RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: January 2012


During our class we had a display of rugs previously done by some of the students in the class. For those of us travelling flying distance and limited to carry on luggage without being charged by the airline (we DID bring a big golf bag for which we were charged but it had TONSSSSS of space inside it that could be filled with wool and patterns) bringing along rugs for display was just not an option but the local ladies brought along some wonderful pieces for the display. So here are some more inspiring pix for you to enjoy. The tree had ornaments for sale – almost bought 12 to pass off as handmade by me in our ornament exchange in december but knew I would be found out!!! The 4 small pieces were being hooked by Kathy’s husband Larry and are post cards of California. The Santa in progress is being hooked by Diane – our organizer – and was started in a class with the designer Tish Murphy (where I get my mitten kits) and is absolutely stunning! The 2 cats, chickens and 2 dogs in progress are very primitive pieces by Kathy of Briarwood Folk Art – I love her designs and the old antique look of her rugs. I wish  my memory were better and that I could remember who hooked allllll the rugs – but enjoy! Oh did I mention that one day during lunch I WON a kit! I NEVER EVER win anything and this was a pattern I had planned to buy! So exciting!!!


Well my faith in human nature has been restored! We were missing a wonderful bottle of Tuaca – a vanilla based liqueur which you cannot buy in Canada it seems or anyway but the southwest! I don’t drink but Gord loves to make a concoction which he calls Hot Apple Pie which consists of hot apple cider, spiced rum, tuaca, a cinnamon stick all topped with a dollop of whipped cream! But he had only about an ounce of tuaca left at Christmas so only served himself! Well we bought the bottle in Arizona and packed it in the golf bag surrounded by wool – lots and lots of soft cushioning wool – only to arrive at customs (did not get the pat down but did get our luggage checked – hmmm wonder why? could it have been the bulging suitcases?) and no bottle in the wool! I was a tad ticked and was on the verge of calling the airline to complain when Gord remembered he had stuffed it in one of the pockets of his golf bag. I can just picture him on the golf course discovering the missing bottle of Tuaca and imbibing! Anyway I felt badly for a few minutes – but not too long! Security now is just crazy – I got the full imaging or whatever they call it, had to take my shoes off and expose my toenail sticking through the hole in my sock and almost had to have my hand swabbed! Soon at the airports in Canada at US security they might be implementing a finger and eye scan system! Almost makes flying not worth while – imagine how much more wool I could have brought back stuffed in a car!

So today I am posting the pictures of the actual class rugs – yesterday I showed only Karen’s rugs. Tomorrow I will post pix of the rugshow! Yeahhhhhh – 3 days of pictures!!!! In addition, you can see more pix and read more about the class on the following blogs and websites (all students in the class):

Kathy Clark……,

Carol Miller…

Lisa McComb…


What a shock to come back to ice and snow – well not really! We ended up leaving home a day early so that we might avoid the ice and freezing rain – didn’t happen. Stayed in Ottawa overnight and had to hack an inch of ice off the car before we could leave for the airport in the morning. However, had we stayed home and left in the morning I am not sure we would have gotten out as we ended up with 2 inches of ice on our back woods roads! Then yesterday coming back all the flights from Chicago to Ottawa (as well as from other airports) were being cancelled because of 1. plane malfunctions, 2. deicers not working properly (oh that left me feeling REALLLLY secure) and 3. weather in Ottawa! However, they finally gave us a different plane and an hour late we got out – and when we arrived in Ottawa the weather wasn’t all that bad. You have to look at weather from a Canadian perspective – to us snow and slush are normal – to someone from down south it is terrifying!

The trip down was a tad nervewracking – did some heavy praying for the last hour of our flight into Phoenix. The turbulence was hmmm gutwrenching! I think a few bags made it out of the back seat pockets! It was rather funny when the flight attendants had to explain how to use them! But we landed in one piece in lovely weather (low to mid 70’s with cold nights – lovely!!!). The hotel where the classes were held was great! Airlines don’t feed you anymore – they charge you for peanuts! So being the cheapy I am (and figuring hmmmm 8.00 spent on a meal is one less piece of wool I can buy!) I was starving when we arrived at 10 p.m. and so happy to see bowls of fruit and granola bars and carafe’s of tea and coffe in the lobby! Yeah! more wool!!!!

