Sunshine Progress

The Sunshine Rug Hookers meet each Tuesday morning from September until the end of June, so we are wrapping up another successful year, with only two more weeks to hook and visit together until our summer break.

We meet at Rotary Place, our local community centre, in a spacious meeting room with windows on each side overlooking two ice rinks.

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This week I finally remembered to take my camera (with fresh batteries) to catch up on what people were currently working on.

Several members had taken a “shading” course earlier in the year with our talented Linda Wilson and were working on projects started with her.

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Gail brought in a unique project to show us. Earlier in the spring, we had all been rather taken aback to watch her hooking a totally plan black textured piece in even rows. This from someone who is wildly creative and loves vibrant strong colours. I know my reaction was…”Gail….what on earth are you hooking!!!!”

Here’s the story……She has a lovely collection of pins and broaches, and decided that rather than have them sitting in a drawer, they should be displayed and enjoyed in her home. Soooooo….here’s what she made. DSCF7568

A wonderful wall hanging to be enjoyed and have the selection readily at hand for wearing.

I took a peek at the back to see how she had managed to create a firm piece that would hold the weight of the pins and secure them without sagging….DSCF7567

….she mounted the hooking on (I can’t think of the proper name) that firm board that is used for mounting photos, then stretched  the hooking using strong fibre (I think she used the linen backing fibres).  Her sister Cheri has advised her to add two more rows of the corked edging around the outside to create a larger border, so that is in progress and you can see the loop of it at the top. Didn’t I say she is creative?

Two of our Sunshine Hookers are kept busy producing items that are constantly in demand. Ann Hallett regularly has large orders for her stars, and so she can frequently be seen surrounded by her lovely celestial creations.DSCF7585

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Cheri Hempseed on the other hand is known far and wide for her delightful portrait necklaces, which promptly sell out whenever she puts them up for sale.

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I admire them so much, particularly the patience and detail needed to create these small beauties (they are about 2″ x 3″).DSCF7493Her’s a photo of Linda Wilson wearing hers.

The rest of us were working on a wide variety of projects. Here’s a peek….DSCF7579

Brenda is starting a Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern I’ve not seen before.

DSCF7576Lynda is working on her delightful chipmunk, begun at a workshop with Wendie Scott Davis.

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Margaret is making maple leaf coasters, which may end up on a sales table if her husband doesn’t see them first.

DSCF7582Helen purchased this ball of wool from “Wool Gathering” at RUG, and is enjoying the patterns it is creating in this 12″  square pad.

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Jeanne is hooking a log cabin piece, and wishing she had chosen to do it in a 3 or 4 cut simply because then her choice of worms would be endless.

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Edie is thinking of fall already…

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Marion is doing crewel work for a change of pace.

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…and on a sadder note, Jean is completing Barbara Wilson’s unfinished hooking. Barbara died recently , and we will miss her a great deal. We celebrate with her family, her long and wonderful life filled with the joy of a loving family and extensive world travels.

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…and finally here’s Gail’s rendition of Sheila Klugesheid’s pattern.  I had such a hard time getting her to hold it low enough so we could see her smiling face.

Our final get together this year will be at Couchiching Beach Park, for a pot luck lunch and a day of hooking. I’ll be sure to take my camera that day to record the fun.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Trial and Error

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This one is finished:

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…and this one is stalled…sigh…

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

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

Mission Accomplished

I’m feeling a little smug. At about noon yesterday, I completed the hooking on the barn rug and it has gone from something I actively disliked to something that really pleases me. I can’t thank Wendie Scott Davis enough for her suggestions and encouragement. She had originally introduced me the the Be Funky site (during her workshop “From Photo to Mat as Easy as That”), which let me see the photo with a whole new realm of possibilities, then she offered concrete suggestions about what to keep, and what to change.

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before I started the redo. (the last few posts have detailed its transformation to this last final step)

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The last area for tweaking was the central light coloured sapling. Here’s the be funky image, and you can see that it is much lighter than the other trees.

