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?


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.


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.


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.


….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.


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.


An English Sunset for Hilda

After the passing our our dear Hilda at age 97 last year, her daughter gave her wool to the Sunshine rug hookers.


We sold most of it and donated the proceeds to charity, but there were still many lovely pieces left. Mary Lou Justason and Linda Wilson came up with a wonderful idea and put it into action. They divided the wool into about 40 groupings and gave one package  to each of the the Sunshine members. We are now each creating a small hooked piece with this wool to have as a personal memento of our friend. We are planning to show them at R.U.G. and then invite Heather (Hilda’s daughter) to see them all at a meeting in May.

The package I chose was primarily navy, pinks and purples, and I decided to hook an English seaside sunset.

DSCF7363It’s tiny (just 25 cm. x 16 cm……sorry I can’t find an imperial ruler…but that’s approximately 10″ x 6″ ), and I added yellow orange/red and teal from my own wool.DSCF7367

Then, since Hilda’s wool was mainly solid colours, I  used the transition dyeing method (doesn’t use any dye), to create variation and highlights.


….and ended up with this….DSCF7375So now I’m having great fun creating this little English sea scape, and imaging that Hilda is enjoying the view as well.


Jean has created “Hilda’s Garden” with her wool.DSC03694

…..aren’t those little quillies delightful?

I’ll share what everyone else makes in a later post.

At our meeting this week I was working on “Hilda’s English Sunset”,  and here’s a glimpse of what everyone else was working on.DSCF7397Joanne’s adorable owl has a very ‘mola’ look to me. DSCF7404

Gail is hooking an abstract bench seat cover.


Marion was off visiting when I snapped this photo, so I have no explanation for her work.


Helen is continuing with her abstract moon/ night sky.DSCF7405Charlene told me the title of her lovely dressed tree, but unfortunately but I’ve now forgotten (so sorry Charlene).

DSCF7392Edie is coming along with the background of her floral piece. That lovely mottled background just makes the flowers pop.


Isabel is just getting this rose underway.

DSCF7388Linda’s grandchild painted this tile and presented it to her. Fearing that it was fragile, and might not stand the test of time……..DSCF7389

…….. she has hooked a replica of this very special keepsake.DSCF7381Liz’s necklace is the inspiration for her present project. A gift from he son-in-law, it is a maori symbol called a kora….DSCF7384


….and she is hooking a tribute to it….DSCF7387……using sari silk, and wool which she herself has spun and dyed.

There’s more to show, and I’ll include the rest in a second post.

Thanks for stopping by.




OHCG 2014 The Teachers’ Challenge

What a wonderful weekend at Durham College in Oshawa. I didn’t even begin to get photos of all the pieces on display, but I certainly have enough to provide a feel for the wonderful work I saw (and several blog posts). As well as the various guild displays, there were several specialty displays and I’m going to start with one that I just loved. “The Teachers Challenge”.

Members of the teachers group were given a challenge.

They were given this line drawing…


….and challenged to hook it …any way they liked.

DSCF6509….What fantastic results, and such a learning experience to see the wide variety of interpretations, styles and techniques they used.

The wide variety of treatments of the rocks, shows an intimate knowledge of the Canadian Shield and the infinite possible colours in granite


DSCF6522 DSCF6513DSCF6514




….some chose the special effects of a sunset…with a silhouette style

DSCF6517……or a different season….with a monochromatic treatment



….or tiling…DSCF6521

…..or mosaic…..DSCF6516

or a more modern treatment….(I’m sure there’s a proper name for this style, but I can’t think of it)DSCF6510


….or a monochromatic straight line treatmentDSCF6518


….or a wonderful night time interpretation. I can just hear  and the waves lapping gently on the shore.DSCF6523

What a powerful sky in this rendition. I can feel the wind blowing. even the trees have a wind blown aspect, and the highlights in the rocks balance the sky so well.DSCF6511


….and another amazing sky….the wool for the sky was painted, then reverse hooked…and the spaces evenly staggered to create the regular “swiss dot ” effect.DSCF6533

Wow! What talent…..and what a lesson on the endless possibilities of a black line drawing!

….and that was just one small display….I’ll show another one next blog.

In the meantime…I’m recouperating from all the fun and food and laughter of a marvelous weekend away with hookers.

