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Monthly Archives: February 2013


well in the trap… Every morning I check the live trap which we have set up in the basement ceiling and EVERY morning there is a mouse – the same mouse I am sure as the previous day(s) – sitting calmly inside the trap eating his expensive peanut butter and knowing that in the end he will make it back to his comfortable blanket in the garage – only to return the next morning to his favourite restaurant for breakfast! Everyone keeps telling me to mark him with nailpolish but that would involve opening the trap wide enough to reach in and mark a fast little mouse? I am not afraid of mice – have caught many of them in my hands BUT I reallllly don’t want him hopping out of the trap and racing around the house. Much prefer him IN the trap transported to the garage! I am sure it is the same mouse though because he continues to eat as I look in through the peepholes – I am just hoping that he is getting chubbier each day and soon will not be able to scoot through whatever minuscule opening there is into my basement!!!! But at least this year – ONE mouse – not 3! and IN THE TRAP not racing around behind wall units!

And now a little cat humour – how to catch a cat (not a mouse!)…


I have been dyeing like crazy this past week – lovely blues and lilacs and lavenders for a friend in Ottawa who is doing a very colourful Group of Sevenish(not a word according to my computer) landscape. My fingers are now various shades of blue!. Most of these are spot dyes and in the last year or two I learned of an easy way to make these more blended and less “spotty”.  I think it was Wanda Kerr in one of her articles in Rughooking Magazine who mentioned 1. use very little hot water to mix the dye – just enough to break down the dye particles 2. don’t add vineagar to the formula 3. top up with cold water. Because dye absorbs much more quickly with hot water and vineagar you get more spotty versions(which sometimes are perfect!) but for a softer, more blended version use the method above. I pour rather than spoon my dye onto 2/8 of wool (sometimes using a either textured or light plaid wools or layering on some slub yarn), then squish with my potato masher (which has never in its life seen a potato!) – this blends the colours together; lift up into peaks again, checking to make sure no white spots(unless I specifically WANT some white areas) and then add the vineagar to the sides and pop into the microwave. I do all my spotdyes in the microwave in a 9×9 glass cake pan – 10 minutes and the water is clear and then I toss it into an old metal salad bowl to finish setting and cooling down.

Yesterday Beth sent me a picture of her finished Karla Gerard rug – it turned out beautifully! This is such a fun fresh rug – it makes me smile… DSCN0106


Yesterday at guild we had a bit of show and tell – actually I was demonstrating showbinding finish and took a few pictures of some of the finished pieces people had brought along and some finishing in progress:

The following rugs were all hooked by Marie…
HPIM4295  HPIM4296  HPIM4297  HPIM4298  HPIM4299  HPIM4300  Marie attaching showbinding to her Martina Lesar Star Pony rug…hooked mostly with Jen Manuels bundles of precut mixed wools!…HPIM4301

Elizabeth inherited a lovely stash of semi completed rugs from a retiring rughooker and is gradually finishing them all off. The original hooker did her own very geometric, contemporary or abstract designs. This is the most recent rug to be almost finished all in recycled as is woolens…HPIM4302

Helen with her rug hooked entirely in Briggs and Little single ply (like hooking a number 2 cut!!!) working on her showbinding…and then my camera died (again!)…HPIM4303


Yesterday I got a few new Karla patterns – her style is evident but definitely changing. These patterns are available on primitive linen for $35.00 (smaller size) or $55.00 (larger size) and I will add them to my online store soon. I think the Sunflower pattern is just amazing and could see this with a lot of wonderful alternative fibers mixed in with the wool strips – Sari silks, yarns, slubs, roving! and with some additional textural rughooking techniques. I KNOW I am going to have to hook this one – for me in my dirtier older brickreds/burnt oranges/mustardy yellows and olives. But it could also be fun in brighter less sunflowery colours – could be hmmm daisies or asters or anything your heart desires!






This past Monday I took part in our historical days – what fun! At first I thought it was just a social event for all the local older folk to get together and reminisce but we actually had a good turnout for a new one day event. I demoed as did Raphael Karem our local historic broom maker and quilter Helen Barr and the cloggers. There were wonderful old tools and photos and local history on display and I GOT A LOT OF HOOKING DONE on the celtic ONLY to realise it was not calling to me! It was far too strong with solid navy etc. At first I thought it would be good to match the graphicness of the quilt that is in the same room as the rug however I quickly (thank goodness because not as much pulling out and rehooking) realised that I want to soften the colours and make this piece look more aged.  Yesterday I replanned the entire rug! So out will come alllllllll (or most) of the hooking I did on Monday (I actually got the entire knot border and part of the background done). Hopefully this time my vision and reality will coincide!


NOOOOO this is not me!!!!! Not sure how historic the attire was! but it was quite amusing to watch her clogging with her shoe. On the right you can see some of Raphaels brooms – well not too well. He dyes the straw and then does a woven top on them and uses hickory sticks for the handles. They are beautiful. HPIM4294


Who would design and hook a pumpkin mat in winter – well, look no further! I am ahead of the game this year – makes NO sense to hook this in the fall when I actually want to USE it. So, since I had a request for a new small pumpkin mat I hooked this little one this morning. The mat is 12 x 12 and will be available as a kit. Don’t you love that amazing black background – so very primitive and old looking.