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This is the pre-tweaked version…everything OK but the lack of highlights on that tree.

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I’d added highlights in the upper sections, but Wendie felt (and I agreed) that highlighting the bottom as well would really “spark” it up.

Now you’d think that was a simple redo…but boy did I struggle. First was the choice of wool. I tried a pale silver grey, and the lightest mauve grey from the wooden section, and decided on the mauve grey since it “popped’ more. Then where in the tree to put the lighter part…I tried the centre, and it looked silly. I finally settled on the left side, but then it didn’t show up against the light wall colour. Then I tried changing the wall colour to a mossy green in the small section between the window and the tree. That didn’t work either, so I took that all out, put back the beige, and used the dark tree colour to outline the left side of the tree. I thought I was done.

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….except…..the light section kept grabbing my eye. It was too prominent, and too stripy. By the next morning I was mentally comparing it to the stripe down a skunks back, and I knew I had to change it.

SOooo I analyzed what it was I didn’t like….the colour of the stripe, the depth of the outlining, the fact that the light wall colour next to the window was exactly the same width as the highlight stripe……and I set out once again to change it. I changed the mauve grey to the silver grey, just in the part below the wooden section. I changed the outline from the dark grey to the medium grey, and cut a narrower strip so that it wouldn’t be so prominent. I increased the light wall colour to fill in sections so that it wasn’t just one long piece all the same size. Once I made up my mind, this part went really quickly, and here’s the finished product:

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It’s done, and I’m satisfied with it. Thrilled in fact that I was able to turn a piece that I actively disliked into one I’m happy to own.

Doing the Redo

I LOVE hooking with transitional wool!

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I’m quite pleased with my batch of subtle transitions, and the new effect of the barn wall. I’m hooking it vertically, and I like the splotches of colour. Much more effective and like a painting, than the two colour squiggly effect of the first version,

I’ve also redone the right side of the window in different, and lighter colours…the left is still to be altered.

It’s been fun to see the effect of adding just a bit of some bright colours like the peach bits in the light wall, the pale blue in the window sash, and some bright apple green in the mossy wall.

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Now the mossy wall…..that’s another story…I’m using the “befunky” version as a general guide, but with alterations when I don’t like the results. One section that’s coming out is the very dark green next to the tree….yuck to that part. The green is too deep and doesn’t blend with the other greens. I do like the bits of yellow green added for highlights, (thanks to JoAnne’s ugly wool swap).

You should see my hooking area! I’m knee deep in small pieces of wool! Always hunting for just that right tone.

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The good news is that after a few weeks of the hooking blahs, I’m once again enthused and excited to see what I can accomplish with a hook and a strip of wool.

Revisiting an Unfinished Friend

When I’m working on a rug, the mess of wool around me can get pretty large, so I seldom work on more than one rug at a time, and I try to finish the hooking on each one before I move on. But of course there are exceptions.

Over a year ago, I had worked away happily on my barn rug until it was nearly finished. I left it hanging where I saw it all the time, and the longer I looked at it, the less I liked it. It eventually came to a point where I actively disliked it, and ended by rolling it up, packing the wool up, and putting it away altogether. Now it’s time to deal with it.

When the barn  project was first announced, Ray and I spent a Sunday afternoon driving around the countryside just north of town taking pictures of derelict barns, and I finally decided on hooking this photo.

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I don’t hook in the room where my computer is, and I don’t have a laptop, so I printed off a copy of the picture just on 8.5 x 11″ paper, and that was my reference for hooking. I realize now that that was a  mistake because the printed version I was working from  lacked  highs and lows and definition particularly in the wall under the wood.  DSCF5364

There is only a bit of hooking left, and then I had intended to add some grass etc.  with yarn or embroidery along the barn wall, and add a bit of colour on the ground and trees. But the fact remains…I’m just not happy with it. It is SO boring!

On impulse, I put the original photo into “Be Funky” (as taught by Wendie Scott Davis at our spring workshop), and suddenly I loved the picture, and thought….if only….and …how could I???

