Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Critters Get a New Look

In my years of hooking, although the majority of my patterns are original, I have only ever sold TWO. This is the second one. It is the wide cut pattern that I designed to get my certification in the TTEC program (Teacher Training Education and Certification) in the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild.

I called it Critters and I hooked it originally as a square pattern. It has been beside my bed ever since.

It was one of my rugs that I brought to Trent and on visitors' day, someone asked if they could buy the pattern. Just one little change - they wanted a rectangle, not a square. I figured it was no problem - I would just shorten it a tad and add something to either side. And you can never have too many trees, right?

Here is where I netted out after sketching it onto some psuedo red dot.

And here it is on primitive linen, ready to be mailed.

Since I don't design with sales in mind - strictly for my own purposes - it is very flattering when someone asks if they can purchase something from me. And it is wonderful to see what someone else does with it. I guess that is the joy in designing patterns for sale too.

Hopefully, I will get to share the finished mat as well.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lost a day - gained a background.

Well, somehow it isn't July 6, it's the 7th.  And that has been happening a lot lately. The long weekends in there make it worse, but I generally know the day - just not the date.

Since this morning's post, however, I did get the background done in my little portrait. And I am happy with it.

I wonder why I am so much more forgiving with things done in wool than with things done with paint - or even worse (shudder) a camera.  I guess this is why I like rug hooking as much as I do. And why I LOVE rendering photos into little "snippets". Capturing a moment without too much self criticism is so much better than the alternative.

Anyway, I am happy with this likeness.

July 6 already?

Where did the month go?

Well, a good part of it went to "granding" and "teaching". We had Jackson and his mom here for a full week before my teaching gig at Trent.

I do a bit of a morning shift with Jackson so his mom can head back to bed. I am up already, so it is a natural fit. We hang out and watch a little Treehouse and then the day begins. You do forget how much time and space these little creatures fill.

Then, my wonderful week at Trent. I had a mixed wide cut class called "Primitive or Wide Cut - its up to you". My students would tell you that I have a bit of a fixation about the confusion between the two and my new motto (which they all learned to chant in chorus) is: PRIMITIVE IS A STYLE!! WIDE IS A CUT!! and my class was the perfect example of the difference.

I had about half the class doing PRIMITIVE STYLE rugs, while others in the room were doing geometrics, photo to mat projects or just wide cut rugs - in any style they chose. We had a fabulous week of sharing, learning, watching great videos and they did great work. By the end of a week, it is amazing to see how much everyone has accomplished. They have all promised to share their finished projects, so I should have lots of bragging rights very soon (or at least once the summer is done).

Then, we had our first solo stint with Jackson. His parents went to NYC for a late honeymoon, so we had three days and nights to ourselves. Happy to report no dents, scratches or bruises. Very little sleep as well, since you are constantly listening - afraid he might wake and you won't hear him. No chance of that, I discovered. But here is a "future rug" pic that Rick took of us. Pretty sweet.

And this past weekend, he came with his folks for another visit. Check out the sun suit. Future surfer dude, for sure!!

In between all the "granding", I did manage to do a tiny bit of hooking. I am heading to Edmonton this fall for their Fiber Arts Festival and am teaching a couple of classes. They requested a bio picture and since I don't have one I like much, I decided to hook one. This is where I am at the moment. This is very small - only 5 x 6, so the person who said she would never hook in a 4 cut again, actually did.

Lots of tweaking to do still, but just to prove I have not given up hooking altogether. lol.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Some Bragging

In the little break between the OHCG Annual that just passed and my upcoming class at Trent School of Rug Hooking  I have time to do a quick "braggy" post about my students' work.

They may not be a big group, but they are determined and I enjoy having them here in my studio on Wednesday afternoons. And it is my pleasure to share a little bit of their recent work with you.

First up, a smaller version of my washer/dryer pattern, hooked lovingly and "perfectly" by Shania.
Her handy hubby created a great hanging mechanism and this piece is now displayed proudly at the landing in their beautiful home. at 20" wide by 40" long, it was not a quick hook, but I think that Shania is even impressed by her creation.

Next is a trio of Barb's work. She fell hook, line and sinker for the photo-to-mat techniques. In fact, I may have created a bit of a monster here. Just kidding - these are fantastic! She just has to figure out where to put them. I have suggested a grouping (just like photos) on a wall. They are all about 8 x 10 or smaller.

