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Monthly Archives: September 2011

BEASTIES IN THE WOODS AND ON THE LAKE…

So for the last few days I could not figure out WHY MY PICTURES were soooooo tiny – even with my 2.5 reading glasses I could not see them (although you can click on them and get an enlarged version). Yesterday I decided I better figure out what the problem was.  I am a techno dummy – soooo computer illiterate that it is not (well maybe it is!) funny.  Anyway as you can see I did figure it out! A very simple fix! So my pictures will once again be viewable by normal eyes – no magnifiers necessary! If you do want to see them full size just click on them.

Have I mentioned I live in the woods on the lake far from too much civilization? On Sunday we had a great pike in the water right beside the dock and a muskrat trying to climb onto the under paddle of the paddleboat.  The next day we found the teensiest tiniest baby snapper in the pond. That was amazing as once our friendly (so friendly she lets me rub her head!) mama snapper drags her butt all the way up our steep hill from the lake to lay her eggs the racoons usually dig up and eat every egg.  We are not sure where this little guy came from but he seems to be quite happy in the pond with our bull frogs! Thursday we had a BEAR!!!! outside the house!  Naturally when Gord told me there was a bear I got so excited I rushed out yelling where where is the bear!!!!  Not a smart thing to do if there is a hungry bear in the driveway! Gord reminded me that I was acting rather rashly – well actually he asked me if I was nuts! and I zipped back into the house!  Then in the afternoon I gave Di some scraps to put out for the deer and coons and didn’t she start yelling and screaming – oh god the bear has got her I thought.  Well nope – no bear – she had spied a couple of wild turkeys in the woods and got about as excited as I did! So it has been an exciting week animal wise.  Of course the deer  are hanging around waiting for us to fill the deer feeder, our resident tame chipmunk – Theodore – eats out of my hand and we have a stray kitten driving the rest of the cats absolutely bonkers! They slam themselves into the screens trying to get him – I think they are jealous as it only appears to be my male cats who have been fixed who get upset – the stray has NOT been fixed – very evident!

A friend of mine, France, is currently doing a huge floor rug.  France and her husband came to see me last year and asked if I would hook 6 chairpads for their dining room. I, instead, proposed that she take my beginner class and hook them herself! which she did between May and December of last year – 6 wonderful chair pads which her husband, Cam, designed and colour planned.  I dyed the wool and made up the patterns and she hooked the mats. Now she is doing this wonderful rug full of fall maple leaves – again a piece that she and Cam designed and colour planned. Border rows are hooked and now she is starting on the leaves – these are the wools I dyed and cut this morning for her yellow leaves. Mother nature sure knocks herself out in the fall so I hope I have done justice to her colours (spot dyes, solids, textures, abrashed):

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REPLICATING AN ANTIQUE RUG…

Yesterday Gwen was here – she had just recently finished her second rug and now is tackling a bigger piece.  I have an antique rug that is about 75 – 80 years old. We used this as the basis for the new rug design but changed a few things i.e. the house was changed so that it is more like the ancestral home, three dogs to represent Gwen’s 3 dogs and a few colour changes since as you can see the original antique rug has very little colour (well except for a bit of smoke!!! yellowing). I love this old rug – love the lack of perspective, the fact that the squirrel and the horse are almost the same size! the big black hmmm would it be a snow cloud in the sky or did the hooker just run out of fabric (no wool in this rug at all!!!).  It is a wonderful rug and I am happy to have it and cannot wait to see what Gwen does with her rug.

I mentioned earlier this week that this Saturday I have a show in Kingston.  Next weekend I also have our 3 day Westport Fall Colours Studio Tour.  I cannot believe next weekend is already Thanksgiving weekend.  We have a wonderful tour in Westport and our stop has 8 artists this year.  Our website shows all the artists on the tour and pictures of their work www.artatwork.ca/westport_studiotours. I am so pleased and fortunate to have my guest artists.  This year we will miss Donna and Debbie – our carver and potter.  Hopefully they will be back next year but I think our new line up will please everyone.

Well off to dye dirty snow for Gwen’s rug.  I hate using just white so I spotdye different whites with a very light light formula of Cushings silver grey and a very light light formula of seal brown – into the microwave for 10 minutes and voila – dirty snow! It has shadows and dirty spots without having to hook in other colours.

