Monday, June 30, 2008

Days 6 and 7

When the weatherman calls for rain, it’s a good idea to stay home and hook! The weather on Friday night was nice enough for us to work at the campsite, trying to get set-up for some family camping this summer. The mosquitoes agreed. Needless to say, we had a hard time motivating ourselves to finish off the rest of the work on Saturday or Sunday. Even though we had a few patches of sun both days, I spent the bulk of my spare time hooking – and it shows.

I had a lot of fun hooking clouds on Saturday…and I had a hard time forcing myself to stop in time to get ready to go out for dinner. Luckily I managed to get some more hooking time in after I got home….and more clouds appeared in the sky.

To hook the clouds I used a mixture of slub yarn (Fleece Artist Slubbly - dyed with sections of pale sky blue, pale grey, and pale purplish blue), some wool – and mohair – roving (dyed by Heidi Wulfraat and Fleece Artist), a couple of leftover pieces of wool from this project, and much of a ball of yarn I bought from the basement at Romni a couple of years ago (I’m happy that I still have another one, but I’m wishing I had bought more!)

I began day 7 by hooking some more fluffy clouds, and adding in a bigger one. I wanted to add one earlier, but luckily I realized in time that it would have been right in the centre. I was feeling a little nervous that there would be too much contrast between the sky and the rest of the rug, so I was keen to get the sky to actually meet the top of the hill. I fiddled around with the hill, deciding to add more outlining and another narrow band of colour to the top. I was starting to get excited, but then I realized that I also needed to tweak the bottom edge of the foliage (since there was no real outlining separating it from the water). This lead me to replacing the shoreline (for likely the 6th time!).

It was right around the same time that I decided that I had to tackle the centre trees. Although I had already removed the contrasting streamers and spirals (shown in earlier pictures), I still didn’t like them enough. I began to think that another problem might be all of the outlining. I ripped out any of the outlining in between side-by-side trees to see if this might help. It did! And I decided that the easiest thing to do was to rip out the whole section (especially since I’d already decided to re-hook the trees in a #8 (previously they were hooked in #6). I couldn’t believe that I actually ripped out a whole section – and I took a picture, just to prove it! ☺

I am liking it a lot more now, but it still needs more tweaking. Hopefully I’ll have time to work on it tonight…

Friday, June 27, 2008

Days 3 to 5

Inspired by Sunnie's blog, I thought that it would be neat to record the progress made each day I spend working on my latest piece.

Monday night I decided that before I could fiddle any more with the centre trees and foliage, I really needed to get some water and sky in place...and I reluctantly removed the orange from the water.

Tuesday was my niece's Sweet Sixteen, so I didn't hook a single loop. On Wednesday night, I continued with the water....

On Thursday night, I finished off the water - for now. I'm sure that I will want to do some tweaking as time goes on - especially on the right hand side. With time left before bed, I resumed working on the foliage.

I am loving the thin turquoise and bright green dividing lines, playing off against the fiery reds and oranges, and hopefully visible in this close-up...

Monday, June 23, 2008

what a time!

It was a fabulous time at Wendie's cottage. We hooked, we ate, we talked, we swam, we rode in the boat, we ate, we hooked....and we even found a little time to sleep, too! It was a perfect weekend...and I'd love to gush for longer about just how great it was, but it's another Manic Monday at work, and time does not permit. So I'll have to make do with a few photos....and if you want to see more and hear more, go and check out Wendie's blog.

This is how you know that 3 rug hookers are all staying at the same place...

...and what a beautiful place it was...

...and we even had a mascot - meet Morris...

I've discovered that not only am I consistently inconsistent when blogging and keeping in touch with friends, I'm also a sporadic photographer. For some silly reason, I don't seem to have any pictures of Wendie's or Elaine's new pieces (we all started a new project in honour of the weekend)....but thankfully Wendie does ;-) One of the neat things about such a gathering is that we can all be working on completely different projects - and we were - and we all get to hook vicariously through one another, feeling as though we are a part of the process...

Here's a picture of my hooking at the end of Saturday...

and again, before I left on Sunday afternoon...

Once I got home (and had access to the wall of wool), I started replacing some wool, especially the 4 cut outlining. Here it is before I went to bed last night...

Friday, June 20, 2008

new beginning - part II

Sometimes plans just don't work out...and when I got home from work after 7 on Wednesday night, I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to continue drawing my pattern. Rather than just get frustrated - I knew that I wouldn't be happy with anything I created that night - I watched a movie instead.

Last night was much more productive. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I work best with a deadline.

The following picture shows my computer-generated outline (mentioned in the last post, followed by the first drawing, and then a slightly different second drawing.