I just posted a few new classes on my events page:

– Primitive Dye Class – April 24

– Finishing Class – April 10

– Beginner Class – April 26

(these will all be held here at the studio – and yesssss roads will be driveable! no ice! and hopefully lovely porch weather!)

On February 27 I will be at Stitch by Stitch in Kingston along with cutters and more wool and patterns. Drop in if you have a question or problem or need supplies or hmmm just want to sit and hook!

I have a wonderful sister, Di, who lives with us a good part of the year. Di has Down’s syndrome and her approach to life sometimes just amazes me. She simplifies things down to the basics – this morning the deer were out in full force. I heard her trying to count them all up – one, two, three, four, three, one, two… all of a sudden she must have decided that was just way too complex and she blurted out “TOO MANY DEER”. How wonderful – why get alllllll stressed out about things that are complex – simplify simplify simplify! So that made me think of teaching a class on primitive colour planning – no talking about analagous and split complementaries (which after years and years of having these buzz words banged into my head I stillllll don’t understand) – my approach will be to let the wool do the work for you! Colour plan using those wonderful plaids we all (hopefully) have in our stash. So one of these days look for that class on the events list and lets simplify something that makes everyone break out in a sweat!

Я наелась!!!

That would translate to I’M FINISHED (well almost – guess I should have gotten a translation of almost as well!!!). Thank goodness none of my friends reads Russian though because hmmm, not sure that these letters are terribly accurate (the hooked compared to the drawn that is!). Not being alllll that well acquainted with the Cyrillic alphabet, I should probably have printed off the letters so that once they were hooked in and I was hooking background around them I could refer to something to remind me what they are SUPPOSED to look like. Oh well – I am having fun!!!! and they do look Russian!! Now all I have to do (alllll!!!) is fill in around the letters but on Family Day (Feb 18) I will be demonstrating rughooking for the Bedford Historical Society on Westport Road. So this will be a great piece to take along – no thinking just hooking!!!! and I think I will just fill in with straight lines.


Gord washed my little $6.00 bakery/hospital/veggie/diaper etc. rack and we realised that YES the rust was holding it together. He sanded lightly just to get the flakiness off for now and hmmm the more he sanded the bigger the hole in the bottom trough became so NO MORE SANDING! I do think it is going to need a gooooood coat of some thick paint :-)… But in the meantime I am loving having all my wool in one big trough at the right height to just reach from my chair and pull instead of spread all over the couch or my table.

I received, this week, a few more Sharon Smith patterns – one of her newest ones is soooo much fun:

Little Houses 400


Well yesterday Gord and I decided to take a day off and go to the antique show in Kingston. It was a great show – lots of wonderful antiques and primitives but SOOOOOOOOOO out of my budget! There were about 2 booths with small stuff that was more vintage than antique that I could have afforded – I almost! bought a nice red painted box but in the end abstained! Lots of wonderful old hooked rugs including quite a few Grenfells and G E Tremblays and other antique rugs – if you could afford to pay $$$; beautiful folkart – saw a gorgeous old horse weathervane for only $6800! lots of fun Nova Scotia folk art. Even though the prices were much more than I could ever afford, it was fun and I enjoyed looking at stuff and was relieved not to be tempted!!!
So I bought nothing there – instead afterwards we went to the junk market where I got the wierdest piece of metal furniture thingy that I am going to use to hold all my wool strips for projects as I work on them.  It has 3 big troughs that could hold a lot of wool strips and I can even semi sort them by colour or area on the rug. As you can see from the photo it hmmmm needs a bit of work but Gord is going to sand and paint and distress it for me to cover all the rust – so biggggg expense at 6.00(my kind of shopping! :-)) If anyone knows what this lovely??? piece was in its former life please let me know – but it will have a good use in its new life!!!


Today I had company – noooo not the guys below!!!!!



Wendy and her daughter Patrice (both hookers and extremely talented ladies) came for a dye and play day. Patrice had never dyed before and wanted to dye wool for the next piece she is going to hook – this is the result. We did what I call lasagna dyeing – not sure if there is another term for this???) – we put one layer of crumpled up wool in the bottom of a glass 9×9 inch pan and poured our lightest colour on this (so for instance one set of colours started with Cushings tan on the bottom – 1/16th tsp mixed in about 3/4 cup water with a touch of vineagar); then we put a second layer of wool crumpled up on top of this and poured Cushings medium brown – in this case we wanted the colour a bit darker so used 1/16 plus 1/32; the third layer of crumpled wool got a very diluted Cushings bright purple and a bit of reserved medium brown. Each layer would get squished down with a potato masher and lifted so that there were no white spots. As we squished down each layer a bit of the colour underneath would bleed up and colour from above would bleed down. Then pop – into the microwave (not the one I use for all my cooking :-)) for 10 minutes which was sufficient time for the water to go clear and then let it rest for a while and voila – wonderrrrrful wool that was perfect for her project!