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I wasn’t sure what to do…..the project must be handed in in October, so a decision needed to be made. Would I ……finish it as I had originally planned……make some alterations to create a more painterly, colourful version like that in the be funky version……rip out the whole thing and start again…..or scrap the whole idea of the barn project altogether.

When in doubt, ask an expert….so I emailed Wendie (including the pictures) and explained my dilemma. What a lady! Within a few hours, I had a reply with both positives and negatives of my work, and lots of ideas of how to create more the “be funky” version without having to start all over.  (It’s not what you know….it’s who you know).

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I started by completing the wooden section, and adding some stronger greens to the mossy parts.

On looking at it from a distance however, the darker part above the window looked more like a tree branch than mossy wood, so I reworked that part.

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I took out the green section of the lower wall, and will rehook that with stronger greens covering the whole section.

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I debated about the best wool to hook the rest of the lower section so that the values and different colours in it would be effective.

I gathered up a variety of wools in the colours I saw, but I would like them to blend into one another.

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so….I’ve decided to try transitional dyeing with this lot. (again)  With my past mistakes fresh in my mind……I’m anxious to see if this will work…..stay tuned for the results.

Let’s Party

Tuesday was the year end get together for the Sunshine Rughookers….a day of hooking…a yummy pot luck…friends to visit…..hooking projects to see….and all at a wonderful lakeside location. DSCF5248_2

Mary Lou had a slide show and many wonderful stories from the opening of The Rug Hooking Museum of North America in Nova Scotia. (we had two representatives there…Mary Lou, and Linda Wilson)

It was a perfect day…but oh so hot! I had no swimsuit, but not to be dissuaded by such a tiny detail…I stripped off my t-shirt…and swam in my clothes. Cold water never felt sooooo good. Spending the rest of the day in wet pants and underwear was a small price to pay for being cool.  (no alcohol was involved in this incident)

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That speck in the water is me ….perfectly decent with only my head showing. (Gayle couldn’t believe I’d do such a thing., and grabbed my camera to take the picture)

Later in the day we watched a loon swimming by and a great blue heron flying past…..all this within the city limits.

Cynthia and Helen had just returned from taking a course in Cornwall England, and shared their wonderful adventure with us..  Helen, brought her work and told us all about how they came up with their designs…fascinating!  All based on de-constructing and re-creating. Everything was hooked with “as is” found fabrics picked up at used clothing stores….and chosen solely for the colours and effects they could provide. T shirts, skirts, dresses, shawls…anything at all was used.

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Helen’s piece…a tribute to her mother….is based on her mother’s Tomato Butter, a family favourite. Helen transferred the actual recipe to cloth and hooked it into the bottom right of the piece. The rest shows the various components or the Tomato butter. What a special memento this will be!

Cheri and Gail have just returned from a trip to the states, where they spent a day with fibre artist Rea Harrell. This was not their first visit to her studio, and they were drawn back again by her wonderful and innovative work.

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This amazing “container” made by Rea, was first crocheted, then the hooking was done into the crocheting, with a variety of other techniques, like the coiled wool, yarn and beads etc

Lucky Cheri and Gayle, had a day’s workshop with her and this is Gail’s piece.

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….and Cheri’s

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Both Gail and Cheri are talented innovative artists in their own right, and used to hooking in the “freeform” style with purposely uneven heights, so the biggest change for them was keeping the loops once again even and uniform in these pieces. They practiced the designing by drawing with their eyes closed.

Jean brought another interesting rug. Here’s the story behind it.

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A number of years ago, a gentleman gave her this large, nearly finished rug. It had been hooked by his wife, who had passed away, and he didn’t want it. It didn’t come with any wool, and wondering how best to finish it, Jean rolled it up, put it in a closet and forgot about it.

She doesn’t want the rug, and so once again the Sunshine hookers are debating about how best to finish it and put it to good use.

I took photos of many people’s work, but I know I missed some as well…so here’s a sampling ….and any details I can remember about the pieces…

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Isabel’s moose from Wendie’s photo mat workshop is finished. She’s debating on the colour to use for binding it.