You will notice that even in the final drawing, on the linen, that I made a few changes to the bottom right-hand corner. I am the kind of hooker that doesn't really like a lot of confusing lines - where it's difficult to keep track of which are the right lines. Instead, I'll wait until I get around to hooking in that area and draw the shapes I feel like having then. Especially since this is a new style of hooking for me, I know that what I think I want won't necessarily be what I really want when I get around to hooking there...

Once the pattern was was time for the true fun to begin. Since I'm going to pulling the loops this weekend at Wendie's, I really had to consciously choose some colours I was confident would be exactly what I need. I won't be coming all the way home just to choose another piece or two from the wool wall! Here's what I came up with...

I was feeling so excited and inspired to get started, I (briefly) contemplated calling in sick to work today - just so I could get started working on it! Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I'm still feeling as excited when the time comes to pull my first few loops...
Back Monday with the results.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

new beginning

Progress has started on my next piece. I really wanted to work on a landscape of sorts….and rather than create a fictitious place, I turned to a bunch of photos I’d taken down at my parents lake in the Fall. I finally found one that I think will work – with a little artistic license, of course!

I started by applying some filters to the original photo, which will help me in my planning and also when I get around to actually hooking it. Never having taken a fine shading class or worked with swatches, I sometimes feel at a bit of a loss of where to begin and where the highlights should be, etc. I find that letting Photoshop do the work is quite helpful. I’ve saved some of these various versions to share. Of course, the smaller resolution does lose some of the effect, but hopefully there will still be a visible difference….and you can see a little of what I see…

I also applied another filter (the name escapes me, sorry), then played around with the colour and saturation to get black lines around all of the basic shapes (insofar as the computer is able to recognize them)….and printed it. My printer/copier/scanner is not very advanced – you cannot specify a percentage for enlarging or reducing, only a finished size (4x6, 5x7 or full pages) – so I carefully cut the original into 8 equal pieces and print to fit on a full page (a clear quilting ruler and rotary cutter does the trick). Once all of the copies were made, out came the scissors and tape…and I now have a version that is “real size” (i.e. the same size as my actual piece).

Tonight I will be using this enlarged version, along with my light box and some extra large pieces of paper to draw my actual pattern, hoping to incorporate lots of squiggles and keep the shapes loose and organic. It might be a good idea to start with a gin and tonic ☺

If I keep my fingers crossed, I might even have enough time to trace it onto some linen and start picking wool. I’m operating on a bit of deadline, you see – I’m off to Wendie’s cottage this weekend for some hooking, food and fun! It’s just what every girl needs…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

across the pond

no time for a real post today. Here are a couple of links from the UK that you should check out if you want to see some GREAT rugs...

Debbie Siniska
Prodigal Rugs - Lucy Mason
Rag Art Studios - Mary Dayton
Cilla Cameron
Louisa Creed
Heather Richie


Saturday, June 14, 2008

cbc art spots

Here are a few interesting things that I stumbled upon by accident...
Deanne Fitzpatrick
Nancy Edell
Marjorie Miller
Hélène Gallant
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

finito bambito

A few weeks ago, shortly after I finished hooking my latest purse, I still wanted to play around with basic geometric shapes and colour. So in a matter of minutes I dug out a piece of backing, measured off some lines, dug around for some leftover strips and started hooking. I'm sure that from the initial idea to the first look it was less than an hour. Some projects are just like that - quick to start. (Of course that sometimes means they are also slow to finish....but you can't have everything!)

With demands from work, newsletter and pony, my mat sat still for a couple of weeks. Going to the hook-in this past weekend spurred me to bring it out of hiding. Here's how it looked after the hook-in (poor photo - sorry!)

As I mentioned on Monday...I was feeling very eager to get this project put to bed, so I decided to shrink the size, from a rug to a mat. The hooking was all complete on Sunday....I pressed it on Monday, and then spend much of last night on the finishing. And here it is...

It's probably about 11-12" by 20-21" or so - I forgot to measure it this morning. It will be a useful table mat/runner. Here is a close-up of some of the +++. I tried to alternate light/medium + with darker + you can see a bit of a diagonal pattern if you look. And especially if you're legally blind like me and you gaze at it first thing in the morning without any glasses ;-)

I think that it would be fun to try a similar design using different colours in each diagonal row. You'd have to do some careful planning...but it could look really neat. And, it's a great way to use up leftovers...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

almost a carousel...

Here are 30 of the 36 hooked horses. As with all rug hooking - they look so much better in person....and the pictures don't really do them justice. They are all shapes and sizes...and colours. It's amazing how many participants added embellishments to their piece - and there are definitely no two alike.

Organizers are still in the planning stages of just "where" these beauties will be on public display. One thing we do know is that they will be coming to the 2009 OHCG Annual. I will keep you posted as the planning gets finalized.

