About elizabethmartel

retired teacher traditional rug hooker

Revisions and Background decisions

Have you ever noticed something in your work that you didn’t like, and suddenly that’s all that you can see? Well that’s what happened to me with my wise virgin. I noticed that her breasts were decidedly lopsided. DSCN1422The poor girl needed radical surgery, and for my peace of mind, she needed it at once.DSCN1423

Lots of fiddling about  was needed. It’s surprising how much is involved to move that small section down a bit,  but finally she looks much better.

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The other area of struggle has been the centre of the left side of her skirt (my left).  She’s holding it back, but it just looks like a mish mash. I reduced the light section to see if that helped….DSCN1435….and it does, especially when viewed from a distance, but I’m still not satisfied with it. It will get makeover later when I have a better idea of what I want to do with it.

I love the wild head of hair on this lady , and wanted to do it justice. My first choice of colours was too drab and bah, …..DSCN1442 2so I dug in my bits and pieces for something to give it more pizazz., and I came up with thisDSCN1443

I like how just the hints of orange and pink bring her hair to life…DSCN1440DSCN1439 In the meantime, the background  has been on my mind. I had several ideas, including being on a path with a misty background, a medieval castle in the background, doing a total disconnect with an abstract background of some sort…or?…. Then for some reason, I thought of having them stand in an arch, and immediately went in search of ideas for an “arch to suit”.  These three caught my eye…..DSCN1445DSCN1444DSCN1446

To find out how it might look, I cut out pictures of two left over virgins (not the ones I chose to use) ….DSCN1447….then posed them in front of the arches…..Arch number two I eliminated right away. Down to this one….DSCN1419…..or this one….DSCN1420……and the winner is this last one.  I like the stone blocks, and the greenery hanging down.

I have no intention of doing anything more than use the basic ideas and shapes, (I think the car would really spoil the effect don’t you?)    The potential sky colour is another problem  to solve  in the future, but I am having so much fun with this. Gee I love rug hooking!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Virgin Update

…..A little update on this piece….Progress is slow with using just a #2 and #3. …(and not really knowing what I’m doing…so several pull outs along the way)DSCN1415

  1. …did some over dyeing on a piece that was too blue. ….added some Mallard green DSCN1407 ….and even got to hang it outside to dry……(nearly November when this was taken…and the hanging basket is still in bloom)DSCN1410

2. Then snuggled up in my little “hooking corner”….with my usual “hooking clutter”

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and now ….I’ve gotten this far…..DSCN1415

Oh yes….and I’m considering the background. At this point I’m thinking of having them stand in front of a medieval arch….downloaded some examples….and have lots of sketching and making cutouts to see if I can make it work.

Lots of rain in the forecast for us….so indoors and hooking seems like a good idea. (November is my least favourite month).

Thanks for stopping by.

Compromise

In my last post, I was all set to forge ahead with the second virgin’s dress using turquoise and cantaloupe. I wasn’t sure if it would work….DSCN1391 I hooked just a small amount and wasn’t happy with it. I felt that it not only had no connection with the rest of the piece, but it was too bright and dominated far too much.

On the other hand….if I continued, it would be surrounded by lots of turquoise, which might well tone it down . DSCN1387I thought about another option….If I used a pink, it would tie the two costumes together and make the whole thing more harmonious.DSCN1386

I considered these two options for several days. The first was more disconnected than I wanted, the second more harmonious than I wanted.

Eventually I came up with a compromise. I overdyed the pinks with prochem raspberry, which kept the “pink idea” but changed the colour and shade from the one used in the first dress.DSCN1399

Still lots of dyeing to do and the dress details need to be refined, but I think I’m pleased with this compromise colour solution.

Now if I could just take a photo that was in focus,…. (I never seem to notice until it’s up on the computer and too late to get another shot).

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my “fuzzy” hooking.

 

 

Learning Through Doing

For me, I like every every project I do to present me with a learning experience and a challenge.   Ultimately if I am successful…(at least in my eyes), I derive a great sense of satisfaction in achieving what I set out to do.DSCN1373

To that end, creating the detailed clothing on the two virgins is a new experience for me, and as usual, some of what I tried , I liked, and some….nope…not at all!  I tried two different approaches on the foolish virgin. For the green portion of the dress, I began with dip dyes (I could have used swatches, but dip dyeing is much easier for me to do). I then cut them into several sections giving me a range from dark to light.  I ripped out that effort since there wasn’t enough variation  to be effective.  I then rehooked it using some much darker green, and a much lighter one (almost yellow) to create the highlights and folds, and was then more pleased with the results. DSCN1385The extremes I used very sparingly, but they made all the difference.

I tried a totally different colour approach for the fuchsia portion of the gown. DSCN1376I did a spot dye using  Majic Carpet red violet, and Primary Fusion #12  (which uses Pro Chem magenta, blue, and black). Then I went through my stash and found all the bits and pieces that went with that. I had a good range of values, though not necessarily matching exactly  in hue. The primary colour is the dip dye and I really like the highlights that it creates in the dress.