Thanks for dropping by.

Part Two…. Barn Project on Display


Here are the rest of the photos of the Barn Project I took on Saturday.DSCF6352

“The Grain Bag by the Front Door” contains many childhood memories.DSCF6341DSCF6353

Barn at Lawless Ranch, Anarchist Pass, BC….. winner Judges’ Choice Award


The Smith Family Fruit Barn typical of the style in the Niagara region.DSCF6363

“Lee Valley Barn” in the township of Sables-Spanish Rivers. This barn is still in use. Historical Significance award.


“Reverence for the Bell Barn” award for Best Exemplifies Heritage Presentation DSCF6355

“Mount Olivet Lilac Ridge” DSCF6356

“Evening Milking” DSCF6357

“The Madill’s FarmDSCF6358

“Walker’s barn in Horseshoe Valley. Avant Barn Award for the Most Artistic InterpretationDSCF6359

“Spring Chores”DSCF6360“Man Maketh, Nature Taketh”  Theme Award for best depiction of the loss of a traditional barn.

Oh my!! That’s 31 barns, but there were 62 entries. I only managed to get shots of half of them. Here are a few of the others ….photos I had taken in October when they were first handed in….


“Barn Swallows”  with the disappearance of the barns follows a scarcity of the swallowsDSCF5632

“The Barns of my Youth”….Luise Bishop Award for  Best Pictorial and Gwen Robertson Memorial Award for Best Depiction of Rural LifestyleDSCF5634

“Rural Cathedral”DSCF5633“Bossie’s Barn” …memories of activities around a barn in Cantic, QuebecDSCF5635“Barnyard Sculpture” ….the only 3D pieceDSCF5636

“The Wallace Barn”DSCF5637“Grandpa’s Farm”DSCF5645DSCF5656DSCF5664“Our Farm” near Whitby. All the buildings are now gone.


I still missed 20 barns and my sincere apologies to those whose pieces I’ve missed.  It goes without saying that this is a terrific show of our heritage, and the art of rug hooking. Thanks again to the Huronia Committee and the Simcoe County Museum for making it possible.

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.


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.


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.


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:


…and this one is stalled…sigh…


…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.


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.

Olympian Lunenburg

Yes, I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the TV this week watching the Olympics, and most of the time I have been hooking at the same time.  As a result, the Lunenburg piece is really coming along.


I was able to find wool in my stash for everything, until I came to the sky. That I would have to dye. I used a mixture of various blues, and added the pieces at 30 second intervals to get a variety of shades.DSCF6036

I thought the end result looked quite lovely….


….until I started hooking them. WOW! What was I thinking? They were all WAY too deep. My excuse is that I had been working with such saturated colours, that they seemed quite light as I was dyeing them.

I am running out of Dorr natural, but had a small piece left , so I dyed that using 1/128th tsp instead of 1/8th. I also found a piece of just barely blue wool.

Try #2….


I decided I needed some pure white for clouds, and used a lovely white I have that has a slightly fuzzy surface even though it’s wool.

Try #3….DSCF6057

…as I go up higher, I’m gradually adding little bits of the very lightest blue of the first batch. Hopefully the darker colours will be OK for the water.

In the meantime, I’m having fun hooking the border. I chose a variety of wool …all dark values, and I’m hooking it in hit and miss.



…it gives the border a lot of life, and to me, it looks a bit like old wood.  Lots of fun and easy for when the concentration must be totally directed to the TV screen.

I’m so proud of all the Canadian athletes at the Olympics, but I’m not sure if my heart can take much more snowboard cross!


Is that Yellow?

The saying is…a change is as good as a rest…and unexpectedly, I am really enjoying the change to hooking with small cuts for my Lunenburg landscape.


Working on large pieces with wide cuts has meant many dyeing sessions to get the colours. It has also resulted in bins and bins of the bits left over from these projects.  Now I’m really enjoying digging through the bins to find a small piece just the right colour for “whatever’.  I did dye wool for the brightest red buildings  (poppy red), but other than that I’ve been able to find everything I’ve needed so far.

