My Path of Creativity

My creative process is like a path leading to……I don’t know where.  It generally starts with a vague recollection of something I have seen and admired and wished I had hooked. This time it was a head shot of an exotic person…I remember a few that have taken my breath away, and I wanted to try something similar. My search for inspiration began.

Who could be more inspiring than Malala Yousafzai.

DSCF6917

 

I loved the colour of the sari, and those eyes are so arresting.  With Ray’s help, I “gridded” the picture so that I could draw it 3 times larger for hooking 20″ x 28″.

But then for some reason, the idea of mystery and perhaps feminine subjucation became important, so I searched further, and came up with this .

hijab_thumbnail

What a wonderful background as well. Once again Ray drew a grid for me so that I could draw it to the size 18″ x 24″

DSCF6927

I put the photo in “Be Funky” editing program and using the ‘underpainting’ option, and now have this photo to use as a reference as I hook.

BeFunky_Underpainting_242.jpg

 

I can’t wait to get started….lots of dyeing in my immediate future….that rich vibrant red…..how to achieve that striking aura, and the delicious background.

Then the idea of a series ” women from around the world” came to me when I stumbled on this photo and immediately fell in love with it. A totally different style and idea, but it really speaks to me as well, and I plan to hook it in some adapted form.

DSCF6932

 

I’ve been browsing photos of Chinese wedding headdresses and the costumes of women in Brittany….the options are endless.    Now if I could just hook 24 hours a day….I’d be set!

The reality is that I still haven’t quite finished the background of the grafitti.

DSCF6936

….and although I’ve steamed the padded binding of Signa Meus Vita, I still have to sew on the tabs (they are just pinned on in the photo.

DSCF6937…..and oh my!!! if you could see my work area! A major tidy and organization of all the wool scattered about is an absolute necessity before I start anything!

As the cold weather arrives, I always experience a “nesting” instinct, where I love the cosy refuge of home. The trees have passed their prime (although there’s still lots of colour to be seen) and we have had frost (although not yet a killing frost) so I am preparing to “snuggle in” and enjoy the delights of the upcoming winter.

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

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

DSCF6877DSCF6876

 

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

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

DSCF6879

DSCF6883DSCF6884DSCF6880

DSCF6881

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 .

5-025

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)

DSCF6867

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

Borrowing an Idea

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

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

They still stood nicely above the hooking.

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

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

GetAttachment.aspx

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

DSCF6787

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

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

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

 

Another Mea Culpa

It’s been awhile since the last post because (here’s the mea culpa) I went to an art show with dead batteries in my camera! We were at the delightful A La Arte gala last Saturday in Beaverton (the opening of their “Big Bite” festival), which for the first time included fibre art pieces. It was wonderful, but you’ll have to take my word for it. The best I can do is show you my three pieces that were included, with apologies to Sunshine rughookers Cynthia Young, Gail Mueller, and Liz Edwards, as well as a number of other wonderful fibre artists….and of course the traditional artists and sculptors as well.

DSCF6624

Sir John was there.

DSCF2137….and Emma Sue, who likes to travel…DSCF4059

…and “Black and White” made its first public appearance.

In the meantime, I’ve been working away on the background of “Signa Meus Vita” . The flash emphasizes the variation in background shades, they are not nearly as pronounced in real life.DSCF6719

It will be touch and go whether I have enough wool to finish it, since I used over 1/2 yard when dyeing the original darker corner colours.

I’m looking forward to a get together next Tuesday.  It’s a day long hook in and collection of both sale and display pieces for the Plowing Match. I have fresh batteries already loaded in my camera!

Don’t Do As I Do

Yes. My ugly habit of “packing” has reared its ugly head once again. It looks so beautiful while stretched tightly on the frame, but take it off and hang it up and it has buckles and bows in it that weren’t meant to go on shoes! For anyone who wonders what “packing” is…it’s pulling either the loops or the rows too closely together so that the hooking doesn’t lie flat when it is off the stretched frame. This can usually be corrected with a good steaming, but I want to fix most of it by re-hooking the problem areas.

