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Monthly Archives: February 2014


So a few more rugs to share done by others. I continue to hook and rehook sky – decided there was toooooo much sky so I cropped an inch of the top of the sky which meant undoing 3 rows of border and rehooking them – I realized quickly that had I just stuck with sky it would have been done a lot faster than undoing and rehooking. Then I realized my tree needed to go on a diet as it looked tooooo fat even with background to squish it into place. Once this rug is done I think I need to do small and geometric! Although those geometrics present challenges of their own. Soooo on to rugs by others…

Robyn’ s beautiful rug done in recycled fabrics from Cathy Ivory’s Baa Baa Bundles…
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Connie’s version of a Star Rug Company pattern hooked with a lot of wonderful marbleized wools that Connie did up… Hey, do I see antiques in the background??????????

Image 3 and Chris’ finished Karla Gerard Pumpkin Patch – what a happy rug!…



Well water needed to be hooked, tweaked and partially rehooked before I was happy with it. Then the far shore and now on to the sky. This rug is a combination of primitive and slightly realistic elements and colours so since the water is not “realistic” I felt the sky should also remain in the more whimsical realm. I picked 4 dirty colours! I hope this works because the worms are piling up and I am going to have to do a lot of scrappy rugs (although that would not be toooooo big a dilemma as I have been inspired by Bea Brock’s wonderful new book – Scrappy Rugs – to hook many huge scrappy rugs!). How will I hook the sky – well years ago I used to live south of Montreal on Lac St. Louis in a village called Ville de Lery. It was former cottage country for Montrealers back in the 30’s and 40’s and there are a lot of wonderful huge old former cottages that have now become homes, windy narrow roads along the lake, dry stone walls – perfect earllllly morning walking territory! At that time I still worked and would get up at 3:30, get everything ready in the office to start the day and then take off around 5:30 a.m. to beat the heat and more importantly to beat the garbage man (note I did not say beat up! the garbage man – in fact I am sure he was grateful that all the stuff I schlepped home meant less lifting and tossing for him). One morning as I was walking I saw this amazing bright light – almost as though someone had a huge spotlight shining through the trees. It was HUGE AND BRIGHT and as I turned the corner I realized it was the most beautiful moon I have ever seen – just above the water line – enormous and golden. It lit up the entire sky and surrounding area. So that moon is in my rug but how to hook the sky and still keep a more folk arty feel is hmmmm challenging to say the least. I have it partially hooked and although Gord says he loves it, I am still on the fence!

The last couple of weeks we have been revamping our hydro room/cat bathroom/junk collecting room. A lot of painting in awkward positions trying to wrap myself around well pumps, sump pumps, water softeners etc. have made me realize there are muscles in this body that have not been used in mannnnnnny years. But we are almost done. Yesterday I actually cleaned off my dye containers – I can READ them again! and not just guess from the colours smeared on the outside – and finally filled a wonderful little rack I found in an antique store recently. It seems it was meant for dyes – my prochem dyes fit perfectly into each little opening. HPIM5117I even have a table and under cabinet lighting set up in the hydro room for mixing my dyes. ANNNDDD the litter box dilemma was solved for free! Gord didn’t even have to build anything – we found a huge plastic bin with a hinged lid in the back room that was doing nothing, cut a big opening in the end to accommodate even the fattest of our cats!, filled it with litter and yeahhhh everything is hidden! Usually, my sister Di cleans the litter box(es). Di has Downe Syndrome and is a little obsessive compulsive (hmmmm could it be that that runs in the family?). So when she does a job – she does it right and for a LONGGGGG time! Cats line up outside the door with legs crossed and eyes bulging as Di dons rubber gloves, a mask and goggles and starts hacking with every one of Gord’s putty knives and chisels. Litter dust flies everywhere but when she is done there is NOTHING left in that box that does not belong!!! I am not sure that she will love the new arrangement when she comes back but I sure do!!!

A few weeks ago I taught a class on adding texture to your rugs – visual and tactile. It was a really fun group and wow they just took off with the concept. Within a few days some of them were done their pieces and I have a few pictures to share…

Cindy’s crow – a little fuzzy… Image

Liz’ Sunflower – I believe most of this was recycled…Image 1

Bev’s Seagull – lovvveee that sky!!!!…
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Lois’ Pine tree- again a wonderful sky…Image 1

Linda’s fanciful colourful crow… Image 3

And, Beth recently sent me this picture of the lovely rug she just finished hooking of a Newfoundlander dog for her sister who LIVES in Newfoundland…



or greens or yellows or purples! I am working on another Foul Fowl challenge piece and have the fowl hooked and the tree and rocks and harvest moon. Next – water and sky. And this is where I break down! So far the fowl and the tree and moon and rocks were easy – everything just flowed but once I got to the water yikes things stopped. How to hook the water – do I do realism with the moon glowing on the water or do I do funky. Well, started with realism and hmmmmmmmm remembered the dilemma with the otter rug. I DON’T DO REALISM VERY WELL. When I hooked my otter rug I hooked straight lines in real blues – nope hated that; then I hooked wavy lines in lighter blues – hated it just as much and FINALLLLLY decided to play and not hook lines and add colours that were unexpected and loved it.


