I’ve Done It Again

I While I admire  the primitive hooking of others, it seems I am not capable of doing it myself.  I realized this when I was hooking the Magdelena Briner inspired ‘dog memory rugs’ for my sons.DSCF5290

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 I seem compelled to add more detail than is required for the primitive style, and my work ends up only “primitive-ish”  ….but somehow I forgot. I blithely started hooking away on the rabbit challenge rug, once again intending it to be primitive, and once again missing the mark . DSCF7146

When I got to this point, I stopped. I liked it less and less as I went along, and finally realized if I left it the way it was, I’d never even finish it. It wasn’t primitive, the lettering wasn’t going to show up against the bunny, and he looked as if he had a serious fur disease and a bad case of hypertension with bulging eyes that threatened to pop out of his head.

Some serious ripping out followed., and a different coloured bunny emerged.DSCF7162

I didn’t have enough browns to do his whole body, so I dressed him up with a jacket.

I learn something new with every piece I hook, and this jacket was my “aha” moment. Here’s the sequence of events.  I was searching for wool that would go with the spot dye I was using for the eggs. I settled on yellow, but the only colour I had enough of was a solidly dyed piece of very bright vibrant yellow. It was too “in your face” and wouldn’t work, so I grabbed all the bits and pieces of paler yellows as well and just started mixing them all together. Much to my surprise, from a distance it looks like a more subdued yellow with a variety of highlights….(note to self….remember this for future reference).

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It’s certainly not my favourite piece, but fun to hook and a relaxing break before I tackle the zentangle Grumpy Owl, which I anticipate will be a major undertaking.  The figure itself is 25″ tall but I haven’t yet decided on the outside measurements. I’ve been tracing over the outline to make it easier to see when I set it up on the light table. I can’t wait to get started on it.DSCF7172

A very happy New Year to all my internet friends. You enrich my life on a daily basis.  I wish you health and contentment in 2015 and a productive year of hooking what you love.

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.

 

Hijab and Moths

The hooking on Hijab is complete, and I must say I’m pleased with the way the background turned out.DSCF7095

After steaming, I did some tweaking of the face and the bottom edge. The edge was somewhat uneven because many of the rows of hooking had ended on an angle. I improved that by adding a few loops in places that appeared jagged. I may have to make further adjustments when I begin the finishing if it doesn’t fold back smoothly.

Now I’m ready to move on to the next project. Recently I stumbled upon this skirt, which had been packed away for MANY  MANY years.DSCF7096Oh what memories. Although I now have an aversion to my poor sewing machine, it wasn’t always the case. My mom was an excellent seamstress, and when I was just a teenager, with her help  I  made a three piece suit (very chique at the time)….the skirt, a jacket, and a long sleeveless coat…..all fully lined and the plaids carefully matched at every seam. To this day it remains my finest sewing accomplishment and holds such sweet memories of my mom.The skirt is all that remains, so I decided I would take it apart and use it for my next hooking project.

Alas, after washing it I discovered it had quite a few moth holes. I washed it again, and took it all apart, but then wondered if it was folly to try and hook with it. I consulted my wonderful friends on “Yahookers” and received great advice from both JoAnne Harris and Ivi Collier. ….1) put it in the freezer for a couple of weeks, wash again, then use avoiding the holes   2) test the strips for possible weakness by pulling the ends before hooking them.DSCF7097

So here it is…disassembled, frozen, and awaiting a new life. Now to get on with the planning and drawing (and maybe even some finishing that should be done first….but never is).

Thanks for stopping by.

Port Severn Hook In

Anyone living in central Ontario knows that we have been having extreme weather for the past few days…..  high heat, high humidity, lots of rain and terrible flooding in Toronto. As a result the turn out for our get together was small, but our immediate area has escaped the bad rains, and the day was sunny at Port Severn.

Michelle and her family have come from DC for the second year in a row to vacation in our area (they know a great place when they find it!)….and we met up with her and had a lovely day of hooking visiting, and eating.

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Here is Michelle with her hooking.

We soon moved to the gazebo at the park…where there was shelter if it rained, and a picnic table where Michelle could sit…..I remembered to bring her a lunch…but forgot to bring her a lawn chair (I plead old age).

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Mary Lou brought us copies of the beautiful “magazine?” put out by the museum, and told Michelle all about the opening. (she also brought me maps and info to help when we go there in September).

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I think there was more visiting than hooking, although we did get some work done.

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Michelle worked on her Heron, which she started in a workshop a while ago. I just love what she’s done so far. Those leaves are so vibrant……

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..and just look at the water and the reflection of the bird. The water was dyed by her teacher in one very long strip, then cut and hooked in order.

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Jeanne is hooking this stained glass piece from the picture she found. Edie was hooking as well, but for some reason I have no photo. I wasn’t hooking…

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….I was whipping my memory rug…..and that’s the topic for the second part of this post…

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….when I prepared to steam it I found to my disgust that I had “packed” several areas…

Packing means hooking the rows of loops too close together so that the work doesn’t lie flat…but bubbles up. You can see the bulge I’m pinching in this photo. When the work is under tension in the frame, it often looks like the spaces between the rows may show, but when the work relaxes there is no space. This happened in several spots where I was hooking animals and filling in small spots with an 8 cut. Best case scenario…the steaming will flatten it out….if not, minor tweaking and removal of some loops may be necessary. Worst case would be needing to rehook the section with more space between the rows.