The only thing I have to share of my own is the sign that I did for the Annual "theme" display. The theme was texture, so this is what I made for the display. I remember doing this when I was a kid. Not this big, but the yarn and nails thing - it was really fun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother and Baby Photo to Mat

Maybe it was influenced by Mothers' Day. This week I hooked this little sketch of my daughter Laura with Jackson. The picture was taken here at our place while they had a little nap on the sofa. I knew when I snapped it, it would become a sketch mat.

And here is the little hooked sketch - only 6 1/2 x 9 - using mostly 6 cut for the face and baby and 8 everywhere else. 

As usual, I played with the photo in befunky.com to simplify the image. This was the "pointillism" treatment, which was interesting. I even considered trying to do a proddy effect. But since I wanted to give this as a gift to Laura, I figured she would prefer this. I really liked the effects it created in the background. 

I also discovered a new online site called snapstouch, which is an even simpler program than befunky.
Here is the painting result from there.

Both of these tools create a simpler "painterly" image to hook from. I prefer the options in befunky for some images, but enjoy being able to try both.  So much simpler than photoshop for getting rid of some of the little details and creating a value sketch. 

Once I got the pattern on the backing, this was a pretty quick little project. And something I am sure she will love to have in the nursery. These are the moments that fly by too quickly and it's nice to save them this way. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear Edith, I'm two timing you!!

When I managed to find a little hooking time this week, it wasn't spent with Edith. We are on a bit of a break lol. Not really, I just had something I needed to get back to before my class at Trent in June.

When I taught my Primitive Class at Loyalist last summer, I quickly sketched a fun little pattern which has a motif from each of the students' rugs. I hadn't touched it since last summer, so I dug it out to work on before my Primitive vs Wide Cut Class at Trent.

 The only part I had worked on was the lettering in the centre, which wasn't really working for me. So I changed it. All of it!! The lettering. The design. The wool.

Here is a picture of the before:

Here is what I replaced it with:

Quite a departure!! In this version, I AM loving the lettering. And the colours will all be in the motifs around the outside, so it will all feel anchored. It is much more fun, which for me is half the battle.  Did I mention that working in an 8 cut might be the other half!!

But don't you fret Dear Edith. You and I will have some meaningful time again very soon. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Small Space. Big Reminders.

Today was the first day this week that I had time to spend with Dear Edith - the name for my inherited kilim. And although I tackled only a tiny motif, I was reminded of many truths about all purchased patterns, all kilims and burlap.

Here is the little area (please excuse the bad photo):

I guess this is the first place in the pattern where precision kicked in - or in my case - didn't.
For all the hooking I got done today, there was as much if not more ripping out and here's the first lesson I had forgotten (I can hear Barb D'Arcy wagging her finger at me as I write this...)

Check your pattern!!
Printed patterns are exactly that - printed. And as much as reputable companies do their best to ensure that they are "on the straight of grain", things shift and sometimes the straight lines running across a motif are anything but. And the print falls on a line of the burlap and you hook slightly above or below it on one repeat but not the next, your precision will be very "unprecise".

So Barb, when I get to this part on the other side of the centre, I will take a ruler and line up all the tops and bottoms of these little flying arrows.

It's not always best to hook the outline first.
Since I had to keep pulling it out anyway, I would have been smarter starting with a centre line in the rust colour and taking it right across the motif. Then I could have hooked everything above and below it to the outline - and then done the outline.

Don't jump up or down a thread.
When you are hooking with a #4 cut, and hooking on burlap, it's very easy to accidentally shift up or down one thread. In a non-geometric wide cut, a single thread shift is not the end of the world. Here it is! Or at least in this precise little motif it is. Lucky for me, it only appears above and below the large centre motif, so I don't have to deal with it too often.

Burlap isn't Rug Warp!!!
I can't remember the last time I hooked on burlap, but there is a reason why I don't. It's called irregular thread size. Invariably you run into that the biggest thread in the worst possible place. That is why I switched to rug warp a long time ago and haven't looked back since. Rug warp has the most regular thread count ever, which is why I love it so much. It makes it much easier to hook in a straight line every row.

I did persevere and got all my rows even - all my outlines are where they should be, and I will be much smarter on this motif when it comes around.

These were all good reminders of things I already know. So is hooking in a 4 cut in a straight line. But when (notice I did not say "if") this project is completed, it will truly be one of a kind. It will be the only project that I undertake in this cut size - or a 4' x 6' size.

But fear not, Dear Edith. I am not deterred. Simply more determined to give you your fair share of attention and one day walk all over you and the many reminders you hold for me.