….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.

 

This and That

First I’ll finish up showing the items being worked on at our day long hook in last week.

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Gail is making good progress with her railway rug ( the story of this rug is in the post entitled “The Spring That Isn’t”)

Here are some more pieces being hooked for the ploughing match.

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Ann has completed her pig. I love the border. Those look like maple leaves in the corners

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This is going to be a mobile, with the hearts glued back to back. What a super idea. Can’t wait to see it finished.

I have finished my six trivets, which were inspired by motifs found in various Klimt paintings.

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I didn’t like the 6th pattern I drew, so I did another version of the turquoise and red one, this time in yellows and black.

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There were other personal rugs in progress.

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Marion is hooking a copy of a stained glass she has in her home. (I think it will be a pillow, but I’m not positive.

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I love the dress in this Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern which is underway. There are the distinctive dots around the edge (a unique DF trick).

I love the story behind this piece which Charlene has under way.  Her friend was an accomplished artist, but was severely injured in an accident and can no longer paint.

Here is a picture of one of her paintings.DSCF6254

(please excuse the poor quality photo) The socks represent various members of her family.

Charlene is hooking a copy of this painting as a gift for her friend.

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Now for an update on my Sir John cartoon.

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Originally I had the text on the cake (as it was in the original cartoon), but I soon realized two things. 1)……there was an awful lot of background dead space. and 2)….even using a #2 cut doing script that small would be REALLY difficult. So I decided to move the text off the cake and into the background, where it could be considerable larger.

It took several tries to decide on  a cut and style that I liked.

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Using a #2 cut with a #2 cut outline wouldn’t lie straight…it needed the #3 cut as the inside colourDSCF6210DSCF6211

I liked the black lettering, until I put the white around it, and then it was too puny.DSCF6217I finally settled on a #3 cut white inside, outlined with a #2 cut black.DSCF6218I think I’ll just put a maple leaf on the cake.

The Spring That Isn’t

Although spring has officially arrived, here in central Ontario we are still gripped with winter weather. This morning the temperature was – 17 C  (almost 0 F), and yesterday we awoke to a fresh snowfall of  23cm (nearly 10 in).DSCF6197

I took this this morning from the balcony door….the snow on the balcony is waist high, and the bank in our neighbour’s driveway is well over 6 feet high. No tulips or crocus for us in the foreseeable future!

SO with smiles on our faces, and boots and heavy coats still very much necessary, a few of us got together to hook.

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Gail is working on a wonderful piece for the Sir John A MacDonald 200th birthday celebration. As Canada’s first prime minister, MacDonald was largely responsible for the development and implementation of the railway system across our vast land which was a vital cornerstone of confederation.DSCF6181

The symbolism in her design is inspired!. The map of Canada is created from the smoke from the engine, and the background shows the aspects of the country from sea to sea. The rails run into the Pacific in the foreground, then as you move east  into the background, you see the Rockies, the wheat fields of the prairies, and at the horizon tiny details of the east. Wow!

Others were working on items to show or sell at the ploughing match.

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Ann’s sow is well on its way.

DSCF6182Jeanne has almost finished hooking her ploughing scene.

….and I’ve completed my 6 trivets which will be on the sales table.

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Woops! Well that must be a freudian slip! I like these 5, but not the 6th so much, and mysteriously there is no photo of it!

Teresa found a treasure through a sales venue (I can’t remember which one) . For a very reasonable price, she got a sit on frame (I’m really jealous), plus a variety of wool etc, plus this Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern (already begun) and all the wool to finish it.  She said it was really difficult to get going on it since someone else had started it, but she’s off and running now.DSCF6177

(Don’t you love her colourful socks! She’s a master knitter!)DSCF6178

P.S.

I had hoped to have Baxter all groomed by now, but we only managed one session on the grooming table…..but indeed under this….

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I found this…..DSCF6196

….so now it’s off to the grooming table to reduce the wooly body to that of a sleek gentleman. (well at least sleek….anyone familiar with schnauzers knows they are monkeys not gentlemen!)

Sir John on the Go

I’m surprised at how much fun I’m having hooking with mainly #3 and #2 cuts. I’ve never before used a #2 and it’s been years since I’ve hooked anything entirely in a #3.

I started with the jacket, just hooking blobs as I saw them.DSCF6124

I’m using black, a grey tweed, and a grey cashmere. It’s amazing the colour variations you can see when you really, really look.

