all cream in the outline._3300077

Dye and Apply: Transitional Dyeing allows for enormous yet naturally blended variations. The corals and turquoise colors are great examples._3300076

Dye and Apply: Transitional Dyeing allows you to use up old scraps of wool. In this southern coast of England pictorial, Elizabeth used Hilda Haye’s wool and tweaked it to make the result spectacular._3300074

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Gather together all the equipment on the table. Collect wool material, some that are ‘bleeders’ and will release their dye; others that are lighter in color and will take up the dye. You must have ’Givers and Takers’
In the first layer, alternate and partially overlap the ‘givers and takers’
In the second layer, follow the same technique, just put a light strip over the dark one in the first layer and continue.
You may have three or four layers_3300084

Squirt any dish liquid into a two-cup measuring cup. Add water and mix.
Gradually, and bit by bit, pour the soap mixture into the wool. With each addition, use your finger to press down and allow the wool to take up the water. Add only enough water that it reaches the surface. Too much water and the wool swims and the dyes become defuse and the dyed wool not ‘marbled’. Dump water out if you have too much. Put the lid on and Simmer for 15 minutes or until you are pleased with the bleeding and the colors created.
Then add vinegar and hot water. Simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour, whichever school or faith you believe in_3300094

Remove the hot wool to another container

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Add warm water to the wool and rinse. Be careful not to use cold water as it will shock the wool and harden it. i.e. felt it.
Hang the wool out to dry or put in the dryer with a towel until the wool is only partially dry. Then hang up to dry

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The remarkable results of Tuesday’s Transitional Dyeing demo. ”

Thanks for the write up Margaret. This is one of my favourite ways to create interesting wool for highlights etc. and a good way to make  use of those bits and left over pieces. For this demo, I did cut pieces to fit my pan, but very often I use irregular shaped pieces that might not ever get used. It’s also a great way for those who haven’t tried dyeing to see how they like it without having to invest in any dyes.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

March Sunshine Hooking Part 2

We had several guests with us at the last Sunshine get together, and enjoyed seeing their work. I’m not good at remembering names, so please excuse the errors and omissions.DSCF7377Janice is doing Whirligig, a pattern by Suzanne Hill.

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Elizabeth is enjoying her introduction to rug hookingDSCF7390

This is a one end of a very large rug designed by Martina Lazar. The colours just pop against that light background.

The fishes below will be hung as wall plaques.

DSCF7400I was very interested in how they were being finished. I have always avoided hooking convoluted shapes, because I had no idea how one would bind the edges.DSCF7401This hooker (I apologize for not knowing her name) has come up with a wonderful method which not only provides a great finish, but sets off the vibrant colours with the black edging. She is using material like a bias tape which surrounds the raw edges and hides them completely when sewn in place on both sides.DSCF7402I’m surely going to remember this method, and if I ever get the nerve to attempt such a moving edge, I’ll give it a try.

Anne was hooking stars.DSCF7396….and Mary Ann is building a funky house….DSCF7378

Our knitter/hookers were also hard at work. I drool when I look at their wool.DSCF7398

Those colours are such favourites of mine, and I so admire the picot edge on Kathy’s work. Who would want to cover up the beautiful detail in Theresa’a socks by hiding them in shoes???DSCF7399

If and when I get back to my own knitting, I’m going to try knitting socks from the toe up.

Gail….I know for sure I took a photo of your knitting, but my camera gremlin must have been hungry and swallowed it….because it is nowhere to be found!!

I’ve been enjoying hooking Hilda’s English Sunset. I’m only sorry it is so small, and I’ll soon have it finished.DSCF7410

 

Happy hooking. Thanks for stopping by.

 

An English Sunset for Hilda

After the passing our our dear Hilda at age 97 last year, her daughter gave her wool to the Sunshine rug hookers.

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We sold most of it and donated the proceeds to charity, but there were still many lovely pieces left. Mary Lou Justason and Linda Wilson came up with a wonderful idea and put it into action. They divided the wool into about 40 groupings and gave one package  to each of the the Sunshine members. We are now each creating a small hooked piece with this wool to have as a personal memento of our friend. We are planning to show them at R.U.G. and then invite Heather (Hilda’s daughter) to see them all at a meeting in May.

