23 July 2010

Rug Hooking Diary...Wonderland Begins to Take Form

I'm sure enjoying working on this little piece! It's stretching my abilities & I see many small changes I'll want to make before it's done but I love the design.
I'm using a #7 cut for most of the hooking, a #6 cut for some of the detail and have hand cut a few narrow strips.
Susan asked about my directional hooking of the snow....I'm trying to make it look as if there are large drifts of new snow on the roof and trees. We'll see how successful the attempt is as more hooking is done.
Sometimes I feel like I'm hanging my dirty laundry out here for you all to see......the more I look at this photo, the more wierd things I see that need changing!

17 July 2010

Rug Hooking Diary... Just a Beginning

Just a brief note today....I'm thinking that if I don't write so much maybe I'll add to this blog more often. We'll see!
I like the start I've made on Wonderland. I've marked up the pattern more than I usually do but, with the snow, it's really all about the values.
Doesn't it look nice & cool here? (As I sit sweating in the studio with the fan switched on high.)

11 July 2010

Rug Hooking Diary... Starting a New Rug

Starting a new rug hooking project is often an ambivalent time for me...isn't that odd? It's a time filled with the excitement of new possibilities and the insecurities of the outcome. I love working out a starting point for a piece, thinking about the colors, maybe dyeing up something new...and where I begin with color is often different from where I end (which is so much of the fun in rug hooking). But, I also have those moments of thinking, "Can I do this? Will it turn out well? Will I mess it up?"

My next project is Wonderland, designed by Canadian rug hooking artist, Martina Lesar. It's a magical piece that I'm anxious to start! The big challenge.....hooking all that snow while giving definition to the landscape.

I've admired Martina's designs for some time. She has a wonderful sense of color and a beautiful, broad selection of rug hooking designs. She hand draws her patterns, leaves a good amount of border beyond the designs and is very careful about starting her patterns on-grain. I like her designs enough that I'm importing them to carry on my website (you can find them here: Martina Lesar Designs) and have three or four on my list of rugs I want to hook.

Quick update on my new studio....I'm behind on my photography but here are a couple of recent shots.

One of the best changes I made with the move was to invest in some nice shelving for the mill dyed bolts of wool....no more bolts of wool sitting on the floor.

The rolling cubby shelving for the hand dyed wool is making my life much easier. Looks nice too!

04 July 2010

It's July Already!

Happy 4th of July!
What happened to June? I guess things have been hopping around here....I just realized that I didn't post anything at all last month.

Two important events occurred last month....I sent my son off to Argentina for five months for his study abroad program through the University of Oregon (the plan is for him to seriously improve his Spanish but I think the study of women & the tango are also on his list) and..... my article about my hooked carpetbags was published in Rug Hooking Magazine. It's so exciting to actually see it in print, especially in an issue that's full of other great articles and photographs. I feel honored to be in such good company. So, as you can see, June was a big month!

Preparing for & writing the article was a wonderful learning experience which has given me a new respect for professional writers. The time involved, even before sitting down to write the actual article, was substantial. Researching traditional carpetbags, making a number of test bags to come up with the best design, drafting the final flat pattern, to say nothing of hooking and constructing the three bags featured in the article, took about six months of off-and-on work. Thank goodness for those flat pattern drafting classes I took in college & the Japanese clothing designer I studied with when I lived in Japan. But, most especially, thank goodness for my friend, Denise, who hooked the Revolution Carpetbag when I was down to the wire with deadlines and having a panic attack!

It was a surprise to find that the most challenging aspect of writing the article was finding the right words to describe what my hands just "do". Having been a professional seamstress & soft-furnishings designer for many years, I generally spend time planning a project at the outset & then just work away, often listening to an audio book to keep my mind active while my hands work. Putting step-by-step, concise instructions down on paper (or laptop screen, actually) was a totally new experience.

But, it's nice to know that one can continue to develop new skills, even when you're on the down side of your fifties!

Hope you enjoy the article and yes, I miss my son, but I'm so proud of him for having an adventuresome spirit and a willingness to learn about other cultures.
May your 4th of July be filled with loved ones and appreciation for the fine country we are all a part of...