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Monthly Archives: January 2013


welll probably many things but the one that did me in was LEAVING ALL BACKGROUND TILL THE END. How many times have I told beginners – don’t leave all your background to the end – do it a bit at a time. Well did I do this myself on this rug – nope and there was a LOT of background between the grass and sky. But it is finished – now just the border. Love the way the rug is coming along but of course as I look at the picture I realise there are things that need tweaking. The last picture I posted made me realise that my Russian babushka on the right hand side had one arm longer than the other. When I mentioned this to a friend she said – yes but she is carrying a heavy shopping bag in that hand so… well I did not think the bag was THAT heavy. So fixed her arms to make them essentially the same length! and made her a bit chubbier! more age appropriate! And of course now I see other things but they will be fixed (or not) once the border is all done. Nothing should be too perfect! 🙂

So here is a picture of Russian Village almost (wellll that is a big almost) done…

HPIM4274Weather is badddd today – rain and warm temperatures make for nasty icy roads so I am glad I am staying home today to dye wool and hook. But the weather also seems to have brought back the mouse problem – or maybe it was the deadly cold snap we had last week that brought the little varmints back. This morning as I was working on the computer I heard thunk thunk thunk coming from the ceiling above my head – not the pitter patter of little feet but the tromping of big pregnant momma! Our computer is in the basement family room – thank goodness we have a dropped tile ceiling because after listening to the Lone Ranger and Silver racing around in the ceiling I decided that was where the live trap needed to go. So it is in its new home, baited with expensive peanut butter and waiting for the impending family to move in! Now of course we have to remember to CHECK the live trap every morning for residents that need to be carted away a mile so they cannot find their way back!

If you would like to read more about and see more wonderful pictures of the Sharon Smith class in Arizona check out Kathy Clark’s blog Kathy is an amazing primitive (or should I say antique inspired) rughooker who I had the privilege of meeting and talking with last year at the class we took together. We both decided this year to take advantage of Sharon’s class to spend more time together and realised that we are definitely kindred spirits! I am so excited that Kathy is coming to Canada in September to teach – class is full but who knows – maybe Kathy will like Canada so much that she will come back again!…


Whew, I cannot believe I have only been back a week – it seems like a month. It has been a busy busy week – dyeing lots of wool in aged colours and some new Sharon Smith colours.

Have I been hooking – well, a bit. I have sky and border left to do on my Russian Village rug – the border will be interesting as it is the Cyrillic alphabet and although many people are intimidated by lettering, I actually think this will be fun. I usually hook the lettering a bit higher than the surrounding loops so that it does not sink down into the background but if it does I pull it out and rehook it so that it is crisp and defined – not a new technique but an effective one if you are concerned about hooking letters. In the meantime though, I have friends who have been doing a lot more hooking than I have! Here are pix of some of their rugs:

Susan finished her Karen Kahle Vermont rug – in hmmm about 2 months! this is a bigggg (and beautiful!) rug…


Trudy’s Bird in a Blooming Tree (Karla Gerard pattern) – Trudy is a new hooker since October and this is only her second piece…


Tomorrow I am off to Kingston to the newly named and reopened Stitch by Stitch (previously Quilt and Stitch) store. I will be setting up a rughooking corner – hooks, linen, patterns, kits and wool. Margaret (owner of the store) is a lovely lady and a budding rughooker! We hope to make the rughooking a permanent and exciting addition to the store.


…so the deer and the squirrels and coons and birds might have been starving but my cats SURE WERE NOT!!!!! I THINK my neighbour who was taking care of them misinterpreted the directions of one tin split 3 ways 2 times a day and gave them 3 tins 2 times a day. They were chubby when we left but are tubby now!!!!

HPIM4271Well I promised that once I had a bit more done on my rug I would post a picture so here it is! I am loving this rug – so many elements that are small enough that my short attention span is not overly challenged! but at the same time the overall rug design is something that pleases me and the colours are wonderful! Thank you Sharon!!!!!!

…last morning of class…


Here are the patterns that I brought back by Briarwood Folk Art – again if you see one you neeeeeeed to have let me know….