So, instead of water that looks like water I have decided to play a bit with bubbles and spirals and colours that one normally does not associate with real water. And I am enjoying the process so much more. There is a time to STAY in one’s comfort zone :-). BIG sky will be the next BIG challenge…

I had a few emails yesterday from folks who were looking for Polly’s(and Laurie’s) books. Polly has suggested you email her directly at and she will be happy to answer your questions and fill your orders!


My lucky friend Sandi who is spending some time in Florida took a class last year with teacher Polly Minick. Polly has been designing rugs, wool and teaching (and hooking!!) for many years and has written a number of books. I am lucky enough to have a few of the ones she wrote or coauthored with her sister Laurie Simpson who is a quilter.  Sandi went to a trunk show/lecture by Polly last week and took these pix and I thought I would share them with you as they are lovely. Some of the rugs have a definite, what I consider, Nantucket feel to them – beachy, soft tones and vintage look… or a distinct Americana look and a very limited blue, cream, red colour palette… To read more about Polly and her exploits check her blog at…

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Years ago when I started hooking, my teacher and mentor, Tony Latham, took a group of us down to Victory Mills, NY to a rug show put on by Dick Labarge. Dick is an amazing hooker, teacher and master dyer. Tony and I were lucky enough to spend a day in the dye kitchen with Dick the Mad Professor (Dick had a wild and fun approach to dyeing that totally inspired me) while Gord spent time with Dick’s partner George Kahnle playing with the computer. George was an amazing designer of primitive folk art rugs and he and Dick would teach together at many rug camps. Sadly, last week George passed away. He will be missed by those whose lives he touched with his wonderful designs and generous spirit.


WELLLLLLL in between painting baseboards for our hydro room I needed to keep washing off the paint that was stuck to all my fingers so decided to do some dyeing – rinsing the wool removes paint!  Came up with a new colour – Dirty Gold. If you have Magic Carpet dyes this is dead easy:

Equal parts Moss Green, Orange and Yellow mixed together.  I used 1/4 teaspoon of each and dyed over 1 yard of mixed wools including some recycled camel colour. I love the aged look of this (well that comes from using more aged base fabrics as well. This will mix beautifully with Brass Bell and Lily Pond Green (colours from Susan Quicksall’s dye book). The smoky blue at the top is a mix of 1/2 tsp. Copenhagen Blue and 1/8 tsp. Navy (Cushings) over  1 1/2 yards mixed wools. The colours do look a bit brighter than in real life due to the flash!HPIM5114

I have some new Briarwood Folkart patterns in stock – will be adding more soon:

Canadian Beavers 29 x 19 inches $70.00 on unbleached primitive linen…Image 2

Olde Cat and Dog 26 x 18 inches $60.00 on unbleached primitive linen…OldeCatandDogfull

Magdalena Meow Mix Cats 30 x 23 $70.00 on unbleached primitive linen…C5MagdalenaMeowMixwithLeaf

And a few more rugs by friends – Margie’s version of Alana’s Frog pattern…

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Ruby’s version of the first Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern of the month…Image 1


Got a picture the other day of a wonderful rug hooked by Christine (designed by Joyce Jones) for the Pan Am games…


Wednesday at Stitch by Stitch was a busy morning with LOTS of wonderful hooking going on. Here are a few pix of what people were working on…

Elizabeth’s version of Alanna Kapell’s Frog (pattern I carry)…


Elizabeth’s version of Karla Gerard’s Red Bird (pattern I carry)…


Elizabeth starting on a Deanne Fitzpatrick pattern of the month rug…

Lydia’s rug hmmm what is the name of this one again (will find out and post)…


Sari’s Hen rug – another one of the Alanna Kapell patterns I carry – Sari is doing a border of eggs (funky eggs) around the outside so hopefully next time I will get a picture of the border…


Noreen’s very first rug – Karla Gerard’s Red Bird (yup the same one Elizabeth did but in different colour plan) made into the most amazing box pillow!!!…


Linda’s Simplify rug…

There were a lot more rugs but I just did not get a chance to take pictures of everyone’s pieces – hope to get them next time…

And Chris from Montreal’s version of Karla Gerard’s Pumpkin Patch (a pattern I carry but have not yet hooked – but will have to hook)…



Sooooooooo we ran out of peanut butter – what to put in the traps to entice the mice! AHHHHHHH brainwave – cashews! Perhaps the high fat content will increase their cholesterol levels or the high salt content will raise their BP to the point of no return! Well that brainwave flopped! They just make more noise in the trap as they are chowing down on the cashews!!! And now one is hiding behind my wall unit becauseeee I LEFT THE CEILING OPEN! and poor little thing must have fallen 8 feet to the floor and scurried behind the cabinet. So now the trap is blocking one end and books are blocking the other as the cats sit and stare behind the cabinet. I must say – spring cannot come soon enough this year! Once spring comes the mice are no longer interested and we will get in the exterminator to look for and seal off any minute openings that the mice could possibly squeeeeeeeeze through.

