How Do I Hang Thee?

….let me count the ways.

There are countless ways to hang our hooked pieces, and I am always looking for that one way that suits me best. For those who like sewing, lovely tabs which show above the hooking make a nice finish….but I hate sewing! Others frame their work, but that is expensive, and not a look that I generally want. …so I keep trying different ways.

Emma Sue is quite small and is simply hung with a strip of tack board (or whatever you call the edge pieces used to install wall to wall carpeting)DSCF5935

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My “no penny penny rug” is larger, so Ray used the tack board all the way around to keep it straight and secure on the wall.

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This method works well, but leaves a lot of holes in the wall, and if for any reason you want to take the rug down for awhile, you have an ugly frame on the wall.

When I was hanging Hygieia (or more accurately, when Ray was hanging Hygieia) I wanted a more decorative way of doing it, and being that the rug was large and heavy, it needed to be able to support her weight. We bought a heavy curtain rod with  fancy finials, andsecured it at both ends and in the middle. Ray had rebuilt the wall with support behind the dry wall so it would hold it easily.

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I inserted a metal rod in the bottom pocket to hold it down and help it to hang straight. (it doesn’t ordinarily stick out)

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This topic is on my mind, because this week we have been putting our living room back together after another renovation task is completed, and finally hanging art work and putting up Adele and Althea where we can enjoy them every day. Again I wanted a decorative way to hang them, but nothing as extensive (or as expensive) as what we used for Hygieia. I just love the simple solution we came up with.

I found solid brass pull knobs at Home depot, and Ray installed then on the end of a piece of 5/8″ dowel. He then put two large heavy brass hooks into the wall and hung the pieces. I put a smaller piece of dowling in the bottom sleeve to hod them down.

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Here is Althea in her place of honour.

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….and Adele in hers….

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We’re on a roll…as I write this, Ray is preparing another dowel to hang my Dahlov Ipcar piece in the TV room.

A yucky January thaw is suddenly upon us, and we’ve gone from ridiculous cold and snow  to mild and melting . I have my fingers crossed that the basement doesn’t flood, or the world become a skating rink when it once again drops below freezing. Never a dull moment this winter!

Hooking in Black and White

The pattern is done and I’ve happily begun my hooking.

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I’ve started with the tiger…and I think he’s so cute! Originally I thought I’d hook him in just black and white, but I’ve actually used several colours of grey as well and like the effect. I’m using both 4 and 6 cuts throughout…wherever it seems appropriate. The 4 cut was too big for outlining the eye, so I cut a #6 strip down the middle to create a #3 strip (much simpler than changing a cutter wheel for such a small amount.)

The background will be last to do…so I have lots of hooking in shades of black and white in my immediate future.

Now I’ll back up a bit to show the pattern .

After I completed the pencil drawing on the red dot,…I made a trip to Staples. I have always used sharpies, but have been told I should be using the fabric “Rub-a-dubs”. I thought I’d do it ‘properly’ this time…but when I compared the prices..I ended up with sharpies once again. (I have never had a problem with them…..and it takes several to complete drawing a large project.)

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Here’s the pattern on red dot

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Here it is completed on the linen.

I drew the background lines with blue to make them stand out from the black outlined animals and foliage.

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The next step was to dig through my blacks, greys and whites to see what I had, and what I would need. I have some antique black left from the hall rugs, but I’ll need more and I wanted some variety.

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I gathered together some really dark colours, and overdyed them with 1/8th tsp. black. I didn’t want them to all end up the same.

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There are some really nasty colours there that may come in handy (or not). My camera does weird things with colours sometimes…I realized just now that in the pictures, the wool looks darker before I dyed it…..not so in reality.

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I dyed 1/2 yard of natural Dorr with 1/128th tsp of charcoal grey in 1CBW….with 1/2 of it in the pan, and the other half spooned over the top of the wool. Here it is against natural Dorr. (It’s not nearly as dark as it appears in the photo)

I was really disappointed when I realized that I would have to use so much #4 cut, but by using the #4and #6 together, I like the look and feel much happier.