Olde Cat and Dog full

Kathy Clark Dancing Rabbits



Circle hitnmis


While we were away the deer did not get fed! We decided – if we are not here to watch them enjoy their meals we cannot afford to feed them! So yesterday was the first morning in 9 days that they got fed. And of course they are fickle!!!! Not one came to the feeder UNTIL Gord went out with the bucket and as he was filling up the trough he heard snorting and stamping behind him (I would have been running at that point). The scent of the molasses and oats and corn must have wafted through the woods cause THERE THEY WERE! Eager and impatient… Of course the squirrels and raccoons did not get fed either! On our return the front porch was covered with gnawed on and broken wooden cranberries – something had gnawed through the twine that connected them and then decided to try to eat them – there were some that were actually half eaten! Now THAT is an extreme way of adding fiber to your diet! So of course a nice selection of seeds and some dried out cake and bread have made it to the front porch for the little critters!

Did I mention I brought back some Sharon Smith patterns – these are the ones I have in stock – email me if you are interested:AngelRug



Mountain Village 200

Laundry Day


Purple Rain


I managed to get a few pictures before batteries started to act up of the rug display. Tomorrow I will post pictures of some of the Briarwood Folk Art patterns I brought back (Kathy was in my class and is actually coming to teach her wonderful approach to making your rugs look antique in September!)..




















Now does that sound like a line from a scary movie? Arrived home last night after a wonderful 9 days away in Arizona – well make that 7 because 2 days of travelling from airport to airport through security (thank goodness I bought new socks with no holes!), U.S. immigration, customs, more security etc etc etc cannot count as part of the trip! I realise I am getting old and this is WORK! But – the class and Arizona were sooooo worth it. Sharon Smith was a wonderful teacher – my goal was to learn more about how to make backgrounds interesting and holy cow Sharon really delivered! She gave us many many ideas that just opened my eyes to the potential of backgrounds. I have always hated LOTS of background so whenever I design anything of my own I try to limit the amount of background and try to make it more interesting with a variety of wools and movement. Sharon’s rugs have wonderful backgrounds and she made us see background as an opportunity for exciting patterns and colours. Here are some pictures of her rugs where you can see how she puts this into practice:


















I thought I would be really working outside my comfort zone as far as colour is concerned because in pictures Sharon’s rugs look so much brighter than my usual colours. However, in real life her rugs are much more aged and toned down looking (saturated rich but old) and have so many different tones and textures instead of solids that I felt sooooo comfortable and so enjoyed working on my rug. I have only done hmmm maybe 1/4 of my Russian Village so will not post pix today of it but will show you what other people were working on in class.

Francis and her cupid rug…HPIM4160

Roberta and her Washing Day rug – do you love the blouse on the woman!HPIM4161

Ohhhhh I apologise for not knowing allllll the names… This was the poppies rug…HPIM4163

Faith and Carol with Readers – so interesting to see different interpretations…HPIM4164

Rose??? and her Audubon rug…HPIM4165

Whhhooopss – not only do I not know names but I accidentally cut off a head!!!…HPIM4166

Kathy with her cat rug (sorry do not know the correct title)…HPIM4168

Okay so yesterday I did remember names better but this rug is the Czeck Lady – isnt the background amazing (and check out the jacket!!!! it almost disappeared into a few rugs!!!!!)…HPIM4170

Brenda (who was in my class last year and sat beside me) and the Boating Bunnies…HPIM4172

Next post I will include pix of some of the rug show! Ahhhh you have more to look forward to…


I’m leaving on a jet plane – don’t know if I’ll be back again… yup – leaving for Arizona today and just a tad nervous. Last year when we flew down our plane hit nasty turbulence – we bounced around for quite a while and things got so bad that the flight attendants reminded us that in the pocket of the seat in front of us … (yup the brown bags!!!). Since I had not eaten (airlines don’t provide food anymore unless you want to pay for it – not even the peanuts and pretzels that I used to complain about years ago) I did not need the bag but I was murmuring little prayers cause I thought for sure that we were going down! In the end (obviously) we did not! I survived! but am now not happy about flying anywhere. I remember when I was young and had to travel for business quite a bit and flying was so exciting – now it is just hmmm a pain! that I have to get through to go somewhere!