FALL ON THE LAKE…

This was THE MOST STUNNING morning on the lake – we sat on the dock (thank god we have a canopy as it was raining!!!) and the colours were amazing – sky and water were a deep deep smoky blue (it was only about 6:30) and the sun was just coming up and the trees with just a hint of fall colour were glowing.  It was breathtaking.  All I could think was I neeeeeed to dye these colours and hook this! Not that I love hooking landscapes but something small would be fun.  Then the rain started – very gentle and a slight mist that made it even more unearthly.  I think most rughookers must be colour driven (term I learned from my friend Sheila who does the most amazing landscapes mixing wool and yarns and various textures). I just gasp sometimes at the colours surrounding me.  So this morning was a morning to die/dye for!

Just finished off a small piece that I attached to the washstand harp I bought at the junk man.  I like the way it all turned out.  Added old hooks and made it into a functional piece – yeahhhh for functional – and another finished piece ready for our studio tour next weekend(Thanksgiving).

Because of the old chippy paint look of the wooden piece I wanted the small rug to be a bit more toned down with less contrast.  Last year a bunch of us took a class down in Canaindaigua with Jayne Hester whose speciality is hooking that old faded look using as is plaids and textured woolens.  I did a pattern by Edyth O’Neil in the class and it was definitely out of my usual colour comfort zone but in the end I do think it had a more faded old antiquey look to it:

The other day someone asked me how I do corners – corners seem to be a real headache when we are finishing our rugs.  Well I DON’T DO CORNERS.  Or at least very rarely.  I read in a book – I believe it was Creating an Antique Look in Hand-Hooked Rugs by Cynthia Norwood – that making your corners slightly rounded made finishing the edges so much easier – no more sharp corners that never come out square when you are whipping or even putting on a show binding.  So for the last few years I have done all my “corners” that way and it realllllly is much easier to finish the rugs – less bulk and nicely rounded “corners”. By the way, if you love old antique looking rugs – get this book.  It is a wonderful book on how to achieve this look and I have reread it many times and recommend it highly.

HOOKIN PIX…

Had a small hookin yesterday.  So nice seeing old friends and meeting new! And as usual the rugs and other work were amazing!  Here are some pix of show and tell (could not post all of the pix – some were a tad incriminating!!!!)…

These are pix of Susan with the rugs she has hooked in the last few months!  Susan has only been hooking for a little over a year but holy cow – I don’t think she has done ANYTHING SMALL!  I love her version of the Notforgotten Farm Santa (from Spruce Ridge Studios).  Hmmmm might have to order that pattern again as I think there were a few covetous hookers checking out that one!  Susan – did you check your bag of rugs when you left???

This rug was hooked by Elizabeth who is making rugs for each of her grandchildren for this Christmas. Amazing how many people all of a sudden offered themselves up for adoption and started calling her Nana!!!

Lydia with her “quick rug” started hmmmm a few months ago to use up scraps.  I think this is a wonderful scrappy rug.

Andrea’s new Maud – it has a lot of yarns in it and is beautiful.  This time Andrea decided to use her own colours and hook non linearly and I think it works wonderfully.

Wendy with her wedding rug (wedding is in OCTOBER!) started in the Jule Marie class in May (but… a few other rugs were hooked in the meantime – now the push is on!)

Cathy with her beautiful pomegranate runner.  Cathy is starting up a small group in Ottawa to get together on a regular basis to hook – south Ottawa I think.

Cathy’s own design using up some scraps – I think this was her first design of her own and I think it is lovely.

Laura’s primitive lion started in the Jule Marie class – Laura is also an amazing felter and has been working on purses, scarves, shrugs, jewellery – all felted!!!  So Mr. Lion has taken a spot on the back burner however we were assured he would be done for 2012 or was that 2013?

Laura and felted shrug.

Di of course wanted to hook with the girls!!!

Suzanne was hooking a small Edyth O’Neill piece but these were her crocheted pieces that she brought along to show and tell.

Jean was working on putting a show binding on her first hooked piece.

So did I say I would not post the incriminating pix – oh what the heck – here’s Wendy with a Karla piece she is making into a purse and started hooking while guarding prisoners (seriously!!!!):

Can you tell that guarding prisoners is not exactly a joyous event!

and Linda with her new hat – somewhat non weather tolerant!!!!

Linda actually took apart an old lampshade, covered it with chicken wire and then distressed the wire to make this funky basket.

