Friday, October 9, 2015

The Studio Drought is Over.

Not sure if it is the cooler temperatures, or just feeling a bit more settled, but October and I are very very busy. The studio is firing on all cylinders - hooking, knitting, sewing. And we are both feeling very good about it.

A new Marcy Tilton pattern is my current sewing project, with an unusual fabric choice. Here's the pattern. A fun and functional vest pattern that I figured I could wear with or without something under it. But when it came to choosing fabric, I wanted something a bit different and that's what I picked. A light weight fabric that almost feels like windbreaker fabric. My rationale is that it has the body to reflect the construction of the 19 pieces in the pattern. Yikes. We shall see.

On the needles: I just finished a minion hat and mittens set for Jackson's first Hallowe'en. I figured he is too young for a costume, so a hat and mitts that make him look like a minion but keep head and hands warm all winter is probably a good idea.

And on the rug hooking front, I am happy to report that there is a newly formed rug hooking group here in Peterborough that will meet once a month at "Activity Haven", a re-purposed public school that is filled with, as the name suggests, activity. Line dancing, tai chi, rug hooking. A busy place. And a great turnout for our first day yesterday.

In anticipation of going to that, I ordered the William Morris "fox" Christmas Stocking for Jackson and spent a bit of time colour planning on the weekend. I have been wanting to do a William Morris design for some time and this is my change - albeit with a few liberties taken, such as mostly textured wool. It is an excellent pattern, so a big shout out to Christine Little at Encompassing Designs. 

I will share a picture when I get a little further along.

But it sure feels great to be back "making" again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September the what?

Moving is a black hole. You disappear in there for months and when you emerge, your brain is not quite what it was when you began. I think that is because everything is different. Nothing is in the same place as it used to be and, at least in my case, my poor addled brain is trying to set up a new planogram for my life.

Most of the house is coming together and the hanging of our artwork certainly makes it feel like it is ours versus just us squatting in someone else's place. And our beloved painter, Ian, is done - at least until he comes back for the next project.

So, how goes the studio in this scenario? Slow and steady. Which is how it got to be September 16th.

I ordered three Kallax bookshelves from Ikea which were delivered to my door and assembled with a little help from my Ikea-loving son. Three 6' cases with 25 cubbies each!  Here is what they looked like empty:

And here is what has been put in there so far:

I know!!! Pretty amazing.  However, so far, there are no books, Rug Hooking Magazines or sewing fabric in here. And I suspect that there is still another big box of wool hiding in the garage. So there will not be any empty cubbies when I am done.

As to the actual hooking, I have pulled a few more loops - at a gathering in Campbellford on Monday afternoon, but all my spare time seems to be not-so-spare right now. That too will come.

I did receive a nice email from another Loyalist student who gave me permission to show her finished project. Thanks Pauline, it is beautiful. You must be very proud.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Loyalist Bragging Rights.

I just love it when students share their finished projects!! It is rewarding to see that the momentum held and that they finished. Too often a class project gets put aside - I think I vie to lead that parade - so it takes dedication to go home and finish.

This little Van Gogh study was done by Susan in the class, who is relatively new rug hooker, but for whom I reserve the term "rabid". She is hungry to learn, to try, to experiment. And she arrived at class with two projects to work on.

This one is finished. I think it has lots of amazing movement, but still leaves the tree as hero. And the colours are wonderful. Post impressionism lends itself so well to rug hooking that the brush strokes create quite a plan for hooking. Susan is not the first person to take on Van Gogh, but I think her rendition is very pleasing and true to the artist.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Loops Pulled in Peterborough.

As the weeks tick by, little by little we are starting to feel like we aren't living in someone else's house. More boxes get unpacked. More rooms emerge from their new paint makeover. Art work gets chosen for locations (though not committed yet with picture hangers). Furniture and bookshelves ordered and carpet on the front stairway. Yep - starting to feel like home.

Last Wednesday, I was invited to join a group of local rug hookers for their regular get together. They are a small group, since they take turns hosting at their houses.  It took me a while to find all my supplies, and I needed to break through some of the plasticized rooms that were barricaded for spraying, but I found something to take with me. I am still a few weeks from being able to take my turn, but hope to do that as soon as the studio is set up - and the Ikea shelves are ordered for delivery on the 26th.

How great it felt to be in the company of this group. And to pull the first loops that I have done in months (well, if you don't call a few demos in class at Loyalist, that is). Just one motif got done, but it was still a lovely re-entry and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is the project that was started two years ago at Loyalist and contains a motif from each and every student who was in the class. I believe the little school house was inspired by Deborah's mat.

Speaking of Loyalist, one of this year's students already completed his rug and sent me a picture with permission to share. He is taking part in a challenge with his group to create mats based on quilt designs. Since he is not a quilter, he created a rug pattern based on 6 blocks of "lures" that he designed himself. PLUS, he made his own hoop and hook. A ton of bonus points for that, right???

One more rug to share, but not one that anyone hooked. One that Rick and I found at our favourite second hand store in Toronto: "Of Things Past".  It is located near Yorkdale on Bridgeland Avenue and has a wonderful variety of previously-loved treasures. We have had great luck finding all our Oriental rugs there. This was exactly the size and colour we were looking for.

Hopefully the hooking will continue - even if just a little bit each week. And I will have to get busy making some sample mats for the Zentangle-inspired mat class that  I have been asked to teach at Trent School of Rug Hooking next year. Lots of fun exploration to do for that course, for sure.

