Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Whoosh - what a whirlwind start to the month.

As if August wasn't busy enough, the start of September has been a bit crazy.

I did another Portraits workshop in Westport from the 9th to the 12th. Just enough time to catch my breath from the last one and get everyone ready for this one.

Loretta Moore - aka Hooked on the Lake - hosted not only me (for the full length of the workshop) but the workshop itself. Here is a peek at some "work in progress" from the students. (Loretta has it on her blog as well.) It was a smaller group than Newfoundland and they all took to the value lessons and are creating amazing pieces.

Karen's beautiful grand daughter.

Loretta's dad - quite the character.

Wendy's grand daughter.

Edie's mom. 

Andrea's daughter as a little girl. 

Louise's grand son. 
This is the first portrait class that I have taught that didn't have any furry family members. Although Loretta's three cats made sure that at least the feline side was well represented.

I got home at about 7:00 on Thursday night and immediately had to re-load the car with some rug hooking display pieces for the first ever Hands On Creative Festival, held here in Peterborough. Unlike a sale, this was a chance for people to talk about their art form, demonstrate, let people have a try and generally "share the joy".

I was curious to see if any of the folks we talked to over the weekend would be "hooked" as we like to say. And sure enough, someone joined us at our weekly group this morning. She sat with us and practiced pulling some loops. She has taken home some backing, a frame, strips and a hook and will practice some more. She took to it right away - seemed to have no problems and will be back next week to join us and get going.

Now a bit of a breather until my next teaching gig, which is at the hook-in in Cobourg on September 30. It's called The Heat is On. I am teaching Hooking Doodles. Looks like it will be a fun day. And hopefully vendors there so we can do our fall shop.

Before I sign off, I received a couple of pics of finished portraits from Newfoundland. Always great to see and share these when they are done.

Here is Barb's grand daughter who LOVES hockey.

Marnie's grand daughter, hooked and framed. 





Tuesday, August 27, 2019

And now my 69th year has begun.

Wow - the number just looks big, doesn't it? And from someone who lost both parents at 60, each number above that is truly celebrated every year. Very quietly this year - just a nice dinner out with my wonderful hubby.

Freshly back from Newfoundland, where I taught my Portraits class in Lewisporte, I was more than a little tuckered. This was my third time on the Rock, but my first time in central. When you go there, you fly into Gander. And if you want to fly direct, there are some pretty crazy flight times. I arrived at 3:14 a.m. on Thursday morning. And we flew out at 6:35 a.m. on Monday.

I didn't take many pictures once school was under way. But I did manage to take a couple on the first day as we made our way to the camp. This was the view from a spot where we stopped for some seafood lunch.


This was a little "food truck" at a place called Chelsea's where they sell fresh fish and seafood. 


And this is the lobster sandwich and the squid rings we split for lunch. Delicious!


Rug camp was fantastic, as always, but I must say that I preferred the Gros Morne location of Killdevil Camp more than this. It was a bit more rustic, but the scenery was spectacular and as soon as you opened your eyes, you knew you were somewhere special. 

My class was filled with amazingly talented rug hookers who were totally dedicated to getting their portraits of beloved people and pets well on the way by the time I left. It is a short time - Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday day and then done by Sunday at noon. Whoosh!!!

And it was back-to-back following our cottage rental on Lake of Bays the week before. That was a busy, loud week with both grand kids our daughter and son-in-law for the entire week. And our son and daughter-in-law for the first weekend. Plus a few people who came to visit from Sudbury, since we were halfway there. Hectic but fun for everyone.


The weather was a little mixed and this was a storm front moving in that I was able to catch. Jackson was having fun in the water and then 10 minutes later, the wind was blowing the rain sideways. Look at that sky!!!!

So another summer comes to a close. And back to school mindset is everywhere. It's amazing how that beginning of the school year excitement seems to stay with you, no matter how old you are. A time to get organized, make lists of projects and settle into the long fall and winter ahead.

Today in the studio I was looking at the many projects I have on the go and have decided I will need to give each one a "day of the week" so that I can make progress on them all. It makes me think of women - like my mother-in-law - who dust on Monday and do laundry on Tuesday and so on, I will not be doing that. But I will be with Edith on Monday (my giant kilim), my 'kilt roses' on Tuesday, my tea cozies on Wednesday, etc. etc. etc. 

Hopefully by my next post, I will have progress to show on each of them. 

Happy September.



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Friday, July 19, 2019

Cozy Evvie is Complete - well at least the hooking part.

Here she is.