Friday, June 06, 2008

what are you doing tomorrow?

If you live in the area or within a reasonable drive, you should come and join us at the Powassan Hook-in. It will be held at the Golden Sunshine Club (on Edward Street in Powassan), starting at 9:30am. Please bring your lunch. Admission is a mere $3....but bring more $$, since Sheila from Heartland Creations and RHF will be there with their wares.

Not only will be you able to visit and hook with your fellow rug hookers, you'll also be able to see the biggest collection of the Carousel horses, to date.

Hope to see you there! (and for those of you who live too far away - don't worry, I'll be bringing my camera! ;-) )

marie's purse

I love it when people send me pictures of their completed purses. It never ceases to amaze me how different colours and combinations result in such vastly different finished products. Sometimes I scarcely recognize my own pattern, underneath the chosen colours...

Marie Kelly, from Thunder Bay send me these pictures last night...and here is what she has to say about her purse: I am so pleased with it. I love the funky colors, and feel it is so fresh and summery.

If you've hooked your own purses, I'd love to see pictures...please e-mail me. thanks!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

feel like procrastinating? (LINKS)

Over the last couple of days, I've received a bunch of links from Pat Lockerby. Pat's on the executive of my fan club and a frequent contributer to the R.U.G. sack. Kidding about the fan club - but she has always been very supportive of the newsletter. There are so many hooking resources and sites on the web...but they can sometimes be difficult to find.

There were some that I wasn't already familiar with...

Highland Heart Hookery
Angela Possak - Teacher and Fibre Artist from BC
Blue Tulip Woolery
Primitive Pastimes
Blue Ribbon Rugs
bits of wool blog
Dulcy's Door Step blog
IW Designs - Sandra Brown

...and some that I hadn't seen in a while...
Beaconsfield Rug Hooking Guild
Rachelle Leblanc
Vermont Rug Hooker's Diary - Sunnie Andreas

What are you favourite rug hooking sites and blogs? I'd love to check them out - and I'm almost always game for a little procrastinating (especially at work!) Please leave a link in the comments...thanks! ;-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And, they're off!

Yup, I dropped off all of the newsletters at the Post Office today at I hope that Canada Post delivers them super quick. Enjoy!

Monday, June 02, 2008

in the bag...

well, in the sack, actually! Yes, the Spring/Summer edition of the R.U.G. sack is at the printers, as I type. I had so many articles and pictures that I decided to add a page (which really means 4 more pages of fun!) While you wait for yours to be is a little taste of the cover

And here are two completed versions of the free pattern...

With any luck, some subscribers will receive theirs by the weekend. I'll let you know when they go in the post...

faith restored

Call me naive, but I like to think that you would be hard-pressed to find a more honest group of people than a gathering of rug hookers. I have always been quite carefree about my supplies. Whether they be at a workshop I'm teaching - or one that I'm taking - I have never really been too worried about sticky fingers. I'd always been able to turn a blind eye to the prospect that rug hookers would knowingly take from other rug hookers, until last year...

Over the course of a couple of months, I was confronted by the definite loss of both a sample copy of instructions at a hook-in and, a short time later, a complete pattern at R.U.G. In the case of the pattern, a woman had brought it over to me, asked me some questions, and never returned to the table to settle-up. Needless to say, these events left a bad taste in my mouth.

I tried telling myself that if someone is so hard up that they need to resort to stealing, than I should feel sorry for them. Instead, I started to feel angry. And I started to wonder about how many other times - times when I was not paying attention or didn't really care - things had been taken.

As I began talking with others about these events, I quickly discovered that my experience was not unique. Almost everyone had a story - and many had more than just one. And then I started to feel just a little ill...

Most people who sell rug hooking supplies and patterns do so because they love the craft and they want to share this passion with other people. For most, if not all, it provides a little income to off-set their wool-buying habit. It does not replace the salary of a real job. No rug hooking vendor will ever be featured on the cover of Fortune 500 - or likely any business magazine, for that matter. The profit margins are small, and any amount of theft makes a direct impact on the bottom line.

Imagine my surprise when a stranger approached me at the Annual, one of my patterns extended in her hand. She identified herself as the same woman I had spoken with the year before at R.U.G. and told me about how she had taken ill in the middle of the meeting and had to leave suddenly. A friend had packed up all of her belongings and it was quite some time later before she got around to sorting out her bags - only to discover the pattern mixed in with her things. She was horrified, and so in the middle of a busy weekend, she took a special trip to Midland, hoping to see me and have a chance to return the pattern.

It was one of the highlights of my weekend...and while I'm hopefully not naive enough to believe that all people are as honest and humble, it is sure great to know that such goodness still exists. My faith is restored.