Unpacking

Nope…I’m not unpacking my suitcase, but my rug. While some people have to fill in spaces when they have finished their hooking….I sometimes have to reduce the wool I’ve used. My tendency is to hook  too closely together. I try to be mindful of this as I hook, but over the large expanse of my big rug, even after steaming there was fixing to do.dscn1064-1I remove the strip that is too close….dscn1065….carefully cut it down a bit, and rehook it in the same space. I did that in a number of spots and it worked well and the rug lay flat.

However….the combination of my tendency to pack, and the wide expanse of echo hooking meant that when laid out on the big table…..it was no longer squared at the corners, or totally straight along the edges. It would need further adjustment.dscn1073I took  out some sections, and shortened many rows at the border. I ended up cutting some new strips in a 6 cut rather than cut them down by hand. dscn1082Ray helped me by setting up guides….with nails and mason’s cord.dscn1083When I had it as straight as possible,  he nailed the edges in place to hold it even. It was a lot of work, but yippee! The edges were now straight.

I needed to set it once again, and rather than steam it on the top side, I covered it with wet towels and left it overnight. (I’ve no idea whether that is condoned or not)dscn1085This morning I removed the towels and it is now drying in place. I still haven’t decided if I will give it a light steam or not before I remove the nails holding it in place.

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Next step will be to zigzag the edge and dye the yarn for whipping.

The Brier begins tomorrow, so I’d love to be able to watch those amazing Canadian men’s curling teams while I whip the edge of the rug….my idea of a great way to spend a week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Finishing Grumpy

The hooking of Grumpy has been done for a few weeks now, and I spent a while deciding on how I would finish him. DSCN0443For rugs intended to hang on the wall, I often just turn the edges under . I like the ‘tapestry’ effect it creates. However, sometimes that doesn’t work and Grumpy is a case in point. The bottom of Grumpy is hooked vertically, while the upper background is hooked horizontally. I don’t think the blank edges would look good because of that. I don’t want a border, or a prominent whipped edge, so I’m doing a very small whipped edge with no binding tape on the back.

The first step was to dye yarn to go with the two different colours. Jean (who has much more experience in dyeing yarn than I) told me to allow 1 foot per inch then add some. (I would have just divided the skein in two and dyed it all (and wasted a lot of yarn in the process).  Not wanting to run short I added four extra yards  to each hank……

DSCN0428….secured it loosely so it wouldn’t turn into a rat’s nest in the pan….and spot dyed it with the same colours as the top and a second skein with  the greys for the bottom.

Into the electric frying pan it went….DSCN0430….and now it blends nicely with the background sky.DSCN0431I measured and drew a line 1.5″ from the edges of the hooking, and zigzagged around the rug just inside the line.DSCN0435I cut off the excess right along my pencil line……DSCN0437 (1)and clipped  the edge back(using my faithful red quilting clips….so much batter than pins) gently leaving just enough backing showing that it wouldn’t pull the end loops over. (this is what will determine how wide the whipping will be and I want mine as small as possible).

I whip from the front, but make sure that each stitch goes into the same line on the backing so that I have a nice straight edge on the back.DSCN0442It is hardly visible from the top….DSCN0448….but makes a nicely finished view on the side.DSCN0449When finished I will turn under the raw edge , steam it, and slip stitch it in place.  As you can imagine, this is a slow process, so I alternate between whipping and working on ‘Oil on Water’.

Here’s how it’s coming along.DSCN0446 (1)The hooking now covers about 42″ x  32″. It’s getting harder already for me to hang it up with clamps for viewing.

My ulterior motive in writing a blog this morning is to distract me from thinking about my schnauzer Baxter, who is undergoing surgery. Nothing serious, but three different procedures . He’s fourteen years old and a very special member of our family. Hopefully I’ll hear from the vet before long that it is over and all went well.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Finishing Mug Rugs & Table Mats

A couple of weeks ago two different people came up to me to say thank you for a tip on finishing small potholders etc. They had both had difficulty gluing down a finished back without bumps and globs showing through. Since I was just finishing up some mug rugs, I thought there might be others who would appreciate seeing how I do it.

I love hunting for mugs which have a “hookable” picture on them, since they are fun to hook, and  my family really seems to appreciate them.

DSCN0211This one was an obvious choice as being easy to hook.

DSCN0243Both one son and his wife have names starting with “S”  so this was really appropriate.

