Only Four to Go

I can’t believe how quickly this rug has progressed. For the most part I only hook in the evenings for an hour or two, but the hooking on this has been easy and enjoyable. DSCN1192….and as the title says…I only have four more blocks to hook.

I was surprised at how well my age-old “doodling self-rules” worked when planning the colours. For years, when I talked on the phone I would doodle with coloured pencils (mostly looping scrolls) and would always try to use the fewest colours possible with no colours touching themselves.

For the Floating Blocks, I wanted red and yellow to be dominant (and most frequent) with the three other colours complimentary and evenly distributed. That was very easy to start, but required adjustment as one section began to border on another and the colour options diminished.

I made one final little change yesterday. When spread on the floor, I noticed that there was one background section that was significantly larger than the others. It was so easy to just draw in one additional square in that space to make it more the size of the rest. This is a perfect pattern for when you want easy hooking and designing!DSCN1193I added the 4″x 4″ in this space. All 5 colours are already encircling the area, but I chose Y-G (yellow green) . Although not ideal, it is not touching itself and there will be background separating the two green blocks. I will also try to use different greens to give it a new look, for example, I’ll definitely avoid using that very acid yellow green used in the right hand square.

As with most things I do, coming up with the background wool has also been a process. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted it neutral and light.  I had some ‘oatmeal’ from Dorr, but it seemed dull when I held it up to the hooking. I had a small piece of slightly darker textured wool that I liked, but not nearly enough . For a time, I thought I would go shopping for something that I thought was perfect, and went browsing through various online shops to see what might be available. What bothered me about this, was that the goal when I began this rug, was to use up my wool scraps, not ‘dyeing’ or ‘buying’ to make it.

With that in mind, went through my stash, pulling out all the light… greys, tans, browns, off whites I could find. I was surprised at how much wool I ended up with. I decided that I would ‘marry’ them all and come up with a light neutral background. (….that’s not really dyeing I told myself…)

There was way too much for even my largest pan, so I ripped each piece in two so that I could do two batches and the end colour would be pretty much the same. Now I have to admit (confess) , after seeing one half finished, I decided there might not be enough wool, sooo…

I added 1/4th yard of Dorr natural to the second batch. There was little enough colour available to be re-distributed, so after removing the wool from the soapy water stage, (here’s the confession…I broke my own rules) I added 1/128th tsp of both ‘clay’ and ‘mouse grey’ to the pan before adding the vinegar and putting the wool back.(both colours I knew I had used in dyeing the original colours). DSCN1188The colour changes weren’t dramatic, but were subtle and will hopefully work.DSCN1189 2I can imagine them making an unobtrusive background to the vivid blocks. (hope I’m right).

There’s really just one big decision left to be made. How will I hook the background…..following the contour of each space? straight across? mix the colours throughout? make each space mostly one colour?

I’ve decided to try a few ways and see which one I like best. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Floating Blocks Progress

DSCN1132 2Isn’t “Hit and Miss” a misnomer ? I don’t know of anyone who actually hooked one by blindly sticking their hand in the bag, grabbing a strip and hooking whatever colour came out. However this rug IS being entirely hooked with leftover small bits and pieces so I think it qualifies as “Hit and Miss” and I’m having lots of fun with the creation of each block.DSCN1129I began by hooking all the large squares in the foreground in reds and yellows. …decided that the additional colours would be blue, blue/green and yellow/green and  was amazed that I was able to come up with a good sized bag of leftovers of each!

I decided on the placement of the colours as I went along….trying to make sure they were evenly distributed and balanced throughout.DSCN1133As you can see…I made some changes as I went along….and even in this photo…I need to change one of the B-G’s (blue/greens) on the left since I realize that I do not have  a blue along the outside left edge.

A note for newbies who may be viewing this….Hookers work from foreground to background….(as opposed to painters who can layer on top) and this rug makes it really apparent why.  As I work down layer by layer, it is easy to keep the squares even and straight but it would be impossible the other way. By mistake the other evening, I started hooking one square that had an edge overlapping it. Being too lazy to rip it out and start a different one, I had to leave a bit extra on each strip at that edge so I could finish it properly after the top square is hooked, which will be fiddly and time consuming. (You can see the tag ends on the red block in the middle below.)DSCN1131So this is my progress to date.

In preparation for hooking the background, I’ve gathered up all my bits and pieces of light neutrals (beiges, sands and greys) . I’m still trying to decide if I will hook them as is, or marry the colours in a large stew pot so they are closer in colour. At the moment I’m leaning to the latter.

