After the Break….

I can’t believe that it’s been more than a month since my last post! Well actually that’s not true. I can believe it, but I haven’t been totally inactive, just not doing much hooking.

Once I joined the two sections of the rug together, it suddenly became very heavy and hard to manage. I rely heavily on having my work hung when I’m not actually hooking, and spending long periods of looking at it to determine what I like and what needs to be changed and eventually HOW I will change it or move forward. Now it requires a chair and climbing up holding the rug to clip it in place for viewing. As a result I was folding it and leaving it hanging over my frame for a time and I soon realized that I had no idea how I would move forward…..so it sat for several weeks.

In the meantime, Ray and I went off for a camping holiday once again. I’ve been told that what we do is not ‘camping ‘at all, but ‘glam-ping’, and I guess that’s true….given that here is the site of our version of  rustic ‘cooking over the fire’…..DSCN0785.jpgMany thanks again to my son Scott and his wife, for the use of their 5th wheel, bringing it to the site, and setting it up etc. etc. etc.

We love this location….dscn0781….enjoy the surrounding area….dscn0812….the neighbours…..two retired clydesdales….rscn0843…..and celebrated Ray’s birthday with Baxter on the patio of a restaurant in Fenelon Falls (they even made sure Baxter had his own bowl of water).dscn0829I came home rested and renewed and ready to get back to hooking (and blogging) when my computer crashed and had to go away for a new hard drive.

Now the computer is back….the weather is cool (I love fall) …I’ve figured out a way to hang my rug more easily….and I’m back in hooking mode.dscn0779The bottom right ‘flame’ bothered me and it took awhile to figure out why….it was paler than the others since I had only used one row of the darkest pink,it was  a bit too small…and it lacked the pizazz I wanted…..a simple fix once I figured it out. (I’ve just started adding to it here)dscn0851I’m heading off now to finish that section….dscn0778 I manage the large rug by draping it over the bed…..keeps it off the floor, and it’s easy to manage. The prerequisite hooking mess is conveniently kept on my bedside table.

Here’s the progress to date,

dscn0849…..and a glimpse of the finished Grumpy Owl….now hanging proudly in the hall.DSCN0848.jpg

The colours are once again quite distorted  (it’s pink and grey not orange and brown) . One day  after I figure out this hooking thing….I’ll learn how to be a better photographer.

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.

 

De”fence”-ing

DSCN0270My first project for the new year is to complete Grumpy Owl. Long ago, (several months at least) I stopped hooking the head feathers when I realized that the shading was dark to light on the left, and the opposite way on the right. While I debated how to deal with that, I finished other areas. Now I could no longer put it off.

DSCN0281My solution? Let them meet in the middle, with light wool on both sides of the merging feathers. (the jury is still out on this solution).

That leaves only the bottom section to hook.

DSCF7631Just a reminder….the original is a dot work drawing done by my talented son Mathieu and therefore doesn’t have the detail of a hooked piece. I thought it was a fence, and had tried out a version using the same technique as I had done on the side of my barn. BUT….when last home, Mathieu told me that he hadn’t intended it to be a fence at all….hmmmmm…..what to do? When in doubt….wait and ponder.

Well with everything else hooked, the waiting time was over, and decision time was upon me. I ripped out the old ‘fence’ and spot dyed a variety of fabrics with some different greys and a sand (I think it was khaki drab….but my recipe book is on a different floor, so I’m guessing)

DSCN0275I switched to an #8 cut and started hooking a rocky perch  for Grumpy.DSCN0277

The rock fissures and the details around the talons are the tricky part, and I’ll digress for a bit as I record how I kept the vertical aspect, while filling in around them.

If you have a  cutter with an adjustable guide, like the Frazer 500….DSCN0291….or one of the Beehive, Townsend, or  Ault type….DSCN0292…..you will probably have experienced cutting your wool when the guide is not set exactly correctly, and ended up with that first strip the wrong size…..DSCN0294In this case the first strip was wider than an 8. Rather than adjust the wool guide, I left it, and those wider strips are just perfect for filling in  the slightly larger spaces.

Of course there were spots that needed smaller sizes, and I am not averse to cutting a section or the end of a strip to make it fit smoothly.DSCN0302

….(Do you know how hard it is to hold the scissors, hold the camera, and also take the photo? ….this took several tries….and finally balanced the scissor handles with my knee.)

