Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rainy Day Doodles

Or should I say rainy DAYS!!  We arrived in Beautiful Barbados on Tuesday and to date have only had one sunny day. This time of year, there is always a bit of rain, and you don't leave home without an umbrella. But this year, the rain is so frequent, we haven't been leaving home.

So, what to do on a rainy day while your Kobo is being re-charged? Doodle.

In anticipation of my class at Trent this summer, I am doing a lot of doodling - both Zentangle - and not, to help create my teaching sheets for the class. I am learning as much from the doodling as I am from hooking the doodles.

If you are both a "zentangler" and a rug hooker, you have probably already figured out that some doodles are much more hooking-friendly than others. And there are quite a few other lessons to be learned as you move from the black and white fine marker sketches to the "fabric on backing" interpretations.

At any rate, a wonderful way to wile away this wet weather. (Unintentional alliteration alert!)
Here are some photos to show. Kudos to the Zentangle folk who are so generous with their doodles on   They were the starting point for many of my sketches.

And since the rain continued again today, I spent most of the day with my Doodle Moose.  I started her on one of the other rainy afternoons. This project was supposed to last for the entire stay. At this rate, I will need either a big change in the weather, or another project when this is done.

I am hooking this very colourful moose with polar fleece - much nicer in the warm weather than wool. And a bunch of very inexpensive print blankets yielded a wonderful palette for this project. I will probably run out of strips before I run out of pattern, but at least "she" will be complete. I will call her "Josephine, the Technicolour Moose".

Doodling and hooking this way is incredibly free-ing, because obviously, many of the regular rules apply. However, I am finding that there are lots of things to consider when embarking on this translation.

One more thing to share before I sign off on this post. I discovered a new App called COLORFY. It is a colouring book app for FREE. And it is lots of fun on my ipad. You can find out more about it at   Some really good stuff in the libraries.

And another great activity for rainy doodling.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy 2016

Well, the holidays came and went in our new home. It was fun finding spots for our usual decorations and establishing new traditions.

Our Santa collection found a home on the kitchen/family room mantle.

Snowman collection took up residence in the bay window in the living room.

And since we couldn't figure out where to put our larger tree, we bought this little pre-lit one, which fit perfectly on the blanket box in the kitchen/family room. It came out of the box with two kids of lights and no room for ornaments - doesn't get much easier than that!

Also, the kitchen island that we had ordered arrived just in time for the influx of visitors. It is where I seem to perch all the time. It is where I am writing this post. I think it will become the hardest working piece of furniture we own.

Since the second stool has not yet arrived, poor hubby still resides on the sofa in front of the island. We spent lots of time with family and friends and now truly feel like this is our home. 

So now a bright, shiny new year has begun with no mistakes in it yet. And we are counting down to Barbados. We will be there on Tuesday afternoon - yippee!

In anticipation of going, I am getting all my rug hooking student letters done for my various classes this year. And hooking away on samples to show in the two new classes that I have not taught before. I posted earlier about one of the Zen and the Art of Doodling, which is the Trent class. I did manage to get another one finished.

This is part of a study where I have repeated the same pattern four times and will demonstrate how it evolves when you add one colour, one full colour element and a full colour version. It's an amazing journey and I am enjoying every loop. Hooking doodles is certainly a relaxing endeavour!

As I gather my hooking supplies to put in my suitcase, I am reminded that warm weather hooking is quite different and that you become very aware of what is on your lap and what is in your hands. when it is 30 degrees. Yarn and panty hose become much more attractive to hold than wool. And a smaller piece of backing that doesn't "tent" your entire lower body is also advisable. But there are several rainy afternoons where hooking is perfect. And many of my hooking friends are there at the same time as we are.

All the best for this new year. May it bring health and happiness to all.

I will share pics from the sunny side - and they may actually have hooking stuff in there too.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bordering on Brilliant

That's the name of my class at Loyalist College next July. And it is inspired by the many incredibly brilliant borders I have seen on rugs done by friends, strangers and many talented people in the rug hooking community.

I received a pdf of the Rug Hooking School flyer from Loyalist college today. And this is the image that was used with the description of my class. I would love to say this was my creation, but it is NOT. And so far, I have been unable to locate the person whose it is, which is why there is not a credit with the image.

As I said at the top, I think this piece borders on brilliant!! It appears to break all the "rules" that one would normally follow when choosing a border, but in fact, it is the border that "makes" the piece unique and memorable. And is my favourite border reference piece - for many reasons.