DSCN0237I thought this was really pretty as well. I chose to hook just the one flower on the bottom.

I enjoy rummaging through my bits and pieces to come up with appropriate colours. DSCN0210.jpgThis one was a great exercise in hooking diagonally.

When the hooking is completed, I secure the edge by putting tacky glue right around the edge, and smoothing it out away from the hooking with a ruler.DSCN0220DSCN0221This secures the hooking for when the backing is cut away.

I use a fairly heavy black felt for the back, and cut a piece that is slightly too big.DSCN0224.jpg

Oops….I grabbed very dull scissors to cut this piece.

Apply tacky glue to the back of the hooking…..DSCN0225Then…(and this is the part I didn’t do at first, and ended up with a lumpy backing)….use a ruler or flat edge to smooth the glue into the hooking…DSCN0226I make sure the wool is covered and as well as a bit of the backing on the edges…DSCN0228 (1)….then gently press the felt down all over and let it dry.DSCN0230 (1)Then cut away the backing and excess felt from the top side making a smooth edge right next to the hooking. (good sharp scissors needed )DSCN0234 (1)The layers on the edge are even and ready to be covered.

I cut strips that are a few sizes bigger than the hooking (in this case the hooking is a #4 and the edging is a #6).

The final step is my least favourite, and I’m still trying to think of a way to make it less messy…..

I put a bead of glue along the strip and then drag the ruler along it to spread the glue (I did it on a plastic bag to save my desk from being covered in glue)DSCN0235This piece is smoothed along the edges for the final finishing touch. Finally, by pinching and shaping the corners while the glue is still wet, you can get a nice square turn.DSCN0236…….and here are the finished little mug rugs…..

DSCN0249DSCN0248DSCN0250DSCN0251I know that none of this is new to most hookers, but for those of you who are newbies, or have never tried this method, perhaps it will be helpful.

So from my house to yours…..DSCN0252…..I wish you the happiest of holidays and the making of wonderful memories with your loved ones.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Starting and Finishing

Anyone who reads my ramblings here, knows that finishing is not my favourite part of rug hooking. As a matter of fact, most of my sewing and whipping is done when I have a deadline to meet. That’s the case now, once again. The Sunshine Rug Hookers are providing the program at R.U.G. at the beginning of May, so I need to have my zentangle, and Hilda’s English Sunset all done.

I procrastinated about sewing the zigzag edges on them for several weeks……why? Because my bobbin was empty, and I would have to rewind it before I could begin. Now if that isn’t the stupidest reason in the world! (but indeed I have had some bad experiences with my badly wound bobbins in the past)  ……however it’s amazing how simple it is when you follow the instructions.  When I finally got down to it, I kept thinking…..this isn’t a problem….what was the big deal?

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I’ve left 3 inches around my little seascape, since I’d like to frame it. I haven’t yet figured out how I’ll do that, so first I’ll finish the zentangle sampler.

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Now this is straight forward finishing. I want to whip it in black yarn with a back tape on the back. I went to get my materials and found that I don’t have enough black wool and my  bent yarn needle has disappeared from the planet. Sooo. yesterday I went to our local yarn/craft shop, and guess what….they are out of black 100% wool. With bated breath I traveled to Michael’s and luckily, they had what I needed. After purchasing a new needle, I remembered, that the old one is in the half completed edge of my Lunenburg landscape! (Serves me right for not having finished it long ago) . So I’m in business and I’m determined to get it underway today.

Of course while finishing is what I HAVE to do, my next project is what is really on my mind. My Grumpy Owl has been getting lots of thought, with ideas pondered and rejected over and over…..wide cut or fine cut?     realism…..or drawing style?   colourful or……monochromatic?

The first decision made was drawing style over realism, and to that end I began outlining with a #3cut in black.

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His shape and expression are sooo endearing, but don’t lend themselves to a realistic interpretation.

I’m leaning toward monochromatic….but using multiple textures and shades. To that end, I gathered up a few different wools….light plaids, a check, light grey, and oatmeal. and overdyed them with Pro Chem clay, mouse grey, and light charcoal.

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….just a bit to see if I liked it….Next step will be to create a much lighter version of this over some natural, then try both out to see if I like the effect. (I’m almost slapping my own hands to make myself whip instead of dye wool this evening)

This afternoon I’ll be taking advantage of this glorious spring weather to enjoy the sunshine while I help Ray clean up the winter debris in the garden. I have a great desire to plant some Morning Glories this year. I remember the ones in my grandmother’s garden, and I’d love to have some of my own. The older I get the more nostalgic I become.

