Floating Blocks and Sunshine at Work

I’ve been playing this week…..with my new smaller hall rug. At least for now I’m calling it “Floating Blocks”. DSCN1121It’s been fun hunting up all the bits and pieces from past rugs, and hooking them into the 6″x 8″ rectangles to start.

Some in reds…and some in yellows….and more to do….DSCN1120I’ll be adding other colours as well, but they will be further back, since I want the reds and yellows to be dominant.

I did encounter a slight problem that was new for me. While drawing the pattern, I discovered that there were several flaws in the backing….3 places where the thread had broken. One had been woven back in both ways…so no problem there. But in two spots, the break had been repaired by only tying the two cotton threads together in a knot.  I was really concerned that with the tension of the wool strips, it might eventually pull apart.

I consulted with my friend and expert Jean, who suggested that I weave the area  around the break with strong upholstery thread to prevent any possible break in the future.DSCN1117You can see some of the repair at the bottom right. It’s been a very long time since I did any darning, but that long lost art came in handy. The outside edge of this block was hooked through the weaving with no difficulty.

Meanwhile….it was a busy morning  at the Sunshine Rug Hooking Meeting. It was called a “work day”…i.e. working on items which the group will have for sale at the Annual Quilt and Rug Fair held each September. It is our only fund raising opportunity  of the year so members pitch in to help make it a success.DSCN1101This hit and miss table runner was hooked by many members……and will be won in a raffle…as will this beautiful pillow…DSCN1102 These coasters were hooked by many members as well.DSCN1100….other sale items already completed include….DSCN1099Santas…DSCN1098…tree ornaments…DSCN1096….hooked broaches (I realize now that some are made to be ‘point up’ so they look ‘off kilter’ the way I’ve photographed them).DSCN1097….here’s the back of one…DSCN1105…necklaces to set off any outfit…DSCN1107…and available in a variety of colours.

and many more items underway…DSCN1092Christmas tree ornaments…DSCN1110…little Santa boot pins…DSCN1108…a variety of goodies….DSCN1109….and more broaches…this one having beads sewn around the edges…

It was a productive day and I know when September rolls around the sales table will be loaded with wonderful hooked items.

 

From Inspiration to Pattern

My large abstract rug is finished and now residing in its new home.I'm home_edited-1

In preparation for its arrival, the purchaser had her furniture reupholstered and found paintings for her walls which echoed the colours and mood of the rug. I am so gratified by how much she likes it and the lovely home it now has.

After a few days with no hooking during which time my hooking area (i.e. our bedroom) received a thorough spring cleaning, I was once again anticipating my next project. I must admit I’d been thinking about it for some time.

Although I had at times said my next project would be tiny….I lied!

It is planned to be 40″ x 60″. Much smaller than the abstract, but I plan to put it in the upstairs hall where I had originally intended to put the large rug. This mat however will be entirely different. (and have lots more floor showing around it)

I’ve long been fascinated by quilt patterns and log cabin patterns  and decided I wanted to do something ‘hit and miss’ using some of the leftovers in my stash. I went hunting. Bea Brock’s  book on making ‘Scrappy Rugs’ was a great resource and inspiration . (thanks Jean for lending me your copy ) I was drawn to her pattern ‘Wonky Diamonds’ until I discovered that a friend had just started to hook it. Back to the drawing board.

Some time ago, I saw this traditional quilt pattern and loved the idea of the layering of the ‘squares’. DSCN1088

As I thought about my new project, I went back and found the picture and decided that this idea was just what I wanted. This time I  plan to  take Hygeia into consideration. She hangs in the stair well overlooking the landing so the dominant colours will be reds and yellows with a neutral background.DSCN0610

I started sketching ideas….DSCN1089

I’m hoping that the neutral background will make the blocks look as if they are floating.

Last night I got a little more serious. I got out graph paper and drew a scale model of the mat….each square on the paper equals 2″  for my 40′ x 60′ rug. This would let me decide on the best size for the blocks.DSCN1090

After trying various sizes, I’ve settled on both squares and rectangles, sized 6″ x8″,  6″x6″,  6″x4″ and 4″x4″.  This is by no means a set pattern as I’ll determine placement and numbers as I go along.

This morning, Ray made patterns for me using some left over matting board.DSCN1091This will make it much easier to draw the overlapping blocks on the backing without having to worry about measuring.