The package I chose was primarily navy, pinks and purples, and I decided to hook an English seaside sunset.

DSCF7363It’s tiny (just 25 cm. x 16 cm……sorry I can’t find an imperial ruler…but that’s approximately 10″ x 6″ ), and I added yellow orange/red and teal from my own wool.DSCF7367

Then, since Hilda’s wool was mainly solid colours, I  used the transition dyeing method (doesn’t use any dye), to create variation and highlights.

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….and ended up with this….DSCF7375So now I’m having great fun creating this little English sea scape, and imaging that Hilda is enjoying the view as well.

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Jean has created “Hilda’s Garden” with her wool.DSC03694

…..aren’t those little quillies delightful?

I’ll share what everyone else makes in a later post.

At our meeting this week I was working on “Hilda’s English Sunset”,  and here’s a glimpse of what everyone else was working on.DSCF7397Joanne’s adorable owl has a very ‘mola’ look to me. DSCF7404

Gail is hooking an abstract bench seat cover.

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Marion was off visiting when I snapped this photo, so I have no explanation for her work.

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Helen is continuing with her abstract moon/ night sky.DSCF7405Charlene told me the title of her lovely dressed tree, but unfortunately but I’ve now forgotten (so sorry Charlene).

DSCF7392Edie is coming along with the background of her floral piece. That lovely mottled background just makes the flowers pop.

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Isabel is just getting this rose underway.

DSCF7388Linda’s grandchild painted this tile and presented it to her. Fearing that it was fragile, and might not stand the test of time……..DSCF7389

…….. she has hooked a replica of this very special keepsake.DSCF7381Liz’s necklace is the inspiration for her present project. A gift from he son-in-law, it is a maori symbol called a kora….DSCF7384

 

….and she is hooking a tribute to it….DSCF7387……using sari silk, and wool which she herself has spun and dyed.

There’s more to show, and I’ll include the rest in a second post.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Good News and Bad News

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that my son Mark gave me a wonderful new Imac computer (I have three wonderful sons who all spoil me). What a fantastic surprise, as my old Mac Mini was limping along on its last legs. The bad news is that although my old photo library is on the new computer, I haven’t yet figured out how to get it from documents to iphoto and can only access the photos by thumbing through them 1 by 1 (and there are 10,000 of them). The post I had planned to do required photos from the library…soooooo…while I sort that out, I’ve been finishing up my zentangle piece and I’ll share that.

The padula flowers were toned down by adding colours from the swirly section on the other side.DSCF7341

DSCF7346….and then I brightened the swirls a bit by adding more of the light tan.

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I know many teachers say to start in the middle and work out, but in this case, the middle was the very last thing I did. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to hook it.

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I settled on two shades of each of the main colours, and I really like the effect. I made two mistakes in hooking it though….can you see them? I’ve decided to leave them both there. (what group is it that always put an error in their work since God is the only one able to create perfection?)DSCF7362

So just a few rows of black around the edges to go, then steaming and whipping.

Mentally I’ve moved on to the next wee project. “An English Sunset for Hilda”

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….and I’ll tell you all about it next time.

Thanks for your interest in my hooking adventures.

Searching for Balance

Every piece I hook presents new learning experiences. I think that’s why I love hooking…..in this very simple art form there is always so much more to learn.

The challenge for my zentangle is how to make a cohesive picture out of six totally unrelated designs. I took the first steps in reducing the colours. Next was to balance their placement.DSCF7334

I felt happy with the yellows at the top and bottom, and the muted dip dye background around the top centre padula. I removed the yellow from the bottom right segment, and planned on blue padulas with some sort of contrast colour in the echoes…..perhaps the very dark blue.DSCF7340

Then a new consideration hit me. I liked the look of it but the vibrant colours totally would overpower the muted section on the opposite side, and unbalance the whole piece. Now what?

Out went the dark blue idea, and I decided to try the sand beige and blue green from the muted section to tone it down and tie the two sections together.DSCF7341DSCF7343

The light blue is still  too bright, but for now I’ll carry on and make a final decision later.

(I know Cynthia…I’m overthinking again….but I’m having fun in the process)

Colour Testing

My Zentangle needed a mental overhaul!

