Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Wonderful Doodle Class Debut

I love getting ready to teach a class I haven't taught before. And prepping for Zen and the Art of Doodling at Trent was amazing. I knew that doodling, zentangling and colouring were becoming more popular by the day and the reference materials out there were incredible. I was even able to find a colouring pad for the floor with nearly rug-sized doodles to colour, in case people were really stuck.

But they weren't. Our first couple of days were spent exploring doodles and getting students to come up with their designs. And they were incredible - as individual as the students were - again!  It never ceases to amaze me how our brains work in a creative situation.

I am missing a couple of the students' pieces, but this shows you how amazing they all were.

This was Diane's first study in this design. She is going to do a couple more.
Margaret is doing a series to spell her granddaughter's name. H above and O below.

Rhea's beautiful adaptation from a friend's zentangle-inspired artwork. 

Charlene's funky teapot. A donation for a future fundraiser. 

Connie's amazing bamboo with doodled backgrounds. 

Pam's first and second pieces. She took to this like a fish to water. 

Nearly everyone in the class was hooking with a small cut - necessary to get the detail into the small pieces. And for the first time, I could see myself embracing the 4 cut for these tiny works of art.
When you are working on pieces as small as 5 x 5 (shown in the bottom photo), you really need to think small.

On the third day of class, I made everyone go through an exercise of bravery and daring - lol. They had to grid a 5" square on a piece of backing and then, with no preplanning - no pencils - no sketches - they had to draw a doodle directly on backing with a permanent marker!!!  Everyone did it and survived. No CPR necessary - although one student was borderline for a while. Pam's bottom one shows how quickly she was able to draw and hook her little free fall piece - after finishing her first one.

It was a fun class, one I am repeating in the fall and hope to do again and again. Trust me, once you get started doing these little doodle pieces, it's hard to stop. And it's a great way to use up lots of worms.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Big Things Ahead

Now that the small things are done - little sweaters and  baby blankets all delivered. One baby safely arrived, two more are imminent. The hand quilted panel baby quilt is finished and waiting for the baby. I really found that I enjoyed the hand stitching versus sitting tied to the sewing machine. Yes, it did take longer and No, my stitches were not perfect, but I found it very relaxing and spread it over a couple of weeks.

This little project was so much fun to do that I have decided to take on a much larger venture. Go big or go home, right? Next up, a queen size quilt that I will hand stitch into the design on this fabric.

I started looking for other projects like this online and eventually found some on Pinterest. Although this is not what is technically referred to as a "whole cloth quilt", I am not sure what else to call it. It is whole fabric and I am quilting it. I will join two panels of this 45" fabric - a queen size quilt bat - and a backing fabric and will quilt the shapes that are in the fabric (instead of piecing). I will do the stitching in a "long stitch" method with the Perle Cotton.

There are lots of natural valleys and shapes in here that I think will make it lovely too look at but also interesting to quilt. It will take a lot of weeks, since I think the queen size is something like 85" by 90". About four times the size of a baby quilt. But I LOVE the fabric and hopefully still will by the time I am done.

The other Big Thing in the planning stages is a hooked headboard for one of the guest rooms. I will reveal more about it in future posts. It will need to share the calendar with the quilt, so no speedy progress on either. But they will provide lovely distractions from one another.

In the meantime, off to Belleville on Sunday to teach a Borders class at Loyalist College in the Summer Arts Program.  All the students will be bringing something for which they will design a border - or perhaps multiples. This "in progress" piece will be my demo to use in class.

I will be designing a different border for each of the four sides and hopefully have a bit of each hooked for class. And this will eventually be a pillow to go with the hand quilted 'future queen' above.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Baby Season Ahead

It's not too often that I get to celebrate babies anymore. Well, unless my friends are becoming "grand" or "grander". But in my circle now - or in the next while - there are or will be three shiny new people among us. Two of those are "grands", but the third is a new babe for a young couple we have come to know.

So I have been busy making baby welcoming things. For the first on the list is a knit blanket in the colours requested to match the nursery scheme.  Here is a pic from the Purl Bee website where I got the free pattern. If you are not familiar with this website, I highly recommend you spend some time there. Each and every project is perfection in its simplicity and exquisite materials.

Baby number two is getting a quilt. Not a pieced one, but a pre-printed panel that I am hand quilting. If anyone ever says that we don't improve at any skill with practice, they should see the stitches in the first bit of quilting versus the ones after 10 or 12 hours. Not that I am going back to change anything, but I am definitely improving.  And to support the debate of machine versus hand, I am enjoying the doing, and not in too big a rush to get to the end.

This picture shows it pinned. I think I am about half way through the quilting and will share a pic when it is done. Cute zig zag fabric on the back completely disguises my stitches - good and bad, but also makes for a cheery reverse side.

Baby number three has already arrived.  And she is the third gorgeous girl for her family. I decided that not only did the new arrival deserve something special, but so did the two big sisters, so I am knitting this little sweater for all three of them.

I was a middle girl of three and I remember when my mother thought it was cute to dress us alike. I specifically remember one dress in particular that she got for the three of us - all in the same colour. So when you outgrew one, you grew into another - and another (if you were my sister Beth).

For these three beauties, I have chosen three colours, so that nobody has to wear exactly the same thing more than a couple of years.

It's fun to celebrate something as awesome as a new baby. At a time when many friends are facing the other end of the circle of life, I find this a very happy thing. And something that I am more than thrilled to spend the time on.

Here's a very warm welcome to all three of you, congratulations to your parents and here's to your many adventures ahead.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Teaching Season Begins.

This week marks the beginning of teaching season for me, with a two-day wide cut Teacher Training class at Niagara College.

My bags aren't quite packed, but I have been amassing piles in the basement as I think of things and as you can see, it takes as much to teach for two days as it does for twenty-two. This does not include my hockey bag of rugs, my clothes and toiletries and my hooking project to work on. Yikes!

In June, I have my "Zen and the Art of Doodling" week at Trent and this will be the first time that I will not stay in residence, since I live in Peterborough. My husband is very happy about that decision - I will reserve judgment till it is over. But I have just finished a couple more samples for the class and will try to squeeze in one more if I can.

In July, I will return to Belleville for Loyalist College Rug Week, where I am teaching a "borders" class. The more I look into the entire subject of borders, the more I realize that pretty much anything goes and I am looking forward to getting people to stretch a bit when considering the possibilities for borders for their projects.

August is a big milestone birthday for me and my husband is treating me to Newfoundland Rug Camp - as a student, not a teacher. I have wanted to go for years and decided there are 65 good reasons to make this the year!! I am travelling with a friend from Peterborough and we are taking Doris Norman's Celtic class.

And in September, I will spend a weekend with my JJ Ruggers friends at Apps Ridge for another "doodling" weekend.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Still not finished.

Winter that is.

Today we got up to light flurries which ended up blanketing the poor flowers that have been blooming for a whole week in the gardens. Man, were they surprised.

And speaking of not finished, today I am spending the day with four mats to get them finished. Three are for my upcoming Doodle class at Trent and the fourth one is a "first mat" by a friend who is smitten with hooking, despite the fact that it does not agree with her fibromyalgia.  

Here is a pic of the first zentangle-inspired mat I hooked in Barbados in 2015 (I know, I put off finishing forever...).  I know lots of people have mentioned the Clover quilt clips which I am using here. They are awesome for holding things together while you stitch.

This little mat was hooked with pantyhose and is being whipped in cotton. Not sure if it will become a pillow someday, but no rush, right?

Some people are much better at really "finishing" their mats once the hooking is done. Here is a picture of a wonderful mat hooked by a student at Loyalist last year. Thanks Jane for allowing me to share it here.

Love the background!! And love how she snuck a row of that bright green in around the top of the horse's head and his tail to pull them away from the border. Brilliant in oh so many ways. I am so looking forward to seeing many of these mats in person at the 50th OHCG Annual at Deerhurst this coming weekend.