The shopping is done, the snow is falling…and I’m off  to enjoy the afternoon hooking.

Beginning my Dahlov Ipcar Adventure

I found that winding up a series of rather large projects (my Klimt and hall pieces) left me without a major project to be enthused about doing…and that wasn’t a feeling I liked….so….I set about to find another source of inspiration that excited me. I found it in the works of the artist Dahlov Ipcar.

You may not be familiar with the name…but perhaps are with a rug she actually hooked…now known as “tumbling cats”.

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I have seen several versions of this piece, loved it, and actually went so far as to enquire about purchasing the pattern. However at the time I was looking for something small as a relief from my hall rugs, and the pattern available was very large…so I passed on it, although I didn’t forget it.

Dahlov Ipcar is 93 years old, and lives and works in Georgetown Maine.

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She has written and illustrated over 45 children’s books, as well as paintings, soft sculptures, and large scale murals.

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“As a painter during the 1940’s and 50’s, her art was influenced by the prevailing style of Social Realism, but by the 70’s her love of nature, especially jungle animals, led her to..a more fanciful approach….

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Intricate patterns and geometric designs gradually became her artistic signature.” (from the biography on her website).

I have never before been inspired to hook animals(Fat Cat excepted), although I’ve admired the work of Elizabeth Black, and more recently the work of Judith Carter (isn’t ‘Eye See You’ fabulous…she’s just finished it…and if you’re a member of ..”The Welcome Mat”…..I’m sure you’ve drooled as you watched it’s progression)….but I digress….

It wasn’t the animals that so caught my eye in Ipcar’s work…..but her fanciful backgrounds.

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To me they were just begging to be hooked.

So….off I go on another hooking adventure. My first step was to email her son Bob Ipcar, and get permission to hook my piece. He gave that and suggested I get a copy of her children’s book Black and White. It is out of print, but I was able to secure it from a used book store.

These black and white animals are the source for my hooking, and I will add an Ipcar style background to achieve the colour and impact (at least that’s the plan).

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These are the two primary pages I’m using.

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I had hoped to use the balck panther, but the scale was larger than the other pages.

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I had a multitude of birds to choose from, and made my decisions based on what would fit, and what would translate well with hooking.

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I used the zebra from this page.

I made some adjustments, cut out the extra animals and birds I wanted and pasted them on the introductory page of the book, and then set to work.

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I drew a grid on the pattern page that is 1″ x 1″ then numbered the horizontal squares, and lettered the vertical one (makes it much easier to locate the squares to draw).

Up from the basement came my marked drawing board  and the diningroom table has once again become my ‘drafting table’.

My assembled picture measured 10″ x 15″, so I took the easy way out, and dec
ided to make the hooking 30″ x 45″. Two major reasons for this….it meant that by drawing a 1″ grid on the picture…it easily translated to the 3″ grid on my drawing board….secondly…I didn’t want to end up with such small details that I would have to hook it in a 3 or 4 cut…I’ll use that for details as necessary, but I want at least a 6 cut to be the major cut of the piece.

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I started with the tiger (cause he’s the cutest)…and promptly drew him in the wrong place!!! ARRRG…..he was one set of squares too low (helps if you refer to your own number/letter system before you begin)…but not to be daunted, I carefully cut it out…moved it up a square, and patched in another strip of red dot on the bottom.

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I found some parts simple to draw (like the zebra) and some got quite messy before I was satisfied (like the ear of this antelope)

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I haven’t figured out yet how I’ll hook the  crown on this chap!

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I think these will be tricky.

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I’m no artist, and even using the grid system…there are tons of black rub-outs on the red dot. But I’m finally satisfied with the birds and animals. In order to keep the various details straight…I’m going to draw the background lined sections with a coloured pencil, and I’ll use a different coloured marker for them when it comes to the actual transfer onto the linen.

I have no idea whether I can do this…but it is sure going to be fun to try.