She is all hooked. She has the "best saying ever" on her shirt - printed on fabric, since it was way too small to hook. She has her waterspout hairdo. And she has a tulle overlay on her skirt (which, by the way, she doesn't wear - I just thought it was cute.)


I chose a lining fabric to go with all the colours on the front. I have a dark red wool that is a similar colour to the outside hooked line that will be the backing. And I got the heat-retaining batting at Fabricland, so I am ready to go - when i am ready to go, that is. Luckily, there are lots of DIY Tea Cozy instructions on Pinterest. So when I am ready to assemble, I will have some step=by-step instructions.

Think I will hook a couple more samples first. And then save all the assembly for when I am done. And will also do a French Press Cozy - it won't have the head above the rest, but will be an easy thing for folks who don't do tea, or want a simpler project.

Will share progress.

In the meantime, stay cool. It's over 40 here today with the humidex. Luckily the basement is like a cold storage room, so hooking is not a problem here.





Wednesday, July 10, 2019

How Summer Flies When You're Having Fun

It seemed to take forever to get here - after that horrible spring (or lack thereof). And now it is going much too quickly. Seems like once you put things on your calendar, September feels right around the corner. 

We do have a run of things that will finish the month. A trip to Toronto to look after the "grands" for the weekend, while their folks have a winery weekend in Niagara. Followed by a visit to friends in Meaford - a long overdue visit. And then Jackson (grandson) coming for a few days here in Peterborough on his own - a tradition each summer. 

Had a pedi yesterday and decided to do something the "grands" will love - jellybean toes. The gal who did my toes was so into it, it was even more fun. Will pack some polish colours with me and paint their toes to match. Jackson loves a good polish. And Everleigh may or may not follow his lead. Have you ever tried putting polish on an under two's toes. Maybe not the best idea.....


And then there's my much anticipated trip to Newfoundland in August to teach at Rug Camp!! Doing my Simple Portraits there as well - and have connected with all my students. Will be fun! Did I say FUN!!! Theme this year is "Diamonds and Denim". Perhaps a theme for the next pedi.....

What have I been doing in July so far? I have been busy on the frame since Trent Rug School. The students in my class this year are very keen to hook a tea cozy, after seeing the very fun ones in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3_VkISTyL4  If you have never watched it, you will love it. Whenever I am feeling uninspired, I watch it. And it is something that I share with EVERY class I teach. The reaction is always the same. People feel their creative juices flowing - and feel themselves opening up to new possibilities.

As I said, this was the starting point for next year's class, which as a concept, I am calling "Cozy Characters". This idea of having a tea cozy with a head on top opens a gazillion possibilities, and I started sketching several as soon as I was home from Trent.

The first one I am working on is based on a picture of Everleigh - an adorable picture of her taken at her day care. Everyone had kerchiefs put on their heads that day. Here is that picture:


And here is my progress so far on Cozy Evvie.


Can't wait to add those little "water sprout" ponytails. And a little tulle overlay over her skirt. Plus the very wonderful words on her t-shirt which will become a printed fabric patch, since the letters were too small to hook. 

So much fun to have something like this on your counter top - hugging your teapot! And the possibilities are endless - people, pets, celebrities (from royalty-free images, of course). 

I will try to share progress as I go along. Not sure how much will get done with all the things on the calendar. But it is on the frame and ready for loop pulling at any time.





Monday, June 24, 2019

Two classes down. One to go. And lots in between.


The newly re-invented School of Rug Hooking at Trent had its debut from the 14th to the 20th of June and it was a resounding success. Cindy Fridenberg did an amazing job of steering the maiden voyage of the new format: a set of weekend classes, followed by a set of week classes. Lots of variety and something for everyone.

My weekend class called "Initially Yours" was the perfect topic for a two-day stint. We started on Friday evening and were finished by Sunday at noon. Everyone was well into their projects by the time we said our goodbyes.

Here is one of the incredible letters that was created over the weekend. The variety in the class was fun - not surprising with 26 letters and a gazillion fonts to choose from.

Elaine Copeman's beautiful E.

Then on to the simple portraits class, which began Sunday evening and finished Thursday at noon. Variety was pretty amazing here too: we had 3 dogs, 3 cats, 4 daughters, 2 husbands, 2 selfs, 1 grand daughter and 1 sand hill crane.  And they were all brilliant: a couple even finished by the end of class and a new project begun.

There's something about spending a period of time with people who share your same passion. It fuels the fires of creativity that is for certain.

A few of the portraits people shared their results on social media, so I feel ok sharing them here.

Susan Jones' grand daughter Isla.

Sandra Marshall's Sand Hill Crane 

Harvey, being hooked by Claire Reed. 

