October 2016 R.U.G.

The twice yearly meetings of R.U.G. (Ruggers United Gathering) at the Simcoe County Museum are always a great opportunity to meet and visit with friends old and new , learn something new or interesting about hooking and get supplies…oh yes, and eat too many goodies.

Saturday was our fall get together day. I was able to be there for a short time in the morning, but  Mathieu was home this week for a brief visit from Calgary and a friend of his was here visiting him from Toronto, so I hurried home after my own supply shopping to have a last visit,  make dinner and say goodbye  as he headed back west.

Sooo…..Here’s what was going on from a pop-in perspective….lots of beautiful wool and hooking supplies from the vendors….

DSCN0856.jpgDSCN0857.jpgDSCN0860.jpgDSCN0861.jpg….lots of people bring scissors to be sharpened and cutters to be repaired….dscn0859…..Mary Lou Justason held a special sale of her own wool as she pared down her stash….all money received is  going to The Hooked Rug Museum of North America. dscn0862She is a tireless worker on their behalf, always coming up with innovative ways to raise money.dscn0863Linda Wilson and some others had helped her sort and label the wool for sale. As you can see by the crowd behind Linda, it was a popular spot to make purchases.

The morning was a hook-in and then Show and Telldscn0864People were just gathering while I was there.dscn0865dscn0866The afternoon program was to be about borders. I didn’t get to see that presentation of course, however, I did sneek a peek at the pile of rugs which I presume were to be a part of the discussion, and thought you would enjoy seeing the wide variety of borders that were evident. DSCN0868.jpgDSCN0877.jpgDSCN0875.jpgDSCN0870.jpgDSCN0867.jpgThey certainly do set off a rug and the variety and options are endless.

Thanks for stopping by.

Maud Lewis

Mary Lou had a great Maud Lewis surprise to show us at R.U.G. on Saturday.

But I’m jumping the gun a bit. First for some background. For those not familiar with the name Maud Lewis….she might be described as the Grandma Moses of the Maritimes, undoubtedly Canada’s most famous folk artist. …and patterns of her paintings are very popular with rug hookers.

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The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has this information about her life….
“Early Years
Maud Lewis (1903-1970) was born to John and Agnes Dowley in South Ohio, Nova Scotia. As a child, Maud spent most of her time alone, mostly because she felt uncomfortable about her differences around the other children. She had been born with almost no chin and was always much smaller than everyone else. However, Maud seemed to be a happy child who enjoyed the time she spent with her parents and brother. Maud’s mother started her painting Christmas cards to sell and thus her career as an artist began.

Her life and only experience of the world extended to an area between her birthplace in Yarmouth County and her married home in Marshalltown, Digby County. In 1935 Maud’s father died and in 1937, her mother followed. As was typical at the time, her brother inherited the family home. After living with her brother for a short while she moved to Digby to live with her aunt. There she met Everett Lewis, an itinerant fish peddler, and married him shortly after in 1938.

Life in the House
Maud spent the rest of her life living with Everett in their house in
Marshalltown. The two had what has been perceived as a formidable companionship, despite any character flaws neighbors found in Everett. Because of Maud’s worsening rheumatoid arthritis, she was unable to do housework. Everett took care of the house, and Maud brought in money through her paintings. The two were a pair that Maud was proud to be a part of.

The home they lived in was tiny in stature but large in character. Despite the lack of modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, the house shows that Maud’s life in Marshalltown was full of enjoyment through her art. Those who stopped after seeing her roadside sign, “Paintings for sale”, found a quiet woman with a delightful smile. Her pleasure didn’t come from the pride of having done a painting, but the creative act itself and the enjoyment others seemed to get from her work.

Through newspaper and magazine articles, as well as television documentaries, Maud became well known and a reputation grew that’s still growing today.

The House
After the death of Maud Lewis in 1970, and subsequently of her husband, Everett Lewis, in 1979, the lovingly painted home began to deteriorate. In reaction, a group of concerned citizens from the Digby area started the Maud Lewis Painted House Society; their only goal was to save this valued landmark.

After a number of years of fundraising, the society realized that the project was going to take more resources than they could gather. In 1984, the house was sold to the Province of Nova Scotia and turned over to the care of Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

In 1996, with funds from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage and from private individuals, the processes of conservation and restoration began. The final, fully restored house is on permanent display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.”maudlewishouse

Her house was only 10′ x 12′

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Well….Mary Lou Justason is the tireless director at large for RHMNA (Rug Hooking Museum of North America) , and as it turns out has been able to acquire five Maud Lewis paintings for the museum. Here is her story…..