I also want to congratulate Tony Latham – my first rughooking teacher, who is featured in an article in this month’s rughooking magazine.  Tony was a great teacher – very understanding of my feelings of inadequacy and my subsequent obsession.  I remember fondly the hookins on Sunday afternoons; the trips together to Dick and George’s Do Dye Inn and the rug shows in Vermont and New York state and the patience with my dyeing fiasco in his kitchen.  Tony was teaching me to dye and we had an entire rug to dye for.  One of the techniques was spot dye – done with a veterinary syringe!  Welllllll, those syringes are hard to work with!  I proceeded to suck up dye into the tube and lift it out of the dye cup only to spray dye allllll over the kitchen!!!!!   all over his white cabinets, natural wood table, floor!!!!  Well ever since that date I do my spot dying by POURING THE DYE – no more of those wild spray dye sessions.

Next Saturday I will be in Kingston as a vendor at the Cataraqui Guild of Needle Arts. There will be a number of vendors – among them Rosehaven Farm.  Show runs from 10 – 3 at Crossroads United Church 690 Sir John A Macdonald Blvd. Kingston – Saturday only.  Should be a fun little show.

DYE CLASS AND A NEW WAY OF DISPLAYING A RUG…

Yesterday I had a dye class – Cindy and Liz came and here is a picture of their new stash of wool (probably would have shown up better on a white background but we were so excited about the wool…).  We did primitive value dyeing in the pot, spot dyeing, dip dyeing and dyeing background for Cindy’s oakleaf runner.

Also asked hubby if he could make up another frame similar to the one I used for the G7 tree – did I mention it took almost a month for him to make that one!  I find that unless it involves man toys i.e. John Deere tractor or leaf blower – things don’t get done quickly around here!  So if I could figure out a way of using either of those I am sure my frames would be piled up knee deep!!!  Anyway, halfway through the day he popped into the dye kitchen with a frame in hand – proud of himself for getting it done so quickly!

The only problem was – it was WAY TOOOOO BIG!  But you wanted the inside diameter 15 x 17 – NO I wanted the OUTSIDE diameter 15 x 17!  So a few hours later he popped back in with the rejigged frame!  I guess I cannot complain as it did not take a month!  Now I just have to find the time to actually finish off the Cat face.

I went to the junk man a few months ago and bought a reclaimed harp off a wash stand and a few old chippy hooks.  Well, in the process of pulling the harp off the wall I dropped it all the way down the steps to the first floor.  It was in a few pieces but not damaged – just needed reglueing as all the joints had come apart.  So hubby (whose name is Gord!) reglued all the joints, screwed on the old rusty chippy hooks et voila – a new piece to attach a rug to.  Would look great in an entry way or in a bathroom with hand towels.  Now I have to design something old and use soft antiquey colours as I want it to work with the chippy colour of the harp.

Oh I should mention my new way of antiquing shiny new screws which REALLY DID NOT WORK with the old rusty painted hooks – bleach and vineagar together in a jar OUTSIDE!  This forms a chlorine gas – DO NOT BREATHE THE GAS and put it in an area where it will not be hazardous to humans or animals!!!!!   Very dangerous but it worked wonderfully – pitted and aged those shiny screws wonderfully – of course they will probably continue to rot and fall apart!!! would have been MUCH EASIER to buy old screws from the junkman!!!!

MAUD, KARLA, SUZANNE AND SANDI!…

Ahhhh back to dyeing wool – this time Maud Lewis colours.  A tad brighter than my usual but a bit more toned down than the “Karla” colours.  Our workshop is coming up FAST and I need to get a bunch of wonderful Maud colours – solids (over various textures) and spotdyes for the trees.  Today it was spicy red and a spot dye over wool fabric and slub for maple trees and pine trees.  Maud has some UNUSUAL trees in her paintings – salmony pink and white spotty trees – not sure what they are – probably some spring flowering tree -but I think I might just have to make it a different colour.  My SPRING rug may turn into AUTUMN – artistic licence!!!

Since my last post I did!!! finish hooking my Karla runner – it still needs cleaning up and binding but the hooking is done and I am reallllllly happy about this rug.  Had fun fun fun hooking it in my colours and I think it works well.  So good to see that Karla’s wonderful patterns can be done in either colour way – bright or dirty!