These students were brave and took leaps of faith that the value studies would turn into their loved ones. Can't wait to see the rest of them as they evolve.

Getting ready to teach this class again in Newfoundland in August. This will be my third trip to rug camp there - twice as a teacher, once as a student - and I tell you, they sure know how to have fun!!! Can't wait to see old friends and make new ones there.

In the mean time, a few new things on the frame that will be shared at a later time. Already inspired to work up something (or two) for a possible class at Trent next June.

We were in Toronto on the weekend to help with the "grands" and I made a visit to a favourite store on Cumberland while I was there. The store is Motion. When I lived and worked in TO, I treated myself there once in a while. I decided this was the weekend to get back there and new pants and a necklace followed me home. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Yikes, nearly 2 months without a post.

But there are some reasons - good and bad - for the lapse.

Travelled home from Barbados on the 31st of March. Even after 86 days it was hard to say goodbye. But nice to know we are booked to come back again next year to do our "winter aversion therapy".

Once home it was pedal to the medal for the OHCG Rug Hooking Annual in London, Ontario. Lots to get organized since my friend Elaine and I were running the workshops - a big undertaking that started over a year before. Finding teachers, preparing contracts and invoices - figuring out space allocation at the venue - preparing lists for publication and then waiting for registration. Classes filled quickly, with a few hiccups in the registration spreadsheet, but all went smoothly on site.

Phillippa Flamingo made her debut there as well. When I was still in Barbados, I came up with a better plan of how to display her. I ended up putting her on a 2" thick piece of styrofoam, so that I could attach her to her rebar legs and then set her in a large planter. Here is the result.


When I got her home, I had every intention of donating her to a local children's centre, but alas they were unable to take her. As they said, she is so tactile and if little germy hands are all over her, there would be not way to keep her clean. So for now, she will reside in the studio and add a lot of pink cheer.

Once home from London, I had to get down to the business of upcoming classes at Trent Rug Hooking School in June and Newfoundland Rug Camp in August. I am teaching two classes at Trent - the first is a weekend class called "Initially yours" and in this short sprint, folks will hook a single letter. There are 26 letters to choose from and so many options - it will be a lot of fun.

I started an additional sample that will go to my grandson, Jackson. For whatever reason, I chose a different style than I have ever done before - I guess to demonstrate how wide-open this category is. Kind of a Bauhaus style (which reminds me of licorice allsorts lol). I am a bit further along than this picture, but this was on my computer, so teasing you with it. 


Also on the frame is a new portrait for the week-long class at Trent and the rug camp in Newfoundland. The class is to fun and simple portraits that take the fear out of the equation. This is a Warhol effect that I found and this is my grand daughter in progress. Lots of tweaking to do. Even though I drew the same image 4 times, they are all quite different, and colour plays a big role here. And I am hooking these in polar fleece, which is "blurrier" than wool. Still lots of fun!


The reason that progress has ground to a halt on everything is that since I returned home, I have been having hip and shoulder issues, which have finally been diagnosed as Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR). With some physiotherapy and medication, I think I am - after 6 weeks - starting on a path to recovery. During this time there has been very little I have been able to do. No hooking. Just a bit of knitting when things are calm.

And that brings me to the story of my Shifty sweater which you can find here. It is a very interesting knit and very nearly didn't make it to fruition. While at the Annual, I misplaced the project bag it was in and nobody seemed to have seen it. It turned out that Judy K., who created so many of the incredible birds at the Annual had scooped it up with her stuff and once she realized she had it, sent it back to me. Yippee!!



I am now well into the body - ready to do the hem, and eternally grateful to have it back. Not only is it the work in the sweater, but the cost of the wool as well. I gasp every time I start a new project, but refuse to spend my time on "bad yarn", so just suck it up. 

Now that I am on the road to recovery, I am hoping to get back into the studio next week and get going on these school projects. Before I can do that, the studio needs to be put back in order after our wee "flood" in the basement while we were away. All good now, but let's just say the Service Master folks did quite a number on my space while fitting all the furniture from the family room in there. It will be good to have it back again. 

In the meantime, I will keep working away on the sweater. Just about to put it on waste yarn and see how the fit is. Fingers crossed.












Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Boxy Chevrons Finished!!

Cast on in Barbados.
Cast off in Barbados.
Never to be worn in Barbados.

I can't believe it has been this long since I posted. Too much time outside and away from the computer, I guess. And the rhythm of the days is pretty wonderful.

Luckily, the breezes by the sea were a boon to the knitting time.  And I finished this wonderful sweater. This picture is taken in the same spot as it began.