So between chasing mice and painting and cleaning the hydro room no hooking since Saturday. I did get a picture from Connie of her hooked version of the fish head – I think I like it better than my own! At Saturday’s hookin I was convinced by the rest of the gang that I should do a hmmm quadtych (not a triptych) of the fish – head, body, body and tail all in separate sections. At first I just nodded my head but by the end of the day I actually was keen on tackling this project. Now to draw out the 3 additional pieces – maybe tail first!

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Tomorrow I will be at Stitch by Stitch in Kingston from 10 – 12. Bring your project and join us!


Ahhhhhhh yesterday was such wonderful fun! Spent the day at Wendy’s with friends who were hooking, penny rugging, making wire button trees. Even had home made pizza made Wendy’s hubby Vince (another extremely creative soul!). Here are a few pix of what was being worked on or finished:



Donna’s antique inspired rug – love that wonderful teal (the new hot colour) and the very aged look of this rug…HPIM5095

Holy Cow – Andrea was using up a ton of scraps and recycleds in this 5 x 3 foot +++ rug for her office floor. It started off as a Fraktur challenge but morphed into a scrappy hit and miss…HPIM5097

Wendy’s almost completed ultra wide cut (half inch torn strips)…HPIM5098

Sheila’s stunning Klimt inspired rug – photos do not do this rug justice as the colours are not as saturated as they are in reality and the textures used are not apparent…HPIM5100

A delicious array of the wools and fibres for Sheila’s next hooking project…HPIM5103

Donna’s vintage penny rug bought at an antique show recently…HPIM5104

Patrice’s beautiful paisley rug in the process of being bound…HPIM5105

Wendy modelling Patrice’s fish puppet (P is a costume designer for theatre)…HPIM5106

On the way home I convinced Gord that we HAD TO STOP at Millers the Junk Man (well that would not be the true name of his business but if you have ever been there you will understand) in Rideau Ferry. A good 75% of the goodies were hidden under 2 feet of snow buttttt the piggery was open! I had seen a wonderful antique wall cabinet there last year and had the perfect! spot for it in my dye kitchen. WELLLLLL it was still there although harder to locate as the piles have grown and now there is stuff hanging from ceilings. Had to back out of one of the little rooms because I could not turn around!!!! Anyway the cabinet is as beautiful as I remember it being but I thought hmmmmmmm I usually jump first and look later so decided better measure and if it will fit Gord can pick it up on Monday. Wellll, darned good thing I measured as it was 6 inches too wide and 5 inches too tall! Very very disappointing as it really is a lovely piece – is there perhaps another spot in the house where I can squeeze in a 36 x 40 inch wall cabinet???????? Hmmmm did I just hear Gord yelling from the living room NO NO NO NO NO!!! I think he actually said SNOW! :-)))


For those of you who have coveted a Deanne Fitzpatrick Cheticamp frame there is one up for grabs fairly locally. Julie has decided that she prefers to hook smaller pieces and is interested in selling her frame which has never been used. The Cheticamp frame allows you to sit at a frame and attach your larger rugs and see the entire rug (well most of it anyway) as you are hooking. If you have ever watched Deanne in action she moves along the surface of her rug like a house on fire. If you are in Southern Ontario and are interested let me know and I can put you in contact with Julie.

My good friend Sandi just sent me a picture of her completed rug that she designed and started hooking in our Kathy Clark class. It is WONDERFUL – memories of her former homes and her fur kids Hallee and Caleb.

Image 8Hallee as a puppy would curl up against Caleb’s warm belly. The houses are all Sandi’s former homes – currently she overlooks lake Ontario and has a sheep farm behind her home (explains the sheep in the meadow). In the spring she gets to see all the darling little lambs. Now lambs are cute but are not tooooo bright. While we visited and hooked at Sandi’s house one spring day we all went out to see the new lambs who were frolicking in the field behind the fence. Of course, overcome by the cuteness of one of the lambs, I called it over. Bounce bounce bounce right up to my hand – AND THE ELECTRIFIED FENCE! Wellllll, bounce bounce bounce again but in the other direction!!!!! The stunned look on its poor little face was hilarious but imagine how horrified I was to see the silly thing came bouncing right back to me – and the fence!

For those of you who would love to try emulating this wonderful style I will soon be carrying more of Kathy’s wonderful patterns (Briarwood Folkart) so stay tuned…