So now the fun begins. and I plan to start the actual drawing of the pattern today.

I hope you have fun creating your rug patterns too.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Unpacking

Nope…I’m not unpacking my suitcase, but my rug. While some people have to fill in spaces when they have finished their hooking….I sometimes have to reduce the wool I’ve used. My tendency is to hook  too closely together. I try to be mindful of this as I hook, but over the large expanse of my big rug, even after steaming there was fixing to do.dscn1064-1I remove the strip that is too close….dscn1065….carefully cut it down a bit, and rehook it in the same space. I did that in a number of spots and it worked well and the rug lay flat.

However….the combination of my tendency to pack, and the wide expanse of echo hooking meant that when laid out on the big table…..it was no longer squared at the corners, or totally straight along the edges. It would need further adjustment.dscn1073I took  out some sections, and shortened many rows at the border. I ended up cutting some new strips in a 6 cut rather than cut them down by hand. dscn1082Ray helped me by setting up guides….with nails and mason’s cord.dscn1083When I had it as straight as possible,  he nailed the edges in place to hold it even. It was a lot of work, but yippee! The edges were now straight.

I needed to set it once again, and rather than steam it on the top side, I covered it with wet towels and left it overnight. (I’ve no idea whether that is condoned or not)dscn1085This morning I removed the towels and it is now drying in place. I still haven’t decided if I will give it a light steam or not before I remove the nails holding it in place.

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Next step will be to zigzag the edge and dye the yarn for whipping.

The Brier begins tomorrow, so I’d love to be able to watch those amazing Canadian men’s curling teams while I whip the edge of the rug….my idea of a great way to spend a week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friendship Rugs Sunshine Style

Last fall the Sunshine Rug Hookers decided to embark on two group projects….one of which was making friendship rugs. The aim was for each participant to end up with a keepsake rug made by other friends in the group.  The whole endeavour was spearheaded by Teresa Moreau who did  a magnificent job of organizing the project. Based on the idea of the Dear Jane Quilt, square sizes were predetermined but the number and arrangement of the squares was decided by each hooker before the rotation began.  Each hooker provided the backing with their choice grid drawn. The rugs would be rotated through the participants each week, making sure that no one saw their own rug as the project progressed. Teresa thought of all the small details so that everyone knew precisely what they were responsible for.

There were 16 participants, so each rug had at least 16 squares. Recently the rugs were revealed and  given back to the owners. Finishing will be done by the rug owners.

Here are the members showing off their rugs shortly after seeing them for the first time .

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That’s our master organizer Teresa peeking out from behind her table runner.img_1972

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Unfortunately I have no picture of Helen’s rug. I wasn’t at the meeting myself  and because of my commitment to my large abstract rug I  had chosen not to participate, but I was delighted that I was sent photos so that I could enjoy seeing them too.img_1973

What a beautiful group of rugs, great mementos of our hooking friends, and such a fun project.

Thanks again Teresa for all your efforts….I’ll reveal the second group project (also organized by Teresa) later when it is completed .

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

International Rug Hooking Day

The Sunshine Rug Hookers recently celebrated International Rug Hooking Day with a hook in, coffee and goodies, and a special show and tell and story time.

There were a number of Christmas themed pieces…neat Santa hangings….dscn0991dscn1004…Kathleen has done a  winter theme….(very appropriate at the moment….it’s snowing heavily)dscn1013…a beautiful fine shaded wreath….dscn1003Ann showed the various ornaments she has on her mantle….special to her since they were made by a variety of friends.dscn1020Margaret is making a Christmas stocking for her Grandson’s first Christmas.dscn1001Others showed work in progress  as well….dscn0989Edie is working on a stained glass piece from Heartland Studios.dscn1025Lynda is hooking a stained glass pattern from Ragg Tyme Studio.dscn1000This is Diane’s current project.

dscn1022Helen designed her pattern from a card…dscn1015….and this is a view of the lake from Kathy’s mom’s yard.

Everyone recounted a favourite hooking moment, piece, story or anecdote. Many of  these rugs have special significance to the hooker…dscn0990….such as Jean’s “grandchildren rug” dscn0997Pat’s Canadian themed pillow….and chair seat….dscn0998dscn1007Jean showed her beautiful ‘tiger’ bag, and recounted the difficulties she had getting the straps.dscn1010Teresa showed her delightful “Bodacious Babe” (I’m not sure that that is exactly her name….but it’s at least close). Lots of alternate fibres in this.

