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.

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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.

 

Progress with Oil on Water

I’ll get to Oil on Water shortly….but first, my little project using batik. After an exciting (to me) start….I became discouraged with it and set it aside for a time. But needing something to hook on at Sunshine meetings (I can hardly carry Oil on Water to my frame, let alone haul it across the parking lot and up the elevator to where we meet), I brought the batik along and set to work. With some wise advice from Jean on how to correct the nose, I’ve been enjoying this experience with a new fibre (for me). DSCN0911.jpgWhile Jennifer Manuel ….of Fisheye Sisters (who sells the batik strips) uses the strips as is, I have found them too wide, so I’ve been cutting each one in half, and I find that much more manageable.

Another exciting event happened recently when I received a huge box of wool and various other goodies in an “ugly wool swap”. Just in case you may not know what that is….a box is started out full of one person’s “ugly wool” and is sent in turn to each participant. As it arrives, you take anything that appeals to you and replace it with a like amount of your own “ugly wool”. My goodness, it was like Christmas. I particularly had my eye out for wool which I could overdye for the background of Oil On Water.

dscn0879This huge piece of wool seemed perfect.dscn0883I soaked it (this is just half of the piece which was nearly 2 yards)dscn0887…….used  three pro chem blues…navy, brilliant blue, and national blue. 1/2 of the navy went in the dye bath, the wool was added, then the rest spotted over the top.dscn0922One piece I stirred to create a more consistent colour, the other I left purposely blotchy. (the wool is actually quite a bit darker than it appears in the photo)

Here’s my pile of “soon to be background wool” still awaiting the dye pots.dscn0930Most of it is other wool from the swap box, and the solid blue and green are from the wool Mary Lou Justason was selling from her stash at R..U.G. to raise money for the Hooked Rug Museum of North America.

As for the progress on “Oil On Water”….I’ve spent a lot of time working with the design trying to leave  it asymmetrical  but still making sure it is balanced.dscn0896On the right…I want the “flame” motif to swing down and around in a more or less continuous sweep….so I drew this….dscn0902-1…..but I’m thinking the turn from sideways to vertical is too abrupt….on the other hand I think I can tie them together with a swirling  shape much like the one on the top. The jury is still out on that decision…..so I’ve moved on to the left side for the moment.dscn0913The left top has long sweeping “stripes in a bit lighter blue than the background.

The bottom looked like this…(sorry for the huge long photo….I couldn’t get it to crop in half)dscn0894-1….so I decided to extend the little “nubbies” and create stripes similar to the top.dscn0903

My first attempt was wobbly at the top, and too fat…..so I re-drew the sweep smoothly to balance with the top.dscn0912-2….and used a lighter blue once again to create the subtle stripe….dscn0916-1…. (which shows up dark here).

If I can’t make up my mind about the bottom flames I’ll hook plain background for a few days while I ponder a decision.

As you can imagine….this piece has become progressively heavier and heavier. Since my creative juices demand that I have the whole piece available to look at, and clamping it to the top of the closet had become a two man job while I stand teetering on a chair…..Ray has made me a hoist!

He used a piece of 1″ x 4″, put a hook at the top of the closet on the wall , and a cleat further down the wall at the side  to secure it….DSCN0900.jpg

….so that I can attach it with clips at waist level then pull it up…dscn0901…I must admit it makes getting to the clothes in the closet a bit of a nuisance…..but it is oh so much easier to hang and I can dream away about how to progress while looking at the entire rug.DSCN0919.jpgNow off to hook some more background.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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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.

After the Break….

I can’t believe that it’s been more than a month since my last post! Well actually that’s not true. I can believe it, but I haven’t been totally inactive, just not doing much hooking.

Once I joined the two sections of the rug together, it suddenly became very heavy and hard to manage. I rely heavily on having my work hung when I’m not actually hooking, and spending long periods of looking at it to determine what I like and what needs to be changed and eventually HOW I will change it or move forward. Now it requires a chair and climbing up holding the rug to clip it in place for viewing. As a result I was folding it and leaving it hanging over my frame for a time and I soon realized that I had no idea how I would move forward…..so it sat for several weeks.