“Last fall I talked by phone to Anne Phillips McCreary Juhasz, an elderly cousin of my husband, at her home in Chicago. She is a retired professor of education at Loyola University having started her teaching career in a one room schoolhouse in Ontario.
We spoke of her getting her affairs in order. After all, she is 93.
Among her treasures were five Maud Lewis paintings which she had purchased, while on vacation, in the late 40’s and directly from Maud Lewis, a little gnome of a lady, at her wee tiny house near Digby, Nova Scotia. When I told her about the Hooked Rug Museum of North America and suggested repatriating the paintings to them in Nova Scotia, she was interested.
Incidentally, she paid 25 cents for each painting.  They were chosen from a great stack of paintings accessed up a rickety ladder into a loft. Anne needed a flashlight to see what was up there. She got them framed simply but without glass and for a long time they were in her storage unit in her condo buildings
Over the winter and with many phone calls and letters bck and forth, we sorted out the details of getting them to me in Florida so I could transport them back to Canada.
Finally, with an early deadline, she or a trusted friend got them shipped to us in Florida and we brought them home to Honey Harbour.
They had a brief visit to RUG (Ruggers United Gathering) at the Simcoe County Museum, just outside Barrie, ON on Saturday where they were much appreciated.
They now have arrived in Nova Scotia and are with Suzanne Conrod.
They will be displayed there along with a donor plaque acknowledging Anne’s gift. They have had quite a journey and if they could talk, the tale would be much more interesting than I could ever spin, but I am happy they are back in Nova Scotia.”
….didn’t I say Mary Lou was a tireless ambassador for RHMNA…..
Well of course I was at R.U.G. and got to see them in person….and want to share them with you.
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( thanks to Marg Arland for sharing her photos)
It was such a treat to get to see them in person.
As I said…they are very popular subjects for hooking  and are sold by many vendors, particularly in the Maritimes.  (Please note that all works by Maud Lewis are copyright and the authority to license others to reproduce them rests solely with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.)   As it happens, Jean is working on a Maud Lewis piece right now….DSCF7528
The yoked oxen were a favourite subject and appear in many paintings…..Jean’s work is a spring time version. Maud Lewis’s wonderful clear colours and simple happy style make her work immediately recognizable and beloved…..as well as readily adapted to being hooked.
Thanks for stopping by.

R.U.G. May 2, 2015

I had a great time at R.U. G. on Saturday, but my camera did not! I thought I was being very clever, and changed the batteries just before I left. But oh no! It was as dead as a door nail when I tried to take a picture. It was only after I got back home that I realized I had used the batteries I’d just put in the recharger from my dying mouse, rather than the freshly charged ones on the other side. So I have no photos of the people or activities or the many venders, but luckily, Judith Ivi sent me the photos she took  of all the zentangle rugs, and I have some I took of them last week…..so I can share some of the day.

The zentangle presentation was varied and interesting…..from its zen and doodling roots (with lots of examples) to its adaptation to rug hooking in a wide range of variation…..even to having Mary draw a zentangle from scratch on an overhead while the rest of the program progressed.

Linda Wilson and this small piece were the initial inspiration for the topic of zentangle inspired hooking.DSCF7493

Linda hooked this little mat a few years ago at the annual in Ottawa when she took a short course on the topic, and she was the spear head for our group investigating its possibilities. Brenda (who is a tangler par excellence) gave us a wonderful talk at a regular Sunshine meeting a few months ago to get us going.

Some chose to hook in black and white, the traditional colours of zentangle.DSCF7485DSCF7484DSCF7487

Mary used soft chenille wool for this piece….

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Karen’s example is one of Judith’s photos, and for some reason I can neither rotate it, or resize it. It is for her grandson (these are his initials) and is partially hooked and partially drawn and the background, making a dramatic effect.

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Mary stuck with the yummy chenille for the background of this one, and added colour to the motifs . I love the story of her third example…..DSCF7492

While on vacation, without any hooking supplies, when struck with the desire to hook….she washed this bag (which had originally held some spirits) several times to tighten it up, made a hook out of a coat hanger….and “hooked” it with her available yarn by pushing her one hand into the bag to create tension and feed the wool up. As she said….when that “urge” hits a hooker….nothing can stop them.