The class was FABULOUS. Karen is an amazing designer and hooker and colourist and teacher! She is very quiet and not a rambunctious person but a very patient teacher and really thinks through her answers to your questions. I learned SOOOOO much! She talked about how value and temperature of wool affect contrast and how they along with the actual textures of the wool can be used to either emphasize contrast or act as a more blending tool depending on the effect you are trying to achieve. Karen’s rugs all look old, soft, worn, faded which is exactly the effect she is trying to achieve. Her dyed wools were fabulous as they all looked like they had been around for 50 years gathering dust! It was wonderful learning from her and I would highly recommend her classes to anyone – it has taken me years to actually find a class I could attend!.

The organizer of the class was Diane Eaton – she is such a funny and generous lady with amazing organizational skills. This class went off sooooo smoothly and was just fabulous. We arrived to goody bags on all the tables for each of us! full of chocolates, hooker hand cream, cups, news about events and WOOOOOL. To top that off, a friend of hers donated a yard of wool to each of the students in the class! Holy Cow! Wool before I even started buying!!! Diane organizes a number of classes – TRY TO TAKE ONE! They are wonderful – great teachers, great location, great food and just a wonderful group of committed rughookers from all over the place. There were 2 Canadians in the group and then the rest of the class came from all over the states! Many were from the Phoenix area so you need to book a class quickly as they fill up fast with all the local ladies who seem to take a ton of workshops!

After the class ended we spent a few more days in Arizona – in the Tucson area – doing touristy things like climbing down caves, mines and walking the desert. It was wonderful and I am already planning on going back next year and staying a few days longer because I MISSED OUT ON THE BIG HOOKIN IN TUCSON! Darn! It’s today! and where am I – cloistered in my basement with the heat on and surrounded by a skating rink outside!

So here are some of the pictures from the class – some of them I will post today and some tomorrow and maybe the next day as I did take a few!!!! Enjoy:

Karen discussing neutrals using paint chips! How brilliant is that!

Karen showing one of her rugs

Karen and Diane Eaton (our wonderful organizer, gofer, enabler!)  More to come tomorrow! Pix of the class rugs!!


So there are definite advantages to not having a ton of clothing – took me 5 minutes to pack for 9 days! Gord on the other hand is a bit of a clothes horse! He LOOOVVVEEEES clothes and has closets full – one closet specifically for his GOLF clothes (I must confess I have my hopeful closet – hopeful that some day I will fit back into these clothes and that they will once again be in style – will BIGGGG shoulder pads ever come back? nah probably not!!!!!). Anyway it took Gord longer to pack his bag than it did to paint the stairwell! How many belts does one need to take along – one belt! you can only wear one at a time!!!! But no – must have a black and a brown belt! and then the black one was scuffed – where is the black shoe polish! Like I have polished a pair of shoes in over 25 years! I wear crocs from hmmm April to November and then running shoes and boots! My boots are rubber and nylon – they don’t NEEEEED polishing! In addition, I told him that IF you put shoe polish on your belt expect it all over your clothes afterwards! But the silver buckle was tarnished – so out came the polishing cloth (which has not touched silverware in hmm yup 25 years!) and the buckle now glows like the north star! If we get lost in the desert in the dark I will be able to find Gord if the stars are out! He will shine just as bright! Anyway I don’t have to pack his bags so suppose I should not complain! 🙂

Second hat is done and I am getting better at this – did not really have to think too much about how to construct it! So one more hat and I will be ready to do up patterns and instructions and even teach a class! This one is very bright – one thing I realised is that there is not a ton of room for a hooking design as they are only 3 inches wide and about 24 – 25 inches long. So Gord suggested a reallllllly longgg skinny wiener dog! Wouldn’t that be a hoot. But I am thinking more along the lines of geometrics – clamshells, spirals, log cabin blocks or maybe a whole line of sheep bounding around the brim of my hat! In any event, this one was such fun to do – full of little bits and scraps from my basket and bags – including yarns, slubs and locks!


