02 November 2013


This Fall I had the good fortune to participate as a vendor at the 2013 ATHA Biennial in Long Beach, California. It was an inspiring gathering and a wonderful time to connect with old friends. Many were good customers that I've known for years through email or the telephone, but had never talked to in person...what an opportunity! It's always a joy to add a face to the voice.
While most of my time was spent working, I did manage to grab an hour to attend a short presentation by Maggie Bonanomi. She is just as down-to-earth and warm as one would expect given the gentle and primitive nature of her work and her writings. She and her husband came by my booth during a quiet time so we could chat (perhaps we'll be able to collaborate someday). As it was, she left my booth with a nice stack of beautiful hand dyed textured woolens and I brought home an autographed copy of her latest book...I think we were both happy.
Meeting Maggie and actually getting to view & touch her work (do I sound like a Maggie groupie?) has  inspired me to finally try my hand at wool applique. Here's where I'm starting...

Wool Applique from The Merry Hooker Woolens
Two Birds in the Garden
This is one of Maggie's designs, Two Birds in the Garden, that's been around for awhile and is an easy starting point for a novice at applique.

Working Out Motif Placements with the Paper Patterns

One of the things I like most about her designs is that they are so relaxed and one doesn't need to feel intimidated at the thought of making changes (or, so to speak, not coloring within the lines). In fact, Maggie clearly invites making a project your own and not being afraid of "mistakes". I like this attitude so much that I think I'm going to stain this whole piece with a walnut crystal & tea solution when I'm done.

Ready to Stitch...

29 July 2013

A Simple & Fun Rug...Completed

This rug was a delight to hook at a time when simple was needed. Hooked mostly in a #8.5 cut with a little #6 cut for detail, it was quick and, most of all, fun. Most of the wools came out of my leftovers bins and it was interesting to see how the great variety of red-oranges, oranges and maples mixed together.
The blue was a big surprise. When I first pulled it out to consider using it, I thought no way was it going to work. But, in the end, I think it's what makes the rug lively rather than ho-hum....

The 20" X 40" design is by Maggie Bonanomi and can be found here:
Out in the Garden

27 July 2013

Sewing Tools...

Happy day... I was able to set aside some quiet time to finish my first little Maggie project from the book, A Day at Sunny Brook.
 With the exception of the hand dyed cotton velvet, everything used to make the chatelaine was either repurposed or scrapes of wool left over from hooked rug projects. The cotton face for the scissors holder is a piece of hand printed Fortuny (Yes, that Fortuny!) left over from my days as a custom curtain maker. It's a wonderful example of fine fabric work.
I was especially happy with the berry pin cushion....hand dyed red cotton velvet, a good wool plaid over-dyed with green and black glass chop beads put together & stuffed with pine shavings and wool. It was not hard to make but I did learn a few things like take it outside to stuff it with the pine shavings because it makes a big mess. This design, Strawberry Fields, is one of several new pin cushion designs that I've just added to my website.


15 July 2013

Using Old Treasures...

It seems that textiles, and their accompanying paraphernalia, have always been a part of my life. As a result, I've accumulated a few "collections".  As you can imagine, my wool collection is significant but I have a couple of other collections that I don't write about very often....fabric that's not wool and buttons.
Some of the buttons are antiques and really too valuable to be used but others are just pretties that couldn't possibly be tossed out. And the fabrics, most from my many years of constructing custom soft furnishings, are wonderful and, in this era of cheaply produced Asian fabrics, almost irreplaceable. And really, ask my friends... I've given a lot of it away! But I'm selfish and just can't give up some of it.
Well, recently I decided to add books and patterns from the delightfully creative Maggie Bonanomi to the offerings on my website. And in exploring her latest book, A Day at Sunny Brook, I found the most enchanting use for a jar full of mostly Mother of Pearl buttons...all vintage, a few antique and none terribly valuable. But all just waiting for the opportunity to be useful once again...

Here's a photo of my work-in-progress (And I'll post the completed piece soon, I promise!):

And here are a few of the other buttons: