From Inspiration to Pattern

My large abstract rug is finished and now residing in its new home.I'm home_edited-1

In preparation for its arrival, the purchaser had her furniture reupholstered and found paintings for her walls which echoed the colours and mood of the rug. I am so gratified by how much she likes it and the lovely home it now has.

After a few days with no hooking during which time my hooking area (i.e. our bedroom) received a thorough spring cleaning, I was once again anticipating my next project. I must admit I’d been thinking about it for some time.

Although I had at times said my next project would be tiny….I lied!

It is planned to be 40″ x 60″. Much smaller than the abstract, but I plan to put it in the upstairs hall where I had originally intended to put the large rug. This mat however will be entirely different. (and have lots more floor showing around it)

I’ve long been fascinated by quilt patterns and log cabin patterns  and decided I wanted to do something ‘hit and miss’ using some of the leftovers in my stash. I went hunting. Bea Brock’s  book on making ‘Scrappy Rugs’ was a great resource and inspiration . (thanks Jean for lending me your copy ) I was drawn to her pattern ‘Wonky Diamonds’ until I discovered that a friend had just started to hook it. Back to the drawing board.

Some time ago, I saw this traditional quilt pattern and loved the idea of the layering of the ‘squares’. DSCN1088

As I thought about my new project, I went back and found the picture and decided that this idea was just what I wanted. This time I  plan to  take Hygeia into consideration. She hangs in the stair well overlooking the landing so the dominant colours will be reds and yellows with a neutral background.DSCN0610

I started sketching ideas….DSCN1089

I’m hoping that the neutral background will make the blocks look as if they are floating.

Last night I got a little more serious. I got out graph paper and drew a scale model of the mat….each square on the paper equals 2″  for my 40′ x 60′ rug. This would let me decide on the best size for the blocks.DSCN1090

After trying various sizes, I’ve settled on both squares and rectangles, sized 6″ x8″,  6″x6″,  6″x4″ and 4″x4″.  This is by no means a set pattern as I’ll determine placement and numbers as I go along.

This morning, Ray made patterns for me using some left over matting board.DSCN1091This will make it much easier to draw the overlapping blocks on the backing without having to worry about measuring.

So now the fun begins. and I plan to start the actual drawing of the pattern today.

I hope you have fun creating your rug patterns too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Lessons Learned

A couple of posts ago I opened with this statement…..”I love this part of the rug hooking process…the getting it all ready part. The pattern is decided upon and now the fun begins.”  WHAT WAS I THINKING!

Oh the unsuspected trials and tribulations ahead of me at that time…..but “Oil on Water” is now finally underway, and I can laugh about its rocky start.   For sure I have learned lots along the way. DSCN0399

It finally makes me happy.

So here’s my list of lessons learned (or maybe…mistakes made).

The first thing I learned is that when joining two pieces of backing with the cut edges on the sides, there is only one way to be sure that you have the exactly the same width (i.e. number of ditches) for both top and bottom……you have to count them.DSCN0362I marked them at every 10th ditch. (and had to take a break several times so I didn’t go blind) ….there were nearly 800 ditches across each side. …but it allowed me to continue the side edge lines knowing that they were even.No big deal for a small piece, but when your rug is five feet across….that’s a lot of ditches to count.  DSCN0366

Then I basted the two pieces together very carefully matching all my 10 ditch markers (I’ll eventually cut off the edges sticking up), set up the pattern and backing on the light table, turned on the lights….and discovered to my horror…….you can’t use a light table when the pattern is too dark or when it is blown up so large that the edges become blurry. It simply didn’t show through clearly enough to draw. At that point I walked away for a day or two (that was lesson two).

Back to the drawing board (literally). When I was ready to tackle it again, I drew a grid on one of my photocopies of the pattern…DSCN0369

…..dividing it in eighths up and down, and quarters side to side, then drew the same grid ratio on my backing.DSCN0370I made no attempt to draw the details of the whole pattern, but drew freehand the major points of the circles and ‘flames’, using the grid as a positional reference point.  ( and my friend Jean belatedly said….”I wondered why you didn’t do that in the first place”…I’m a slow learner Jean). That was lesson number three……ask your friend Jean ahead of time.

I thought I would use the photo as a guide, and simply fill in the details free form as I went. There are lots of hookers who do this so successfully, often not using a pattern  at all.

But guess what?  Not me. (lesson number four) I tried it (I didn’t take a photo since I hated it immediately), and I thought it was ugly. I didn’t like the colours, and I didn’t like the form, I had no idea where to go next….. Again I walked away for a couple of days and even entertained the thought that perhaps I couldn’t do this rug. I’m just not a ‘free form hooker’ but I guess I’m a stubborn hooker. I’ve known the joy of looking at something I’ve hooked and had my heart swell with pleasure, and I was determined to figure it out.

The first positive step was solved with the  dyeing (which was the subject of the last post). I would use 3 or 4 even shades of each colour. I could use the small dip dyes by cutting them in thirds, and further dyeing I would do with the lazy swatch method. DSCN0397

(I kept the dip dye pieces in order to make a smooth transition  using double sided tape on the ruler).

Now how was I going to hook it so that I was happy with the result. I felt it needed mostly directional hooking to achieve the movement of the oil and water, with smooth sweeping curves. I’m just not artistic enough to do that without a guide. Yesterday I came up with a solution that I think will work for me. Using a black coloured pencil, I sketched the outlines of just the grid square I was working on, making and drawing adjustments as necessary, and not making a heavy line until I was satisfied that it would work.

So here it is once again (I’m using an 8 cut)…..what I’ve done to date, and I’m finally happy with the result.

DSCN0399Just to put the size in perspective…..(and you’ll notice the shape  is representational not exact)DSCN0310….I have hooked the medium sized circle highest up on the left and there will be considerable background beyond this photo….

Now for a day of hooking and watching the finals of the “Scotties”. I hope for great curling and happy hooking.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

GET READY, GET SET….

I love this part of the rug hooking process…the getting it all ready part. The pattern is decided upon and now the fun begins.

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The first step was to enlarge my photo. My original is 3″ x 5″ and it will be the basis for my 5′ x 7′ rug.  There are a number of ways to achieve this and I chose the very easiest. I took my little picture to a copy shop and had it enlarged to 48″ x 80″  .  That’s not the size of the rug, but the background can then easily be extended to the required  60″ x 84″ with 6″ extra background on each side, and 2″ extra at top and bottom.

DSCN0324Here was the first glimpse I had of it  down on the living room floor.  (you can see how tiny the original was)

It quickly became apparent that my arthritic knees wouldn’t let me work on it there, so, Ray came to the rescue once again. He  quickly created a 5′ x 8′ table top for me to work on, and donated his workroom for the process . That made it much easier to do the required measuring and drawing for the edges. Well as you can see he has momentarily taken it over, but he has promised to remove the carpentry tools as soon as I need it again.DSCN0331

Preparing the backing was a bit complicated. I had ordered three yards of rug warp a couple of months ago, with this project as a vague possibility in my mind. When I made the decision to go ahead with it, I discovered that the hall rug was larger than I’d thought, and the rug warp was narrower than I remembered. . Three yards wasn’t enough! After a day spent making diagrams and looking at options which wouldn’t require importing extra wide rug warp from the states, I figured out a way forward.  My friend JoAnne Harris from “Wool Gathering” quickly came to my rescue with a swap of my three yards for the required four yards. The very next day she personally delivered it to my door no less . (unheard of personal service since we live 100 km. apart) A thousand thank you’s to her!!

I had determined that by splitting the 4 yards of backing into two 2 yard pieces, and putting them side by side, It would work perfectly. I would however have to hook the two sections together. I saw Cheri Hempseed do this with a large rug a few years ago, and a quick call to her confirmed how she had done it.

Leave about a two inch overlap and simply hook through the two pieces of backing for that section. DSCN0332`To make sure that I could hook through two pieces of rug warp at once, I did a little test strip, and it worked just fine. I think using a hook with a wide shank (I use a 6mm hook when working with an 8 cut)  easily opens the holes wide enough to lift the wool strip through. I will baste the two pieces together when the time comes. For the initial hooking stages, it will be much easier to handle in two sections

In the meantime…..I started thinking about the wool I’d need….lots of wool!  With 5 times the coverage, I’ll need about 19.5 square yards of wool in total.  (my little note book is full of diagrams and mathematical calculations already for this rug) and I’ll need at least 10 yards of background.DSCN0326

So while I’ve been gradually working on preparing the pattern itself, I’ve been gathering a  variety of plaids and textures from my stash to use for the background. I started my dyeing with the blues. I chose three colours of blue dye….brilliant blue, national blue and navy, (all Pro Chem) I used 1/8th tsp of each in 1 CBW, and added vinegar to each cup. I put 1/2 of the navy in the pan of simmering water, added the wool and gradually spotted everything else over the top. That batch is lighter than I want for most of it, so the next time I used 1/4 tsp of each colour . Since most of it is recycled wool, many of  the pieces are irregular shaped but  I guess each batch was about 1 yard.DSCN0330

So here I am with blue tinged finger nails, and hands tender from scrubbing off the dye stains, but I’ve got a small stack of beautiful blues . It’s a start, but I can’t wait to try other colours as well. (I see some mahogany in my immediate future).

I’ll get to actually drawing the pattern on the backing soon. I’ve still got some details to sort out , mostly concerning the overlap section.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Hooking Mug Rugs

I remember seeing and loving some mugs with matching mug rugs hooked by various members of a group, and displayed one year at the annual. I’ve searched through all my photos, and I either didn’t take pictures of them, or they didn’t turn out.

That’s a long winded way to introduce my next little project…..making mug rugs for three relatives whose combined birthdays I’ll be attending at the end of the month.

My first chore was to find suitable mugs with decorations that I could use as the basis of the hooking. Two are men, so that cut out all the flowery feminine mugs . I spent a long time browsing in our local Hallmark Store and came up with these three. DSCF7776

They’re so nicely packed, I’ve just shown the boxes…which show what is on each mug.

I started with the easiest one…..(not pressed yet so it’s still a bit wonky)

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I made  a failed attempt at hooking the plaid for the moose mug. I took it out and thanks to a photo I found of hooking a plaid, I’m ready to try again. DSCF7781

I know Luise Bishop has taught how to hook a plaid, and when I get it down, I’ll share it here. (I think it involves graph paper, and hooking both horizontally and vertically)

I haven’t started the third one yet.

DSCF7780Although it will need a teeny tiny cut, I don’t anticipate a problem. I think I’ll try doing the berries with a knot (a la proddy flowers).

I’ve been remiss in posting lately. I didn’t forget my camera at R.U.G…. I FORGOT TO GO!

Actually I’ve been enjoying a visit from my son and his girlfriend from Calgary, a lovely family Thanksgiving, and  spectacular fall weather.DSCF7736My son’s girlfriend is a glass artist, and gave me these six wonderful hand blown tumblers.DSCF7740

Each is unique and I treasure them all.

Well I also have to admit that another distraction has been a lot of nail biting and cheering while watching the Blue Jays!

….and with views like this at the end of the street, it’s hard to concentrate on hooking.

DSCF7765DSCF7764Those trees will soon be bare, and then I’ll  snuggle down with my hooking frame in earnest to enjoy snow flakes and winter.

Thanks for stopping by.

R.U.G. May 2, 2015

I had a great time at R.U. G. on Saturday, but my camera did not! I thought I was being very clever, and changed the batteries just before I left. But oh no! It was as dead as a door nail when I tried to take a picture. It was only after I got back home that I realized I had used the batteries I’d just put in the recharger from my dying mouse, rather than the freshly charged ones on the other side. So I have no photos of the people or activities or the many venders, but luckily, Judith Ivi sent me the photos she took  of all the zentangle rugs, and I have some I took of them last week…..so I can share some of the day.

The zentangle presentation was varied and interesting…..from its zen and doodling roots (with lots of examples) to its adaptation to rug hooking in a wide range of variation…..even to having Mary draw a zentangle from scratch on an overhead while the rest of the program progressed.

Linda Wilson and this small piece were the initial inspiration for the topic of zentangle inspired hooking.DSCF7493

Linda hooked this little mat a few years ago at the annual in Ottawa when she took a short course on the topic, and she was the spear head for our group investigating its possibilities. Brenda (who is a tangler par excellence) gave us a wonderful talk at a regular Sunshine meeting a few months ago to get us going.

Some chose to hook in black and white, the traditional colours of zentangle.DSCF7485DSCF7484DSCF7487

Mary used soft chenille wool for this piece….

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Karen’s example is one of Judith’s photos, and for some reason I can neither rotate it, or resize it. It is for her grandson (these are his initials) and is partially hooked and partially drawn and the background, making a dramatic effect.

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Mary stuck with the yummy chenille for the background of this one, and added colour to the motifs . I love the story of her third example…..DSCF7492

While on vacation, without any hooking supplies, when struck with the desire to hook….she washed this bag (which had originally held some spirits) several times to tighten it up, made a hook out of a coat hanger….and “hooked” it with her available yarn by pushing her one hand into the bag to create tension and feed the wool up. As she said….when that “urge” hits a hooker….nothing can stop them.

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Cheri took a course with Rae Farrell, based on abstract design, and created this zen inspired beauty.DSCF7489Her second example is a very stylish tea pot. (almost looks like it’s dancing)GetAttachment-5

 

Isabelle was inspired with celtic hearts.

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Seven other members each hooked a 5″ x 5″ example (a specific zentangle exercise) then mounted them with some zentangle drawing for added interest. (I wonder if they’ll argue over who gets this????)

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Chris incorporated zentangle design into this delicate heart.DSCF7496Joanne , like many of us, sketched her idea first, but felt that when translated into wool, much of the zentangle aspect lost its impact. Still a lovely zentangle inspired apple tree.DSCF7486

Jean began work on her zentangle piece shortly after arriving home from a wonderful trip to the American south west. Her mind was still full of the desert and the images of navajo culture she had experienced. She incorporated those into her zentangle with every symbol and colour having meaning and significance.DSCF7483

…..as opposed to mine which has neither meaning or significance and is rather a sampler of six zentangle patterns.

My biggest “no-camera” regret, is that I have no photo of Wendie Scott Davis’s lovely Barbados inspired zentangle. In the making, we both struggled to make our pieces cohesive. Hers having multi coloured tangles, with the primary one a colourful sailfish. She used the colours of the central sailfish in her border which created a cohesive whole, and drew the eye around the whole piece, while I used position and value (and a lot of re-hooking) to try to balance mine. The same problem with totally different, but equally successful solutions  I think.   This link will take you to Wendie’s blog and a photo of her zentangle.    http://theruggedmoose.blogspot.ca/2015/03/does-hooking-in-colour-take-zen-out-of.html

Linda was the final presenter and discussed not zentangle but the process of choosing a colour pallette for a specific location.

We all learned a great deal from her problems and final success in creating a zentangle inspired rug for her bathroom which would compliment its new decor.DSCF7503

DSCF7504 ….these were the wools she used (the second set she chose)

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More next time about the “Hilda” mementos, and the Maud Lewis surprise.

I hope you’re having the same wonderful spring weather that we are.

Thanks for stopping by.

Share and Share Alike

At this year’s annual (which I wasn’t able to attend), an exciting new venture was launched which will involve all the OHCG groups.

TRAVELLING FRIENDSHIP RUG: 
The Friendship Rug is designed by Debbie Ballard, measures 60”x72” and is being hooked throughout The Year of the Craft (2015) and commemorates The Fiftieth Anniversary of OHCG  2016. 
Rug hookers are invited to hook their hands on the rug as it travels throughout Ontario, with its final destination being the 50th Annual conference at Deerhurst Inn in 2016. It has embarked on its journey beginning in Fort Frances and was at the conference in London. It has spent this week in Orillia, and at R.U.G. on Saturday it will be passed on to another group.DSCF7508 (1)
What a wonderful way for the rug hookers in Ontario to celebrate the Year of Craft….by combining efforts to create one large work of art…and how appropriate to have the topic be the 50th anniversary of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild)….to be celebrated officially at next year’s annual.

During the past week, several of us completed hooking our hand, and at our meeting on Tuesday, a table was set up for others to do the same.

