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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!