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Monthly Archives: February 2012


Yesterday I posted a picture if my mini chicken rug with the carved chickens on the frames.  Reminded me that our friend Donna is an amazing carver and over the years has carved many pieces for us that we have used to frame our rugs. I am going to try to find some of these pix but here is one of Elizabeth with the beautiful frame that Donna carved and put together for Elizabeth’s chicken rug. Isn’t this a wonderful different way to display our rugs. In addition, there are pictures of Sandi’s footstool (I still have one of these unfinished footstools left at 75.00), Andrea’s repurposed trays, Laura’s geometric in a tramp art frame she got for I think $5.00!, Andrea’s framed rug. So be on the hunt, ladies, for all those funky, junky pieces that you can repurpose as interesting ways to display your rugs!



How exciting!  Patti Wheeler made the moose that I posted last September.  He is just soooo sweet – makes a wonderful Christmas ornament but also stands!!!! really well and could be a freestanding little sculpture.  Patti commented that she is back and ready to make more of these so here is her contact info  I know there were a lot of people who were interested in the moose so please contact Patti. He is just tooooo sweet!

Today I hooked – well actually I hooked yesterday as well. Felt so good as it had been almost a week that I had not held a hook and pulled a loop. Worked on a few more blocks of my Karen Kahle Apothecary Rose – 4 more blocks to go and the border! This is a bigggg rug! and I am very happy with it. Unfortunately my cats also love it! Everytime I put it down one of them comes sneaking in and lies on it – Karen what did you put in that wool! A little catnip maybe?

Anyway today I pulled out a frame that Gord had attached a couple of carved chickens (done by Doug Purdy) to and I hooked a small piece to go inside the frame. Hooking pieces to go INTO a frame is always difficult – you start off with the exact size marked on your backing but invariably it stretches and shrinks as you hook it. In the end I rehooked the one row border 3 times before it fit – perfectly – inside the opening of the frame. Here is my little chicken mat hooked entirely from my scrap basket! Still have to lace it across the back, put a cover on the back of the frame and THEN glue those chickens in place (one needs a little adjusting as his post is too long! But a fun piece to play with on a lovely sunny day.


On Monday, Wendy and I attended a meeting at a lovely Inn in Prescott as we are involved with planning the OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) 2013 Annual. The theme is “Reunite, Recreate, Rejuvenate” and needless to say Wendy and I are thrilled to be part of the committee in charge of decorating – so hmmmm knowing me and my addictions what do you think will be involved!!!!! We have ideas bouncing around like jumping beans! This is such fun and the 2013 Annual promises to be unique and exciting!

Don’t know if everyone knows about the OHCG Annual show coming up in North Bay Ontario the last weekend in May – this is a wonderful event -tons of rugs on display and great vendors and a lot of fun!!!! Check out the website for the OHCG to see how to register and attend…

I did not realise that some people who happen onto the blog or subscribe are not aware that my Upcoming Events column lists the various shows and classes I will be involved in.  If you click on the events column you will see the list of events i.e. I will be a vendor at a couple of local hookins i.e. Karen Kaiser’s, the Olde Forge, the Moira Matters, Georgetown Trunk show. Plus I have classes coming up here at the studio and at various other locations in finishing, dyeing, beginner hooking, mittens, hooking for the holidays, adding texture etc. So if you have not already done so – click on Events to see what is coming up.

This morning France sent me pix of a rug that Trish is hooking. Trish took a beginner class from me about 1 1/2 years ago and designed her first piece based on a character that her daughter had invented. The rug became a chairpad and was wonderful. As her second piece Trish decided to do a big floor mat – geometric – based on a mathematical design suggested by that same daughter – Karen. This piece is very challenging but is coming along beautifully. I drew it out (took hmm a few hours because everything had to be exactly drawn and measured with all the lines across and up and down and DIAGONALLY spaced and interesecting correctly) and it needs to be hooked in such a way that the diagonal sections to not go wonky and that all the points remain points. I think Trish is doing an amazing job on her SECOND rug:


WELL no mice in a such a long time that I have been rather forgetful about checking the live trap only to hear a shout the other night as Gord was preparing dinner that Holy Cow – there’s a MOUSE IN THE  LIVE TRAP – dead – oh maybe not… The poor little thing was totally covered with peanut butter – clumps up his nose (well I think that was a clump of peanut butter or he had the biggest nose I have ever seen on a mouse!),  fur plastered to his body, little paws covered – even his tail. When we realised he was still alive – first thing I tried – NO NOT AR! – CANNOT REMEMBER HOW TO SPELL RESUSITATE RESCUSITATE – OH I GIVE UP! – MOUTH TO MOUTH!) was to feed the little wee tike some water. Well I thought I had drowned him! so off he went into a nice clean box with a nice soft bed to warm him up. I thought perhaps our cat Lucky, who likes peanut butter – could lick him clean! but realised he  might just lick him right down his throat! Unfortunately the little guy did not make it through the night! I felt so badly – this is the second time I have forgotten to check the trap and oh oh not good for the mice! So I guess my mouse free days are over cause this was a baby – and MOMMA was in the trap yesterday (she is now in the garage with a nice warm bed made of placemats we had planned to drop off at Value Village until we realised they were now must nest material!!!). That means there are other babies around here somewhere!!!!

This weekend was the big sale at Ballycanoe – salvage and antiques and hmmmm some junk! Met Donna there and oh brother I think I have a severe addition. When you get rushes through your body thinking about going junking there is definitely a problem! But what a fun addiction! Gord and I bought an old 1850’s door that we are going to use as a panel to cover the reallllly ugly side of our freezer! Got a wonderful chippy peeling shelf to hang in the bathroom with hooks for towels; tin to finish off the back of a primitive shelf for the kitchen, wonderful old painted hardware for the door so there is no mistaking this was a DOOR; and the most lovely spindles (have NO idea what we are going to do with them but they were sooooo pretty and such a good deal Gord HAD to have them – hmmm does that mean he has an addiction as well?) and a wonderful old barn door hinge. Donna spotted a whole rack of these and ahhhhh lightbulbs started flashing!!! These will be wonderful to hang rugs on – the holes are all lined up and they will swing! Here are pix of my spindles (any ideas? John – the owner of Ballycanoe – suggested a really funky table with 12 legs!) and my door hinge! Isn’t the hinge wonderful! AND alllllll at 20% off. It was darn cold though – had to keep going into the shop to warm up and drink coffee and eat Molly’s homebaked goodies and salivate over the wonderful pieces that fill the shop – most of the big stuff is in a huge 2 story barn). If you love old stuff you NEED to visit Ballycanoe!

On Friday Andrea came for a visit and brought her latest rugs along – they are wonderful. Mix of wool strips and yarns or entirely yarns:


I am really happy that my Fraktur piece is done and I must admit, once the light went on there was no stopping. I totally enjoyed doing this piece – enjoyed the colours and had fun with the design – but also the fact that it had a purpose made it a fun piece to do.  The overall size is 22 x 10 – not huge but very doable.  Although I designed it for my new ugly table it would make a great pillow (with a prodded edge!!!) so I will be offering it as a pattern on linen and as a kit. I hooked it in 8.5 so you can see it has a more crowded primitive look but it could also be done in a smaller cut and more detail put into it. For this piece I intentionally squeezed in the bigger cuts as I wanted it to have that more primitive look – usually my circles are PERFECTLY round and points are PERFECTLY sharp – this time I did not want perfect anything! I used my colours – red, olive, gold, maple sugar but threw in some teal blue as this is a colour you will see often in Frakturs along with the usual red, green and gold. Plus, since I was designing it for that oxblood coloured table I threw in a wonderful plaid in oxblood tones with gold, red and green in it! The gold plaid I had was perfect – check out the beak! There is a black line running through the gold and I cut the strips so that on one edge the black line appeared and used this for the edge of the beak so that it would pop out of the maple sugar background! Must say I had to reconfigure the borders a few times as I was not sure what I wanted to do and realised when I looked at pictures of Frakturs that quite often they incorporate a geometric border. The stripes worked out perfectly. So check out the online store for patterns and kits – I think I MAY have to do more Fraktur patterns! and NO mine is not a mirror image – somewhat my own take on this one as it was designed for a long narrow table.