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…A case in point is the oval pin in his cravat. When I first looked, it seemed white, so I hooked it this way.  Then I realized it didn’t look right, so I looked VERY closely, and then rehooked it this way.

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Much better. Of course I have to jump all over the place (no patience), so I tried working on his face, beginning with his lips. (I normally start a face with the eyes, but decided not to this time).

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Sometimes when you hook what you see, it isn’t just right, so I adjusted the top lip.

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I gradually worked my way upward, and then tackled the right eye. This black and white version doesn’t allow me to follow any of the steps I have learned for hooking eyes, so it was truly trial and error.

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I probably should have gone right on to the eye on the left while I was on a roll, but I took a break and went instead to the cravat.  DSCF5978

As you can see, it has very prominent white ovals on a black background, and I searched and searched looking for a wool I though might give me that effect. Then I remembered a wonderful black and  white two coloured border Jean had hooked as the outline in her Holstein cow hot pad, and thought perhaps that might work.

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It gets rather messy on the back as you alternate a white then a black loop, and the ends need to stay at the back, but as this will always hang on a wall, it doesn’t really matter, and I got the effect I was after.

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I’m stalled at this point while I dye some more black wool . I’m going to overdye some dark plum cashmere with black and bottle green, and hopefully I’ll get to that later today.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun using brightly coloured worms to hook the Klimt motif hot pads. Again, I’m jumping around from one to the other.

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This afternoon, I’m off to the opening of the International Women’s Day Art Show at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.  I’ll check on how Emma Sue is holding up under the scrutiny!

Trial and Error

I couldn’t wait any longer!  Last night I gathered my blacks and greys and plunged into the hooking of Sir John.

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This whole thing will be trial and error, with only my eyes to determine what works. I’ve never tried to hook in black and white before, never tried to hook a cartoon before, in fact, I’ve never seen a hooked black and white cartoon at all. I’ve studied some monochromatic neutral pieces, but when striving for the look of a black and white photo, the colours used and styles of hooking are quite different than what I’m attempting.

My first job was to set up my bliss cutter with a #3 cutter head (I don’t have that size for my Beeline cutter (:  .) , and to my surprise I could cut neither a 3 cut or a 4 cut using the black wool I bought for this piece. After lots of wiggling and adjusting I finally got it to cut on the #4, but realized in the process that it is way too heavy. (feels almost like blanket weight wool,) so at the moment I’m working with bits of the lighter weight black I have, and trying to decide if I will over dye some dark wool I already have., or buy some more black making sure I ask for a regular weight, but a tight enough weave that even cutting a #2 is possible.

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I had no idea where to start, but just plunged in doing some outlining with a #4 in the heavy black.  (that will all be coming out) ….it’s way too heavy and predominate.

Then I moved to the jacket. and made my first discovery (learning curve?) of the project. It works best to work in sections using a small part of the original cartoon and just hooking the blobs/shapes that I see, and ignoring the overall piece. (that little tidbit of wisdom from Wendie Scott Davis and the workshop I took with her….thanks Wendie) I can actually see the creases of the arm of the jacket making sense now.

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If you can believe it, I’ve actually hand cut some #4 strips in half to try some finer outlining later today, but I think I’ll be changing out my #4 cutter head for a #2 in short order . I’ll wait until Ray can help me though as I can’t manage changing the Frazer 500 head on my own (I’m mechanically challenged).

I’m saving my plowing match hot pads for hooking away from home, as they require little concentration so they don’t impede the all important conversations of a group of hookers.

This one is finished:

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…and this one is stalled…sigh…

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…and there are 4 others not yet begun. (I took all the design elements from Klimt paintings )   The colours are dependent on the availability of worms and scraps.

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Oh yes….and my Historic Lunenburg is finished (hooking that is). I’m finally happy with the sky (after several attempts). Ah! wish I was back there.  Such a beautiful spot.

A Work Day for the Plowing Match

This September, the International Plowing Match will be held near the village of Ivy , not far south of where I Iive in central Ontario.  The annual Quilt and Rug Fair is to be included as a part of the plowing match, and will run for a week (instead of a weekend) and have exposure for our work to many many more people than we could normally expect. This is a big deal for rughookers in our area, so we’re busy preparing for it now. (of course rug hookers need little excuse to get together for a hook in!!!)

Last Tuesday we held an all day hook in to get sale items underway.DSCF6086

Wearable art/jewelry particularly brooches are always popular.

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Margaret is making a variety of small waldoboro pins for different seasons.