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This is a stool cover, being hooked by Jeanne.

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Barb says her butterfly piece keeps growing and growing.

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This landscape is nearly finished.

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The edge of this piece is being crocheted with wool dyed in coffee….never tried that…but what a great colour.

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The extra “spark ” of colour was added at the request of the hooker’s son.

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This lighthouse was on a table, unattended, so I have no information on it.

We have a sister group of hookers in Gravenhurst, a town about 25 miles north, and they joined us for the day. Here is some of their work.

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Wow!

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This hooker is making a rug for her dog, who has recently been ill.

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This wonderful “muskoka” pine is being hooked from the photo.

…and I saved the best till last…

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…our wonderful Hilda…90 plus years young, and unable to see…she still hooks up a storm, and enjoys a day’s outing with friends.

What a great way to start the summer!

My “Sisters” Portrait

When I went to the photo mat workshop two weeks ago, I had chosen two possible pictures to do.

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…this one….which I thought was probably the best photo, but the colours weren’t interesting.

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…and this one …which has better composition (Wendy told me that).

I decided on the second,…and got to work. I found it both rewarding and frustrating. …rewarding as I saw my sister’s face start to develop….and frustrating  trying to capture myself, and figure out how to do the background.

After trying different versions of the waitress in the upper left, I finally decided that the background bore no importance or interest in the photo and eliminated it altogether. Then came the dilemma of how to hook it.

I gathered a variety of colours, and draped them around the hooking, finally choosing to make a half frame with a small piece of dip dyed wool pink to grey, then filling in the rest. I tried the mottled pink first , but eventually took that out leaving it only as the outline around my head, and I used a spot dye and squiggles to fill in the rest.

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….here is my first finished version. I like the background….not happy with my face…nose off centre, chin too broad and lopsided, eyes still too wide, (although at this point I’d already reduced them once)

So I spent Saturday evening reworking the eyes, lips, nose and chin. DSCF5093

I extended the shadow above the right eye,  added a small strip below each eye to reduce the size, made the smile wider and the upper lip smaller, reworked the teeth, reduced the nose and centered it better, and trimmed down the chin. Did I mention that I reverse hooked the teeth? That way they sink into the mouth….a neat little trick. (not original of course….someone else at the course was reverse hooking for a special effect…I think it was Linda Wilson….and it suddenly dawned on me that it might be a great way to make the teeth more realistic…..sometimes it pays to snoop at what your neighbours are doing )

I’m still not thrilled with my face, but I think at this point it’s the best I can do with my present skills. I’m really interested in increasing my abilities in “wide” cut painterly style portraits. (well not exactly “wide” this is a 6 cut) …..and I’m looking forward to tackling another one.

HOWEVER….that’s not what I plan to do next. I’m preparing to venture into the world of primitives….for the first time.  I’ll tell you all about my plans in the next post.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Day at R.U.G. Part 2

For me, one of the best things about rug hooking is the wide range of cuts, styles, and materials used by hookers.

DSCF5045Wow…look at the detail in this fine cut landscape. This is another example of a partially finished rug acquired by a hooker who finished it. Hooking in a 3 cut is not what I usually do now…but I certainly admire the fine work done by others.

DSCF5042This colourful leaf mat is a first rug. What a fine beginning! Since taking the photo, I’ve noticed lots of interesting detail that I missed when it was shown. ….all the little bugs throughout…especially the hot pink one in the upper left corner.

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I showed Gayle’s rug while it was still underway, and here it is finished. Gayle was recently on a safari in South Africa, and this rug evokes the colours and shapes she saw there.DSCF5048

….another rug hooked by Gayle. This time a geometric scrappy.

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This lovely small landscape hooked by Lorna is another example resulting from Wendie Scott Davis’s workshop (not the recent one I attended).

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I love the braided edge on this mat…oh so wish I had the patience and skill to do that! I’m also extremely partial to anything to do with lambs….(Lamb was my maiden name).