My pattern is taken from a 1500’s etching, (with no colour) and the next thing I learned, was that all the lines in the etching don’t necessarily translate well when using colour. I started the fuchsia section of the gown by outlining the lines in the etching in a dark value, and soon realized that many of them made no sense to me and looked ridiculous. I eliminated the vast majority, and went mostly by my own idea of where there might be folds and shadows. There is still one line on the floor section of the train that I will remove, and use a bit lighter colour the fill in that area (and I won’t use a straight line).DSCN1374

So with that bit of experience under my belt, I’m ready now to tackle the gown of the wise virgin. I’ve got two colours ready to go….a spot dye using Pro Chem seabreeze and mallard green, DSCN1382 (I  did 3 versions from dark to light), plus a couple of pieces that I had that went with that.  (for some reason the camera bled the green out of the far blue….it actually goes with the rest much better than this photo shows) The second colour is primarily a cantaloupe and mustard spot dye  done over both natural and oatmeal. DSCN1379I have no idea if this will work, but I’m set to try.

The other thing I’ve learned is that I’m either a lousy photographer, or have a lousy camera when it comes to colour (or maybe both).

Thanks so much for stopping by.

 

Starting the Virgins

This has not been a good summer for us, and as a result I haven’t posted in some time. As things take a turn for the better, I have recently started hooking again, and have made a start on the “foolish Virgin”  (see the last post for  details on my subject choice). I’m using  #2 and #3 cuts with lots of shading and fiddly work…a refreshing change of pace for me after the #8 cuts for both the large abstract and the geometrical Floating Blocks.

While considering a colour palette for the dressses , I looked up images for women’s clothing in the 15th century and having found every colour imaginable on display, I  decided to just use colours that pleased me., whether they were authentic or not.DSCN1366

The two palettes I settled on were:

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and:

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(with no promises to stick to either one)

I soon realized I needed wider variation in both colour and texture for the shadows etc. to be effective, and in fact completely redid the bottom of the green skirt with more contrast, definition and variation before ending up with this version…. sorry…no photo of the mucky one).

With that in mind, I have lots of options available for the fuschia overskirt:DSCN1364

….although I likely won’t use them all. (they’re all more intense than the photo shows)

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I expect I’ll remove some of the dark outlining in the scarf, but leaving it for now.

While working on this part, I’ve been considering questions and options for the background….running the gamut of a cobbled roadway at dusk, pondering how to show the illumination of the wise virgin’s lamp, thoughts of a misty medieval background, or perhaps none of the above and using a purely abstract background of various night colours which deepen as they move outwards…..no decisions on this as yet.

It is so nice to be hooking again and enjoying the act of creating something that pleases my eye.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Finishing Floating Blocks….on to the next…

Hooking done…..steaming done……now for the last step. Since this rug is intended for the floor, I want it to have a sturdy edge that will stand up over time….so I use both binding tape and whipping.

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I spot dyed my yarn with a little deeper version of the dyes I used for the background. It looks one colour here, but in fact it has a variegation of dark grey, lighter grey and taupe. My binding tape was cut and ready to go.DSCN1319

I cut away the excess backing 16 ditches from the edge of the hooking (1 inch), and press it back, cover it with the tape and whip with a double strand of wool . (making sure it lies flat as I go along)DSCN1321

I whip into the backing and the binding in one step, making sure I have an even line on the back to keep it looking neat. (that part gets easier with each rug I bind).DSCN1320

On the front the whipping goes right in next to the hooking so there is no gap.  (I whip from the front to the back)DSCN1322 Here it is partially whipped. The red clips make it so much easier than having to use pins.

One last steaming on completion….and …..DSCN1325

It’s done!

Of course, as usual, as I was nearing completion of this rug, my mind was already on what project I wanted to do next. The last two rugs I hooked, were both large and hooked in an 8 cut. I wanted something completely different. Somewhere I saw a rug of a rhinoceros, adapted from a 15th century etching. That tweaked my interest and I went in search of what 15th century artists might have done that would be of interest to me. I wanted to hook a person, and do it in a fine cut with lots of detail.

After lots of fun searching and finding amazing etchings by various 15th century artists, I settled on two by the German artist Martin Schoengaur. They are two of a set of 10 individual etchings of virgins….5 wise virgins, and 5 foolish virgins, based on a parable found in Saint Matthew.

DSCN1328The wise virgin on the left remembered to bring lots of oil for her lamp. The foolish virgin on the right forgot the oil, and wants the wise virgin to share with her. These are separate etchings, but I’ve put together, and had them blown up to 22″ high.DSCN1327Ray set up my light table, and I traced the broad outlines.DSCN1332

Now I’ve been exploring  women’s clothing of the 15th century so I can come up with a colour palette . There’s lots of dyeing in my immediate future. I think I’ve found the colours I want and I’ll write about my typically convoluted route to that decision next time. I’m so excited to get going on this new venture.

Thanks for stopping by.

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.