So to ease my nervousness I have been dyeing wool. This morning I did a great old dirty colour that I will call Primitive Butternut. It actually looks dirtier in real life and if you don’t stir you get wonderful mottling. Since I did 2 1/2 yard in the pot I had to stir (I like full coverage on my wool) but I could have reserved part of the formula and done some abrashing if I wanted more mottling. The formula uses both Magic Carpet and Cushings dyes and I did as I mentioned 2 1/2 yards of mixed wool so cut back if you want to do less:

10/16  MC Orange

10/16  MC Yellow

5/16    MC Seal brown – at this point when I tested the formula (mixed with boiling water) with a tissue I found it just a tad to brown so added the next colour

4/16    Cushings Apricot


It really does look more Butternut Squash colour in real life (not as yellowy) and quite dirty on some of the wools.

So off to my class with Sharon Smith – on my return I will post pix and tell you allllll about my class! And meeting up with friend Kathy Clark of Briarwood Folk Art who is taking the class with me. Hope you all have a wonderful week.


Just before Christmas I taught my friend Wendo how to hook – in about 5 minutes she was pulling loops and by the end of the weekend she had finished hooking and putting together her Christmas tree. On Saturday Wendo came for a visit with her mom and brought along her beautiful Lily rug – all hooked in roving that she usually uses for her needlefelting. The rug is gorgeous – the colours are rich and there is a glint to them that is lovely. Wendo left with 2 yards of linen – is she hooked??? Wendo is planning on being a vendor and a teacher at the OHCG annual in May in Kingston and will have not only her needlefelting but also rughooking kits using roving for sale. If you have never hooked with roving this will be a wonderful opportunity to get a small kit and try it.


Close up so you can see that AFTER the hooking was done Wendo added needlefelted details – stamens on top of the hooking.HPIM4122

And what have I been up to – not much! Did finish a hooked hat for my cousin Helen but turns out I think her head may be too big for it (that is another way of saying I MADE IT TOO SMALL!). Hats are fun to hook but when you are sewing them together and lining them they do tend to shrink up a bit. Oh well, back to the drawing board (or hooking frame).


In my excitement at announcing the Martina Lesar patterns I have in stock I totally neglected to give credit to the ladies who hooked these rugs (hope you did not think that I had hooked them all!). I do apologise to the following ladies and to my readers for this oversight:

Wonderland hooked by Martina Lesarimagemagic.php

Star Pony hooked by Martina Lesarimagemagic.php

Paisley Medallion hooked by Martina Lesarimagemagic.php

Homestead hooked by Martina Lesarimagemagic.php

Escarpment hooked by Gay Wallimagemagic.php

Solitude hooked by Danielle Fink



A couple of years ago I came home from a wonderful trip to the Shelburne rug show with a crick in my neck – probably from twisting my head into unnatural positions trying to figure out what these amazing hookers had done. The term crick in the neck does NOT AT ALL explain the excrutiating pain I suffered. Could not sleep, move or do virtually anything without severe agony. Finally I ended up in a neck brace because my neck was so painful that it could not support my head. Welllll, after feeling extremely sorry for myself for many days Gord finally convinced me to go for a walk, so neck brace on, warm wooly scarf wrapped around my head and neck and a good dose of muscle relaxants and pain pills we left. As we were walking along I must say I enjoyed the sights straight ahead of me until!!! Gord said – oh look at the owl. Well, I carefully turned my entire body 180 degrees to catch a glimpse of a wonderful snowy owl in mid day (not a sight one sees often) only to be confronted with an owl with a cruel sense of humour. As he gazed at us he turned his head a perfect 180 degrees – while I in my agony could not turn my head 1 degree!!! Was he mocking me?  He was such a beauty though that when I got my Karla Gerard patterns one of the ones I ordered included 3 owls on a wonderful swirl tree. Since I did not have time over the holidays to do the entire large rug I took one owl, enlarged him and cropped the background down to a small beginner kit sized piece and finished him off in a day and a half. This will now be available as a kit – 9.5 x 12 inches – a great small wallhanging or pillow size.


Have I mentioned I am going to Arizona in a week to take a class with Sharon Smith. I have admired Sharon’s work for a while now (there was an entire article in Rughooking magazine last fall about Sharon). Her colours are rich and jewel like (so different from my more primitive old colours and textures) and I am so looking forward to trying something totally out of my comfort zone. I will be meeting up with friends and spending a wonderful 3 days hooking with them and learning from Sharon. You can see Sharon’s rugs and hooking style on her website at Then off to Sedona for a short continuation of the trip.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I now have a few Martina Lesar patterns – these are the ones I have in stock at the moment:


Paisley Medallionimagemagic.php

Star Ponyimagemagic.php