Too Hot to Handle

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not I hot weather person. Give me a snow fall any day, a biting wind  even, and it doesn’t phase me.

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This is my idea of a spectacular day.

So getting through the weather we have had in central Ontario for the last week has been a struggle. 34 C  (93F) with a humidex of over 40F (104F) is not my idea of fun. All of this to explain why I haven’t picked up a hook in several days.

Last weekend, the memory rug, now renamed Mathieu’s Pets, was finished and delivered.

DSCF5290Several proddy broaches have been made and sent to my daughter-in-law in Regina

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…., and then instead of forging ahead with a new and exciting project at the beginning of the week, the temperature soared and both motivation and energy  deserted me. Late this afternoon, we had a severe thunderstorm, and high winds, and the temperature dropped from 34 to 22 (72F) in 15 minutes. If the heat wave is truly over, I’m sure my  inspiration will return. Please bear with with me.

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Port Severn Hook In

Anyone living in central Ontario knows that we have been having extreme weather for the past few days…..  high heat, high humidity, lots of rain and terrible flooding in Toronto. As a result the turn out for our get together was small, but our immediate area has escaped the bad rains, and the day was sunny at Port Severn.

Michelle and her family have come from DC for the second year in a row to vacation in our area (they know a great place when they find it!)….and we met up with her and had a lovely day of hooking visiting, and eating.

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Here is Michelle with her hooking.

We soon moved to the gazebo at the park…where there was shelter if it rained, and a picnic table where Michelle could sit…..I remembered to bring her a lunch…but forgot to bring her a lawn chair (I plead old age).

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Mary Lou brought us copies of the beautiful “magazine?” put out by the museum, and told Michelle all about the opening. (she also brought me maps and info to help when we go there in September).

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I think there was more visiting than hooking, although we did get some work done.

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Michelle worked on her Heron, which she started in a workshop a while ago. I just love what she’s done so far. Those leaves are so vibrant……

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..and just look at the water and the reflection of the bird. The water was dyed by her teacher in one very long strip, then cut and hooked in order.

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Jeanne is hooking this stained glass piece from the picture she found. Edie was hooking as well, but for some reason I have no photo. I wasn’t hooking…

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….I was whipping my memory rug…..and that’s the topic for the second part of this post…

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….when I prepared to steam it I found to my disgust that I had “packed” several areas…

Packing means hooking the rows of loops too close together so that the work doesn’t lie flat…but bubbles up. You can see the bulge I’m pinching in this photo. When the work is under tension in the frame, it often looks like the spaces between the rows may show, but when the work relaxes there is no space. This happened in several spots where I was hooking animals and filling in small spots with an 8 cut. Best case scenario…the steaming will flatten it out….if not, minor tweaking and removal of some loops may be necessary. Worst case would be needing to rehook the section with more space between the rows.

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Fortunately, mine was fine once it was steamed….but I’ve made a note to myself to be more generous with the spaces.

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For this rug I’m whipping the edge and using binding tape and the method I learned from Gene Shepherd. I like it because it doesn’t use a cord, whips through the binding tape, and requires only sewing by hand around it once to tack down the binding tape to finish.

It’s very neat on the front, but I’m not always satisfied with the back. The trick is to have the whipping come through the tape in a straight line….and that an be tricky. Sometimes I manage pretty well…

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(sorry for the poor quality photo…but you can see the stitches into the back of the tape). ….but sometimes…

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….it gets uneven. I’m getting better at it, and I’m considering perhaps using a pencil line on the tape next time to help guide the needle tip. It’s on the back of the rug, and won’t be seen, but I still want that straight line!

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I think these two must know they are a part of the rug….they certainly seem to like it.

….and I just have to show off my birthday present….well the fancy case at least…

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….my Beehive Townsend cutter…from hubby and my sons. How lucky can a hooker get!

Ah that Medium!

It’s been great fun hooking the memory rug, and being an 8 cut it’s gone quite quickly. I think it is only the second rug I’ve hooked with a medium background, and that’s not generally thought to be a wise thing.  It is the one aspect of this rug that has caused me the most thought, and ripping out, and rethinking.DSCF5223

Each section had several “tries”….here I was debating about where to insert the plaid…on the left I tried ….right after the grey brown…on the right I tried….. inserting a row of the beige before adding the plaid. I decided on the right hand version, as it highlighted the plaid….the left seemed just too busy.

This has what has been on my mind as I hooked each background section: -…. does it let the animal show up well, ……does it compete with the animal, ……does it pop out too much when I stand back,…… do the colours next to each other blend, flow, disappear,…… does the shape distract from the animals close by? What I was after was….interesting, but not overpowering……the eye going to the pets first, not the background.

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Here  is that section when finished. I found that larger background sections close to the animals were less distracting. I let the areas around the edges of the rug have some stronger colours and combinations, and made them smaller as well. I have no idea if this is “technically” correct, but it pleases my eye.

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Akira thought he’d check himself out close up, and it felt so good he decided not to leave!

For some reason, I liked that solid dark section under the hooked version of Akira, and felt It should be repeated somewhere…so I did the same thing under the belly of Snowball the rat .

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Hooking done!….now what colour to whip the edge?

I knew I’d never be able to match the beige plaid that forms the main background colour, but wanted a colour that went well with the background as a whole. I rolled up my rug and off I went with it to the only store in town that carries !00% wool yarn.

….and here’s my tip/reminder of the day. I’d chosen a brown that I thought looked great, when the salesgirl reminded me that the florescent lights could effect the colour, and perhaps I should take it outside for a better look. Thank goodness for her! In the daylight, the wool I’d chosen looked AWFUL! … and didn’t go with the rug at all. I  replaced that ball with the dark brown above…..so always check your colours in natural light.

So next steps….zig zig, stream , trim, and start whipping…..while looking for inspiration for my next venture.

Happy 4th to all my American friends. I hope you have as good a day as we did on Canada Day…….watched the parade, visited the park , enjoyed all the booths, displays and the fair, and watched the fireworks from our balcony at night….. while Baxter (our macho schnauzer) hid in the bathroom behind the door.