This is a fun pattern, with a very interesting construction. Sleeves are knit first, joined and then the body of the sweater is knit down. There is German short-row shaping at the top and the bottom, and then there is a very interesting chevron ribbing at the bottom.

It will need a good blocking when I get home. Knitters of the pattern on Ravelry talked about how the good blocking helped with adding some length.

I did pop it on for about 2.4 seconds in this warm weather. Long enough to confirm that I LOVE the neckline. I think this will become a favourite and am looking forward to wearing it once it is washed and blocked.

Now some fun socks on the needle and a little bit of hooking on my "Evvie Warhol" project.

I will share some pics as I make progress.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Boxy Chevrons by the Sea

Happy to report that the colds are gone and we have assumed our positions down on the deck at the Beach Club by the sea.

And after having already finished four books, I brought my Boxy Chevrons knitting with me to my chaise on the deck.  I am slowly making progress. I picked up all the stitches (360) from the remainder of the sleeves (after they were seamed) and did the short row shaping for front and back, and am now happily knitting a TON of rows in the round.

Here's a picture of the first day by the sea.


And since today was our first really rainy morning, I worked a bit more in the apartment and here is a shot that shows the sleeves and a bit of the body - kinds of orients you to seeing what it will look like after I finish a gazillion hours of knitting in the round.




The cakes of the speckled yarn are very different, so I am alternating rows as I approach the end of the first skein. Hopefully, the transition will be smooth.

The thing about knitting on the deck is that it attracts fellow knitters. Everyone was coming over to see what I was working on, and a couple of people sent a link to the pattern on Ravelry home to their friends and relatives.

I love that fibre people are everywhere around, and you can't always pick them out in a crowd - or on a deck.

More pics to come as I add onto the length.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Knitting in Paradise


Every year when we come to Barbados, I pack a knitting project or two. Usually socks to knit on the plane and something to take to the beach club for when I am tired of reading. 

This year, thanks to the crazy-ass cold I caught from my dear "grands" just before New Year's, I have been hanging around the apartment. Why, when I could be in the sea? The cough that came with this one is so wicked that I would get big "stink eye" from everyone around me. And I wouldn't blame them, I would curse anyone who came into public sounding like me.

I am just grateful that we are here for more than a week. This would totally suck if that were the case.

Anyway, about the knitting. This is a pattern called Boxy Chevrons that I favourited (don't you just love nouns that have become verbs thanks to the internet) on Ravelry many moons ago.  I picked out my yarn at The Purple Purl - my LYS when I visit the kids and the "grands" in TO. 

It seemed like a good project to bring with me, maybe the colours in the confetti-like body colour called to be knit here. And so far, it has been a fun knit. You knit the sleeves first - they are the chevrons - and the pattern of ridges and stockinette is interesting. And, thankfully, do-able no matter how much cold medication you have taken. lol. My head would not tolerate anything more complicated when I am pumping it full of cold and sinus meds.

When the cold is gone, and we resume our normal daily rhythm - and location - down by the sea, this will be the perfect project to work on. I think at some point, the knitting will become pretty mindless for a good portion of the body. And we will see how long it takes to get it done. There is some German short-row action that will keep it interesting. That is a whole new technique for me, but thanks to YouTube, I watched a couple of videos yesterday and feel ready to take it on. 

If you have read my somewhat-erratic blog, you will know that I knit and blogged about a sweater here year before last. When I started knitting on the deck, I discovered two things: firstly, the breeze by the sea means it is always cool enough to knit. Secondly, there are a number of fellow sock knitters among the folks I have met. They just seem to come out of the woodwork.

I will post updates as I make progress. And hopefully when I do, this cold will be long gone!!!

Oh - BTW, I also brought some hooking with me. Will share that when I get it out.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Maker in December is a force to be reckoned with.

I am a maker. I make all manner of things throughout the year, but December is like my Olympics for making. I have a list of things I know I am going to make. And then there are all the little surprises that bump into the "to make" list.

This year, the interrupters ended up being the most "fun" part of the making. When I heard that my grandson's list included a "bow tie", I decided "I can make that." But I also think that a bow tie needs a vest, so now there was a vest on the list.

Let me take a moment to say how incredible the sharing is among makers on the internet. I found a free pattern from Melly Sews. along with a super step-by-step tutorial to make this vest.


Is it perfect? No. But is it perfect for a 5-year old. Yup.

Then came the bow ties - another wonderful tutorial I found online. I can't find the one I used right now, but suffice to say there are many. I made one for the holidays out of taffeta - and then a second one with leftover fabric from a Spiderman quilt.