Lambs are always a popular theme…..dscn1023dscn0994dscn0996This was hooked by Mary and was from a photo of her Grandson just before he decided to jump in the water fully clothed.dscn1002Liz hooks using yarn (some of which she spins herself), and loves to create free form patterns which she designs as she goes along. She says she loves hooking because she has learned to hook what makes her happy regardless of what others may say are the ‘rules’. (wise lady)….and she certainly looks happy.dscn0999This rug is special to Diane since it was retrieved from a friend’s china cabinet where it had lain untouched for years and years. She really enjoyed finishing it and giving it a life after its long years of neglect.

Cheri showed her series if “Sun” rugs. Her creativity and amazing use of colour always impress me, and I’d never before seen any of these rugs. dscn1026dscn1028dscn1027dscn1029The entire morning was delightful, and a fitting tribute to Traditional Rug Hooking and the joy it brings to those of us who love pulling those loops.

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

The Case of the Travelling Suit (and Oily Matters)

The internet is a wonderful tool! I, like many…have lots of “internet” friends….people whom I have never met in person, but because of common interests , frequently converse and share ideas via social media. Shirley is the ultimate example of an internet friend.

She was the public school friend of my nephews and nieces and we became internet friends when she became interested in my rug hooking (having seen it on my niece’s internet page.) We chatted a few times on messenger and then a few months ago she told me she had a suit she wanted to send me to recycle in my rug hooking. I really appreciated the offer, but since we lived several thousand miles apart, I explained that the cost of sending it would be prohibitive. Not to be thwarted, she sent it from Victoria BC to Ontario with her brother who had come to visit. He then drove it to Newmarket where he gave it to another niece , who in turn gave it to a second niece who happens to frequently work at a vet’s clinic in my town, where I drove to pick it up. DSCN0723And what a suit it is…..DSCN0726….absolutely gorgeous pure virgin Irish wool. I spent one evening with my trusty seam ripper and carefully took it apart, washed and dried it to ‘full’ the wool, and I have now the most beautiful stack of soft black wool you could imagine. DSCN0729 (1)I haven’t yet taken the jacket apart, that will be more complicated and time consuming, but I am truly grateful to Shirley for her efforts in getting this beautiful gift to me.

In the meantime I have been making some progress on “Oil on Water”.DSCN0713I had stalled for awhile, debating about how I would hook the large blue sections which swept off to the right of the centre part. I finally just grabbed a pen, drew some lines and started hooking. Since I am such a visual learner, that immediately showed me what I liked and what needed to be changed. For instance, I disliked these two “banana” shaped blobs, and altered them to this….DSCN0716I had to pause and dye more of this vivid blue….It is just Pro Chem 990 (brilliant blue) ….DSCN0720…..for 1 yd natural….1/4 tsp in 1CBW in the dye bath then spotted after 20 minutes and adding the vinegar with a further 1/8th tsp in 1CBW. (my sealpoint Akuma appears to approve). I like the highlights this provides.

Then….since I love to jump around when hooking….I realized I needed to centre the prominent ‘blob’ which is near the bottom of the top section of the rug. While freewheeling with various elements, it was now seriously off centre.DSCN0731DSCN0732I played with a variety of colour choices….DSCN0733…and at first I thought I liked this but something just wasn’t right for me..DSCN0736.Then I changed the muted raspberry for the rhodamine red, and immediately liked it  much more.DSCN0738DSCN0739That pops!

At the moment, I am thinking a great deal about the significance of directional hooking. My first idea was to echo hook the blue from the top down, but I soon discovered that the valleys quickly became rounded and the sharp movement was lost.(I had already adjusted the points in this photo). I’ve changed the pure echo into  creating leaf like shapes which preserve the outward movement of the oil as it moves away from the centre of the piece. ….a small detail….but for me it is the accumulation of small details which please me in the overall effect.DSCN0744….and that is the essence of the joy of rug hooking for me….to create something which excites and pleases me. I hope your hooking gives you the same satisfaction.

Thanks again to Shirley…..now to tackle the jacket…

….and thank YOU for stopping by.