Proddy brooches seldom lie on a sales table very long.

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Cynthia, ever creative, has devised these beautiful pins .

DSCF6070I was fascinated by how she made them. The silk had holes cut out for the hooking , then was  decoratively sewn on both sides of the linen, allowing the hooking to be done on the linen with the silk background already there….here they are in progress….

DSCF6072…this is the back side…and this….

DSCF6071….is the front. The strip was inserted into the hoop to hold taut for hooking.

Hot pads are another favourite sales item, and we have a variety of them in progress.

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Jean  is doing a series of animals (appropriate for a plowing match).

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Helen found this article on how to create a spiral, and is trying that.DSCF6082DSCF6097

I’m doing some which use Klimt motifs.

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Christmas articles are also always popular, and we will have a nice variety.

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Cathy is making lots of these sweet hanging Santas.

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…and perhaps my favourite….Jean has made one little bag, and plans on making more.

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DSCF6058Gail couldn’t resist and so we have our first sales…

Edie found these patterns which had been tucked away for a long time. They too will make lovely hot pads.

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It was a fun and productive day.DSCF6090DSCF6085

….and just to put the icing on the cake…..2 curling gold, and 2 hockey gold for Canada. I am a happy hooker indeed!

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!

Starting Magdelena Briner and Finishing Althea

While I’ve always admired rugs hooked in the primitive style, I was never inspired to hook one myself. But then I kept seeing the rugs of Magdelena Briner Eby on various sites. and was fascinated by her distinctive style and colours. I decided my next venture would be a primitive rug in her style.   I ordered the book “Rug Hooking Traditions with Magdelena Briner Eby” from Woolley Fox  and quickly read it from cover to cover..DSCF5102_2

..and now  I’m beginning my Magdelena style rug. I wanted to use animals that were significant to me, and thought of the wildlife of this area…..deer, beaver, moose etc….but others have done that. I wanted something more personal.

I made a list of the pets my youngest son has had, and it turned out to be 4 dogs, 6 cats, and one white rat, plus numerous fish…..aha…that sounds like a “rug full”….so my next venture is entitled “Mathieu’s Pets”.

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I sketched outlines, and made templates on bristol board.

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….then simply traced them on the backing.  Right away it becomes apparent why I have never been a “primitives ” hooker….my animals even just as outlines…are way too accurate….but I can only go against my own nature just so far….and this may become more a memory rug than anything else.

I love the colours and backgrounds of the Magdelena rugs, and when I was at  R.U.G. I picked up some wool that I thought of as” Magdelena colours.”

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.I have lots of “blacks” to “spark” these up.

..and pulled out a stack of browns I bought last year from Jennifer Manuell..

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….sorry…I forgot to crop that plastic bag they are sitting on…..So those are the basic colours I’m thinking of using (but always subject to change).

I’m itching to get hooking now….BUT….first ….the dreaded finishing requirement is once more upon me.

May 25th weekend is the yearly Annual of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in Kingston. And while I’m not going to it this year, the Sunshine Rug Hookers will have a display and Althea is to make the trip on my behalf.

When I finished hooking her, my back and legs were acting up. so I rolled her up without even steaming her. Now she must be finished and ready to go in less than a week.

My first little problem came with the zigzagging when I had to deal with the fact that I had drawn the pattern way too close to one side (who knows why!) I solved that little dilemma by leaving half the tape on the edge and sewing through it so it wouldn’t ravel.

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I pulled off the excess when I was done, and didn’t worry about what was left.

My preference for my rugs which will hang on the wall is to just turn the backing under……but I still like it to be a nicely finished rug, with straight edges, and  stitching hidden as much as I can. I fold and steam along the ditches, and have fought with myriad pins during this process in the past . I now have these wonderful little clips  ( intended for quilters) which make the process soooo much easier…not one pin required!

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…everything is held securely in place, and I just remove the clips before steaming that section.

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I like that straight edge with no pin marks or puckers. I use the backing to create a pocket for the rod, so it is all in one process,. That’s why there are no mitered corners.

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So here is Althea, laying up-side-down to dry, and all I have to do now is blind stitch the edges down before next Tuesday….easy..peasy!

Sites where I got my Magdelena inspiration….three of my favourites..check them out!

http://woodlandjunction.blogspot.ca

http://theruggedmoose.blogspot.ca

http://www.woolleyfox.com

Thanks for stopping by.