If I didn’t live in a household with two cats and a dog, I’d think seriously of creams for the background since I love the vibrant colours against the white backing. Too many mucky paws in my house for that to work though.

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

 

 

 

Fixing Time

I was looking at the rug hanging up a few days ago and it struck me how long and skinny it appeared.  With an intended size of 5′ x 7′ it just didn’t look right. I got out my measuring tape and carefully measured the width….58″  Yikes! 2 ” too narrow.

dscn1035…so I set about to fix it right away. Fortunately there was plenty of backing to extend the rug on either or both sides. I chose the right side since the bright blue was really closer to the edge there than I had wanted. This would fix two problems at once….better balance and proper proportion.  I added two new rows for the wider edge line.dscn1046

then I removed the original two rows of edging….dscn1050….and suddenly realized that this would not be quite as simple a fix as I first thought.  The echo background swirls and undulates as it follows the shape of the pattern outward. I would have to extend this movement two inches more so that it was a seamless transition. Not a simple job.dscn1047It requires matching both the wool and the direction a further 2 inches.dscn1054It is slow, tedious work, but I feel well worth the effort.

dscn1053I’m about half way down after working on the fill for two days.

Thank goodness I’ve had the Australian Open Tennis to watch while I’ve been hooking this tricky 7′ x 2″ long section. Now that Nadal has defeated Roanic I’ll shift my allegiance to Federer and cheer him lustily while I finish fixing this area.

Thanks for stopping by and may your rugs always turn out to be the size you intended.

Abstract Progress

With lots of curling on TV these days, I’ve been snuggled up hooking on my big rug and cheering for my favourite teams. dscn1036At last I’ve come up with motives that I like for the bottom left hand side of my rug and I’m finally pleased with the overall look of the pattern…..not repeating, not symmetrical, but balanced and satisfactory to my eyes.dscn1039I like that the bottom flame motif now sweeps upward and blends toward the upper section.dscn1040….and the brilliant blue in this section has some interest and motion. Whew!! I’m satisfied at last. Now just a few more details to add and then the background to complete. I’ll need to have one more large dyeing session to get enough deep blue to finish it.dscn1035It’s difficult to get a decent photo of the whole rug, but here is at least an idea of what the whole thing looks like. What a learning experience this has been.

Some notes to myself for possible future reference:

1.) Rhodamine Red (pro chem) is both nasty and tricky to dye with. To get the deep colour took three attempts, and I still had to rinse forever to finally get the water to run clear. HOWEVER the end result is stunning if you want an VERY vibrant pink that will pop out. (the photos don’t do it justice)

2. The use of a vibrant and a dull in juxtaposition (rhodamine red and strawberry in this case) is restful to my eyes.

3.) Using an echo background  augments the eye movement created by the pattern.

4.) Never again hook a large rug by joining two pieces of backing…the money saved is not worth the difficulties it creates. (always fighting with the fraying of the overlap showing through)

The finishing will be a new adventure as well. Ray has built a new work table for me so that I can spread it out flat and secure it in order to steam it accurately to size. I don’t have a proper steamer, so my trusty iron will get an extensive workout. Then dyeing the wool to whip the edge will be the last step.

I think my next project will measure about 10″ x 12″.

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.

Going Backward to Go Forward

I use a lot of ‘gut instinct’ when I’m hooking. When something doesn’t ‘feel’ right….I spend time trying to figure out what’s wrong, and how best to fix it.

Sometimes it’s more than a one step process. I knew the direction and size of the flame motives at the bottom were wrong, so I took them out. After several days of pondering, I redrew one of them….DSCN0933.jpg….again I wasn’t pleased and decided to just use half of it.  Then I was faced with how to hook the base of the flame motive and have it work with what was already there.dscn0933….finally….this afternoon it came to me!!!

The problem is that I was hooking  from the middle out….and I should be working (or at least thinking) from the outside in. dscn0935This section is in the way and it’s pushing the flames out of alignment.  I need to hook all the ‘flames’ and then fit other details in later.

Immediately my ‘gut feeling’ told me AHA…that’s right. So although I’m about to take out a full day’s work, I’m really happy to have solved yet another little glitch in the creative process.dscn0934I now have a clear way forward for the bottom section….finally.

dscn0937Now that I’ve figured it out, it seems so obvious. What took me so long?

I ‘ve finally hooked two border rows around the outside. It’s nice to finally see the perimeter.

Thanks for stopping by.