19 December 2009
Thanks to my wonderful friend, Charly, every year I have the good fortune to be involved in adopting a needy family in our community who otherwise might not have much at Christmastime. Thank you Charly.
My decorating for the holidays consists of pulling out a few of my favorite things.... simple, not much fuss, and usually involving wool of course!
Do you remember this post....
A Blank Canvas
Well, he now graces my mantle along with a few beautiful pots and a lovely painting by my studio mate, Suzanne D'Arcy.
This girl is out for the first time....my first attempt at doll making. She's not perfect but she has a great personality.
05 December 2009
I also got to pay a visit to one of my favorite hooked rugs....this little guy now resides with my brother and sister-in-law in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
I fell in love with many houses on Mobile Bay as I walked along the beach beyond the hotel....wouldn't you love to decorate this little beach shack for Christmas!
01 November 2009
Another reason is that, at least twice a year, we host well-known teachers from around the country to come & share their expertise with our members. For some inexplicable reason, we don't have much difficulty getting teaching commitments from these great teachers. I wonder why???
Last weekend, we had a visitor from not-too-far-away, the inestimable Gene Shepherd from Anaheim, California (otherwise known as the home of Disneyland). Gene spent a very busy day and a half teaching us proddy techniques to enhance our hooking. It was great fun and Gene is a great teacher. He's thoroughly researched his subject and has worked hard to develop neat ways of prodding realistic-looking flowers. He's also quite personable, tells a good story and kept us laughing.
The hookers in our group have a broad range of styles and, as a result, there were a great many interpretations of Gene's proddy flower techniques. I took two pieces that I had put a lot of work in to before the workshop. The first is a Primitive Spirit design, Almond Blossoms, which I had completely hooked but left spaces to add the proddy blossoms. The top photo is how the piece looked after the workshop. I spent the whole first day cutting out the blossoms and adding them to the piece.
While I was very happy with all that I learned, I did find that I was not completely pleased with the colors of the blossoms.....somehow the brighter pink just didn't go with the overall muted colors of the mat. I have since made a few changes and additions and am much happier with the total effect.
I welcome your opinions on which you like best.....the first version with the brighter blossoms or the second version with the more subtle coloration in the blossoms?
This mat will be used as my demonstration piece for the Pillow Construction Workshop I'm teaching in my studio next month.....I rather like the idea that I'll be using a piece that Gene helped me to learn from to help others learn some of what I have to offer.
The second piece that I worked on is my own design.....you'll see the finished version & the pattern at a later time but, for now, I just wanted to share the flowers I added using Gene's techniques & guidance. This piece makes me very happy!
Notice the wonderful vintage Bakelite buttons I used as centers for two of the flowers? I have quite an extensive collection of vintage & antique buttons and it's fun to find such a great use for a few of them!
31 October 2009
16 October 2009
Seems like a good time to bring this old friend out for a visit....he's based upon a pattern available in Rug Hooking Magazine a few years ago.
He hangs out in my studio most of the time and scares off the goblins & ghosts!
We had a great time at the planning session for the Pillow Construction Workshop in my studio last weekend. I'm sure I talked way more than was necessary but my lovely class participants were very kind. I'm so encouraged by their enthusiasm and the projects they are planning! We'll have several beautiful new pillows to share the end of November.
If you'd like to join the class we still have a little room and I'm giving a make-up class on Sunday, October 25 in my studio. You can click HERE for more information.
All of you good witches and wizards stay out of trouble~~~~
09 October 2009
I made these great (big!) pillows for a favorite client in Silicone Valley a few years ago. Big fluffy pillow inserts and attention to all the details make them just perfect. It wasn't easy getting the Greek Key trim perfectly placed for the boxing strip of the two big boxed pillows but I was pleased with the way they turned out. And, more importantly, so was my client.
17 August 2009
I tried a few new (to me) materials.... hand dyed silk ribbon that I got up in Oregon the last time I visited my son at school, and some of my own hand dyed fleece, Starless Night. It was great fun trying out new materials......
02 August 2009
Yippee! The hooking is done on my Oak Leaves tote. I confess that I agonized more than usual over the colors on this one and did quite a bit of reverse hooking. Sometimes a color that you think is going to be perfect ends up being just blah..... (A little 'thank you' to our Tuesday Night Hookers group ...they listened to a lot of whining.) But I think persistence paid off and I'm pleased with the results.
