Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week Five: 17.45 square feet

I put my theory of "no stressful and horrible dreams after an evening of hooking" to the test this week. I hooked 6 nights out of 7 – and had great sleeps for each of those nights....but the only night I didn't hook it was awful (and enough to keep me hooking on the remaining nights of the week!)

The rug is starting to get a little cumbersome, and to make it a little easier to shift it on and off the frame (I'm afraid the weight + gravity will cause it to stretch in a weird way, so I lay it on the floor every night), I'm started keeping it rolled more tightly, so that less of it is showing at once. I also switched my strings on the topside to pieces of selvedge, after several of pieces of yarn broke under the strain. So far the selvedge seems to be doing the trick, and I've started using them like handles to move the rug around. It helps.

On Saturday I plotted out the colours for the rest of this side of the centre section. I unrolled the whole previously hooked section so that I could do a better job of balancing out the colours over the whole piece. And then I took a photo. Since I expect it will be a few weeks before I've used up all of the piles, I will be able to refer to it when I need remind myself of the plan...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week Four: 13.7 square feet

I'm pretty pleased with my progress this week, especially since I didn't hook on Monday, Saturday or Sunday. The summer is always a crazy-busy time for is busiest (and always unpredictable), and when it's nice outside, I want to enjoy the lake and (hopefully soon) camping.

One thing that became clear this week -- and that I had never actually realized to be true for me before -- is just how relaxing and therapeutic rug hooking can be. Usually at this time of year I am completely stressed in the evenings, with the remains of the day, and have all kinds of trouble sleeping. Not this year (fingers crossed!)....I think that the regular evening hooking is really helping me to relax and unwind. I can't complain about that! ;-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

neat trick

I tend to follow rules in most aspects of life, 'cause I really don't like to get into trouble....but rug hooking is one place where I don't always conform. For example, I don't always clip a strip at the end of every row. Instead, I fold the strip on the backside and most often hook with the other side of the strip in the next row.....but sometimes the wrong side is so different, that it's just wrong, and then I twist it around to keep the same side on top. Regardless of which method I'm using to avoid having so many tails, it requires a little finesse so that the first and last loops stand tall and straight.

After hooking so many AMMs, I've almost perfected my technique -- or so I thought. While at the Powassan hook-in a couple of weeks ago, Wendie showed me a neat trick that practically guarantees that the ends of your rows will be straight. It's so simple, I can't believe that I didn't think of it – and noone had shown me – before. Here's what you do...

After you finish hooking on a given row, insert your hook through the last loop hooked before pushing your hook down into the hole to start your next row...

Pull up your first loop of the new row (both loops will be on you hook at once), adjust the height as necessary....and presto -- two perfectly straight loops...and a smoother back, to boot!

A couple of fine-tuning things I've noticed....
  • you might want to use a straight hook (not a bent hook) for this trick
  • your hook needs to be long enough and fine enough that it doesn't inadvertently pull your last loop higher, while you dig for your first loop
  • if your finished loop height is too high, try starting with a shorter last loop

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MP by OP – Jill's Zippers

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love to see pictures of other people's work -- especially when it's inspired by mine. Wendie posted about her adventures earlier this week....and Jill sent me these pictures over the weekend.

Jill picked out some bags of Crazy Eights at the Annual a month or so ago and has really gone to town to get her runner hooked and finished so quickly. It's approximately 52" by 13"

As usual, I think it looks even better in person than in a photo, but I'm sure you know that, too. The colours are so rich and beautiful. I really am thrilled with how this runner has turned out and it has been a very good exercise in trying to keep my loops at a (relatively) even height!
As you can see, Jill's cat is loving it, too! And why wouldn't he? I think it's beautiful!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week Three: 10.8 square feet

Wow! I can't believe how quickly it's growing! I've completed about 10% of the overall rug and just over 25% of the centre section. To give you a better idea of the size, I've placed a 100cm (39.5") ruler in the centre of the area.

Despite how it may appear, I am not spending every waking moment hooking away on the Jumbo rug. Some nights I am very productive and get lots accomplished.....and other nights I might not hook at all or hook very little. Even yesterday–despite my best intentions to get a solid day of hooking in–my conscience won in the end and I spent all day taking care of various odds and ends (e-mail, class notes, orders, blog updates, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) and didn't sit down to start hooking until 6pm!