Maybe by then winter will be REALLY finished and so will a couple of my mats. Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I think Spring's spring is broken.

Since we have been home, there have been three storms that have resulted in accumulation. Yes, they mostly melt pretty quickly, but that is not the point. It should NOT be this cold in April. You know the saying "April showers...."

So despite best intentions, I have NOT been walking in the mornings. Too slippery out there and when you live on a street called Summit, you can be pretty sure that there are big hills involved. Maybe today I will bite the bullet and go and join the Wellness Centre nearby. Who knows when spring will actually show up?

In the meantime, I have been hooking away on my multi-colour moose. And am pretty pleased with what I came up with for background and a border suggestion.

I have quite a bit of hooking left to do on my class samples, so had best keep moving on this colourful character.

Right now there is a sale on a Fabricland and polar fleece is 40 -50% off. I think for projects like this, especially if you want a lot of black and white, it's the perfect alternative to wool. And as far as pillows and bath mats go, it feels amazing on your feet.

I heard from another student this week who turned her OHCG fall project into a bag. Another way to make good use of a smaller piece - and promote the art of rug hooking out there.  Thanks for letting me share your picture Debbie.  I am pretty sure you will get lots of questions and compliments.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Back to Reality

It is nearly impossible to believe that a week ago we left Holetown!! And what a re-entry it has been.

The departure and return trip were a lot bumpier - and longer - than ever before. We had been expecting a bit of a flight delay because of freezing rain in Toronto, but what we got instead was a 6+ hour delay, thanks to a protest/strike by the air traffic controllers at Grantley Adams that closed the airport till 6:00. At the end of the trip, we were at my sister's door at 4:05 a.m.!!

Friday we got to see our kids in TO and stayed overnight at Matt and Theo's new condo - very nice indeed. And the plan was that we would hurry back to Peterborough on Saturday to get ready for them to come for Easter Sunday. Drop the suitcase - run to Sobey's.

I also scrambled to take out my dead Christmas greens from the front door and replaced them with these. Such a bright and cheerful change, albeit a bit "artificial" at this point. But a nod to things to come.

Unfortunately, Easter Sunday morning unfolded with other plans, including a nail in the tire of the kids' car. So that was that - no place for repairs and no car rental places open, so no kids and no Jackson. We will have a follow-up Easter this weekend, when we take all their goodies to Toronto.

This first week back unfolded with a "find the mail" hunt with Canada Post - luckily resolved quickly on Tuesday morning. Normally missing mail is not an issue, but not at Income Tax time.

Yesterday, I finally succumbed to a horrid tooth ache and called our dentist in Toronto to see if they could squeeze me in. A marathon of dental visits - to virtually every specialist there is: endodontist to see if they could do a root canal (NOT) and finally a periodontist who did an extraction. This morning, I am feeling surprisingly pain free - in comparison to the tooth ache, this is a cake walk.

With all this done, I am now ready to officially kick off the 2016 Hooking Season. And I have lots to look forward to on my calendar.

April 11th is a punch needle workshop with the Peterborough Hookers. Teacher is Sandra Marshall. If you haven't visited her website, you should go and have a look. Here's a link.

April 29, 30 and May 1st if the 50th Anniversary of the OHCG Annual at Deerhurst. Lots of great people to catch up with. Lots of workshops and vendors. Always a good time. Here's a link to more information if you don't know about it.

Then the teaching gigs begin.
A two-day wide cut class in early May with the TTEC trainees in Niagara on the Lake.
A week at Trent in June teaching Zen and the Art of Doodling.
A four-day Borders Class at Loyalist in Belleville in July. (here's a link to see all the great stuff going on there.)

Lots of work to get ready for the last two as they are brand new to me.

So, I may have been sad to leave my favourite island after 10 weeks. But I am happy to be home again - now that the bumps are behind me.

Happy Spring everyone. When all is said and done, it's great to be home.