31 July 2009
17 July 2009
Mary Shepard Burton is a noted rug hooking artist and author (A Passion for the Creative Life: Textiles to Lift the Spirit) who has donated a collection of her work to the American Folklife Center, a research center of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
The site has excellent pictures of the pieces that will surely be an inspiration to all rug hookers. There is a great zoom function that allows you to see the fine detail in the rugs and many have a link to commentary by the artist.
It's encouraging to see our art and craft form in a venue of artistic respectability.
Be sure to take a look:
The Mary Shepard Burton Collection
11 July 2009
I'm so pleased to be able to offer a variety of primitive and whimsical rug hooking patterns from Primitive Spirit by Karen Kahle. The designs are available on my website as patterns on quality linen and several are now available as kits with both the pattern and my premium quality hand dyed woolens included. If you're brand new to rug hooking and don't yet have your own cutter, you can even order the kit with the strips prewashed and cut.....get hooking right away.
My favorites for a beginner are Lavender Welcome, Bittersweet and Friendship (a great novice pattern!).
I have one or two projects to finish up and then I'm going to hook Almond Blossoms.....I have the wool all dyed and tossed on the floor of my studio so that I can pick and choose which colors are really working for me. I'm reshaping the outline of the rug slightly because the completed hooked piece will be used as a teaching tool in the pillow construction workshop that I'll be teaching in my studio in October.
I've never done any proddy but I think this will be a perfect piece to try out that technique for the almond blossoms. I'll post pictures when I get it started......but, no promises about when!
03 July 2009
29 June 2009
19 June 2009
Having just finished his second year at University of Oregon, he's off to backpack in Europe for three months.
This means we're cramming a summer's worth of visiting, home cooking, friends stopping by, Father's Day and hugs from Mom into 5 short days.
Ryan came by to say hi ....
I love having their energy in the house!
15 June 2009
From Deanne Fitzpatrick....
From Gene Shepherd....
Gene is precise in his technique…..each of his “linguine” strips is evenly cut and his movements to create his loops are so uniform; Deanne will quickly snip a strip off a width of fabric with her scissors and she allows her loops to wander over her foundation to give an impression of the form she wishes to depict.
My personal hooking is somewhere in between....where's yours?
There are so many 'right ways' to hook.....we can all find what works for us.
Maybe more world leaders and religious leaders should take up rug hooking. Oh dear, that doesn't solve the challenges with the bankers and corporate exec's though, does it? Sigh.....
05 June 2009
Next....trying new materials for the night sky!
23 May 2009
I knew there were gaps in my color spectrum but it dawned on me that I had a whole category missing..... we all need a grey now & then. So, I spent a dye day working up a few good grays (plus a few others for fun). Who knew that boring ole' grey could be so much fun & come in so many shades....and look so nice with the Dusty Plums and Canning Jar Blue I dyed on the same day. I think the Warm Grey is my favorite today.
20 May 2009
I do like the way the houses are coming together! I don't think I would normally use Ice House blue, Pepperberry and Pepperberry Plaids in the same rug but your neighbors don't necessarily coordinate their home's paint color to yours, do they?
It's surprising how much faster this project is coming along with the 8.5 cut. I was concerned, at first, that that I'd have a hard time getting enough definition in the shapes but it seems to be working just fine.
.......just playing around with the unspun fleece to see how it behaves!
09 May 2009
Sometimes, when I'm having trouble with the values in a rug, I really like to get a good working photo and use the black & white effects in Photoshop....it helps me see what's working & what's not.
* A highly technical term for the time-honored practice of ripping out strips of wool from your foundation when you don't like what you've done.
02 May 2009
A little over three years ago I had the good fortune to find a great group of women who meet weekly to visit and work on hooking projects together. Lately, some of us have been exploring Deanne Fitzpatrick's designs and influence on rug hooking. What glorious inspiration her work is.
I will try to get photos of a few of my friends' DF pieces to share with you but here's what I'm starting on:
Deanne's style is so distinctive and free....this design calls out to me. I'm thinking that I will try adding a greater variety of materials to the sky which I've redrawn to add a sliver of a moon. I think I'll hook the houses in my own style but using a #8.5 cut which I have not done before. What else can I try that I've never done before??
Thanks for putting up with my ramblings today..... perhaps you can see why a design with wonky houses appeals to my wonky mind.