Had a visit from friends from Wolfe Island – Suzanne and David.  Suzanne had taken a rughooking class from me a few years ago and just finished off her second piece – her first piece was a hooked cover for a footstool which she actually upholstered to the footstool (a very BRAVE undertaking!).  Her second was a small prodded sunflower which she wanted to attach to the front of a tote bag she will make.  So yesterday we attached it to the fabric of the tote bag and prodded the edge.  I think it turned out really well – a very funky way of attaching a piece to fabric and DEAD EASY.  We zigzagged 1/2 inch from the hooking and then another 1/2 inch beyond that mitering the corners.  Then we turned under the backing at the first 1/2 inch zigzag line – that gave us a turnunder of half an inch and half an inch of backing outside the hooked border to prod.  Suzanne basted it to the fabric and then we stitched by machine on a very short stitch in the very last row of holes all the way around.  Then we tore strips one inch wide and about 2 inches long, trimmed them into a soft point with the scissors and prodded them through one layer of the backing all the way around the mat.  Now Suzanne is going to stitch together the bag but the hooked piece is very sturdily attached.  Fun new funky way to finish the edge and use a sewing machine!!!!

A few weeks ago I posted pix of a few shelves that Wendy’s husband, Vince, had made out of recycled wood.  One of the shelves was bought by Sandi and here is what she did with it – looks WONDERFUL!!!! I am kicking myself that I did not react a bit faster!!!!

The shelf is surrounded by all sorts of wonderful primitive pieces Sandi has collected – the mirror on the bottom in the center is carved and painted by our friend Donna!!!! and the little rug beside it was hooked by me.  Hmmmm I think the little black angel beside the mirror might have been hooked by Laura – not sure.  But I think the shelf and all the primitives look wonderful.

BACK FROM KINCARDINE…

Well here I am back home with wonderful vacation behind me.  We stayed with friends up on Lake Huron in Kincardine.  Hubby always refers to the lake as the ocean and I must admit – this visit it LOOKED AND ACTED like ocean – waves were 10 feet high if not more and whitecaps – not boat or beach weather but wonderful walking weather.  So we walked (hubbies golfed), and checked out gardens and wonderful little shops.  I found a great little shop with – yup PRIMITIVES! I had met the owner in Ottawa at the spring Signatures show and had totally forgotten that she was in Kincardine until we found her wonderful little shop.  It was FULL of goodies but I restrained myself and only bought one piece to hang outside the front door and fill with seasonal stuff. Well, I also bought some STUFF to put in it!  Went to a little gallery and bought a wonderful funky little Moose which I will use as an ornament on my very primitive Charlie Brown tree this Christmas.  Wish I knew who the artist was to give her credit for the picture below:

Our friends have a wonderful new trailer that is like a small high end home!  Solid cherry cabinets, fancy counters and  A REAL BED FOR GUESTS.  The last time we stayed with them in their older trailer we slept head to toe as the bed was just a tad narrow – head to toe is NOT a good thing when your husband has hairy toes with long nails.  I woke up one night with his toes scratching my face and him spooning my feet!

So did not get a ton of hooking done but I am working on the Karla runner and here are some pix of the rug in progress – hope to get it finished this week:

This is a runner combining Happy Houses  at one end (the black sky) and On the Knoll at the other end (Maple Sugar sky) with fields overlapping in the center.  I used a bit of licence on these as I am hooking in 8.5 for the most part and did not enlarge the patterns so eliminated some details and smaller elements.  It looks so different in my dirtier older colours but I am having fun and loving it.   Now that I see the pix though I do see areas that need some “tweaking” before it is finished and you can see I still have a bit! of work to do but I will post the finished piece hopefully by the weekend!!!!  hmmm mighty ambitious!!!

Also got my G7 tree framed.  My friend Elizabeth Worrall had her husband build a stretcher frame for her Emily Carr piece.  She gave me directions on how to make the frame and attach the rug – the frame itself has to be the same size as the finished rug using wood about 1 1/2 inches square. Sew a 2 inch wide strips on each side of the finished rug with an overlap of about an inch at each end (sewn on by hand similar to show binding finishing that I talked about in a previous post).  Once this is sewn on wrap and staple the wool strips to the back of the frame stretching it as you staple(not toooo tightly but tight enough so that your piece does not bag and sag). Next fold in the ends and hand stitch them together and covered the entire back with another piece of wool.  I must admit it was a bit intimidating but once it was done the finished piece looks great and I am thinking of finishing Mr. Fleatwo in the same way. Another great finishing technique!

Backside still needs a sawtooth but you can see it is a really nice finish for a piece that has a lot of texture.