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Monthly Archives: March 2012


As I sipped my coffee (is that a neutral?) this morning I read and reread Karen Kahle’s blogpost on using neutrals ( I realise I still have a hard time with neutrals – I love colour! and for me neutrals just seem to have so little zing. However, when I reread Karen’s take on neutrals for the hmmmm 4th or 5th time (it does take me a while at times)  and thought about it and looked at her pictures it started to make sense. These neutrals (greys, silvers, browns, khaki, putty, copper, sand, cinnamon etc.) can soften and age a rug if they are used in conjunction with small amounts of less vibrant colours or, as I would probably use them, can make the colours pop even more. I did go through photos of rugs I have done over the years and found a few where I used more neutrals and less colour (really out of my comfort zone!):

I think these fit into the definition of more use of neutrals – greys, taupes, browns, creams, mauves? I know to me they DEFINITELY look like more neutral colours and the rugs seem more aged and soft (well except for that shot of hot red in the last one!). But I still struggle with the whole concept of neutrals in my rugs and how to use them effectively. Guess I will be spending more mornings rereading notes from my class with Karen and her blog!!!

That being said, I am holding another dye class on April 16 from 10 till 4. There are 2 spots left in the class – see the Events page for more details and let me know if you are interested. We can dye OLD AND DIRTY, HOT BRIGHT COLOURS  or NEUTRALS! All up to you!…


Recently I mentioned I now carry some of Karen Kahle’s smaller patterns – they are wonderful but… I realised I did not have a ton of Karen’s colours in stock so have started redyeing some. I have been working from the Vintage Colours dye book and love these aged soft colours – what I love even more is that she uses a very limited number of Cushings dyes and carries one or 2 colours through most of her dye formulas so that although there are different colours i.e. blues, reds, golds, greens they all have a unifying dye in them that makes them all work beautifully together. I have a couple of pieces of vintage paisley that I think could have been inspiration for many of Karen’s colours – soft and aged and wonderful:

Had a fun day in the states the other day – picked up a massive bolt of linen so now we are good for a while.  Did a little shopping then lunch at Panera bakery which is wonderful!!! and reasonable (cause we all know how cheap I am when it comes to food – my idea of affordable fine dining is Subway!). They even had a special – buy a drink and you got a baked good for 99 cents – and they have the MOST delicious orange scones!  Then Gord decided he would drop me off at the crack house antique store – oh sorry I mean Old Jailhouse Antique Store!  It actually was a jail up until the 70’s and all the cells complete with bunks and wall mounted toilets are the booths – cool but a tad musty and grungy. Even met a former inmate as we were paying up on the way out! So, Gord dropped me off and then went to Gander Mountain and the sporting goods while I got to spend an hour and a half checking out things at MY pace!!!! slowwwww!  Holy cow,  I found a ton of stuff I coveted – some at realllly good prices and others at wayyyyyyy more than I wanted to pay.  Some wonderful old vintage wire baskets But I was not paying 30 – 40 dollars for a small wire basket even though they were lovely and old!  A really nice old rounded top trunk in cream chippy peely paint but at 95.00 a bit tooooo much! Then old wonderful tin oil cans (they are the new hot collectible!) – saw 3 and some old tin funnels at not bad prices but hmmm what would I do with them!  An antique goose neck table lamp for 125.00 – saw one with exactly the same base for 28 at Millers junk store last week with a nicer shade! Needs rewiring but heck Gord can do that (hopefully without burning the house down)!  Soooo did not buy that! Did get some old vintage salt shakers with the old dented lids in aluminum (one of them is a wonderful old metal one). These will become centerpieces – how??? ahhhh wait and see… Saw some tall pewter ones that I would have loved for myself! old pewter! lovely patina!!!  Then I found an old big cheese box – solid and real wood, in great shape and painted and distressed black over red. I think it would make a great storage container with a hooked piece on the top! REALLY good price! So I think I scored well. There were some really nice little tables but more than I wanted to pay with a car full of linen – maybe next time! Anyway, despite the fact that the place is a bit rundown it is a fun antique/junk store and has some good deals if you are willing to search!


This weather is totally wierd – who expects 25 degrees CELSIUS in March. Today in Ottawa it is supposed to be 25 feels like 30 – for those of you who like me still don’t do metric that is 90 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT! in MARCH!!!! So for those friends who are currently in Florida – OUR WEATHER IS WARMER THAN YOURS!!!! That does not make me feel great about hooking on my bigggg, hotttttt, AR rug! So that final border is still not finished. However, after doing Karen’s tote bag I decided to try to do another and change it up a bit. This is my fat sheep tote bag with pockets on the back and a wool gusset on the bottom:

Today I am having a dye class – will try to remember to post pictures of Wendy and Vanessa’s completed pile of wool! Should be fun – although more fun when it is cold out! I have lowered the basement temperature!