25 April 2009
I've had the good fortune to have my custom sewing work published in shelter magazines but this is the first time I've had a hooked rug published. What fun!
This was an exceptionally satisfying project to hook and I was so honored that others enjoyed my interpretation of the design and use of the materials sent from other hookers around the country. This rug now occupies a prominent place on the floor of my studio right in front of the shelves stacked high with hand dyed wool……appropriate, don't you think?
The rug is my adaptation of Maria Barton's Star and Two Sheep design that I hooked as a participant in her ingenious online challenge. You can see the full article, challenge details & rugs from other participants in the March/April/May 2009 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine but I thought I'd share the text of the notes I wrote for Maria when she was writing the article:
"This challenge motivated me to try three "new-to-me" techniques which I'd been thinking about for some time. I'd had the idea of a sheep hooked from roving rolling around in my head & even had a bag full of several beautiful colors of natural roving sitting in the closet. I had been inspired by Karen Kahle's hit & miss technique at a workshop a few years ago and by Pris Butler's lettering techniques.
When Maria proposed the challenge and graciously allowed the participants to modify the designs to suit their own needs, I knew that this was my opportunity to try all of these techniques. And I adore Maria's Two Sheep and Star design…..perfect in its simplicity and whimsy. I was so excited to get started that I had the pattern all drawn up and on to my linen before Maria had the chance to send all the strips out to us.
Adding the block at the bottom was just one of those middle-of-the-night things…..easy to do once I had the idea (and thank goodness for modern computer technology, big sheets of paper and Scotch magic tape).
The hit & miss block was a lot more fun than I thought it would be….I used most of the 200 strips from my hooking friends in this area. I do confess that when the strips arrived I laid them out on the floor and thought "OMG….how am I going to make this work???" (It was a great education as to how others prepare their strips for hooking!) But, in my obsessive way, I began to group them into collections, first according to value and then, according to hue. Before long, I began to see how it could come together. The hooking had a bit of a Zen-like quality….mostly just hooked what felt right. One conscious hooking decision was to hook both the left & right sides of the block at the same time….I wanted the block to have fairly even tones across the width and felt I could best accomplish this by hooking the sides simultaneously.
As a professional dyer, I find joy and inspiration in knowing that my hand dyed woolens are hooked into beautiful rugs by hookers all over the country. I feel a special fondness for this rug….perhaps it's because participating in this challenge allowed me to feel the joy of adding the creativity and inspiration of others into my rug. "
If you have the opportunity to get involved in a rug hooking challenge I highly recommend you go for it..... It can be a great learning experience!
12 February 2009
California has been so beautiful this winter. Sunny skies, weeks of 65 degree days, very little rain.
But, as with many things, we'll pay a price...... it's much too early for the trees to be blooming and we'll be rationing water by spring.
01 February 2009
Carol looked for wool for her next project.....
My studio is rather large and spacious but we managed to fill it up with lots of hookers and beautiful rugs in progress. Nada brought her friend, Diane, who's visiting all the way from Minnesota (they've been friends for almost 40 years!).
Jane is the most prolific hooker that I know.... she has a wonderful willingness to learn, try new techniques & use new materials. Her enthusiasm is contagious.
My friend, Denise, designs all of her own rugs. And they are all BIG rugs! This one, depicting a tree and sky in winter, is the last in her series of four seasonal rugs, all about 5' by 6'. I will beg her to let me post a photo of this rug when she's done. Denise is also a talented quilter with a finely developed eye for the use of color and value. I learn a lot just by watching her plan and execute her rug designs.
28 January 2009
18 January 2009
My first three rug hooking students! They were good natured and very patient with me. We had a good time learning to cut beautiful wool into little strips and practicing lifting loops. Everyone went home with a small project planned and enough wool cut to get a good start on their first hooked mats.
Lisa and Leslie chose the same little heart pattern but they are using completely different colorways. It will be so much fun to see how they turn out. Penny chose a great geometric pattern that she'll hook with reds, golds and muted browns with a dash of brilliant blue-green to give it life. She'll get good practice hooking sharp corners and big circles.
They were a great group .....they listened, watched and weren't timid about asking good questions. And they jumped right in when I told them it was time to start practicing making those loops!
I'm really looking forward to seeing their progress next week when we'll also explore the world of good wool and where to get it, cutters, frames, Internet resources and .....
I think we may need more than three weeks of class.