DSCF6704

So after slapping myself on the wrists since I should know better, I’ve been fixing it as I continue to hook the background. In this photo I’ve already adjusted the scroll of the cancer sign, but there is still buckling in other areas, as you can see.

When I hooked this section of the background and hung it up, I wasn’t pleased with the outcome (quite apart from the packing). Let me back up and explain. I’m very much a visual learner. (which surprised me when I discovered it, because I have spent the majority of my life as a singer and vocal teacher.)….but I am not an auditory learner, I learn primarily by seeing. That’s why, many of my hooking decisions are made after I hang my piece and look at it for a period of time. I had been merrily hooking away on an echo background, letting the echos merge where they would….but in  this part, the background was all wrong…..whereas this part….DSCF6707

….the background was right. As I looked at it I realized that what I liked was the rippling out effect from the main body of symbols….It seemed to add life and vitality to what symbolically  was me. Now my hooking of the background is no longer without specific direction, and I will redo large parts to enhance that ripple effect.

These two supervise my every move and were obviously disgusted with my packed hooking…..Hopefully they’ll approve of the finished version a little more.

DSCF6703

Thanks for stopping by.

Decided and Done

I just reread the last post, and I realize at that time, I said I was going to try a very very light yellow to outline the zodiac signs……nope! That’s not what I did. I went  a bit darker (dyed over Dorr natural) , and liked the effect…..too bright and green to use a background, but just right to use as an outline. I removed the overdyed darker wools altogether (oh my ….what a pile of worms!)

DSCF6701

The final outlining is a lot lighter than the “marker” rows I had hooked, but they look almost as dark with the flash. In reality they show up, but don’t stick out….just what I wanted.

DSCF6700

DSCF6697

DSCF6696

DSCF6698

DSCF6699

Now it should be clear sailing as I complete the background. I’m already planning my next project in my mind.

Thanks for following along.

On The Edge

Today’s musings revolve around how to hook the edge ….I wanted more depth of colour at the edges but I wasn’t sure how to merge the corners so that the whole piece looked cohesive and didn’t draw the eye away from the central motive.

Lacking any brilliant ideas, I plunged in to see what would happen.

I gathered up some off white pieces, some pale greys and oatmeal and dyed them with golden pear to extend the range of colours I had available.

DSCF6683

In the picture they look nicely graduated, but in reality, the gap between the lights and the darks is quite extreme. I went ahead and used it on the corners thinking I could merge back into the lighter colours  but I still needed an intermediate colour to blend the two areas. I tried dyeing a darker version over natural wool, but that was too bright, and too green. DSCF6693

I tried “dulling” it down….one piece with “grey”, the other with “clay”, and ended up with pieces that were just as dark as the first batch. I tried various ways of blending the light and dark, but nothing looked right. Frustrated, I hung the piece up where I could see it as I watched TV, and contemplated what to do. DSCF6692

It finally hit me that the dark corners were doing exactly what I didn’t want….they were drawing my eyes away from the central motives. They had to go.

I grabbed the hooking from the wall and set to work on the “pisces” corner…..ripping out the dark and the pale outline, and then re-outling the symbol in the very lightest of the dark colours .

DSCF6694

My plan now is to use the light colours all the way to the edge,….dye some wool a VERY light golden pear to outline the zodiac symbols (I don’t want them to stand out as much as this ) and see how I like that. My pile of worms and unusable wool from this project threatens to swamp me….but I’ll stick with it until I’m happy with the result.

 

 

Creating a Secret

I guess it isn’t really much of a secret if I’m telling about it here, but I’ve had some fun this afternoon creating it and now it remains to be seen if I can pull it off.

Once agin I’ll just relate my thought processes. I didn’t like the fact that there are large empty spaces at the four corners of Signa Meus Vita….a lot of dead space. On the other hand, I’ve gone to a lot of care to make sure the background would enhance the symbols and in no way compete with them. So my question was…how can I make the background more interesting without taking away from the central part. I had already decided to increase the depth of the golden pear colour as it went to the outside, but could I add anything more? I know….I could “hide” symbols at the corners by doing them in a wee bit different colour of golden pear than the surroundings.