I’m not sure if it’s the light, or my eyes, but last night, I almost took out all the hooking of the yellow boat. In the artificial light at night, the yellow looked really pale, almost lemonish, and I hated it. I even went so far as to dig through my colours once again looking for something with more orange. Fortunately I decided to leave it until morning because now in the daylight, the colour is deep and exactly what I want. Obviously light can make a significant difference in how colour is perceived. ( and I’ve already had cataract surgery in both eyes, so that’s not the problem)

Just a quickie post this morning, as I’m off to shop, then to a retirement party for one of my teacher friends this afternoon.  When I return to my hooking this evening, I’ll remember not to judge the colours in the lamplight.

It’s a Woman’s Prerogative…..

Yup…..I’ve changed my mind. Well….in a way. I think I’m addicted to hooking, and while I wait for the arrival of the black and white wool for the Sir John cartoon, I have nothing to hook . Then AHA! How could I have forgotten my Lunenburg landscape. I bought this pattern in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia at Encompassing Designs last September. It is on burlap, (which I don’t like) but I immediately loved the pattern and it made such a wonderful memento of our trip and our week long stay in Lunenburg, where this view delighted my eyes countless times.  Then I got home and packed it away….got busy with other projects and literally forgot about it. It makes perfect sense to hook it now for these reasons:

1) I need practise hooking in small cuts again before I start the cartoon

2) I want something rather mindless to hook on while I watch the Olympics (the cartoon will require concentration)

3) I have a year to finish the cartoon so there’s no rush

4)I haven’t anything else to hook

5) I want to

6) I’m an expert at rationalizing reasons to do what I want

So here it is just underway.

DSCF5989Where possible I’m using a 6 cut , but all the outlining and details are a 4 or a 3. One interesting note….

DSCF5993I find I’m not using my small bent Moshimer hook at all. Even for the 3 cuts, I find I have far more control with my much larger bent Irish hook. It’s not as large as my 6mm hook and I bought it to use on 6 cuts, but I love it now for the fine cuts too.

DSCF5992I’ve just finished dyeing 1/8 yard of poppy red to have a few even brighter  buildings and since it is once again snowing and the temperature is -18 C ( that’s 0 F) I think I’ll stay put and do some hooking today.


Background Dilemma

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Sunshine Rug Hookers, we had an interesting discussion. Margaret is hooking this rug for her son and daughter-in-law. She is ready to begin the background.


So last Saturday, she and Mary Anne had a wonderful day’s outing to Martina Lasar’s lovely log cabin shop in Caledon, where she purchased this wool for the background.


Problem solved you might say…..but Margaret’s dilemma was how to hook the background to best set off the whole piece. She decided to elicit ideas from the many talented hookers in the group, and to that end, she made a rough sketch of the piece, and asked people to draw in their idea of how best to hook the background.


There were almost as many ideas as there were hookers. Some of the suggestions were….echoing the wheel movement of the border…..straight line hooking as a foil for the circular aspects of the bike and the border……..squiggles to provide a mottled background which wouldn’t compete with the foreground…….choosing a wide variety of cuts to give a diversity to the background….a background of small circles to subtly reinforce the “wheel” aspect………. all terrific options…..which just reminds us that the background, although not what immediately grabs the eye (hopefully) is an important feature in creating the overall effect.

I’ll let you know what she decides to go with.

Our group is preparing to help celebrate Sir John A. MacDonald’s birthday (I think 200th?) in February 2015. (for my American readers…Sir John A. MacDonald was the first Prime minister of Canada, and “revered”  as  the Father of Confederation…..somewhat as the Canadian version of George Washington…although the country was negotiated into existence….not fought for).

To that end we are looking at hooking some “old style” rugs, and Margaret found these patterns which were probably purchased by her grandmother.


What could be more Canadian than this old  Bluenose pattern of beaver……or this pictorial depicting the making of maple sugar….


….in fact….Margaret hooked this rug years ago (she said it was actually just her second piece).


I love love love it. I could look at all the colours used in the snow  for ages. It’s not only an example of an early rug pattern, but a depiction of a typical Canadian farm activity and how sugaring was done in the “good old days”.

Both of these patterns are now available from Rags to Rugs in Pictou Nova Scotia.  Check them out (and many other Bluenose patterns) at

I’ll have to get my thinking cap on about what I can hook to contribute  to the celebration show.