Friday, May 30, 2008

leaves and beads...

A month or so ago, maybe longer, I was wasting time at Chapters...looking forsomething to buy so that I could use a coupon (yes - I am a victim of marketing!) and happened upon this book:
One of the blogs I check periodically had had a post about it, and upon recognizing the cover, I picked it up for a closer look. It was love at first sight. It came home with me, and I think that I read the whole book that first night.

Although I was eager to get started creating some funky embellished clothes, I knew that my schedule would not permit it. The next day, I took the book over to AJs for her to look at....removing the temptation.

I picked it up again on the long weekend, and to avoid working on the newsletter, I started modifying a t-shirt I'd bought last summer. It was lots of fun to play around...but I think that I'm going to be taking a closer look at the book again before I begin my next project. Here is a picture... (although not a great one - have you ever tried taking a picture of yourself?)

The next time your wandering aimlessly in Chapters - check it out! As for me, I'll be back soon with pictures of other things I've made...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

an observation....

Years ago, while driving with AJ and admiring the beginnings of Spring, she told me that my grandma (the first rug hooker I knew), used to say that "Spring is like Fall, but in reverse". Ever since then, I have been noticing more and more that Spring is not just about the greening of the trees, the grass and the plants...there are a lot more colours to be seen. Many of the trees are rich, rusty reds and beautiful, burnt oranges. There are also some golden greens mixed in, too. There definitely isn't the same in-your-face, impossible-to-ignore colour of Fall, but once you start looking, a variety of colours is definitely everywhere in the Spring.

I took some pictures on the way home the other night...I won't be winning any awards for my photography - but you can see the evidence, at least ;-) (NOTE: for some reason this photo isn't as bright as it is in it's not quite true-to-life - sorry!)

It might be a little too late for you to take full advantage this year....but once you start looking for the colours every April and May, you'll agree that Spring is like Fall, just in reverse.

And just because they're so cute, here are a few of the calves from the farm (where I live)....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

my little pony

Well folks, I can barely believe it - but my Carousel Horse is finally finished. If I had known how easily it would all come together in the end, I would not have wasted the last three months procrastinating. (note I said easily, not quickly!)

I am so, so happy with the finished product. Every time I look at my little mat, two things come to mind right away:
1. I can't believe I made such a thing!
2. It's so small - why did I spend so much time hooking it?

This project is unlike anything I have every hooked before. It is definitely the most shading that I have ever done...and the first time that I have hooked anything remotely realistic looking. There was much learning involved, and lots of re-hooking, too. I even used the burling iron and peephole that AJ had given me when I first started hooking years ago - they had been collecting dust until now!

I was petrified of hooking the horse's head - and if you've been following along, you'll know that it's been months since I've worked on this mat...and it's all about the head! In the end, all I needed was a deadline to get me going again. I hooked all evening on the Friday of the long weekend, and completed about half of what was left. The rest of the hooking was finished on Saturday morning. The hooking fairy must have been perched on my shoulder - everything worked out! Here is a close-up of the head...

Saturday was a rug hooking marathon of a day. After I finished the hooking, I pressed it quickly, sewed on the silver trim, and proceeded to whip the entire thing before I crashed and went to bed around midnight. All that was left for Sunday were a few beads to be sewn into place. The green beads are from an old necklace of AJs...

All along, I'd been planning to needle-felt the name of the horse on top of the background. I had used this technique for my Memories of My Mother rug...and liked the results. As I was getting closer to finishing the last bit of my horse, I knew that I wanted to use something that would pick up on the metallics used in the horse's trim (hooked using gold and silver pantyhose from Winners). I dug in the stash and rediscovered some silvery tape or ribbon-type yarn and I ended up just sewing it on, in the end (since obviously the lurex threads don't felt, and there wasn't enough other fibres to do the job).

Sewing on the trim was a time-consuming process. It took about 3 hours in total, with my rug on the frame as I sewed though the loops and backing with tiny stitches. I tried having one hand on top and the other down below to save time and movements, with varying results due to a lack of coordination ;-)

I couldn't be happier with the trim - I think that it really adds the finishing touch. Not only did the silver trim help tie everything together, it was also a way for me to include my initials and the year. Without the addition of the name on the left side, the horse would have looked really off-centre.

Without further ado....please allow me to introduce Dapple Aimee...

Dapple Aimee will be joining some of her friends at the Powassan Hook-in on June 7th. Once I have more details about where and when the collection of horses will be on display, I will let you know...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

photos soon....

Things are humming right along here --> the internet is working horse has crossed the finish line (horray!)...I'm a third done the newsletter...and I'm running out the door to help host our 4-day annual orientation weekend with 35 people for my day job. I'll be back next week with lots of news, pictures, and posts ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2008

passing elms and passing days...

Last week I had finally weeded my inbox from over 80 messages, to less than 20. With plans to finish off the last few this weekend….how is it that I now have 29? Procrastination. Plain and simple. So if you’re one of the (un)lucky 29…my apologies – but hopefully by now, you have received a reply.

Sometimes procrastinating feels so fun and liberating….like it did this past weekend. I had all kinds of jobs planned, including knocking off a good chunk of the newsletter, sorting our my basket of papers from the last couple of months, spending time with Mum on Sunday…and hopefully resuming work on my horse (June 1st is fast approaching!). Only one of these things happened – and it’s because Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May! The surprising thing is that I hardly even feel badly about all of the things that I didn’t get done, because I was having so much fun avoiding the work.