I think I know which one will be the fave.

Making the taffeta bow tie triggered a need for a Christmas dress for little sister "Evvie", which resulted in this little number.


So much fun to make little people clothes. So fast. And good, because they will seriously only wear them once or twice. (But I do see that little vest getting a good workout with the Spidey tie and a t-shirt.)

Because this little lady needs some sun clothes for her upcoming trip to Barbados to visit Grandma and Grandpa with Mom, Dad and Jackson, I went through my stash and found fabric that was toddler-friendly and after picking up a little companion fabric, am creating some very cute outfits that will be the hit of Holetown in February.

Here are two reversible pinafores with matching "bloomers", a word that makes many folks giggle, including Evvie's mom. 



One more set to sew, with fabric on hand. Hope she is happy to wear these. I have a feeling that my years of being able to sew for her may be short. So I will have fun while I can.

Normally, this is when I post about what I am making for me, but this year I really don't need a thing. Maybe one dress for the brain injury fundraiser we attend while we are "on island". And the knit pattern that I hoped would be done - one of the projects that got interrupted by this other making - may need to be replaced by a little jersey dress. Stay tuned.

The last, and maybe best, thing to share is a rug hooking project that I have been working on since being there last year. I think I posted about being "gifted" an incredible portrait of a model named Chanda by my friend Vishni Gopwani. She and I have been virtual friends for a few years, since I first saw her art at the Gallery of Caribbean Art.  Last year, we met in the real world and she gave me this incredible painting.


I told her that I could only accept this gift if I reciprocated with a fibre interpretation. That way, we would each have a Chanda in our lives. I love hooking portraits - it may be my favourite thing to hook, but adapting a painting of a friend is another story. And I probably fussed more than I would have it were Van Gogh or one of the Group of Seven. In the end, I am pretty pleased with it.


Here is my fibre Chanda. I am pretty sure that Vishni will love it. I'm sure she will be amazed at the loops needed to recreate a single brush stroke. I loved being able to take a painting I loved and interpret it into the fibre medium. Although there is no "blending" as there is in painting, it is an exercise in values - which is a common denominator in all art interpretation.

Hopefully the wool will be as happy in that wonderful tropical climate as I am every year.

Back to more making today. Another sunsuit and a pair of bloomers. And then maybe that little jersey dress for me.





Thursday, November 29, 2018

I washed a rug! And I liked it!!

Ha ha - little nod to Katy Perry, because this is something I had never attempted before.

This is the mat that I hooked nearly 10 years ago. It was hooked specifically to go in front of the sink, which many people thought was just plain "crazy".  What if it gets wet? What if it gets spilled on? Yeah, yeah, yeah...


It's my own design, which I call "veggie chopsticks" and for those of you who ever played it in your early piano days, the lyrics for this rug would be, starting from the centre:

Carrot, carrot, carrot, carrot,
Asparagus, asparagus, asparagus, asparagus
Celery, celery, celery, celery,
Corn, corn, corn, celery, asparagus

back to
carrot, carrot ...........................

I know. I know. Hopelessly corny, but that is the song that came into my head as I was designing it. All the vertical veggies are in the centre, with the rounder veggies creating the border.

I hooked (not punched) this whole rug in yarn on rug warp, believing that I would be able to wash it at some point. That point came last weekend after a spill of ham broth on the corn cob on the right. Up til then, I spot cleaned it occasionally when things look a bit spotty. This spill called for more drastic measures.

So, I took it upstairs to the tub, added some baby shampoo and cold water and let it soak for a while. Then I scrubbed the lighter bits with a toothbrush and some more baby shampoo. Followed that with a LOT of rinsing and then came the task of getting water out.

A few towels later, I was ready to set it in the furnace room to dry. First, I hung it on a drying rack, but after one "sleepover", I could see the whipped edges starting to go a bit wonky. So I moved it to my foam blocks I use to block my sweaters and used pins to straighten out the curly bits.

Two more days on those and it was dry enough to be turned over, to let the back dry. One more sleepover next to the furnace and it was ready to go back into its rightful place in front of the sink.

I am very pleased with this whole endeavour. I was a little nervous that some of the darker yarns might run, but luckily, none did.

If your rug has been hooked on a water-friendly backing, you should be able to do the same thing.

Thanks for reading.

Be back soon to update the Christmas tree rugs. My students were here again last night, and the progress they made was fantastic. The rugs are so different - a true reflection on each of them.



Whoosh - what a whirlwind start to the month.

As if August wasn't busy enough, the start of September has been a bit crazy. I did another Portraits workshop in Westport from the 9t...