Wednesday, December 21, 2011

just for Gayle...

....because she asked! :-)

3 decades, 2 makers, 4 reds....yet they all belong together

The stockings that started it all for my sisters and me.

The first two stockings I made + one for the next generation

more from my first year of making....

Actually, I was a bit surprised that I didn't have pictures of more of my 24....but here are as many as I could find tonight. I will try to take some more over the holidays (when they are out and up) to share.

Not that I want to push my wares, but if you're interested in sharing our family's tradition, I do have patterns and kits available. Email me in the new year and I will pass along the particulars.

one more makes twenty-four

I was a bit premature when I declared my holiday making finished a week or so ago. For starters, I momentarily forgot about a stocking I promised to make for the baby born in March....and then on Monday night I decided I wanted to whip up a few handmade ornaments for some special Christmas cards. Even though I had a few false-starts with the ornaments...I adapted quickly and in the end, I had developed a new process that I am certain to use again in many different ways (more on that later, probably in the form of a pattern next year).

But back to the might not know, but AJ's Christmas stockings are the reason I started hooking in the first place. They've been a staple in our family's Christmas celebrations for as long as I can remember -- my sisters and I received some of the first ones she made, and ours were crafted in 1977. Each time a new baby is born or someone gets married, a new stocking is created (the only 'rule' is that they are never created for boyfriends or girlfriends -- only for husbands and wives....). My sisters and I wanted to be able to maintain this tradition on our family, and somehow I was 'voluntold' to learn how to do it.

I've since made several stockings for a new generation of cousins, and also carried on the tradition with a couple of my very best friends. With this year's stocking, I've now made 24 since I started. Every year, the number of stockings made gets written on the wooden template. AJ made over 100, so I have quite a few more to make before I get to that level!

+ + + + + + + + + +

P.S. Thanks for all of the Jumbo love over the last few days. You gals are great - and your positive comments are motivating me to get back to work on this project in January.

P.P.S. Today is my last day of work at my 'real job' until January 9th - yippee! - and I'm starting my holidays with a bang. Tomorrow I'm heading to Toronto to see Mary Poppins with my littlest niece, and once I get back up north on Friday we will be knee-deep in preparations for several days of feasting. Christmas is a very family-filled time for me....and since I will be pretty busy for the next while, I'm forecasting a bit of a blog break until early in the new year. I might be back sooner, but if I'm not....I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas, filled with lots of fun, family times, fond memories and, fabulous food.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 31: 58.81 square feet

Well I did it! I met my short-term goal of being finished the long side before Christmas. After pulling the last loop late yesterday afternoon, I quickly started pulling back the furniture to make room on the floor for the grand unrolling....

(the colour is a bit more true in this next photo - without any flash. At this time of year I find taking photos a real challenge -- complicated all the more from the sheer girth of Jumbo)

Even after pulling stuff out of the way, it was a tight squeeze -- and impossible to see all of the way to the ends. I was immediately struck with one thought: "it sure is big!" immediately followed by "I must be crazy...." I don't know what I was thinking when I embarked on this ginormous project , but I'm totally invested now -- in more ways that one.

I do really like it, though....especially how the border is a bit darker than the centre, but still relates. I was a bit worried that the colours I chose more-or-less at random from my shelves for the border might not fit with the rest of the centre, but it works. At this point, I'm wondering if it really needs anything else on the outside edge (and I don't think this is just because I am eager to be finished.... LOL!)

P.S. Jumbo's current weight is a whopping 29 pounds -- it sure isn't pretty to see that number on the scale (I hop on holding the rug, and then again without it and calculate the difference)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 30: 57 square feet

It was a slow start to the hooking week this time around -- I didn't pull a single loop until Saturday afternoon. Luckily, it was a relaxing winter weekend, where I treated myself to just staying home for two whole days. After the last of my Christmas making was complete (late Saturday afternoon), I wrapped the rest of the presents and then mostly just sat around and hooked....and watched 'the Big C' (v. awesome show) on Netflix.

In my photo above, you can see my amazing discovery of the weekend. Up until now, I've been keeping the sausage roll off to the right of my frame as I hook....but this weekend I wondered why I hadn't just been sticking it through the centre hole in the back of the frame. Granted it makes the frame more difficult to man-oeuvre, but everything hangs a little better and it's definitely easier to move my work around on the top. When I'm done hooking for the evening, I just lift it off the grippers and let it fall where it may....

I'm feeling on track to have the long side completed before Christmas (my last night for hooking is the 20th)....and my reward will be unrolling it and seeing how it really looks, when I can see the whole centre and not just a sliver.