It amazes me how it keeps changing with new colours being added. It's definitely starting to look a lot more colourful....and I'm also starting to revisit my earlier border ideas. I think I'm going to have to go back to Photoshop to play around a little bit and try out a couple of my new ideas.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

making a plan

I had to do my first bit of ripping out this week, and I didn't like it. With my laxidasical approach to colour planning this rug, I managed to run into too many of the same colours quite close together and at least two shapes that looked very similar. With so many colour choices available it amazes me that this can happen -- but when the rug is on my frame, I can see only a small portion of the whole thing.....and it can be hard to remember what is happening beyond the window of my frame.

Since I'm no longer completing one shape before moving onto the next one, organization is beginning to play a major role. Every time I hook a swath across (about 6"), I am hooking about 10 different shapes (each shape is comprised of 4 colours) and starting at least 3 new shapes.

Because I hate to rip out (regardless of what you call it, it's unproductive), I decided I needed to spread out the rug and make a bit of a plan. So yesterday I laid out the rug and started picking and choosing and laying colours on top of one another in the approximate order they will be hooked. I'm also keeping the cut wool in piles on top of the bigger pieces of fabric.

These piles should last for several days....I hope! I will be back tomorrow with a progress report, and you'll be able to see some of these piles hooked into the mat.

more handles

I finally have more Grayson e. handles in stock. There are still a few colours on back order, but here are the colours/styles that I have at the moment......

Single Urban: Grape, Olive, Black, Indigo, Brown ($35 each, $68 for pair)

Long Rolled: Black, Brown, Red, Amber, Buckskin, Green ($46 per pair)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Week Two: 6.75 square feet

I didn't start hooking on Jumbo until Sunday this weekend....but I had a pretty productive day. Despite taking a few days off last week - and having some short nights of hooking - I am happy to report that I'm still on track (3.3 square feet per week).

I've started choosing colours on the fly....and this has met with mixed results. Since it's just soooo big (this centre section will end up being about 63" across, and it's already about 54" across), it's hard to see what colours are around when it's on the frame. I am going to do a little surgery later on the newly started shape on the right (kinda peachy neutral) and replace it with more of a colour.

It's certainly fun to watch it grow -- I just hope that it continues to motivate me to keep going....

Friday, June 04, 2010

Day 8

Real life is happening alongside my progress has been slow this week. Last night I was out at my nephew's birthday until 9ish, so it was another night of light hooking.

I'm going to start posting Jumbo rug updates on a weekly basis, starting this Monday. These daily reports will soon start getting boring (if not already)....and I missing my regular ramble about other things of note.

I'm off to the hook-in tomorrow in Powassan (sans Jumbo - it's just too big), but hopefully I'll get some hooking time in this weekend. I need to catch up! ;-)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Day 7

Last night was more productive than day 6, but I found I was hooking a little slowly. It wasn't until late in the evening that I identified the problem: no AC. Working under such a large project is a little smothering -- perfect in the wintertime, but horrible in the heat of the summer. But as soon as I turned the air conditioner on, it was like flicking a speed switch inside me -- I was noticeably hooking faster. I think I just might have to pay tribute to Ontario Hydro for enabling me to hook such a large rug -- maybe I could get a discount? ;-)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Day 6

Definitely the least productive night of rug hooking since I started on the rug. Mostly this was due to not arriving home until just after 10pm (and have I told you how much I love my bed before?), but also because I spent some time re-rolling and tying up my rug along both ends. It's definitely much easier to handle now (and I'm hoping this will continue). What I hope won't continue, is accomplishing just a measly 8 square inches in an evening. It's better than nothing, but at this rate it will take me 1,944 nights to finish -- if I hooked only this much every day of the year, it would take over 5 years to finish off this Jumbo rug! yikes!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Day 5

Already at day 5....and no need for popping any loops and replacing colours. Yippee! The awkwardness of the sheer size of the piece has me contemplating other ways of hooking. So far I've been completing one shape at a time....but I think I am soon going to have to switch and hook all the way across the centre section, several inches at a time. It's becoming a real pain to roll and tie every time I move my work on the frame (which is 2-3 times a night). Hopefully I will have the where-with-all tonight to stretch it all out and roll it neatly from both ends. As for keeping track of my wool for each shape, I've already decided to bundle the cut pieces up together with the uncut yardage (four colours together).