DSCF7520Mary and Rachael are working side by side.. DSCF7512

Many in our group tend to the wild and imaginative. I don’t know who hooked them all, but Gail  M. hooked hers in her signature vibrant reds and scarlets, while Cheri has used her favourite acid greens. Karen hooked hers last week when it was so unseasonably cold, so her hand has striped mittens, while mine is in the foreground in orange and rust with sparkly gold nail polish.
Fort Francis, the only other group to complete theirs so far , have created beautiful, lifelike hands in true flesh tones.
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Some folks at the annual drew and outlined their hand.DSCF7513 (4)
Some hands are complete…..DSCF7522….like Rachael’s. ….and some…..DSCF7527 (1)
….are grasping the edge.DSCF7526 (1)
It’s a large undertaking in more ways than one. … Look for it coming to an Ontario Guild near you.
I can’t wait to see the completed version next year in Huntsville.
Thanks for stopping by.

Hooking With Friends

I can’t think of a better way to spend a winter’s day in January than curled up in a cozy chair by a fireplace, surrounded by friends, and hooking, visiting and eating home made soup for lunch. That’s just what I did yesterday at Helen’s . We were surrounded by inspiring hooked pieces on her walls.DSCF7201

….this hooked by Deanne FitzpatrickDSCF7202…and this wonderful tryptic also by her…DSCF7203….these finer hooked pictures…..

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and delightful small pieces scattered about the room.

Ann was working on her famous stars…DSCF7214

DSCF7199….which sell faster than she can make them.

Cynthia is creating a piece inspired by the work of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and her illustrations of Alice in Wonderland.

http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/04/18/yayoi-kusama-alice-in-wonderland/

Cynthia’s creativity, use of varied materials, and free form hooking, have me holding my breath to watch this unfold.DSCF7210

The beautiful fuchsia is a sari silk and fairly glows in real life.DSCF7211

You can see the wide variety of colours in the “white” background already.

Jeanne was sporting the necklace she made at Jennifer Mauuel’s workshop.DSCF7196 DSCF7197

….while she has nearly completed the background of her  “Four Seasons “.DSCF7195

Helen is hooking a piece inspired by by a “Happy Winter Solstice” card produced by the Syracuse Cultural Workers.DSCF7209

….it  depicts night and day above and below the moon.

I was working on my Zentangle sampler.DSCF7217

….while Mary was corking ….DSCF7198

….with some beautiful coloursDSCF7207

and Kathy was knitting a shawlDSCF7194…..while wearing a poncho she made…DSCF7216

….decorated with a beautiful hand made broach…DSCF7215

…and Wendy popped in later with her knittingDSCF7212

….what  talented friends I have……….what an enjoyable day.

 

 

Transferring my Grumpy Owl Pattern

In the past, I’ve used quite a variety of methods to transfer a pattern onto my backing but this time I am using a “makeshift” light table. Ray acquired a large sheet of plexiglass which is destined to become a proper light table, but in the mean time it will work when propped up on chair backs with a goose neck lamp underneath.  DSCF7174

…and instead of being the job of many hours, it is completed in mere minutes.DSCF7185I absolutely love it…..BUT……..having drawn it….I now want to hook it in a style more faithful to Mathieu’s “dot work” original. I just can’t see cluttering it with a variety of zentangle patterns….so….

Back to the drawing board. I must have a zentangle example hooked for R.U.G. in May. I found a great site called Linda’s Zentangle Patterns and started sketching ideas.DSCF7187

The three patterns to the right are ‘knightbridge’ , ‘drape’, and at the top (my favourite) ‘coral seed’. The two on the left are my own.  I then decided that I would make it to fit the top of an antique washstand that sits in my front hall. That measures 14″ x 30″ …so I reduced that size in half twice, and sketched a plan.DSCF7188

I added another pattern, aptly called ‘triangles’, then I redrew it to the right size, and set up the light table once again.DSCF7193

I made some changes as I went along, but here is the pattern drawn on the backing (with some changes to come still)DSCF7191

Since it will be in the hall, I plan on using the same colours as my hall rugs (here’s an old ‘in progress’ photo showing most of the colours)DSCF2422

I’ve got some dyeing to do in my immediate future. I don’t think I have any of that wool left.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on the white background of my bunny piece.DSCF7186

He’s nearly finished. I can’t wait to get these new projects under way. Why is it that starting something new is always more fun than finishing something off?