My so-called colour planning for the border has been very hap-hazard. When I first started, I would just pick and cut wool for the number of squares I was planning to hook that day/night. Now I prefer to plan for a number of squares at once, and find that an old baking sheet makes this task a lot easier. I basically just arrange the piles of cut strips in the same order I plan to hook them. The little odd bits of similar wool that are hooked in together are plucked at the last minute, just as I start hooking a given square, and then all leftover bits are returned to the same bin.

Since I'm just using up all sorts of little and big bits of wool from my shelves and large basket of skinny pieces, I am more or less just planning as I go. And, I'm getting very good at predicting the amount of wool I need to hook 9 square inches! Now when I cut strips from a bigger piece of wool, I cut enough for another square (or two, if that is all that's left)....loosely tie them in a knot and then place them in a basket. I'm hoping that having this basket of little bundles will speed up the hooking on the other long side, in addition to helping spread colours around. In the almost 200 squares that I've hooked so far, there have been few exact repeats.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I really wish I could go....

.....maybe you can?

While procrastinating a couple of weeks ago, I decided to pop into Rug Hooking Daily to look at the recently posted pictures. I hadn't been there in ages, and I was curious to see that Mary Anne Wise had done some teaching in Guatamala and she'd posted pictures of some of her students' work. In a word: WOW! If you are a member of RHD, I encourage you to seek them out. Seriously charming, colourful work.

I took a class with Mary Anne a few years ago in Vermont.....and in the process of catching up on what she's been doing lately, I discovered that she's participating in a textile focused 10-day tour in Guatamala in February 2012, organized specifically with rug hookers in mind. If you would like more information, you can download a brochure here.

As far as I know, there are still a few spaces available. I've spent a lot of time dreaming about going, but it's just a little too soon after my England trip and a little too close to Christmas for my pocketbook....and it's happening in the middle of a busy time at work. Sadly, it's not possible to do everything I want, all of the time. Meh. Life is so unfair... ;-)

Monday, December 05, 2011

some videos

Just because it's Monday....and just in case you're procrastinating while you catch up on blogs, here are a few videos I've found interesting lately. Enjoy!

I discovered this video last night on Cilla's blog....and thought I'd share, in case you haven't already seen it....

This is the video (I think!) that Jen Lavoie referenced at the end of the previous video....

Rusty and the Hinesburg Hookers from Mt Mansfield Media on Vimeo.

Finally, I saw this video a couple of weeks ago, and I'm still thinking about it....

<a href='' target='_new' title='Murmuration' >Video: Murmuration</a>

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Week 29: 55 square feet

This week I set myself a little mini-goal of hooking 3 square feet. Since I was pretty dedicated earlier on in the week (hooking for the first 4 evenings in a row), my little trip to Toronto on Friday/Saturday didn't have a lot of impact. And, since I got home early enough yesterday to put in a proper evening of pulling loops, I was able to take a break today and work on my Christmas sewing. Buy the time I called it quits for the day and tidied, I was too tired to hook -- so I'm getting a head start on Monday (by posting this tonight), so that I can have the extra time tomorrow night for hooking! :-)

I am hoping to get this whole side (including the 25 squares on each of the ends) finished before I head up to my folks for Christmas. At that point, I will be 1/3 of the way around. Even thought the long sides are cumbersome to work on, I am going to do the other one next -- just because I think it will be easier to plan/move/choose the colours (i.e. it won't matter so much if the wools on the ends are a little different from the long sides) -- not to mention easier to roll the rug again in the same direction! :-)

I've been thinking about what I'm going to do to finish off the outside. There are a few ideas perculating for another little narrow border (~2.25-3", either 1.5 or 2 times as wide as the little checkerboard), but I am going to wait and see how things look when I unroll a bit more of the centre. If I still think I want to add something, then I think I will draw some options (to scale) and lay them alongside to help make a decision. No doubt I will be asking for some help then, too.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

and it continues....

I arrived home yesterday to not one, but two special mail envelopes in the mailbox. Lately there hasn't been too much interesting mail arriving, so needless to say, I was excited. Although I knew that both items would be arriving at some point -- they both seemed to get here extremely quickly: one short week from both the US and the UK. Go postal service!

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a blog giveaway for batiks on Debbie's blog: A Daily Dose of Fibre, never really thinking that I might actually win (I never win....). Batiks are my favourite fabric....and I can't even walk by without looking, drooling, and choosing some to purchase. Well, I guess you know how this little story ends....

Yippee! and thanks Debbie! They are beautiful and I can't wait to see how I end up using them....

The second package contained fabric samples for a top-secret, hush-hush project that I will be working on in the new year. I can't really talk much about it right now, but suffice is to say, I will share the full dish when I am able.....but it won't be for some months yet. Patience is a virtue...