The Finishing Touches

Over the weekend I finished the last little bits of background on Althea, then spent yesterday on the finishing touches. To start with she looked like this.DSCF4880I began with her left eye, which still bothered me even after twice trying to fix it before.

I decided that it was too wide at the edge of her face, so I took out the little white part at the edge and swept the upper eye down around the pupil.DSCF4901Then I tackled the nose. It too had undergone several changes (none of which I liked) and I knew it would be hard to take out because of the embroidery thread which was sewn in to create the outline.DSCF4904It took me ages, using a pair of tweezers to remove the grey, and the tiny pieces I’d used for the edge of the nose. Then I pondered how to make it better, stared at my pictures, and thought about advice I’d received. I finally made two alterations…..I made the right nostril larger, thus changing the entire angle of the nose, and then straightening the nose itself, and reducing the bottom left, since it was now more in profile that before.  Does that make sense??DSCF4905This is her new nose.

Another area that bothered me was the grey outline on her skin. It looked too much like a coloured outline, rather than a shadow…..so I took out the part around her face. I found a piece of flesh tone wool that I had overdyed grey, and thought it might be less stark than the grey I’d used. I removed the part between her face and hair completely, and left a bit of her cheek with no outlining. I used a #4 cut and hooked it very low so it would not be so prominent. I touched up the flesh by replacing that brownish strip to the right of her lips, and added a few more pinkish “face strips”  at the top of her neck to help in the transition from one “batch of flesh wool” to the next.DSCF4909Whew!! Done. All that remains is the steaming and finishing.

Unfortunately, I’ve once again injured my knee and standing to steam her will have to wait a bit. DSCF4910Yikes…perhaps I should stop looking at her…because now that I’ve altered her eye and her nose…I think I should change her mouth as well. …but then I think it’s just the angle of this photo.    I’m done…she’s done.DSCF4907

So here she is…my Althea….an adaptation of Klimt‘s “Lady with Fan”.  36″ x 36″ wool on rugwarp, completed in 4 months…December 2012 to March 2013….a tribute to my sister Audrey who died January 10th, 2013.

Dyeing the Background for Althea

I have the background underway, and I’m still procrastinating about the face and the flesh tones.

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I’m still debating about removing the face altogether (except the lips, one eye and the ear, which I like) and redoing it with a newly dyed batch so I have enough of the same colour to do the whole thing…..since I can’t seem to match this colour.   SOOOO…while I dabate this dilemma with myself, I’ve gone on to the background.

I got out a variety of existing yellows from my stash, and thought I’d try transition dyeing to blend and mix the various yellow tones.

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Well that was a raging failure! They certainly match some better, but are still way too far apart, and don’t have blending sections so that I can merge them while hooking.

I knew I wanted a gold colour with some depth to it, so I found a yellow I liked in the sample colours from the book Jewel Tones, which I had borrowed from the Sunshine library. I decided to start by dyeing 1/2 yard. Simple….except that the Jewel Tones book is written for 1/3 yard of wool ripped into two – 8 tone swatches, and the one I liked called for the dyes yellow, sun yellow, golden yellow, and chestnut brown. I have neither golden yellow or chestnut brown.

Not to be deterred by the fact that I had the wrong amount of wool and the wrong dyes, I forged ahead. I checked my prochem swatches, and decided that cantaloupe would do for golden yellow, and chocolate brown wasn’t too far off from chestnut brown. I mixed it in two colour baths as per the instructions, and from then on …went my own way. I put half of each dye solution in the dye pot, added the wool and spooned the other halves over the wool  later when much of the colour had been taken up. I didn’t actually stir, but moved the wool around enough so that the colour differences blurred.

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This is what I ended up with, and I’m delighted. (it’s all carefully written in my recipe book so I can re-create it)

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Off I went to a hook-in on Friday and started the background.

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As usual, I jumped around to see how the background would look. I started doing it against the darker sections.

You would have laughed if you’d seen me trying to get a picture of the whole thing on Saturday morning. It was hanging up in such a way that to get the entire piece in the photo I had to half stand in the middle of the bed, leaning this way and that to try and get it straight on.

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I fell over several times in my attempts, and the dog thought he should come to my rescue and lick my face, or make this into a great new game. There were a multitude of shots like this one….chopped off and not straight on.

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Finally! A straight-on shot of the whole piece. Whew.

I should get lots of hooking done this week with the Briar on every day. I’m the world’s most avid Television listener.

Thanks for stopping by.