YEAHHHH. We are done painting the stairwell and hallway! I cannot believe that we did that crazy stairwell in less than 1 1/2 hours – between taping and cutting in and painting! Holy cow – for years we have been trying to figure out how to do it. Gord had these longggg planks (our stairwell to the basement is 9 feet above and 9 feet below so 18 feet of wall) that he was going to lay lengthwise across the opening and somehow clamp them to the end – which is only 2 inches wide!) and then lay plywood on top of this and then put a ladder on top of that. Well I usually do the taping and cutting in and there was NO WAY I WAS CLIMBING ANY DARN LADDER on that jerry rigged system. So as we were having coffee this morning I said hmmmmmm why not rest the ladder across the narrow part of the stairwell – bottom against the railing in the hallway and top against the wall – tape up, cut in, pull off tape and roll the rest from the hallway over top of the railing with a pole!  Well Gord didn’t think it would work but HOLY COW it DID! and in 3/4 of an hour we finished what we have been putting off for 7 years!!!! Sometimes it just takes a 3rd cuppa caffeine and a fresh brain et voila – brilliance will emerge! So now when we get back from Arizona I can hang a quilt made by my friend Sylvia and a few of my rugs and it will be finished.

Now I am in the process of sewing the cording into the second hat. After that is done I just have to finish the top but because of all the colour in the brim and because the top is just plain black cashmere!!!!! mmmmmm soft and warm but kind of dull, I think I will top stitch it in wavy lines in coloured thread – well that is the plan anyway! Then line the brim with cashmere and another job finished. Plus this time I wrote down instructions. So by the time I do a third one I should have this down pat.

In the meantime, Wendy scored some wonderful sweaters at the recycled clothing stores and here is one of the wonderful fun projects she has made – pillows! She has made slippers, mitts, hats, jewellery etc. What fun!!!!! and such a great way to use all those old sweaters noone wants to wear anymore!


Made by my friend Linda! That base is a suet feeder – as Linda put it – well cleaned out cause you don’t want suet residue melting out of the feeder onto your table top! Might attract furry little rodents (which by the way I seem to no longer be battling! – think the bald eagle hanging about outside might have frightened them off or eaten them all!). This is a little project we are going to tackle at our Camp Iawah retreat beginning of March – hmmm along with vintage bottle snowmen, fraktur challenge etc! Will be a mighty busy weekend! But Linda was up to the challenge of making the first one and leading the workshop so…

So this morning before we start painting again (yesterday’s painting started of with an entire half can of paint that had to be tossed because it had gone chunky – good in icecream but not good in paint – and which then somehow leaked all over the drop sheet and our painting shoes – or rather slippers!) I started another hat. I love painting – yup wierd I know but I find it very therapeutic – but I preferrrrrrr to hook. My goal on these hat bands is to use up my scraps – allllll the bags and baskets full of strips from previous projects that either I overcut or decided not to use. I love hooking with my scraps – love scrappy anything. I keep all my bits longer than 3 inches since when I hook scrappy I tend to use many many different tones and textures of a particular colour or colours that work together and that 3 inch strip will give me about 5 loops that could just make that square or circle sing. A few years ago I hooked a rug at a weekend retreat in Quebec at our friend Louise’s cottage. Everyone else was working on wonderful patterns and I had just drawn out some wonky diamonds on my backing and was using my scraps. As I looked around at all the beautiful rugs being hooked and then down at my rug I thought hmmmm this is pretty ugly! BUT when it was done it was one of my favourite rugs – not only did I love the colours and wonky geometric design BUT also the fact that it was done with all my scraps – NOT that it made much of a dent! So I decided this morning that I would rehook this as a hat brim – neutral black border and grid lines but brighter (well for me anyway) diamonds. This was the rug – hat will be posted when it is done:




And I love it – even I look good in it and I NEVER wear hats cause I look horrible in them. This one was fun to do – many steps which I hope to simplify on the next one(s) – so that I can actually make this into a kit and class. Not a ton of machine stitching but for those who love hand sewing this is a great fun useable project.

Here is the first one – warrrrrrmmmm as it is lined with cashmere!!!! which is good for a cold ugly sleety day like today!