The Kuna and their Molas

This blog has always been primarily about my rug hooking adventures and  while I have not avoided mention of my family, they are not usually the subject of my writing here. Now I find that the current adventure of my youngest son Mathieu and his girl friend Melanie, has a rug hooking connection which I hope others may find interesting. 220px-Cabañas_Guna_Yala I recently had breakfast with them during a layover in Toronto on their way from Calgary to Panama city where they would then make their way to a remote corner of the country.DSCN0711 They are currently spending a month long artist residency living among the Kuna people (originators of the mola designs) in the village of Armila , Panama, near the border of Columbia. (marked B on this map)7ba0604a1cfecd13b04e41f033e085e4“This town of about 600 people is the epitome of remote. There are no roads to Armila. The only way in is via foot or boat. They speak the native language of Dulegaya. Our living space was a grass roof, grass walled house like all the rest of the traditionally built homes. The experience was authentic. Across the street, or rather the sandy path wide enough for a burro and a some side loaded cargo baskets, was our host Luperio and his family. Next door was their corner store, which sold what became one of my favorite indulgences, Brinky cookies… Central American OREOs.”…..from an article by EriksonimagesThey have no wifi connectivity, or even electricity, and will be living in a thatched hut on the ocean, immersed in the Kuna culture.

“The Kuna Indians are a strongly-knit tribal society living on a chain of islands called San Blas Archipelago, on the Atlantic side of the Republic of Panama. Believed to be descendants of the Caribs, the Kuna Indians still live in much the same manner as their ancestors. The San Blas people have cleverly managed to retain their tribal identity and contentedly lead a moral balanced life, free from the complexities of modern, highly-organized societies.
The Kuna have a matriarchal society in which the line of inheritance passes through the women. A young man, after marriage, must live in his mother-in-law’s house and work for several years under apprenticeship to his father-in-law. Divorce is uncommon, although it requires no more than the husband to gather his clothes and move out of the house. The daughters of the Kuna people are prized because they will eventually bring additional manpower into the family.”  …..from an article by Sherry Thorup.

 

“The Kuna are famous for their bright molas, a colorful textile art form made with the techniques of appliqué and reverse appliqué. Mola panels are used to make the blouses of the Kuna women’s national dress, which is worn daily by many Kuna women. Mola means “clothing” in the Kuna language. The Kuna word for a mola blouse is Tulemola, (or “dulemola”) “Kuna people’s clothing.” ……from wikipedia

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The beautiful  mola designs of the Kuna people have been embraced by rug hookers for some time. I have long recognized the style in rug hooking, but knew really nothing about its origin, other than that it came from the Caribbean. When I first began rug hooking, the Sunshine Group had recently had a “mola” workshop and the style popped up on countless pieces. The vivid colours and animal designs make it immediately recognizable.

I just discovered that there are no less than 70 boards on pinterest that are devoted to molas .images-3images-2

While tourists call them  molas and readily buy them as souvenirs, the decorative style  is

still worn on the clothing of the Kuna women.images-1170px-Panama-Kuna_0610a

 

a-welcome-dance-by-the-local-kuna-tribe-armila-panama-july-2014-edhpxgWhere Mathieu and Melanie are staying there is a 4 km long beach which is one of the world’s largest nesting ground for leatherback turtles. The Kuna people work diligently to preserve this special area and protect the turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs, and the young when they hatch.p543928560-4

“One girl, who manages the town’s only telephone, was asked why they didn’t touch the turtles. She told me a story about a young girl who went out on the beach and put her hands on the side of a leatherback. Her hands got stuck, “like a magnet,” and the turtle dragged her into the sea. Contact with leatherbacks is also said to cause complications during childbirth, but above all, the Kuna believe that they are distantly related to turtles, and so treat them with the same respect as they would relatives.”……from an article on leatherbacks in Armila

I’m really looking forward to hearing about Mathieu and Melanie’s adventures and seeing their photos when they return to Canada in August . I may even be inspired to hook a “mola” of my own.

Thanks for stopping by.

Summer Send Off

Sunshine Rug Hookers don’t meet during July and August, and today was our final get together until September. We gathered at Couchiching Beach Park for a day of hooking laughter and food. Unlike last year when it was cold and windy, the weather was perfect….a lovely breeze off the water, and a choice of sun or shade to enjoy.DSCN0674This is a special spot in our town, with the band shell and water to one side…..DSCN0694……and Samuel D. Champlain and the beach on  another side.