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Cheri took a course with Rae Farrell, based on abstract design, and created this zen inspired beauty.DSCF7489Her second example is a very stylish tea pot. (almost looks like it’s dancing)GetAttachment-5

 

Isabelle was inspired with celtic hearts.

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Seven other members each hooked a 5″ x 5″ example (a specific zentangle exercise) then mounted them with some zentangle drawing for added interest. (I wonder if they’ll argue over who gets this????)

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Chris incorporated zentangle design into this delicate heart.DSCF7496Joanne , like many of us, sketched her idea first, but felt that when translated into wool, much of the zentangle aspect lost its impact. Still a lovely zentangle inspired apple tree.DSCF7486

Jean began work on her zentangle piece shortly after arriving home from a wonderful trip to the American south west. Her mind was still full of the desert and the images of navajo culture she had experienced. She incorporated those into her zentangle with every symbol and colour having meaning and significance.DSCF7483

…..as opposed to mine which has neither meaning or significance and is rather a sampler of six zentangle patterns.

My biggest “no-camera” regret, is that I have no photo of Wendie Scott Davis’s lovely Barbados inspired zentangle. In the making, we both struggled to make our pieces cohesive. Hers having multi coloured tangles, with the primary one a colourful sailfish. She used the colours of the central sailfish in her border which created a cohesive whole, and drew the eye around the whole piece, while I used position and value (and a lot of re-hooking) to try to balance mine. The same problem with totally different, but equally successful solutions  I think.   This link will take you to Wendie’s blog and a photo of her zentangle.    http://theruggedmoose.blogspot.ca/2015/03/does-hooking-in-colour-take-zen-out-of.html

Linda was the final presenter and discussed not zentangle but the process of choosing a colour pallette for a specific location.

We all learned a great deal from her problems and final success in creating a zentangle inspired rug for her bathroom which would compliment its new decor.DSCF7503

DSCF7504 ….these were the wools she used (the second set she chose)

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More next time about the “Hilda” mementos, and the Maud Lewis surprise.

I hope you’re having the same wonderful spring weather that we are.

Thanks for stopping by.

Transferring my Grumpy Owl Pattern

In the past, I’ve used quite a variety of methods to transfer a pattern onto my backing but this time I am using a “makeshift” light table. Ray acquired a large sheet of plexiglass which is destined to become a proper light table, but in the mean time it will work when propped up on chair backs with a goose neck lamp underneath.  DSCF7174

…and instead of being the job of many hours, it is completed in mere minutes.DSCF7185I absolutely love it…..BUT……..having drawn it….I now want to hook it in a style more faithful to Mathieu’s “dot work” original. I just can’t see cluttering it with a variety of zentangle patterns….so….

Back to the drawing board. I must have a zentangle example hooked for R.U.G. in May. I found a great site called Linda’s Zentangle Patterns and started sketching ideas.DSCF7187

The three patterns to the right are ‘knightbridge’ , ‘drape’, and at the top (my favourite) ‘coral seed’. The two on the left are my own.  I then decided that I would make it to fit the top of an antique washstand that sits in my front hall. That measures 14″ x 30″ …so I reduced that size in half twice, and sketched a plan.DSCF7188

I added another pattern, aptly called ‘triangles’, then I redrew it to the right size, and set up the light table once again.DSCF7193

I made some changes as I went along, but here is the pattern drawn on the backing (with some changes to come still)DSCF7191

Since it will be in the hall, I plan on using the same colours as my hall rugs (here’s an old ‘in progress’ photo showing most of the colours)DSCF2422

I’ve got some dyeing to do in my immediate future. I don’t think I have any of that wool left.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on the white background of my bunny piece.DSCF7186

He’s nearly finished. I can’t wait to get these new projects under way. Why is it that starting something new is always more fun than finishing something off?

Thanks for stopping by.

Exploring Zentangle

“Zentangle” is a word I’d never heard until recently, but I’m quickly learning more and more. The Sunshine Rug Hookers are responsible for the programme at the spring RUG meeting, and the chosen topic is ‘using Zentangle style doodle patterns in hooking.’