Didn’t the ugly table come out well – vacced it, washed it and then applied a coat of dark stain to cover up the chews and gouges. Next I want to give it a coat of wax – still has great patina but the worst of the wear is touched up a tad!


For months I have been “breaking my head” trying to come up with a design for our fraktur challenge for Camp Iawah retreat weekend. Had lots of ideas but wanted it to be a “functional” or “different” piece rather than my usual rug or pillow. But for some reason nothing was happening. Finally a few days ago the light went on so to speak and I quickly drew out my design, put it on backing and pulled colours. I needed a piece to go on the top of my ugly little table that I found last week which will eventually be a beautiful primitive little table (well beautiful might be pushing it a tad) – now with a hooked rug on it. Gord wanted originally to sand off all the oxblood colour finish but I reminded him that that was what gave the piece character and charm – without that wonderful patina and the nicks and porky chewed corners it really WOULD be an ugly little table! So now we just have to figure out a way of cleaning it up. But my fraktur is designed to fit right on the top! So I have put aside Maud and Karen and am focusing on Fraktur. It hooked up realllly quickly (guess I was motivated by the fact that Iawah is in a few weeks) and I am now just finishing off with a narrow showbinding so hopefully by tomorrow I will have the table all cleaned up and fixed (do have to do SOMETHING with the chewed corners) and the rug will be sitting on it and I can post a picture!

This weekend we had company – sister-in-law and her beau and my niece Dayna. Dayna discovered rughooking!!! Saturday she designed, drew out on backing, colour planned, cut wool and started hooking. Sunday at 1 p.m. it was done! It was her own design and she hooked in roving and yarns in addition to cut strips – I think for her very first piece hooked in less than 24 hours she did an amazing job. Now she is hooked and planning a design for her next rug which will be BIGGER. This piece ended up about 9 x 9.


One of the things that always surprises me is how “dye bundles” most often seem to contain only light base fabrics. I think it is such fun and so exciting to take a dark wool or an ugly wool and overdye it and change the sows ear into a silk purse. People tend to shy away from dark base coloured wools. Yesterday I dyed a wonderful pile of dark spicy reds – all using dull or pretty darn ugly wools as the base colours. They are wonderful – I think it shocks people when I do this in dye class. Most of us can just not “see” how a dull brown can become a wonderful spicy red or gold or olivey green. Of course, you can not LIGHTEN that dark wool but you can definitely change it’s colour. I even overdye commercial black – yup – that strong harsh commercial black can be made softer by overdyeing – I usually use a mix of moss green and orange to “dirty” the commercial black.

This spicy red is equal parts Magic Carpet red and orange. On the left the original boring wools and on the right the wonderful changed wools! I think I used 1/2 tsp of each to overdye 1 1/2 yards of wool.

So keep your eyes open for all those ugly wools – they can be beautiful!!!!!


So have you noticed yet that my colours and rugs are usually variations of yellow, green and red – all more aged and dirty and yellow based? Well yesterday I had to dye one fat 8th of redgrape for one of the ladies at the guild – but OF COURSE I would never dye just one fat 8th of ANY colour. So instead I did a few yards using the formula for red grape in Susan Logues dye book using Magic Carpet dyes. Came out beautifully over a bunch of different base colours and textures but I had a ton of soaked wool left and figured – what the heck! Maybe this will be my impetus to actually hook a rug with redgrape in it! But being rather lazy I did not want to mix up the same formula again plus I thought that a variation of the colour might be nice so discovered from my Cushings colour chart that there was actually a dye called hmmm REDGRAPE! and honestly it looks pretty darn close. The redgrape formula uses red, bottle green and red violet and I find it comes out wonderfully mottled with bits of the various colours coming through – the Cushings redgrape is more uniform in colour – but this made a wonderful collection which I will now use with a more blue based green and some pinks (SURREE like that is going to happen!)!!! 🙂 (the picture is a bit more pinky than the colours are in reality – they are actually more grapey!)

Now I need to start working on my fraktur challenge which is due in hmmm a couple of weeks! And that I will do in more traditional Fraktur colours – but aged of course – and that would be yellow, red and green!!!! and of course black!