Looking forward to my Wide Cut Class at the OHCG School in October. There are still a couple of spaces left - in my class and some of the others. It's a wonderful longer-than-usual weekend. - Thursday night to Sunday at noon.  And Mount St. Mary Retreat is a beautiful place to stay.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bed, Bed, Oh Heavenly Bed.....

After a month of painting, Rick and I will finally be able to sleep in our own house, in our own bed, this weekend. I can't tell you how excited we are about this. (We have weathered a 30+ degree hot spell, simmering in the extreme heat at my ma-in-law's while our wonderful new air-conditioned home was inhabitable because of the ongoing painting. However, without her kindness, we would be facing an enormous hotel bill, so we are eternally grateful.)

We knew that making the decision to paint every square inch of a three-story, four bedroom, four bathroom house meant a LOT of painting. But yesterday, I decided to start counting and listing everything that got painted or has to be painted and seriously - I can't count that high.

I think that two weeks of the four have been spent prepping. Taping, filling nail holes, caulking and then caulking and touching up the trim after the first coat - and the second.  One of these days, I will count the amount of trim, just to really appreciate the job done.

I can't say enough good things about our painter. He is friendly, obsessive about the job he is doing, and the kind of person you feel good about having in your home.

Yesterday when he started prepping the kitchen and right hand side of the main floor family room, I teased him about the exercise just being "fort building for painters" and he freely admitted to enjoying putting up plastic walls and temporary beams.

When I showed the pictures to our son this morning, he said the house looks like a set for Dexter.. Yikes, I was saying ET, but Dexter is really a scary thought.

So, not only does he put plastic walls up and cover all the cabinetry and separate the space where he will be spraying, he also covers the entire floor in the area with brown paper. Meticulous or just super smart about a quick clean up.

So today he is spraying the wood trim on the big sliding door to the deck, the large window in the family room and the smaller window over the kitchen sink. All the wood trim is going from wood to white - hence the incredible amount of prep. But after this - and once the remaining walls are rolled, we can start to take furniture out from the large plastic-covered structures in the centre of each room and place it where it belongs.  We will finally get to see how we like our furniture and art work in our new home.

I wouldn't advise the feint of heart taking on a job like this - either painter or paintee - but the results are definitely worth it. I will attempt to share some before and after shots in my next post. Because this truly is a stunning makeover.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Address. Same Boxes.

Well, we have arrived in Peterborough and have been camping out at Rick's mom's while our place is being painted top to bottom. Hence many of the same boxes we packed will have to wait to be unpacked.

Making the decision to paint out all trim should never be taken lightly. It is a HUGE job. Every window, every door, every crown moulding, every floor trim piece. And when you go from wood grain to white, every nail hole needs to be filled, along with every little gap.

Luckily we have an amazing painter who is not happy with less than perfection. And with only a light coat on some trim and a second on others, we can already see that this was indeed the right decision.

We have not had to purchase much for this house, since we were pretty much doing a lateral move, but we have acquired an outside deck set that is pretty amazing. As the deck is on the small size, we have opted for a higher (counter height) narrower table, and that is where I am perched right now writing this post.

I was very thankful to leave the boxes behind for four days while I taught a Wide class at Loyalist College in Belleville. Ten amazing students made the break from moving madness a much-needed respite and I didn't think about any of it until I came back.

I love open classes, because everyone's project is so different, and there are so many "lessons in the moment" that present themselves. Everyone got a good start on their project - and a few people got started on more than one. Good to take advantage of a teacher while you have one, right?

Here is the class picture that was taken outside our room. As you can see, I had two men in this class, which is a first for me. They were both delightful additions to the usually all-female crowd.

Will try to be more frequent in my posts once we are settled. Gotta scoot - the lawn guys are coming into my outdoor office lol.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fewer Weeks, More Boxes

We are down to just over three weeks until the big move. And the piles of boxes are growing in virtually every room. The studio is no exception. Until you pack it, you forget how much stuff you actually have. You forget how much wool and yarn and sewing material fits into those wire cubes that fill the long wall.

I have already filled 17 boxes and 6 bins. And that is in addition to the many Rubbermaid bins in the basement crawl space that are the "other" stuff - the felted wool sweaters, the blanket wool, etc.   I guess I can no longer kid my poor husband about the many, many, many boxes of hardcover books that he is moving to the new place. I am probably keeping stride with him - box for box.

Since the movers told us we didn't have to empty the big pieces, as long as there weren't bottles or breakables in there, I have shoeboxes of worms and small pieces of wool in two pieces and all my miscellaneous tools and necessities in others.

The walls are bare. I have taken down all my rugs and rolled them into my "hockey bag" (which has never actually been to a hockey arena). It was actually my daughter's camp bag many years ago and has carried my rugs to virtually every school and workshop I have taught in the past 8 years.

For the first time in over 5 years, I have packed away all my circular knitting needles, my dye samples and the other things that used to hang on hooks from a support pole in the middle of the room. 

Upping the degree of difficulty to this endeavour, I head off to teach at Loyalist College the day after our stuff arrives, so I have had to be mindful of what has to travel with me, so it will not get lost in the many boxes and bins. My supplies for class will be in rolling suitcases, other than the light box and frames, etc. They will be loaded into the truck and left there so that they don't inadvertently get unpacked. Fingers crossed.

As I purged each of the pieces of furniture in the studio, I came across a few things that I hadn't seen in quite a while. This is one such item - a rock I painted in the 80's that serves as a door stop (or a very very large paper weight) and it pretty much describes how I feel about the whole process of moving. Between the lists, the packing, the prepping for a garage sale and getting ready for my class, this pretty much says it all.