A few months ago France and I went junkin! France was looking for a frog – not a REAL frog but a floral frog – the kind you put into a vase or container to hold your flowers upright. Well we found a few at the fleamarket – a wonderful silverplated one (that was too expensive! – we are cheap junkers!), a vintage glass one and a beautiful brass/copper mixed one which actually I think probably was a potpourri holder. So France got the brass one and I bought the glass one – and WHAT DID WE DO WITH THEM? Well  I am sure this is not an original thought but it certainly is a wonderful way to display and organize your hooking tools!!! Now I just have to find some of those beautiful old antique hooks that everyone else seems to have found. So check out the fleamarkets for your own frogs!


Tote bag – ha bet you thought it was the big rug – Apothecary Rose – but nope! decided since I had started the tote bag earlier this week I would finish it and then just focus on hooking. Many years ago I saw Karen for the first time at the Hooked in the Mountains show in Vermont where she had this wonderful tote bag that had NO HOOKED BACKGROUND!!! It looked sooooo dead easy to put together and was such a wonderful pattern that I bought it – and held onto it for many years. Well, with the flower blocks of my AR rug done I realised I have a lot of left over wool so decided to use the same colours in the tote bag and so this week hooked the tote bag. The hooking was easy and fast and fun – love those big flowers – and I had the wool already cut up so… Yesterday I decided to put the bag together – took the WHOLE DAY! Karen’s instructions are wonderful and clear but for some reason all day long I felt like I was having hot flashes! Well, KNOWING that I am WAY past that stage in life I checked the thermostat. GORD HAD TURNED IT UP! 2 full degrees. Under normal circumstances 2 degrees would be nothing but this is a realllllly well insulated basement with radiant floor heating and half a degree feels like 5 – so 2 full degrees felt like the Caribbean in July! NOT GOOD when you are working hard at the sewing machine and iron! I think I lost 5 pounds! But it is done and looks absolutely wonderful!  AND I still had tons of Karen Kahle wool left and so decided that I would put the wool together for the one final Tote Bag pattern that I have in stock. If you are interested in this pattern and wool let me know…

In the meantime, hooks went up on the shelf from Ballycanoe – they are absolutely perfect! Big, grungy and I was able to touch up the new screws with a bit of cream coloured paint and brown shoe polish so they look just as old and grungy (no more soaking in bleach and vinegar!!! and creating toxic fumes!). In addition, Gord painted and antiqued my shoe shine box so it is ready for my cutter AND polished up the little blue box. What a great productive day!!!! Today – the border of my AR rug! – well start anyway!


Yesterday was guild day in Burrits Rapids. Holy cow, what a feast! Have I mentioned that in the BR guild we each take on a meeting and do the food – have I also mentioned I DON’T COOK! so guild day I enjoy alllllll the food others cook and display so beautifully (and for some reason??? people tend to take pity on Gord who usually drives me to guild – is there method behind his madness – and load him up with a plateful of home made goodies!) Well 3 ladies yesterday did the Shamrock Day (which is what it was called when I was a kid – now of course everyone calls it St. Patricks Day) food. Everything was green – and not the green that normally appears on food in my house! and decorated with shamrocks. It was such fun and sooooooo good!!!

Heather joined us for the day and brought along her amazing Deane Fitzpatrick rug for show and tell. It is fullllll of textures (click on the photo and you will be able to see all the texture in the enlargement) and just so beautiful:

Grayce brought her finished mittens which she made to match the sheep purse she did last year:

AND THEN on the way home we hit the junk man in Rideau Ferry. They had cleared out and cleaned up so much much easier to get around in the barn (still not easy to get around in the house or are my hips getting even bigger?) but I found the perfect hooks for my salvage shelf, a beautiful little blue drawer that I will hook a piece for – can you believe on the side it is imprinted – nickeled hooks. Seems to be made out of recycled wood but all beautifully dovetailed and such a pretty blue on 2 sides. ANNNNNNNNDDDD I found a wonderful shoe shine kit which holds my townsend cutter so beautifully so that I am not going to have to bring along a table whenever I take my cutter someplace! I saw this idea on Karen Kahle’s blog and could not believe that I found the perfect old box yesterday! One leg needs a little lifting but other than that it is perfect!!! Saw many other wonderful items – a primitive old footstool with amazing patina, an absolutely beautiful wooden trunk that I am coveting and a delicate old brass birdcage. The birdcage is something I have never seen before and it is in impeccable condition – well other than the fact that the bottom is missing – just trying to think of where I would put it and justify the $ (well make that $$). So all in all a great guild and junking day. Today back to my KK rug and a KK tote bag that I started 2 days ago – hooking is done and just have to sew it together this weekend!