If anyone knows who created this piece, would you kindly let me know - so that I can give the credit, and congratulations that are due.

In the meantime, I will use this piece as a teaching example and give credit as "artist unknown", which is what I should have done when I submitted it as an image with the class description.

As a person who truly respects copyright, I sincerely apologize for using an image without giving credit. I will continue to try to find the creator.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hook a Doodle Do!

In preparation for my upcoming 2016 class at Trent - Zen and the Art of Doodling - I have upped my game on not only "doodling", but hooking what I doodle. Certainly hooking and doodling are a match made in heaven and, since both are so relaxing, I should be in a full on state of bliss by the time my class comes around.

Here is my latest sample mat which, like all doodles, underwent a huge transformation when colour was added. In fact, seeing how the motifs translated, I know that I will be adjusting the background colour on the right side of the mat. It is too close to the colours in the motif and I need to find something else that bounces the colours a bit more - I will try to post the 'after'.

This mat was designed and hooked on the heels of my William Morris fox stocking project, one that required me to follow some rules and "colour inside the lines". So this was just a light and fun mat to hook.  And isn't that what doodling is all about - whether you follow the Zentangle discipline, or just go out there on your own?  I am pretty sure that this will be the tone of the class as well as the rest of the samples that I create in advance - fun, that is.

And getting back to my William Morris stocking for the favourite (only) grandson, I don't think I shared the finished version. Here it is - and I have to say that it is very, very large. What the heck do you put in a stocking of someone who is not yet two and doesn't yet understand the value of chocolate? Hmmmmmm......

Again, I salute Christine Little at Encompassing Designs for this great pattern. Have to remember to send her a copy of it hooked as well.

Here's to all the stockings that will be hung and stuffed in the next while. Hard to believe that we are just 9 days away.

Happy getting ready, everyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Another Loyalist Student Rug

This morning, while sipping coffee and knitting, I received an email from Greg with a second rug that he colour planned while in class at the Loyalist
 Summer Arts Program last summer.

It is hooked all in yarn and I think it is a lovely mat. It has a nice, simple colour plan. And the Eaton Edge which he added is the perfect finish for the oval shape.

My favourite part is the little buds that appear in the centre as well as the outside.
Nicely done Greg. And thanks for sharing.

I will be back at Loyalist next summer, teaching a class on Borders. New material for me, so I am having fun finding out what I want to include in that class.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Student Rug to Share

Just when I think I am becoming a horrible blogger because I take so long between posts, I get rescued by a student. And end up doing a second post right after the long-overdue one.

This is Judy's rug from the OHCG School in Ancaster. It was a free pattern in Rug Hooking Magazine - June/July/August 2014.  She got a good start on it over the weekend and sent me a picture of it finished. I love how much texture and movement are in the background. And I love the single line of red around the outside.

This rug serves as a nice reminder of how many wonderful free resources are out there. Each issue of RHM offers a free pattern, together with a materials list and instructions.  And when they turn out as well as this one, why not go for it.

Nice job Judy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

What does the fox say?

I have been having a lot of fun working away on the William Morris Fox stocking pattern that I got from Encompassing Designs.  It is going to be a "forever" stocking for my grandson Jackson who is not yet two.

There is a story behind the choice of the design, and it is all around the video "What does the fox say?" by Ylvis, which if you haven't seen yet, you should go and watch.  From the time Jackson was very tiny, whenever I saw him, I would sing the different sounds from the video, and he thought his Grandma was hilarious.  Even over the phone, I could evoke giggles galore by just singing the song.

So when deciding to hook him a stocking, I settled on this design. For now, it will still evoke the video and funny sounds, but when he is grown, it will just be a beautiful William Morris classic design that will hopefully be appropriate at any age.

There has been a lot of learning in this project. The thing I have always loved about William Morris designs is how they seem to glow. The dark background and the lightest value around the leaves is lovely, even when you use textured wool, which is what I chose to do.

When the body of the stocking was done and I had the top part left to do, I tried a number of different combinations for the backgrounds behind the crown. I had worried that the candy cane stripe might be too bold for the design, but I really want to line the stocking with candy cane stripe cotton. Turns out the proportion is ok and the red does appear in the flowers below the fox.

The first attempts at the colour behind the gold crowns were too bright and they didn't relate to anything else in the design, but I think I am happy with where I have netted out. I will look for some navy velveteen for the back of the stocking and possibly some cording/piping as well.

I will share a finished picture when all is said and done. He will never know how long his Grand spent on this crazy project, but hopefully he will always smile when he looks at it and remembers "What does the fox say."