In the meantime, Ray and I went off for a camping holiday once again. I’ve been told that what we do is not ‘camping ‘at all, but ‘glam-ping’, and I guess that’s true….given that here is the site of our version of  rustic ‘cooking over the fire’…..DSCN0785.jpgMany thanks again to my son Scott and his wife, for the use of their 5th wheel, bringing it to the site, and setting it up etc. etc. etc.

We love this location….dscn0781….enjoy the surrounding area….dscn0812….the neighbours…..two retired clydesdales….rscn0843…..and celebrated Ray’s birthday with Baxter on the patio of a restaurant in Fenelon Falls (they even made sure Baxter had his own bowl of water).dscn0829I came home rested and renewed and ready to get back to hooking (and blogging) when my computer crashed and had to go away for a new hard drive.

Now the computer is back….the weather is cool (I love fall) …I’ve figured out a way to hang my rug more easily….and I’m back in hooking mode.dscn0779The bottom right ‘flame’ bothered me and it took awhile to figure out why….it was paler than the others since I had only used one row of the darkest pink,it was  a bit too small…and it lacked the pizazz I wanted…..a simple fix once I figured it out. (I’ve just started adding to it here)dscn0851I’m heading off now to finish that section….dscn0778 I manage the large rug by draping it over the bed…..keeps it off the floor, and it’s easy to manage. The prerequisite hooking mess is conveniently kept on my bedside table.

Here’s the progress to date,

dscn0849…..and a glimpse of the finished Grumpy Owl….now hanging proudly in the hall.DSCN0848.jpg

The colours are once again quite distorted  (it’s pink and grey not orange and brown) . One day  after I figure out this hooking thing….I’ll learn how to be a better photographer.

Thanks for stopping by.

Changing Gears

It had always been my intention to hook my 5′ x 7′ rug “Oil on Water” in two pieces, then join them as late as possible.

My reasons for this were:

1.  Backing available from my usual suppliers wasn’t wide enough to do it in one piece and to have a large single piece shipped from the States was way too expensive for my meagre purse.

2. The only large piece I had seen done before was done this way.

3. Doing most of the work on the two sections would be much easier to handle than manipulating such a large and heavy piece of hooking.

4. I’d never seen much information on hooking a large rug, and none on joining two pieces of backing so I went with what information I had.

Then two things happened that changed my plan of attack.

DSCN0747 (1).jpgI was hooking merrily along and had even finished the blue section farthest to the right when:

1. The pattern at the far right seemed out of kilter….the blue was too big, or too far over or…..something bothered me about it.

2. Gene Shepherd’s Internet Rug Camp had several posts about large rugs and joining them together if using two pieces of backing.

After looking at it for about a week, it hit me that the last blue section needed to come out. I wanted the eye  to be drawn around in a sweep from left over the top and down the right to the bottom centre. I then realized I could only do that if I did the bottom section first then joined the two in a visually interesting way.

SOOOOOO…..I needed to change gears and  join the two sections now. (I admit that having made that decision….I procrastinated several days since I would once again have to face my sewing machine)

Luckily I had plenty of markings on both pieces to match the two sections up exactly, so it was a relatively simple job  (once I got down to it and thanks to the new details on how to do it supplied by the IRC).DSCN0752I began with a widely spaced zigzag stitch just inside the joining and overlap lines of both pieces. Then did a quick pin-together to make sure they still matched. (when I drew the pattern initially, I had drawn lines every 10 ditches to make the matching easier)

DSCN0755Then I did a careful exact pinning together and  basted the two sections together both top and bottom.DSCN0767Just an aside here……and a heartfelt thank you. I received this leather finger shield as a gift not too long ago and it is the most wonderful thimble alternative I could imagine.DSCN0766If you are as useless with a thimble as I am it is a tool you’ll love to have available. If you ever see one buy it! (or have a friend like Isabelle). No sore fingers now for me! Thanks again Isabelle.DSCN0768

I was pleased with how the design matched.

It is already heavy so I will hook the join areas first and I immediately started with the outside edge to give it some stability. I must admit I was both surprised and pleased at how easy it was to hook through the overlap.DSCN0772 (1)I’ll cut the fringe off only as needed to keep it from ravelling.

Whew!   It’s all joined together, and today I’m hitting the dye pots once again. Lots more dark blue background needed, as well as some dark rhodamine red. Thankfully this is the coolest day we’ve had all month!

Thanks for stopping by.