I began the hooking thinking of the separate sections, with no view to the whole piece. As a result while I liked the individual parts, the piece as a whole was ugly. When I think about it, it’s much the same process I went through when hooking Signa Mia Vita. Both times I had chosen too many colours for the pattern. (and my monochromatic taste)

SOoooooo….with a view to balance in the placement ….I did lots of pulling out.

This….DSCF7229became this….DSCF7333

…and there were two other areas as well, but I don’t have photos….I had the red/pink in a couple of areas, and it was all  removed.  My original idea of having it “go with” the hall rugs has been scrapped. These colours are in those rugs but that’s the only similarity…..and….I’m a happier hooker.DSCF7331

This loopy tangle is quite muted and quiet.DSCF7332

…while the blue triangles really pop with the lime green edging and black bckground. DSCF7334

It feels much more cohesive now, and I’m once again happy to hook on it. ….and that’s good…since the Brier Curling started yesterday, and I’ve got a week planned cheering on the amazing shots of Canada’s best men’s teams, while snuggled up with my hooking.

Eye to Eye Part Two

More from the International Women’s Day Art Show. I just loved the wide variety of media used, and the countless ways in which the theme  “Eye to Eye “was evoked.

Amazing colour in these abstracts:DSCF7256DSCF7250DSCF7265DSCF7285I found this fascinating. The figures actually show up much more pronounced in the photo. They were barely visible to my eye in real life.

…these tender personal works…DSCF7275DSCF7276…and this wonderful lady inspired by “steam punk”DSCF7308

She’s well prepared for all eventualities with those glasses.

DSCF7272This was painted on myriad pieces of wood…what a unique canvas.DSCF7287

….and this large standing piece had raised cut outs, which were painted on the opposite pieces on the other side. (how did I miss taking a picture of the other side???)DSCF7314…inspired by a totem pole…DSCF7300…whimsical…and full of hidden details..

and  I’m sure  the style must have a name…but I don’t know what it is..DSCF7280There was a lot of beautiful photography. These two examples were especially powerful for me.DSCF7247These are photos of various nebula, and in the centre of each is superimposed a photo of a minute organism. The universe in its extremes.

The next is the same woman showing the passage of time and the effects of life. I found it very moving.

DSCF7269Actual eyes were featured in many works.DSCF7281DSCF7252The next and my last two photos are the pieces that I think of first when I am telling someone about this wonderful art show.

This work, moved me deeply, perhaps because I am a mother of three sons, and can only guess at the agony it evokes. My stomach literally knotted as I looked at it.DSCF7311

The mother, with memories of her precious son as a toddler, is now helpless and in pain as he makes disastrous choices. I will never forget this powerful piece of art.

…and this painting which made me laugh out loud when I read the title …….. Fifty Shades of Green.DSCF7292

….do you see the hunter and the hunted?

The exhibition is on until May 4th, at the Orillia Museum of Art and History. This is just a small sampling of the works on display.( I always get so caught up in looking that I keep forgetting to take photos. ) Do come and see it if you are in the area, You won’t be sorry.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Eye to Eye

DSCF7271Saturday (Feb 14th) was the opening of the International Women’s Day Art Show at the Orillia Museum of Art and History, and what a wonderful exhibition of the talents of women in this area. Not just the traditional art media were represented, but a wide variety of fibre art, sculpture, photography, and mixed medium pieces all representing the artist’s vision of the theme “eye to eye”.

Five  members of the Sunshine Rug Hookers  have their rugs on display.DSCF7237This is Cheri’s whimsical take on the theme.DSCF7251

Cynthia’s thoughtful study,

DSCF7264Gail’s wonderful 3D “I”DSCF7260……my Hijab… DSCF7302

….and Jean’s spectacular “Hamish”.

Other fibre pieces…DSCF7304DSCF7283DSCF7245

mixed media…..DSCF7261DSCF7262DSCF7238DSCF7299DSCF7298…this was one of my favourites

there were sculptured 3D pieces…..DSCF7294DSCF7328DSCF7307DSCF7315

zentangle….DSCF7323…….and many many more to come in the next post.

What a celebration of women and their amazing talents.