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I must have been distracted when these two handsome rugs were presented, because I can’t recall any details about them.

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I also showed Karen’s spectacular zebras in an earlier post, but she has since had it framed…boy does that ever put the finishing touch on it. The frame has all the colours of the background. Great choice Karen!

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I love how the edging line in this floral creates a border while not changing the background colour.

Deanne Fitzpatrick is a very popular designer in this area, whether or not the hooker hooks    in her free form style or not.

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Whether its houses…..DSCF5056

….or hockey…her patterns are always so distinctive.

At last year’s annual, famed cartoonist Karen Johnston provided an inch worm (I admit I thought it was a caterpillar) as the “hand out” pattern for all attendees (How appropriate since the theme was “All About Bugs”) You may remember my version….Charlie…who made a repeat visit on the blog post…”Oh So Blue” not long ago.

The ladies from North Bay brought along their completed versions, and had a unique method  of presenting them which I though was so cute.

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There were so many I couldn’t fit them all into one photo.

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R.U.G. is a wonderful place or old friends to get together. Dorothy Braithwaite and Hilda Hayes were delighted to reminisce about past good times and high jinks they shared while attending Trent Rug Hooking School.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wendie workshop Part 2

On the second day of the workshop, Wendie showed us how to use our computers to create a colour palette for any photo we wanted to hook.  I think this will be a VERY useful tool for me, and I’m looking forward using it.

Then we spent the rest of the day working on our mats.DSCF5015In the last post I showed this pattern before Wendy (with a Y) started hooking….it was mostly squiggles….I love how the moose and foliage is beginning to emerge.DSCF5013Linda chose a picture of their hotel in Cuba. She chose to hook shiny nylons to give life to the flowers in the garden. I wish the picture showed how effective this was.DSCF5016

We were encouraged not to hook figures, but shapes in each colour, and be patient until it all came together. Helen is doing just that.DSCF5014

I’m looking forward to seeing this as it progresses.DSCF5021Moose are popular wildlife to hook in our area. Looks like this one was on the move.DSCF5023

Karen has her giraffe underway.DSCF5022

People chose all sizes of wildlife…..From the very large…to the very small….Lynda is hooking a chipmunk.DSCF5024

Cecelia chose a photo of her son’s two golden retrievers.DSCF5025…….and Diane is hooking a picture of her grandson on a rocking horse.DSCF5019

Jan is starting a still life incorporating a coffee mug.

DSCF5018Marion has started a portrait of her house.DSCF5020There is such a touching story to go with this photo…I hope Pat won’t mind that I share it . She sold her cottage and was moving to town. This was taken on the last day she had possession, shortly before they left. Her grand daughter and her friend were sitting on the end of the dock saying….goodbye lake….goodbye dock…..goodbye trees. DSCF5017Kathy’s photo also has a special story. These are her parents sitting in the garden. Her father used to hand feed the chickadees, so she has added them (one in his hand, and one on his head) as a special memento of her dad. (you can just see the outlines for the birds).  She was able to alter the picture to remove a third person sitting on the bench, and add the birds to make it a true memory mat.DSCF5032I have to confess, I didn’t take a picture of my portrait of my sister and I as it existed on the second day. This was taken the next day when I had made significant alterations. Although it is mainly a 6 cut, I used smaller cuts for the eyes and some other details. I reverse hooked the teeth (hooked from the back side), which worked really well….letting them sink behind the lips.DSCF5033At this point, I’ve started my own head…but it still need major changes…to the eyes, mouth, and chin. I have to say I REFUSE to hook in my double chin….I’m claiming artistic license!

I took a break from the portrait on Sunday, and made some changes to my Wanda landscape.

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When I looked at it for a time…I decided I wasn’t satisfied with the haze around the moon, so I googled pictures of moonlight on water, and realized that the moon was only hazy if there were clouds in the sky….Duh…..DSCF5031

So I did lots of taking out, and reworked portions of the sky.

Ta dah….it’s done.

Thanks for stopping by.