IS NOT A GARBAGE SALE!!!… It was great – I could not believe the amazing wool that was for sale – primarily recycled but great big bundles for peanuts. My friend Donna scored an amazing Irish tweed almost floor length cape for 1.50! Now she just has to decide – does she cut it up or wear it! I had a great day – sold a few of the new Karla patterns I had drawn out on linen – you can now see the various patterns I have in my online store and the prices for the ones I have decided to either enlarge or draw out as is. The ones that are not yet posted i.e. price and size are the ones I still have to enlarge as I feel they have a lot of finer details that would get lost in slightly wider cuts (even five!). I even bought a big box full of really pale pinks, yellows, greys and tans and have overdyed them with a formula so that I have a stock of flesh tones. Using a bunch of different pales gave me a great variety:

What I started out with:











What I ended up with:









The formula (using Cushings dyes)

1/4 tsp Apricot

3/128 tsp Ecru

I used about a yard of various fabrics mixed together and simmered until the water cleared. As you can see I now have a variety of tones and values perfect for flesh.

Oh so excited – Saturday Gord is golfing (not outdoors in the snow! but indoors in a dome) and I get to drag him junking with me. What is it about junking that gets me so excited? I sure don’t get excited about going shopping for clothing or shoes (to which anyone who knows me will attest!!!). I think it is looking at something old that most people would discard and seeing something new and fun in it. Wendy loaned me a book that is wonderful – full of exciting ways to repurpose “junk”.











Now I am not entirely sure where these girls do their junking as some of the stuff they found I have never ever seen! But still there such wonderful potential in some of these old pieces of junk. I keep telling Gord (when he questions my sanity) YOU NEED VISION!!!!

I have posted a few classes in my events page – I do have a primitive dye class and finishing class coming up here in the studio as well as a class in mittens and hooking for the holidays and a few beginner classes.  Please check the events page for upcoming classes or email me if you cannot make it to one of those and need to schedule a different date.

This morning I finished hooking the hat brim! Won’t post a picture until it is further along as right now it looks like a tiny long runner for a dollhouse! BUT IT FITS my head which was my big concern! so next I just have to figure out how to put it all together! That and painting the house will be my projects before I leave for Arizona – well hopefully I will tackle MORE hooking than that!



Well snow is piling up and roads have been icy for about a week now and our propane truck has not come to deliver and we are now in the red. Good thing all my company left a few days ago as I have been keeping the heat realllllly low – about 16 degrees celsius which in fahrenheit is about 60! Gotta conserve that propane – roads were salted and sanded yesterday afternoon so the big delivery truck can make it in TODAY! Ahhh and it SNOWED AGAIN OVERNIGHT! Hubby went out to plow and broke the blade! thank goodness that was AFTER the road was cleared!  I love living in the country but don’t love the icy roads in winter that prevent people getting in and me getting out. In the meantime, hooking big Maud rug will keep me warm today!!! I am still working away at one of the huge trees bundling 3 different wools and yarns and then having to hook bits of grass in between the branches. Not having done a ton of pictorials I am finding this realllllly time consuming. I remember on my first Maud it took at least 10 hours to do the tree! And this pattern has 3 trees!!!! Anyway I will persevere – once the trees are done almost all the rug is finished! well except for a big blue river!

I brought along my stuffed Christmas tree that I started Wednesday  to guild yesterday – it is done! Sewn together and stuffed and on its recycled spindle. Now all I have to do is decide what I want to do as a base.

Well hunting season is definitely over! There are currently 7 deer out at the feeder and 2 turkeys – although the biggest buck will not allow anyone else even close to the feeder! So funny watching him chase of the yearlings and smaller females – of course we cannot allow that to continue so will fill up a few buckets with expensive deer food and set them out so everyone can enjoy a snack!

Did I mention that my Christmas gift to myself this year was a workshop with Karen Kahle in Arizona!!!! For years I have been dieing to take a class with Karen and then on Rug Hooking Daily I noticed that she was doing a class in Arizona in January – so what could be better. Arizona is fabulous and January is pretty snowy in Canada and hubby likes to golf so he was happy to come along! Yeah!!!!! hmmm what will next years Christmas gift be??


I just posted on my online store the size and price for the pattern shown in my post below. I hooked this piece in 8.5 cut without enlarging Karla’s pattern so the finished size (I added a border) is 21 x 11.5 and the cost on primitive linen (good down to number 5 cut) is $25.00.