There was a wide variety of work being done. Lots of hooking of course…..DSCN0676Linda is whipping the edge of her little oriental….DSCN0680I was sewing down the back of my Lunenburg landscape…..DSCN0700Suzanne was beginning the lettering of her little mat….DSCN0699Gail is working on a pot holder….DSCN0678Chris has her sunflowers well under way.DSCN0698….this delightful winter scene is using a variety  of fibres….DSCN0677…a celtic dragon design  (love that colour palette)…DSCN0695Jean is doing a log cabin design using up some of her worms….DSCN0683Kathleen is creating a multi fibre tree. I’m so sorry the wool in the centre isn’t as vibrant in the photo as in person. It was really striking.DSCN0693Woops….sorry about the shadow….Edie is doing this stained glass morning glory pattern from Shiela Klugescheid . DSCN0689Isabelle is finishing her kaleidiscope pattern for her grandson.DSCN0691….and Linda L. is working on a stained glass pattern as well. She came dressed to match her work….DSCN0692….and she wasn’t the only one……Helen was totally colour co-ordinated with her knitting….DSCN0686….with the exception of her red shoes….which she kept hidden under her bag! (We’re obviously a very ‘fashion forward’ group).DSCN0685Kathy was knitting as well ….DSCN0690….and Mary was ‘corking’ this beautiful wool, which she intends to braid.

DSCN0679This exquisite embroidery piece is entitled “Writing on the Wall” and is from a painting of the same name.  Such delicate work!DSCN0688Wendy was just enjoying the day. (sorry Wendy, I couldn’t resist…..she was actually knitting too)DSCN0682.jpgWhile we don’t meet again until September, there are already plans afoot for a project for the group in the fall……Teresa brought her friendship rug done with a group from the Purple Sock in Coldwater, and a similar project is proposed for us. Friends completing one square each in the rug of each participant giving us a lovely memento of those we hook with.DSCN0681I love this idea, and I hope we go ahead with it in the fall.

 

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This was a special treat for dessert to celebrate the day. Thanks  Suzanne.

In the mean time….summer is here!!!DSCN0701

Enjoy!

 

 

Hook a Kaleidoscope

Although I wasn’t able to get to the Spring R.U.G. a couple of weeks ago, Melodie (the incoming president from Huronia Guild) visited our Sunshine group on Tuesday and brought some of the rugs from their programme on hooking a Kaleidoscope. Such  a great way to create a pattern!DSCN0627

I remember as a child the fun of twisting that little kaleidoscope gizmo and watching through one eye as the fantastic patterns changed and evolved . What a terrific idea to hook them.DSCN0618The possibilities are endless.DSCN0623They look complex and difficult to create, but no actually they’re not…..Melodie showed us how it was done…. A circle of tracing paper in the size desired  is folded in half, and then halved again and again to create a pie shape.DSCN0654

The pattern for this segment is drawn.DSCN0655….open the next segment and draw the mirror image of the firstDSCN0657….repeat all the way around…Tadah!! a kaleidoscope pattern.

It can remain as a circle, have the corners squared off or even used in the shape of the pattern.

DSCN0626….to make an elegant pillow…DSCN0648Another popular version was to make a mat using a grandchild’s name….DSCN0643 (1)At first glance all you see is a wonderful pattern, but on closer inspection…..DSCN0619…..the whole pattern is based on Zachery’s name.DSCN0622Olivia chose her own colours…DSCN0621

DSCN0639I saw Isabelle creating hers, and thought it was a super ‘greek key’ style pattern never realizing it was actually all based on her grandson Logan’s name. (she used a ‘corked’ edging….another clever trick I intend to remember)DSCN0620She’s busy now hooking another for …..DSCN0628…..Damon.

Emily’s rug includes a shiny gold chainstitch separating the sections…..

DSCN0659…..it’s squared off with her last name……DSCN0658…..has a fancy edging…..DSCN0660….a beautiful backingDSCN0661…..complete with a note from Grandma.DSCN0662Sarah is a lucky girl to have this personal keepsake compete with added bling, decorative buttons….DSCN0663….a beautiful corded edge…..DSCN0664an elegant backing, and a loving note. Grandma Wilson (aka Linda Wilson) certainly outdid herself with these beautiful keepsakes for her granddaughters.

A great big thank you to Melodie for bringing and demonstrating the rugs, I don’t feel so badly now for having missed R.U.G. (I’ll bet you liked seeing them too).

Thanks for stopping by.