I’m always excited about a challenge, so I’ve jumped in to begin to create a rug using the Zentangle concept of repetitve doodles. Hopefully I’ll have it completed to be a part of the demonstration in April. If you google Zentangle  you’ll find a myriad of amazing designs and pictures. Here are just a couple:zentangle-circus-horse-jani-freimann

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After browsing and contemplating, I decided I’d like to do an owl, so I went on a search for a photo of some sort that would be suitable to adapt.

Low and behold, the very next day my son Mathieu posted this photo of a drawing he had just done. He calls it ‘dot work’, and this is Grumpy Owl.DSCF7142It was perfect. I loved it. A phone call later and he sent me an enlarged version….roughly 7″x7″. I took that to the copy shop and had it magnified 400 times, to a copy that is roughly 28″x28″.DSCF7143

I can’t wait to get started. Ray has a large piece of plexiglass which he plans to make into a light table for me, but in the meantime, I plan to prop it up on saw horses and put a light underneath to transfer the pattern to my backing.

In the meantime, I’m working on a challenge with the Yahookers group. The challenge is to do your own rendition of the free pattern in the Nov/Dec edition of Rug Hooking Magazine.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you’re doing this challenge…dont go any further (we’re not supposed to share and influence other participants)

I’ve changed my version from a Christmas bunny (complete with holly on his neck and red whiskers) to something else….not really Easter,,,but maybe….actually it’s just silly…and fun to hook.DSCF7141

….at this point I was trying to decide if I should outline the letters, and looking at a variety of ways. The idea is to have eggs floating in the background. I can’t imagine what I’ll ever do with it when it’s done, but it’s fun hooking it in any case.

Happy holidays everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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.

Two Down…????? To Go …plus Pan Am

That’s right. I’ve completely finished two rugs, and I haven’t counted how many yet to go.

Sir John was the first , since I needed to show him as a part of the Sunshine Sir John A. group at R.U.G.. What an adventure that was. I found out the Tuesday before R.U.G. that he was needed, and although I could have shown him unfinished, I was determined to have it completely done. It seemed reasonable….just the few gaps in the background and completing the rows of black around the edge. DSCF6300

 

By Thursday evening, I had completed the hooking, zigzagged the edge, cut and used my clips to secure the edge, and then steamed it down. Friday I would just have to sew down the back edge, creating the packets from the backing. Easy and quick!. (here’s the back…)

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I snapped this photo just after steaming the edge down, and went off to bed.

Friday morning I flipped it over, and discovered that the white backing showed up along the edges of the black border, and I knew I’d never be happy with it if I finished it the way I’d intended. After contemplating a variety of possible solutions, I finally settled on whipping the edge in black yarn…..just a teeny tiny whipped edge to cover up the white. Great idea…but it took me HOURS! I worked literally all day Friday, and then stitched the whole thing down after supper Friday night.

I was so tired that I didn’t even take a picture of the finished piece, and now it’s gone off with the pieces to be displayed at the annual. I’ll eventually get a photo of it finished to post here.

Yesterday I completed “Scott’s Dogs”. No drama with the finishing of this one. Whew! I tried a different way to finish a rug for hanging (well a bit different for me). I whipped the edge through the binding tape, and tacked it down (Gene Shepherd’s technique) , then created loops along the top using strips of the binding tape.

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The black loops don’t really show up against the black tape. I made 5 loops across the back so hopefully that’s enough to have it hang nicely.

That’s number two finished.

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And now for a flashback to R.U.G. Along with the barn display, there was a display of rugs celebrating the Pan Am Games. Here’s the background.

The Pan AM (Pan American …all the countries of North and South America) games are to be held next year in Toronto. OHCG is hoping to have a Canadian hooked rug to present to each country, and both groups and individuals have been working on the project for some time. Designs were submitted, and hookers could choose one of the selected designs or one of their own. Some of these rugs were on display at R.U.G.

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There was certainly lots of eye candy at R.U.G. what with the Barn Project and the Pan Am Rugs, and the usual wonderful “show and tell” which I didn’t get even one photo of!

I’m looking forward to the Annual at Durham College in two weeks where I know there will be another wonderful rug display. For now it’s back to the finishing for me!  Next……

 

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

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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.

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“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….

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“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.

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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.