DSCN0307Here you can see how (upper right of the ‘rock’) the extra wide piece fits nicely between the black, and a smaller strip will fit neatly into the small space just to its  left. It’s slow going, but for me the result is worth it. The talons are unimpeded, and the rock face is going in the right direction.DSCN0274

Winter is fully upon us here in central Ontario, with a nasty icy day forecast. I’m staying home to snuggle up, watch the curling, and hook. I hope you have a nice day too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Looking Backward and Foreward

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s that time to reflect on the past, and make plans (dare I say resolutions) for the new year. So I decided to review just what I had hooked in 2015.

I completed several rugs. Hijab……for the Women’s Day Art Show….DSCF7260

Creating Hijab was fun and interesting, (that’s a shadow across the top not a stain).  DSCF6994

I learned a lot in creating the red scarf with just three different shades of  mottled wool.

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This little bunny which was hooked in a challenge. It is not quite finished here. I’ve never liked it , so perhaps that’s why I can’t find a shot of the completed rug.

I hooked this little seascape using wool which was distributed amongst the Sunshine Rug Hookers from the stash of the late Hilda Hayes. We each hooked something which reminded us in some way of Hilda.She and her family came from England in the late sixties, and I thought this serene English seaside sunset was appropriate. DSCF7481It is now framed and hanging in my front hall.

I was hooking zentangles for awhile for our group demonstration at R.U.G. and this one is now whipped and  sits atop my hall table.DSCF7480I completed a number of small projects….DSCF7477

…..like these pins for my DIL

….and these mug rugs for various relatives  and friends…DSCN0064DSCN0061DSCN0062

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I whipped the edge of my Lunenburg rug…..DSCN0209….so it is finally complete….

I have my two “workshop pieces ”  underway but not completed….DSCN0164DSCN0163

(actually they are both farther along than this, but my camera has once again stopped uploading pictures  GRRRRRRR!!!)

The largest project, which I’ve been working on all year, is Grumpy Owl. DSCN0009Since this photo was taken, I’ve finished the background and done some reworking of the moon.DSCN0263….it is whiter, with more clouds and fewer “squiggles”and there may well be further adjustments to it.

So that was 2015.

Now for 2016, I’m ready to get back to working on my sweet Grumpy Owl and to finish it as my first project of the  year.

As for a New Year’s hooking resolution?  It is to  hook without pressured deadlines and to enjoy every loop I pull. Let’s see if I can keep this one.

Thanks for stopping by.

Background Creative Process

As with all my hooking, creating the background for Grumpy Owl is an ongoing process. After failing miserably with my first attempt (the blues), My inspiration came from this misty moon photo.3684907-moon-over-the-sea-moon

I took a yard of Dorr natural, and ripped it into 1/8th yard pieces. I began by dyeing each one with 1/128th tsp golden pear. One piece I left that way for the surface of the moon. The others I spot overdyed with a variety of colours, singly and combined……pink sand, cantaloupe, mouse grey, clay, and charcoal (1/128th tsp) (pro chem colours).

This is what I ended up with….DSCF7656….these 6, plus two others with double the golden pear background (which I didn’t like)DSCF7659The moon is now underway.

DSCF7657…and I like the general background effect.DSCF7660I added some smudgy wisps of clouds in front of the moon……..and darker colours toward the bottom. To make the edges of the moon a little brighter, I edged it with one row of #3 cut Dorr natural.DSCF7666I felt I didn’t have enough contrast, or deep enough colours for the bottom, so I overdyed these two pieces with pink sand and mouse grey.DSCF7670…the jury is still out on the bottom part.

I discovered that while this piece was too bright and had too much contrast….DSCF7671

if I flipped it over and used the other side…..DSCF7672….it was muted and created lovely highlights.

I still felt that the moon didn’t “pop” quite as much as I’d like, so last night, I removed the outline strip, and the 3 cut highlight, and added a wider outline in Dorr natural.DSCF7675

I don’t particularly like it close up, but, but from a bit of a distance, it gives the moon some backlight “glow”.

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It has been a while since I’ve done this large a background in a 4 cut…..I think somebody keeps enlarging the spaces!

I’m looking forward to the Quilt, Rug and Craft Fair at the Simcoe County Museum which runs from Sept 18 to 20. Drop by if you can. It is always a feast for the eyes, with many disciplines of fibre arts on display and for sale.

I’ll be sure to take my camera.

Thanks for stopping by.