My sister and her family came over for an impromptu dinner on Friday and a visit to see the new calves on the farm (there are 6 so far…and super cute with their whitest of white patches)….and after they left, I started watching a movie (Savages - good). Saturday I woke planning to get started on the newsletter….but got caught-up finishing the movie, and then decided to horn-in on my sister’s family trip to Barrie to help procrastinate even more. Of course, when I got home around suppertime I was too tired to click away on the keyboard, and just ended up watching another movie (The Golden Compass – I enjoyed the book more).

Sunday morning was for sleeping in, sipping cappuccino, watching TV in my pajamas…and eventually putting away all of my winter sweaters and hauling out my summer clothes. Okay so that was productive ☺ Early in the afternoon, my sisters and I met up at my folks to create the “Mother’s Day Feast”. Again, I returned home late and too tired to accomplish much.

Oh well, it’s now the beginning of a brand new week….ready for a fresh start?

I just love this pattern...and I still dream of hooking it myself one day. The pattern is an old Rittermere pattern called Passing Elms and this pretty version was hooked by Grace Tanfara from the Ajax group.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

guess where I'm going in November?

Hooked in the Mountains at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont! ...and I'm taking a class with Heather Richie on 3-D Flowers. I can hardly wait for Fall....

If you've never been to see the rug show at the Round Barn in Shelburne, I can't say enough about it. Every rug hooker should go at least once - but know that it can be habit-forming very quickly. I think the first time that I went was in 2001 (the year that Patty Yoder's Alphabet of Sheep rugs were featured) ....and I haven't missed a show since. Some years I've taken classes (once I even took two...but I wouldn't do that again - I still haven't finished the rug I started in the first class!), other times I've just gone to see the show and sometimes the opening reception. Every year there are hundreds of rugs, artfully arranged....and many vendors selling lovely wares. I defy you to leave empty handed - it's just not possible! ;-)

Regardless of how long the trip has been, I've always made time for a visit to the Dorr Mill Store in Guild, New Hampshire. It's only about a two hour drive from Burlington....just in case you needed another reason to make the drive to Hooked in the Mountains.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

at the newsstand….

The June 2008 issue of Canadian Home & Country again features the work of Guelph rug hooker Micheline Mann (remember those Christmas ornaments?). There is a very graphic quality to the landscape rugs featured in the issue – they kinda remind me of the “cutout” filter on Photoshop. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, flip to pages 32 & 33 – it’s a short article, so hopefully you’ll have time to finish before the cashier has rung through all of your purchases ;-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Great Old Rugs...

There was a fabulous selection of old rugs on display at the Annual in Midland...and here is just a sample... Most of these rugs were from RHF's Collection (except for the first two rugs, I think)

This first rug was hooked by Nancy Barber's grandmother....and it was one of my favourite pieces in the show (new and old, alike). It was so long, I wasn't able to fully capture it - even standing on a chair! I could just stare at it for hours...
This next rug is a part of Debbe Bloom's collection...definitely a oldie...

I Heart this next rug....I love the directional hooking...

Monday, May 05, 2008

a new leaf...

What a great weekend at the Annual in Midland - I could not have asked for a finer introduction to the event. Everything ran very smoothly and it was so nice to reconnect with some of my hooking friends. I think that everyone should give themselves a huge pat on the back for a job well done...and Linda "the Machine" Wilson should use both hands ;-)

Inspiration, motivation, friendly faces and beautiful things were present at every turn - and more than a couple of times someone inquired about my recent lack of blog posts. I can only say (again!) that it always seems to be the first thing that drops off my radar when life gets busy. I was truly surprised by the number of people telling me how much they missed my posting and that they're wishing hope things settle down very soon for me, and they will have something new to read. I promise to try really (really!) hard to post at least a few times each week - if only to say "hi" and post a picture or two...

Now ordinarily, I would procrastinate posting today because I stupidly forgot my camera cable at home and I have no means of retrieving any of the 476 pictures on my camera....but not today - I'm turning over a new leaf ;-) (just for Marny, Fiona, Wendie, Pat...and the rest of you!)

I arrived home yesterday feeling truly wiped. I dropped my stuff inside the door at 5:56pm, by 5:58pm I had changed into my yoga pants, and by 6:00 I was reclining on the couch watching my new rug hooking flick (I know that it's not really "new", having been released in 2005, but I just bought it on the weekend and this is its first viewing). Shortly thereafter - not doubt less than 20 minutes after I arrived home - I was snoozing on the couch ;-) I woke up as the credits were rolling...feeling a little revived - and hungry! (This brief nap should not be taken as a review of the DVD - the parts that I did see were good....and I'm looking forward to watching it in its entirety)

After supper, my second wind was in full swing...and I was half-tempted to start downloading the pictures. But what I really wanted to do was to put the finishing touches on my newest purse. I know that the next few weeks promise a lot of obstacles in the form of finishing my horse before the June 1st hook-in; creating, printing and mailing the latest issue of the R.U.G. sack; and of course, all of the usual demands of my paying job at this time of year. If I didn't work on it last may be weeks before I get another chance.

So I sat and stitched...much more relaxed than when I was rushing to get it finished last week (in time to be my Annual companion) and all of the major problems I was experiencing last week just became minor ones and I was finished in no time. Isn't that so often the case? Sometimes we need to put things aside and just breathe...

I'll be back tomorrow with pictures - I promise! ;-)