 

March Sunshine Hooking Part 2

We had several guests with us at the last Sunshine get together, and enjoyed seeing their work. I’m not good at remembering names, so please excuse the errors and omissions.DSCF7377Janice is doing Whirligig, a pattern by Suzanne Hill.

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Elizabeth is enjoying her introduction to rug hookingDSCF7390

This is a one end of a very large rug designed by Martina Lazar. The colours just pop against that light background.

The fishes below will be hung as wall plaques.

DSCF7400I was very interested in how they were being finished. I have always avoided hooking convoluted shapes, because I had no idea how one would bind the edges.DSCF7401This hooker (I apologize for not knowing her name) has come up with a wonderful method which not only provides a great finish, but sets off the vibrant colours with the black edging. She is using material like a bias tape which surrounds the raw edges and hides them completely when sewn in place on both sides.DSCF7402I’m surely going to remember this method, and if I ever get the nerve to attempt such a moving edge, I’ll give it a try.

Anne was hooking stars.DSCF7396….and Mary Ann is building a funky house….DSCF7378

Our knitter/hookers were also hard at work. I drool when I look at their wool.DSCF7398

Those colours are such favourites of mine, and I so admire the picot edge on Kathy’s work. Who would want to cover up the beautiful detail in Theresa’a socks by hiding them in shoes???DSCF7399

If and when I get back to my own knitting, I’m going to try knitting socks from the toe up.

Gail….I know for sure I took a photo of your knitting, but my camera gremlin must have been hungry and swallowed it….because it is nowhere to be found!!

I’ve been enjoying hooking Hilda’s English Sunset. I’m only sorry it is so small, and I’ll soon have it finished.DSCF7410

 

Happy hooking. 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.

R.U.G. October 2014 and Finishing Signa Meus Vita

Normally I come home from R.U.G. with tons of photos and lots to tell, but this time I’ve failed misreably! I was only there for about an hour, and nearly all the “show and tell” rugs had been removed. Just these two beautiful roosters remained!

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(whoops….just now noticed the painted toes!)

It was a perfect time  for shopping however with a number of great vendors there.

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I had worked diligently on Friday to have Signa Meus Vita completed to show, but alas, it wasn’t to be….so I’ll “show and tell” the completion story here!

Anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis knows that I have a “love/ hate ” relationship with my sewing machine. I had decided I wanted a padded show binding for the Signa piece, which meant sewing a perfect seam along the edge of my hooking to attach the slub silk to the edge. Knowing that this task, if not impossible for me, would at least risk another case of heart failure, I turned to my friend Jeanne, (a master hand quilter and expert with all things having to do with sewing), and begged her to sew the seam for me .

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Here she is wearing one of her quilted creations at the ploughing match.

To my surprise and delight, when she returned it, she had completed the entire show binding!!! To say I was thrilled was an understatement….sewn, padded and hand sewn underneath.DSCF6870

She didn’t sew down the mitres at the corners, leaving it for me to decide if I’d rather leave them open. All that remained was for me to sew and attach the tabs for hanging and steam or press the binding (which I haven’t done yet)

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Don’t you love it when a vision in your mind comes into reality? Especially when you are helped out by one of the generous and skilled members of your “hooking family”. Thanks so much Jeanne.

Borrowing an Idea

Signa Meus Vita is now steamed and lies flat and ready for the next step……the finishing.  (the variations in the background are not nearly as extreme as the photo makes them seem.)DSCF6775

The steaming itself presented a bit of a problem because of the “silk tears”. I didn’t want them to be squashed down , so I very carefully worked around them with the iron. However there were spots where they were too close together for me to steam the hooking and avoid them.  Luckily I found that if I quickly flipped the piece over and puffed the silk up with my fingernail, no harm was done.DSCF6778

They still stood nicely above the hooking.

The decision needed now was how to finish the edges. I knew i didn’t want a border, a whipped edge, or a frame. I want it to be a “hanging” as in “tapestry” style, as opposed to a framed “picture”. …..so on Tuesday at our first fall meeting of Sunshine Rug Hookers, I sat down with Cynthia (one of the most creative people I know), to ask her advice on how she had finished a rug I had seen and admired.

This picture of it doesn’t do it justice, but you can see the effect of the beautiful slub silk border, which has been lightly padded.