If you have not been following Karen Kahle’s blog – DO SO. She is doing a free online tutorial and it is wonderful. Here is her blog page: Isn’t her studio absolutely gorgeous and inspiring!

I just added this kit to the on line store. This kit is full of textures and yarns and is a fun piece to hook.

New visitors – hmmm could it be all the stale bread I have been putting out for the birds? or the monstrous piles of seeds? or the buckets of grain for the deer? or might it be the tiny chocolate biscotti I offered them!  We had 7 last night – 2 stuck inside the feeder, one on the post with its head inside the feeder and 4 on the ground! I know that I should not encourage wildlife to hang around our house but they are soooooo cute!  Had another mousecapade the other day – there was a little one in the live trap. Well, to remind Gord to take him out to his garage home I put the trap on the far end of the counter where the cat proceeded to sniff the trap and KNOCK IT ON THE FLOOR. Mouse escaped of course and Gord and I slid around the floor on our knees trying to catch it – which we did. Mouse was safely transported to the garage but I was left nursing raw knees! So better outdoor wildlife than indoor!


Today I am posting the rugs that did not come under Fraktur Challenge and Maud workshop. Three of these were finished on the weekend or almost finished:


Everyone brought lots of show and tell besides their fraktur rugs – here are some other pieces i.e. Maud Lewis rugs – they are wonderful! In order – Lydia’s, Karen’s (all done in yarns), Susan’s, Betty’s (mix of strips and yarns) and Wendy’s (mix of strips and yarns). The rest of the Mauds are still hmmm works in progress!!!! or were not on display. More photos to come tomorrow!!!


So last post I mentioned that I would share a picture and formula for the colour that I discovered because my math skills are somewhat lacking!!!!! could not remember how to multiply when I was converting 2/32 TSP by 8 – or was it because I did not have my glasses on and I cannot read anything that is less than 3 feet away and my arms are too short! I almost need to leave a pair of reading glasses in every room of the house (forget the chain with glasses hanging around the neck – lost a 450.00 pair of bifocals on a lovely silver and blown glass bead chain  dumpster diving a few years ago). Anyway the formula would make a wonderful background for an antique inspired rug so here it is:

1/2 tsp Cushings Golden Brown

2/16 Cushings Orange

1/16 Cushings Medium Brown

2/16 Prochem 199

over a mix of lights – 3 yards!!!!!

So Iawah weekend was wonderful! We ate too much, laughed too much, slept too little and hooked a lot! The weekend is always full of inspiration and excitement as we check out everyones projects from the previous year, compare our challenge pieces, talk about future projects and participate in workshops. Below are the fraktur challenge pieces that were done since last year’s retreat. Some are hooked, some are appliqued, some are punched – the challenge can be interpreted in any medium or fashion you wish. Next year’s challenge has been set – Canadiana! So it will be interesting next year to see how this is interpreted by all the participants. 

On of the 3 wire and recycled button trees made by Betty:

A few of the wool feather trees made in the workshop – the first one includes a carved santa by Karen – done in a class with Donna our resident carving guru! Karen did a wonderful job on her santa – he has a little winter scene painted around the base! Totally wonderful! The recycled tin bases on the feather trees were made by Wendy’s husband Vince and were an amazing addition to the feather trees.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of some of the other pieces being worked on or brought for show and tell.


In my last post I said the footstool was done by Sandi – it was DIANE’S…. sooo sorry!!!

WOW Iawah weekend is coming up in 1 day and I am soooooo in need of this weekend of hooking, inspiration and fun! and great food prepared by our wonderful chefs at the camp… I have posted below a few pictures of last years camp rug display. Every year we have a challenge – last year’s was geometrics. This year it is Fraktur and who knows what it will be next year. We also try to work in a workshop of some sort – 2 years ago Betty taught wire fish, last year I taught hooked purses and Laura taught felting, this year Linda is teaching woolen feather trees and Betty is helping us make wire and button trees. So I hope to have lots of great pix to post again on Monday. Snow day today – it was supposed to be guild day but we got SNOOOOOOWWWW and guild was cancelled. Does that mean I get to eat all the goodies I had bought and baked hmmm or should I take them to camp tomorrow night!!!!!