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Fortunately, mine was fine once it was steamed….but I’ve made a note to myself to be more generous with the spaces.

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For this rug I’m whipping the edge and using binding tape and the method I learned from Gene Shepherd. I like it because it doesn’t use a cord, whips through the binding tape, and requires only sewing by hand around it once to tack down the binding tape to finish.

It’s very neat on the front, but I’m not always satisfied with the back. The trick is to have the whipping come through the tape in a straight line….and that an be tricky. Sometimes I manage pretty well…

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(sorry for the poor quality photo…but you can see the stitches into the back of the tape). ….but sometimes…

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….it gets uneven. I’m getting better at it, and I’m considering perhaps using a pencil line on the tape next time to help guide the needle tip. It’s on the back of the rug, and won’t be seen, but I still want that straight line!

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I think these two must know they are a part of the rug….they certainly seem to like it.

….and I just have to show off my birthday present….well the fancy case at least…

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….my Beehive Townsend cutter…from hubby and my sons. How lucky can a hooker get!

Ugly Wool?

There are lots of perks to being a Yahooker, but one of the best is participating in the swaps.

The one under way now is an “ugly wool swap”. A box of wool is sent round, and when it comes to you, you take out and keep whatever strikes your fancy, and fill it back up with your own “ugly wool”, then send the box on to the next person in the rotation. It eventually comes back to the person who started , and the swap is complete.

Of course we all know there is no such thing as “ugly wool”, so it’s like Christmas when the box arrives. DSCF5216

These are the “gifts” I removed from the box…hardly what you’d call “ugly”.

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Oh yes….plus these two. I’ve already used them in my memory rug. The pale beige plaid was so perfect, there is only one tiny strip of it left.

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I’ve used it several places in the background (wish I had more).

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The striped wool makes a nice accent in the corner section.

On the off chance you don’t know about Yahookers…it’s a yahoo group for rug hookers who share both hooking and life…..truly a community of friendly helpful interesting people. There is a chat area, a bulletin board for buying and selling, and extensive archives on every imaginable hooking topic. Although I’ve met very few yahookers in person, I consider many of them my friends. If you’d like to join us…go to Yahoo groups. There are several hooking groups I believe, so make sure you get the right one…the one begun and administered by the amazing Phyllis Linblade. (who I’ll hopefully get to meet this fall as she’s planning to make the trip from Michigan to Ontario for R.U.G.)

Pennsylvania Dutch Hex bag

I am a member of the Yahookers…a wonderful on line rug hooking group. They frequently have swaps organized, which are lots of fun . One that has just ended was called Dutch treat, and involved hooking a version of a Pennsylvania dutch Hex sign. I’d never heard of them, but was fascinated, so I googled them and found a wealth of information.

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“Like other immigrants, the (Pennsylvania Dutch) brought their old world language, dress, traditions and art to their new home. Mystical bird and floral designs graced their birth and marriage certificates, family Bibles, quilts, and some furniture. The “fancy” farmers also decorated their large German style bank barns with colorful geometric patterns. Six-pointed star designs were very popular. The German word for six, “sechs”, sounded like hex to their English-speaking neighbors. In time these “hex” patterns became commonly called hex signs. This custom persists today. 

These bright, colorful designs had meanings or legends. Families selected a hex sign based on color, design and its meaning. Some of the more popular symbols included: hearts for love, birds (called distelfinks) for luck and happiness, tulips for faith, and stars for good luck. The colors used for painting were also carefully chosen because of their added meaning. Blue conveyed protection, white purity, green abundance and red strong emotion. The hex symbols were individually hand painted for many years.”

I decided not to participate in the swap, but ended up hooking one anyway. I had picked up a couple of plain burlap bags at a little sale we had at Sunshine Rughookers. I thought a hex sign would be a great decoration for the bag….add handles, and it would be a great tote.

In this pattern, the twelve petals are for good luck and happiness for the twelve months of the year. The hearts denote love, and the wavy border…smooth sailing throughout the year.

Again I called on Ray for help in drawing the pattern on the burlap. Actually I think he offered to help, because watching my “unmathematical attempts” drove him crazy! He produced his carpenter’s large size set of compasses, and before long I had an accurate circle, and 12 perfect, properly placed petals. The trickiest part then was finding two shades each of six different colours (I didn’t want to do any dyeing for this little project), then deciding on their placement around the circle. It is hooked in a #6, and this is the last time I will hook on burlap. (I keep saying that)..but primative linen or monk’s cloth is so much nicer to work with and easier on my wrists.

I haven’t yet added the handles, but since that involves sewing…I’m going to invite myself to my sister’s for coffee soon…she’s an expert with a sewing machine.