Carrying on

I haven’t been hooking every day recently…and it sure makes a difference in my progress. I’m working on a number of areas on Fat Cat at the same time…and not getting too far with any of them. When I put the background around the top light green leaves, I felt the leaves  disappeared….that the values were too close., so I outlined them first with a very dark brown….too stark, that came out in a hurry.

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 Then I outlined them with a fine strip of dark green.

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They still jumped out too much….so now thanks to Jean Chabot…I’m taking that out as well, and  will try changing the leaf colours slightly to have a better (brighter ) colour on the outside of the leaves in this spot. Thanks Jean your advice is always ‘spot on’.

 

The part that needs concentration, is the body of the cat. 

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This is the wool I have left to complete the body…the remains of the dip dye…a darker version over the same oatmeal…and a smaller dark version dyed over a brown plaid. 

 The centre section of the body has been quite tricky, because I decided to extend the mid-depth brown to give more delineation to the very dark tail. I like this effect, the tricky part is because while shading with a dip dye is easy…I have a very small portion of the dip dye wool that is this mid-brown colour….and have extended it in the cat to a longer length than it is in the long strip of wool. That required slow work, and laying out each strip carefully so that it blended all the way around as it was hooked.

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This is how it looked before….

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Now it’s lighter, and the tail stands out better..

Lots of trying and removing of strips that didn’t quite match…but I’m pleased with how it looks so far. 

 I have lots of brown worms too, as I’m only using small sections of the dip dye strips. I could have just cut through the middle, but thought the left over would be more useful as a long graduated piece.

I’ve been working on the background when I don’t really want to have to concentrate on what I’m doing (like at Sunshine meetings when there’s a lot of important chatting and visiting to do).

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 I just seem to like both styles, and I think I’ll just have two different, but related areas in the background. 

I think,….like most hookers, I am always thinking ahead to my next project before completing what I’m working on….and I was quite inspired by a ‘hooked’ chair was was at the ATHA Biennial this year. Of course I haven’t seen it in person…but it got me to thinking….I’d love to hook a chair…..maybe that’s how I should finish my Grandfather’s chair I’ve had in the basement for years. 

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My parents used this chair, and it is the only keepsake I have from my father’s side of the family. Years ago I took a refinishing class, and stripped all the old green paint off to discover a lovely walnut chair with a bit of carving at the top.

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It had originally been caned, but the caning was ripped and I removed it. A few years ago, Ray bought me a book on caning, I took a brief (one hour) workshop on how to do it, bought the supplies, and thought it would be easy….NOPE! After spending hours and hours, days and days…everything I’d done started breaking, and I gave up. Now maybe here is my solution. I’ve been surfing the web looking for inspiration, and pattern and colour choice ideas…I’ll keep you posted on what I decide.

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13 thoughts on “Carrying on

  1. Beautiful wood in that chair. I can recall my grandfather caning chairs and stools for people to pick up extra money and he was good at it. I’ve never tried it myself.Your hooking is so even and perfet loops everywhere I looked. Mine doesn’t look like that even after it is steamed. Loving your Siamese. I used to have two Sealpoints and they were remarkably smart cats; particularly the female.

  2. Saundra…I love the wood in the chair too…I can’t believe I’ve let it sit unfinished for so long. I’ll treasure your compliment on my loops. Gene Shepherd is my idol in that department….and although I’ll never come close to his perfect hooking…I ‘m glad that I’m making progress. Siamese are certainly a unique cat…My Akuma thinks he is a dog, and rough houses with our standard schnauzer.

  3. Hi Elizabeth,I have a couple of beautiful old chairs in my attic that need to be caned. I, too, thought I would learn how to cane. I got a book, bought the supplies, but good grief, could not get the hang of it. I have looked for someone to take lessons from, but have had no luck with that. I really enjoyed the beautiful rocking chair at ATHA but didn’t think of my seatless chairs.. I am interested in how you will proceed with putting a hooked seat in your chair. Maybe I will do one of mine along with you!Love reading your blog,Jane

  4. Well Michelle I certainly won’t put it back in….I hadn’t thought of it from that standpoint, but just knew I didn’t like it. Most of my decisions are made not from technical knowledge, but from lots of staring at the results, and trying to come up with alternatives that are better for the parts that trouble me. In this piece, I did consciously choose values to work with a light background, and a dark cat, but those leaves are against both sections, and caught me off guard.

  5. Jane…Phyllis Lynblade talked about an old family chair she had too that was seatless….I guess lots of us have these treasures tucked away. Just before reading your comment, I was staring at the picture I’d taken of it…thinking just that…how will I finish it…how much bigger than the area will I need for the ‘fold’ back….will I hook 3 parts so there is hooking on both sides of the back . Never having upholstered anything, my thought at the moment is to take it to an upholstery shop to get answers to these questions, and find out how much it would cost to have them apply the hooking to the chair. The cost will determine whether I try it myself or not I think! I’m planning a trip to Fabricland to get some pattern/colour ideas.

  6. I agree that your loops look perfect! Want to know a secret? When that magnificent chair arrived at the Lancaster show the top had gotten broken off in transit!!! It was so sad! It was taped back on with clear packing tape until some wood glue was found. I love caning chairs and there are classes through our our schools Adult ed. department. Most of the upholstered or hooked seats have a wood base that the fabric is secured to. It would inset over the holes from the caning where there is a slight edge that would form the shape for your pattern.

  7. Oh MizT if you lived closer I’d be at your door with my chair in a flash! …but alas it’s too far. I guess if I had my husband make the base first that would make sense…I just don’t know if you have to allow for the foam cushioning, or if there’s enough "give" in the hooking itself to accommodate it. ..all things to check out.

  8. For the seat you would probably want foam at least 1" thick cut the same size or slightly smaller than the wood, and glue or staple gun it to the base. Then use quilt batting to go over the base and edges, and secure to the back of the wood to create a smooth surface for the hooked piece. Your library will have books. a professional would do a beautiful job but it will cost. For this beautiful chair it might be worth the investment. I have done nice yard sale chairs so it didn’t matter nearly as much.

  9. Miz T …I think a professional is definitely what I’ll go for…( better start putting pennies …no loonies…in a jar) I think it deserves to be done properly.

  10. Hi Elizabeth,I did a quick qoogle on upholstering caned chairs. There were quite a few examples on different blogs. I am going to pull one of the chairs out of the attic and ponder how I could do it. I think the seat would be fairly easy.Jane

  11. Jane..what a good idea…I never thought to google that particular aspect…I’ll do that too….I may get some answers to questions I have, although I think I’ll get a professional to do the actual upholstering. (unless my husband wants to take on that part)

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