OK….good idea…but what symbols could I use? I thought of hiding some symbols of the negative aspects of myself, but quickly discarded that stupid idea and went searching the internet for inspiration. I settled on zodiac signs …myself, my husband, my three sons and my only sister .( who died a year ago of cancer)…that required four signs…perfect!

After some thinking, some sketching, some measuring, and some drawing, here is pisces.DSCF6677….representing my two youngest sons.

Cancer……DSCF6674

….representing my eldest son and myself.

Virgo……DSCF6676

…..representing my husband

….and aquarius ……DSCF6675

…representing my sister who was my best friend, confidante, and craft mentor.DSCF6678

I’ll leave it to you to find them when the hooking is completed.

 

Golden Pear

I’ve been gradually augmenting my supply of Pro Chem dyes, and I try to pick up a few more each time I’m at an event .DSCF6667 Golden Pear was one of my purchases at this year’s annual, and I’m oh so glad it was. It’s a rather dull greeny-yellow….certainly not something that would catch your eye, but it has turned out to be just the colour I visualized for the background of Signa Meus Vita.DSCF6673

Well that’s not exactly true.  What I thought would work was a pale yellow. I wasn’t sure how pale or how yellow, so I tried bits and pieces I had on hand, and held up swatches from Jewel Tones against the hooked parts. It soon became apparent that any kind of bright pale yellow wasn’t the look I was after, and I settled on a dull one….then thought it reminded me of “golden pear” and sure enough when I checked my “pro Chem ” swatch sheet, it was just right. Choosing a single colour over a recipe of several dyes is just a lot easier for me, as I add and spot dye in various amounts in the pot. Also while at the annual, I picked up an $8 grab bag of wool that turned out to be mostly pieces of various shades of off white or beige. I spot dyed these and about 1/2 yd of Dorr natural with a weak solution of golden pear ….about 1/8th tsp for the whole batch of (I’m guessing) about 1 1/2 yds ….. with 1/2 of the solution in the bath, and 1/2 spotted over the top later.

After trying several methods, I settled on using the palest to outline the symbols, and filled with  random darker pieces.DSCF6658

The pictures aren’t true to the colours, but hopefully give the idea of the effect.DSCF6659DSCF6664

DSCF6663

I’m having fun with it while I watch the Tour de France each day.  I still haven’t decided how I will do the outer parts of the background. ….always something to ponder.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hooking in the Heat

I’m sure most people think of hooking as a cool or cold weather activity, but I get a lot of hooking done in the summer….that’s because I don’t function well in hot humid weather, and I shut myself away in my hooking area with the air conditioner on full blast. That’s what has happened for the last few days.

I’ve been filling and tweaking. I drew the pattern freehand on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper, then had it blown up, and some of the discrepancies are magnified in the large version. The pattern itself is not symmetrical but I want it to be at least balanced. I thought the two  Maouri friendship twists were at a different angle to the sides and contemplated major adjustments to correct them….but when I checked…..

DSCF6631DSCF6633….they are both at exactly the same angle….I’ll just have to extend the border on the right about 6 ditches further over.

The peace sign did however need some adjustment both in the oval outside, and the inside parts.DSCF6585…since it was partially hooked when I did this, it required lots of rehooking both of the peace sign, and the elements it was touching.

DSCF6635 I’m much happier with it now. In this photo you can see how dark the maouri twist is at the top…(unlike the one on the other side) so I reworked that as well to get some light green in the top section.

DSCF6638

I completed my “three sons” at the top….

DSCF6640….so the last big “fill” is the swan.

DSCF6637

….and finishing the tears…..doing more tweaking…….and deciding on both a colour and hooking style for the background…..lots to keep me busy while it’s too hot to do much else.

DSCF6642.

Happy Canada day to all fellow Canadians. I had tears in my eyes this morning as I watched the boys’ choir from BC sing O Canada on the steps of Parliament Hill. So moving.