Well the deer have become rather aggressive and piggish! Every morning the minute it becomes light out I see them standing by the deer feeder eyeing the house! They seem to wait now until we actually go out to feed them and have  no fear (probably not good if it were hunting season!) – in fact last week the big buck waited until Gord was only a few feet away and then started stamping his feet (hooves?) and snorting. I imagine he was telling Gord to get on with it – fill my feeder! Yesterday morning there were 7 deer and 2 turkeys:

I am sooo excited – I just found out that there will be another rug show in Vermont at the Shelburne Museum this year Nov 10 to 18 – here is the website – hope many of you can make it to this wonderful show:

Now, for those of you who, like me, might be addicted to junk and salvage and antiques check this out – I will definitely be going!

Everyone is welcome!

5th Annual Feb. Thaw SALE at Balleycanoe &Co.


Feb. 18th & 19th

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Refreshments provided!

Heated workshop but dress warmly for the barn.


Reductions of 20% and more on our entire inventory:

19th C. Architectural Salvage

All of our vast selection of doors, gingerbread, architectural hardware, tin, brackets, fireplace mantles, porch posts, columns, newel posts, balustrade, shutters, floor grates, stove pipe collars, etc.

Plus our inventory of antiques,

folk art, “smalls”, “neat stuff”, 

and paintings by “JASorensen”

All sales are final

Cash or cheque

Larger items may be stored for later delivery or pick up

For map and examples of stock, check out our website:

For more information:

Call John Sorensen 613-659-3874

Or email:

150 Rockfield Rd., Mallorytown, Ont.



So today I have been doing a bit of dyeing – spot dyes for France’s big (biggggggg) leaf rug. She has a lot of wonderful red leaves so I did up two spot dyes to mix into the reds and red browns and orangey reds – Nasturtium and Prism’s 1 both from the book Prisms #1 by Claire deRoos. If you like spot dyes this is a great book – the spot dyes are dead easy and always turn out well. I dyed the entire formula over half a yard rather than the recommended 1 yard as I wanted very intense dark colours plus I do my spot dyeing in the micro wave (living in Ontario on a Smart Meter I have to dye during cheap hours! or find ways to dye that are not as expensive and 10 minutes in the microwave and a good resting period afterwards versus 1 hour in the oven saves a lot of pennies!). Here are my finished spots over natural and oatmeal (for a little texture):

Have I mentioned before that I belong to a group of amazing creative ladies – not only do they hook, quilt, create but now they are carving. Our friend Donna is an amazing folk art carver and has been teaching the girls how to carve so for 3 Sundays they have been getting together and carving and painting – yesterday they finished their pieces. Keep in mind that although some are a bit more experienced – Wendy had never carved before:

This is Wendy’s carving along with a mini birdhouse made by her husband Vince and a box for the wool feather trees some of us will be making at Camp Iawah retreat in a few weeks:

Love it when the husbands are just as creative as the wives!!!!!

Have done a bit more work on my KK rug – but holy cow still tonnnnnnsss to do – I think this will be a longgggg project!:


My events calendar is fast filling up – although there are a few shows which are still a question mark. And my class schedule is developing so take a look…I have beginner classes, textures classes, mitten classes, primitive dye classes, finishing classes in various locations from Richmond to Kingston, Picton to Napanee and here at the studio.

I also have some new patterns by Karen Kahle and will post them in the online store shortly. These are some of Karen’s smaller designs but are a wonderful start on her hooking style.

Have done a bit of dyeing in the last few days – some new greens to add to the stash.  I realised the shelves of dyed wools in the shop were become depleted and needed refilling and decided to try some new colours. This time I decided to try some of Barb Carroll’s  colours from Antique Colours for Primitive Rugs – the green in the picture below is a light version of Evergreen and the soft teal is Our Old Reseda. Also did a wonderful soft smokey blue called Cloudy Sky from Mad Hen Primitives book A Rug to Dye For (bottom right). The more purpley blue on the bottom left was done using equal parts of Cushings Robin’s Egg Blue and Copenhagen Blue (1/4 teaspoon of each did that pile).

Here are the finally!!!! finished Chickadee mittens:

And my junk (ohhh antique store!!!) purchase from a few days ago (yes it does! need some work! and came with free cobwebs):