Back Up and Retool

I haven’t pulled a loop in over two weeks, and that doesn’t happen very often. Here’s the first reason….DSCF7639Ray and I accompanied Baxter on a lovely camping trip. Great swimming, walking , relaxing and many wonderful  memories from past years when we had family camping get togethers in this provincial park with up to 30 relatives, huge pot luck dinners, and hilarious yearly scavenger hunts. I remember my niece saying at the time “I wish I could make time stand still”. ….but of course time doesn’t stand still….so Ray and I made new memories this time on our own as we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a very special dinner at the delightful Globe Hotel, a nearby restaurant at a 200 year old Inn  in the tiny village of Rosemont. Oh the food was soooooo delicious!

OK…that’s my first excuse for not hooking lately. The second is this….DSCF7635After dyeing all the wool for the background, I was excited to hook a bit to see the effect, and it didn’t take long to realize that while the wool is beautiful, it is too striking to use as the background. It immediately draws the eye away from poor Grumpy. Not what I want at all.

So now that I’m back home from camping, have had a long talk about this problem with my friend Jean, and looked at lots of inspiration images from google, my current plan is to insert a moon and misty dawn sky that will enhance but not overpower the grey owl.

I found this “royalty free” image , which really caught my eye, and is the essence of what I’d like to achieve in the background.3684907-moon-over-the-sea-moon

At this point, I think I’ll use my trusty “pear yellow” as the base colour with something greyish brown (like clay) for darker sections, and something a bit “peachy” to add a bit of dawn blush. …. (I’m only looking at the top half) . That’s the present plan, and subject to change when I start trying things out.

Stay tuned for further developments. The dye pots are going to get some exercise.

Birds of a Feather…

Oh my….I realized a few days ago that I have some tweaking to do on Grumpy Owl. The tips of the feathers on the left are too dark, and the transition from light to dark on the right is too abrupt.DSCF7621I added a bit more shading to the transition from light cheek feathers to the dark head ones.

Before……DSCF7619….after….DSCF7624….a very subtle difference, but I feel batter about it. On the other side I changed the dark tips for a lighter tone, but then discovered a larger problem.

DSCF7622….for some reason, I began shading each feather dark to light (left to right) then realized after a full evening’s work, that the shading was backwards. It needs to be light to dark…like the other side of his head.DSCF7625So while I was waiting for the gumption to take out my mistake, I decided to dye some wool for the background. DSCF7626I love the colours, but I won’t know how they’ll work until I try them out. The photo shows them brighter then they really are, but you get the idea.

Still not inspired to redo the feathers, last night I began work on the fence. My idea is to have it a weathered grey (but a different grey than the bird) . I began outlining with a dark plaid. (Just an aside here….and reminder to myself …..when I cut the plaid with a #3, it was a bit “hairy” or “ravelly”, so I gave it a quick hand wash with soap and warm water and then dried it in the dryer. It fluffed it up just enough to make it much nicer to hook with)

DSCF7630Then I gathered up some possible colours for the fence.

The lightest is for the spaces between the boards. The main grey is wool left over from my barn project.DSCF7634I’m trying the fencing in an 8 cut , but I’m not sure yet if I like that. DSCF7631….or the colour. I’ll let it settle in my mind for a bit before I make a final decision.

I just bet I’ll start on the background colours next. I have absolutely no patience waiting to try something I’m excited about hooking. Fortunately with this medium that’s not a problem.

Finally I want to share the wonders and frustrations of technology that I’ve experienced today. For some reason, my computer would not upload my photos from my camera, and after trying everything I could think of, I finally messaged my son Mathieu in Calgary for help. He made several suggestions and finally wrote “try rebooting”. Voila! It worked. …but then he mentioned that he was not in fact at home, but rather eating breakfast at a restaurant with friends in Victoria British Columbia. ….my own personal technician who offers advice while eating bacon and eggs thousands of miles away…..

Thanks for stopping by.

Hooking Funk

I’ve been in a bit of a hooking “funk” lately. ….and that’s unusual for me. I just haven’t really felt like hooking most evenings, and as a result I’ve made very little progress on my “Grumpy Owl”.

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I’ve done another layer or so of feathers on the left and I’ve completed both talons. I love the way he looks, so that isn’t why I don’t particularly feel like hooking.

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I used  #2 and #3 cuts for the feet. The #2 cut is tricky to hook with, but very effective in spots that need a fine line.  Many wools won’t hold together with such a narrow strip, but I’m using a cashmere which is very dense and works quite well. I’m pulling the loops quite high so that they will not be lost when surrounded by a wider cut.