Thanks for stopping by.

Exploring Zentangle

“Zentangle” is a word I’d never heard until recently, but I’m quickly learning more and more. The Sunshine Rug Hookers are responsible for the programme at the spring RUG meeting, and the chosen topic is ‘using Zentangle style doodle patterns in hooking.’

I’m always excited about a challenge, so I’ve jumped in to begin to create a rug using the Zentangle concept of repetitve doodles. Hopefully I’ll have it completed to be a part of the demonstration in April. If you google Zentangle  you’ll find a myriad of amazing designs and pictures. Here are just a couple:zentangle-circus-horse-jani-freimann

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After browsing and contemplating, I decided I’d like to do an owl, so I went on a search for a photo of some sort that would be suitable to adapt.

Low and behold, the very next day my son Mathieu posted this photo of a drawing he had just done. He calls it ‘dot work’, and this is Grumpy Owl.DSCF7142It was perfect. I loved it. A phone call later and he sent me an enlarged version….roughly 7″x7″. I took that to the copy shop and had it magnified 400 times, to a copy that is roughly 28″x28″.DSCF7143

I can’t wait to get started. Ray has a large piece of plexiglass which he plans to make into a light table for me, but in the meantime, I plan to prop it up on saw horses and put a light underneath to transfer the pattern to my backing.

In the meantime, I’m working on a challenge with the Yahookers group. The challenge is to do your own rendition of the free pattern in the Nov/Dec edition of Rug Hooking Magazine.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you’re doing this challenge…dont go any further (we’re not supposed to share and influence other participants)

I’ve changed my version from a Christmas bunny (complete with holly on his neck and red whiskers) to something else….not really Easter,,,but maybe….actually it’s just silly…and fun to hook.DSCF7141

….at this point I was trying to decide if I should outline the letters, and looking at a variety of ways. The idea is to have eggs floating in the background. I can’t imagine what I’ll ever do with it when it’s done, but it’s fun hooking it in any case.

Happy holidays everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

 

My Path of Creativity

My creative process is like a path leading to……I don’t know where.  It generally starts with a vague recollection of something I have seen and admired and wished I had hooked. This time it was a head shot of an exotic person…I remember a few that have taken my breath away, and I wanted to try something similar. My search for inspiration began.

Who could be more inspiring than Malala Yousafzai.

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I loved the colour of the sari, and those eyes are so arresting.  With Ray’s help, I “gridded” the picture so that I could draw it 3 times larger for hooking 20″ x 28″.

But then for some reason, the idea of mystery and perhaps feminine subjucation became important, so I searched further, and came up with this .

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What a wonderful background as well. Once again Ray drew a grid for me so that I could draw it to the size 18″ x 24″

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I put the photo in “Be Funky” editing program and using the ‘underpainting’ option, and now have this photo to use as a reference as I hook.

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I can’t wait to get started….lots of dyeing in my immediate future….that rich vibrant red…..how to achieve that striking aura, and the delicious background.

Then the idea of a series ” women from around the world” came to me when I stumbled on this photo and immediately fell in love with it. A totally different style and idea, but it really speaks to me as well, and I plan to hook it in some adapted form.

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I’ve been browsing photos of Chinese wedding headdresses and the costumes of women in Brittany….the options are endless.    Now if I could just hook 24 hours a day….I’d be set!

The reality is that I still haven’t quite finished the background of the grafitti.

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….and although I’ve steamed the padded binding of Signa Meus Vita, I still have to sew on the tabs (they are just pinned on in the photo.

DSCF6937…..and oh my!!! if you could see my work area! A major tidy and organization of all the wool scattered about is an absolute necessity before I start anything!

As the cold weather arrives, I always experience a “nesting” instinct, where I love the cosy refuge of home. The trees have passed their prime (although there’s still lots of colour to be seen) and we have had frost (although not yet a killing frost) so I am preparing to “snuggle in” and enjoy the delights of the upcoming winter.