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….so with her information in mind I headed off to Fabricland, and found this beautiful slubbed silk which perfectly recreates the picture I had in my mind

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….once again the colours aren’t true….they go together very well in reality.

….as I said to Cynthia, I’m nervous to start the edging procedure, so I’m procrastinating by writing a blog about it instead. The plan is to create a type of “show binding” by cutting  bias strips of the silk which will be lightly padded with a small strip of quilt batting . ….just have to get up the nerve to start..

I’ve been hooking a bit more on “Dream Big” …less than two weeks now to the Ploughing match, so I should have some left to hook while demonstarting.DSCF6788Thanks for stopping by.

 

Theme Rugs from the Annual and a Tribute to Judith Auger

I’m sorry to take so long to complete showing all the photos I took last week at the annual…..the weather has been so perfect here, and the wee veggie garden needed to be planted,  the car needed to go to the garage…….etc….but finally here is the next installment of fantastic rugs from Oshawa.

The theme for this year’s annual was “texture” and the display of rugs in the theme category showed a wonderful variety of ways in which using texture can either enhance or define a piece. (texture meaning use of textured hooking materials plaids, sparkly yarns, laces …or anything else you can hook through or attach to  the backing) I don’t have photos of all the entries, but here are the ones I have.DSCF6442

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These pieces were fascinating. I’m only guessing, but it seems like a “triptych” hooked perhaps by three different people, each with a different interpretation, and style. (the three different numbers showing that it is to be judged as three entries, not one) . I’d love to hear the actual story , if anyone knows.  PS…. Thanks to Susan Sutherland….here’s more info on these rugs…..they were hooked by three women from the Ottawa area, ( one being Barbara Lukas) and they were featured in an article in Rug Hooking Magazine.

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…..and the winner was….DSCF6441

….hooked by Barbara Lukas…. depicting her porch in winter. I’m really bad at remembering numbers….but I think she said she used 70 different colours to capture the snow and ice.DSCF6547It was so great to meet her and have time chatting over both dinner and at breakfast. I’ve still got pictures I took of the various guild group displays for another post.

Meanwhile…..back on the homefront…..Sunshine Rug Hookers were treated on Tuesday to the work of Judith Auger. Judith is a relatively new rug hooker, whose artistic talents are evident as she explores her new passion.

We share her with a group in Florida where she started hooking in 2012.

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Her first rug was for her husband, a scene from the maritimes recalling his youth.

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….such beautiful work for a new hooker!….her second piece…

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her first geometric….Judith isn’t a seamstress, and doesn’t own a sewing machine and she isn’t happy with the finishing on this rug. She plans to redo the binding over the summer. She is assiduous in searching for finishing techniques which will work well for her.

….to that end she has started this rug using Doris Eaton’s finishing method….(well she admits it is not exactly Doris’ technique, but her own interpretation of it)DSCF6557

Judith is so creative that she sometimes likes to just start hooking with an idea, and nothing drawn, and see where it takes her….

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….how beautiful is that!!!

….or this….done the same way….DSCF6553

…she calls this one “Lagoon”.

She is still making decisions about her poppies….DSCF6550DSCF6549

….We’re lucky to have her as a member at Sunshine Rug Hookers….even if it is only for half of the year.

….and finishing….

The finishing continues while I get ready for the annual this weekend. I’m so proud of myself that I haven’t started anything new! (Although I have lots of ideas swirling in my head, and I’ve even started a little notebook of ideas. ) I’m just itching to get into the dye pots and create some beautiful wool.

But instead, I put the last touches on the six Klimt inspired trivets. I decided to trim the edges all in black, and had just enough of the background wool to cut #8 strips for the edges.

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I ran a small bead of tacky glue around the edge….DSCF6390

…and carefully laid the strip along the edge. (by using a #8 cut, it is wide enough to cover the felt the backing and the hooking (which is a #6) making a smooth finish.

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…one doneDSCF6396

….six done…on to the next….Lunenburg Harbour…DSCF6397

Although I’ve hooked a border, and this will hang on the wall, …….since it is hooked on burlap, I decided not to just turn it under, but to whip a tiny edge as I did on Sir John.

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…I’ve just got it under way.

On my to do list for the annual, I’ve got “extra camera batteries” so hopefully the next post will have lots of photos of rugs from the display at Durham College.

Thanks for stopping by.