As I putter along with the body, I’m debating how to hook the background. Originally I was going to do it in a “sepia” sort of colour, remaining true to the original  neutral picture drawn by  Mathieu. Now I’m debating about using colour….perhaps creating a gentle sunrise….indicating he’s not so much grumpy as tired and ready for a day’s sleep. Or another thought is a pastel colour arching out deeper as it moves away from his body to create a bit of aura. ….still debating with myself….

But back to my funk……maybe I need a shot of colour motivation ….while I like the neutrals, I think perhaps I’m momentarily colour deprived.  I decided to think about a possible “next project” and went looking for inspiration. I soon realized that everything that attracted me had a strong and vibrant colour palette.The wools I’m using now are drab and ugly as they sit in a heap around me, so maybe I’ll have to make piles of gorgeous crimson, teal gold etc. to surround me as I finish hooking my owl, or maybe I’ll give in and introduce colour to the background….ummmmm….decisions, decisions.

Winging It

I can’t believe that it is 18 days since I last posted. I have been trying to help with yard work and gardening, leaving me too tired to hook many evenings so frankly, I’ve not made a lot of progress on my Grumpy Owl.

I have been doing a lot of pondering and thinking though, mostly about how to accomplish the shadowed parts. Once again here’s Mathieu’s original drawing.DSCF7142

….and here’s what I’ve been doing to hook his body…..edging with the light colours…DSCF7540

….and using a mixture  of these dark wools.DSCF7479DSCF7544

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To create even more depth on the right (shadowed side) I overdyed the pendleton plaid I used for the eyes with a stronger spot dye.

DSCF7554Here is the progress as I worked my way across the body. The beautiful depth and contrast of the body colour and doesn’t show up very well in the photos, DSCF7548DSCF7551DSCF7555DSCF7556

 

Now it’s back to the dye pots to create a wee bit darker colour for the wings on the right side, and then I can’t wait to try filling in the head feathers. At the moment I’m debating whether to use a #3 or#4 cut, and whether to use directional or  antigodlin (random) hooking for them. (the wings are directional, the body random).

It’s all a wonderful and creative adventure. The fact that it is all neutrals, is quite a learning experience, allowing me to concentrate on fine details that I probably wouldn’t dwell on if vibrant colours were involved.

My but I enjoy being a hooker!

Thanks for stopping by.

I’M SO GRUMPY

Well, I’m personally not grumpy, (at least I don’t think so), but I’ve been busy trying to create grumpiness for my next project. I’ve talked about the pattern in earlier posts, but it’s been quite awhile, so I’ll start once again from the beginning.

My youngest son Mathieu (artist, motion designer) drew this picture and titled it “Grumpy Owl”.DSCF7142

I fell in love with it, and asked him if I could hook it. He sent me a photo of it by email . I had it enlarged, DSCF7143then I transferred it to my backing.DSCF7185

The pattern is now 28″ x 32″ .

Then I stared at it for a couple of months (while finishing other projects) trying to decide how to translate Mathieu’s “dot work” drawing into hooking.DSCF7478While still having no idea how I’d proceed, I began outlining in black. I didn’t want it to be a realistic owl, but rather faithful to Mathieu’s drawing.

I experimented with interior colours by over dyeing various wool with three colours….clay, mouse gray, and charcoal.DSCF7479

Then used a much weaker dye bath over natural Dorr to create a mottled off white, and also a  slightly darker version. (they’re not nearly this dark in reality)DSCF7540

The outlining is a #3 cut, and the rest I’m using #4. It just seemed an appropriate cut to fill the small spaces effectively, and create the shading. (although I seldom hook with such a small cut).DSCF7531

Of course, before long I decided I had to try the eyes. I found this grey/blue Pendleton plaid……DSCF7542

….and used a #2 cutDSCF7536

….then hooked his bill. Now he has more character.

I’m really having a lot of fun with this as he comes to life.DSCF7538The black outlining is rather mindless, so that’s what I do when I’m hooking with others (mustn’t interfere with chatting you know)…..and the body I work on when I’m alone and can concentrate. To my mind that’s one of the big advantages to rug hooking….being able to jump around.DSCF7541

He looks a little sinister at the moment, but that will change I’m sure when I get colour in his head feathers.

My summer hooking lies ahead in having this fellow come to life.

Thanks for stopping by.