The Barn Project Unveiled

Saturday was once again the meeting of R.U.G. and the day when the rugs entered in “the barn project” were handed in, and shown to all those present……just to fill in the background for those of you who are new to my blog….R.U.G. stands for “ruggers united gathering”, and is held twice a year at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie Ontario Canada. It is an open gathering attended by rug hooking guilds and individuals from a large area of central Ontario. Different guilds and groups are hosts for the meetings which involve show and tell, vendors, a program, and over the years it has evolved into a large and active gathering.

Two years ago the Huronia Branch of OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in cooperation with the Simcoe County Museum, announced an exhibition of rug hooking celebrating the barns of rural Canada, a fast disappearing feature of our landscape. By the May R.U.G. 2014  gathering, these rugs will be on display at the museum, then will go on a tour of other museums for a couple of years. At Saturday’s R.U.G., they were handed in, and shown for the first time to everyone there. There were 58 rugs entered from all over Canada. There wasn’t room for them to be displayed in any way yet, so the pictures I took were just of them being “walked” around.  Unfortunately some are missing. In spite of help from Wendy Bowes in taking the photos while I was busy, my batteries faded and finally died altogether. Jean Chabot came to the rescue with an extra set of batteries, but in the process, I missed some of the rugs, and the pictures taken of a few while the batteries were on their “last legs” are far  from good, but I’ll include some of them anyway, just so you can see the wide range of barns and styles in this upcoming show.

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While I remember comments about some of the barns, I’ll post them largely without comment as there are so many. This is the first half, the second  half I’ll show in the next blog post.DSCF5633

Many of the pieces were story rugs full of personal significance.DSCF5634

A few dealt with architechtural aspects and their inspiration.DSCF5635

This was the only 3-D entry…mounted round silos.DSCF5406

The picture of my barn didn’t turn out, but I’ve included a (before binding) photo of it in the slot where I presented it.DSCF5636DSCF5637DSCF5639DSCF5640DSCF5645DSCF5646DSCF5647DSCF5650

This is a terrible photo, but I’ve included it because my favourite part is the ladies in the bottom..DSCF5649

This is the top half of the same barn.DSCF5652DSCF5653DSCF5654DSCF5655DSCF5656

On Saturday, each hooker told a bit about their rug, and for the show itself, there will be a printed synopsis with each rug. My apologies to the people whose rugs I missed.

Stay tuned for the rest of the barns in the next post.

That Hooking Urge

Do you ever just get the urge to hook colour for the sheer joy of seeing it develop? Well I’m in a “just want to hook…not think” mood, and I must admit I’m enjoying it.

I wanted to try Gene Shepherd’s dump dye method (with no particular end product in mind), and chose 1/2 yard natural wool, and one  of my favourite colour combinations…..blue violet, turquoise, and grasshopper.

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Yummy!….but what would it look like hooked up? I went rummaging actually looking for a small piece of backing that would fit on my frame, and I came up with a pattern on burlap. I’ve no idea where I got it, probably picked it up for next to nothing at R.U.G. It has a scroll border with some large flowers in the centre, and the colour suggestions are both printed and painted on…obviously an old pattern, and not one I should  really be hooking on, but it is firm, in good shape and has no burlap-ee odour, so caution, and rules were over ruled by my impatience.  I plopped it on the frame, and happily started hooking away. It’s just what I feel like doing….no big decisions, no pre-conceived notions, just enjoy hooking.

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I cut the strips so that each one went through all the colours, and started hooking. If I started with the purple end, which ended with green, I then began with green, which goes through again to purple…thus getting a smooth gradation through all the colours. Simple and fun.

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I did the opposite on the other side of the scroll, and played with any holes in the middle….nothing planned or precise, but lots of powerful colours.

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Thinking about the centre flowers, I pulled out these colours. and then promptly changed my mind. The scroll is definitely not fine shading, and I didn’t think fine shading of the flowers would look good with it. (besides, I don’t feel like hooking fine shading anyway!….and this is definitely a “hook what you want” project)

For the background, I used the same colours as the scroll, plus lilac, and did a spot dye. This time using 1/124th teaspoon of each dye in 1.5 CBW over 1/2 yard natural. (the dump dye was 1/4 tsp of each colour)

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…a little more colour than I would have liked, but the scroll is deep enough that it provides a good contrast.

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!/2 yard won’t be enough for the whole background, so I’ll do a lighter version as well, and mix the two. I decided to try a lilac and purple flower with minimal shading, but that is definitely coming out and the treatment of the flowers is still up for debate.

Leaving Sunday for Nova Scotia and the museum….yipee!