Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Clip Art Cat Gets Nine Lives

Next week I am show casing a possible class for Trent Rug School in 2018. The proposal is to hook one piece of clip art different ways, with a mini lesson each day in various techniques.

I have always loved the "possibilities" that every new project presents. In addition to the design are the decisions about colour plan, technique, materials. For me, this is the creative phase, making these choices and going for it - the loop pulling is the therapy and the journey.

If you have been following my blog, you know this is not my first rodeo. A few years ago I hooked One Moose, Four Ways.

This is the Primitive Version 

This one is done with alternative fibers. Click in for a closer look.

She is my "impressionist" moose.
She is my "realistic" moose, or as realistic as you can get in an 8 cut.
A while later, getting ready for a Zen and the Art of Doodling class, I hooked this version in polar fleece. It was fun and another way to hook my same beautiful moose.


I decided my next exploration would go in a new direction and I was searching through royalty-free clip art and found this handsome cat.


I initially drew him on a piece of backing six times. And before very long, he became these six feisty felines.

This is Proddy Cat (with a nod to Maude Lewis)

This is Primitive Cat with Snow Balls 

This is Doodle Cat with the palette from Doodle Moose.

This is Realistic Cat who looks very serious.

This is Applique Cat, with buttons.

This is Painterly Van Gogh cat.
When these six were done, I was pretty sure there were lots more ways to go and decided that since a cat is reputed to have nine lives, I would come up with three more. And this trio of cats bounded off the frame.

This is "inch mat" cat, peeking up from lower frame. - I accidentally put him 1" lower. 

This is "calico cat", hooked like the fabric. 

And this is "Abstract Cat". The clip art cat cut apart and arranged in this way.

This was a fun exercise and I loved every one of these. They are all around 6 x 8, but each took on their own dimension as I hooked them. I certainly don't expect any student to do this many renditions of their clip art, but it's fun to consider the possibilities.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Yikes, where have I been?

I can't believe I didn't do a single post last month, but I guess it is because I didn't have anything finished to share. Not that I haven't been busy with things - in fact, quite the opposite - but I like to have final projects to show when I post here.

That said, here is a list of projects that are under way:

Burp cloths.  I have gone into production in a big way on these things. When Jackson was born, my daughter said that the best thing she received were some burp cloths that were rectangles that just fit on the shoulder - versus receiving blankets that required folding and adjusting.

I found a pattern for a shaped burp cloth on line. Here is a picture.


So I went to the fabric store, selected four different gender-neutral flannels for the tops and big piece of white flannel for the backs. And I have cut out and am making 32 of these bad boys. They will be divided into four batches of 8 cloths, since there are four new babies on the horizon.

One of these will be a new granddaughter for Rick and I. A new baby sister for Jackson. Here is how they announced it:


Pretty cute, huh? And a good thing it is a girl, since that is what Big Bro said he wanted. lol.

On the knitting front, I am on the sleeves of this project - Laneway, from Ravelry


Mine is a darker grey sock wool with a variegated striping yarn for the stripes and I am nearly done one sleeve. It has been in and out of production and I got back to it when I got back from Barbados. But since warm weather is (supposedly) just around the corner, I have set it aside (again) to work on another project that may be more appropriate for the season.

Here is the new one, Dark and Stormy, also from Ravelry. Although this is a worsted weight cardigan, I think it will be a good "chilly nights" summer sweater and I really want to have it done to take to cottages and rug camp in Newfoundland.


On the hooking front, there are several things that have been keeping my hook busy. The first thing I started when I got back from Barbados is a show case for Trent this year, for a class that I hope to teach next June 2018. It involves finding a piece of clip art (royalty free) and coming up with many different ways to hook it. So far there are six versions - one left to hook, but I am hoping to do NINE, since it is a cat and I love the "nine lives" angle.

Here's a picture of the progress to date. So far I have hooked Primitive Cat, Proddy Cat, Applique Cat, Doodle Cat and Van Gogh Cat. The one unhooked on this panel will be Impressionistic Cat. And I do have ideas for the three to follow. Such fun coming up with the ideas. And for the class next year - if it is a go - there will be a lesson each day on a different style.


So, lots has been going on and the studio is humming. For that reason, I have been remiss here. Will try to update progress on a more regular basis. If you are reading this, thanks for hanging in with me.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Knitting in Barbados

Well we are into our final week. As always, the time 'drifts' by in the beginning and speeds up the closer you get to the end. This week it is flying at warp speed.

Instead of bringing hooking with me this year, I brought knitting. I had cast on a sweater for my daughter's birthday, with a promise of presenting it done on our return. And ta-da! It is. Because of consistent lovely breezes, I was able to knit in my usual perch - a chaise lounge overlooking the sea at the beach club where we hang out most days. Here are a couple of pictures taken there.


This is the sweater in progress. The pattern is "Bello" and you can find it here on Ravelry.  I was able to find a version knit by someone who is as tall as Laura and incorporated her modifications into the sweater as I went along. Once she tries it on, I will block it to whatever we need.

Pulling out knitting at the club unearthed a slew of other knitters. Suddenly there were lots of socks being worked on and lots of discussions with newly found knitting friends about events across the country like "Knit East" which is taking place in St. Andrews in late October.  If I weren't already going to Newfoundland to teach at Rug Camp this year, I would be sorely tempted....


Here is my third "sock by the sea". The first two were actually started on the plane down and finished and given to a friend who is a non-knitter but LOVES home made socks. The ones on the needle in this picture are short sneaker socks which will hopefully come back with me next year for my early morning walks each day. This one is finished and its mate is now on the needles and will probably get finished on the plane ride home next Tuesday.

Here is a picture of the finished sweater. It was a great pattern and I think the sock weight yarn will make it the perfect not-too-hot sweater that will get lots of wear.


I certainly missed hooking for this much time, but knitting is far more portable - not only for the plane trips, but also for at the deck. Can't really see hooking there, but who knows - maybe next year.



Monday, February 27, 2017

Howdy from Holetown

How remiss am I in my posting on this blog!!! I guess being in Barbados and not having brought hooking with me this year, I am feeling a bit detached. And sharing too much of the scenery here seems to be a bit unfair. We are more than half way through our stay here. I explain to people it is not a holiday: more like a trip to the cottage which happens to be a 5-hour plane ride away.

That said, I have hooking to share that is not mine, but the work of students who have shared with me and given permission for me to share here.

First up is a remarkable sunrise mat hooked by a student at OHCG school a couple of years ago in my "Photo to Mat" course. Not only did she do an amazing job, but she astonished her husband (and possibly herself). It is easy to see why.

This is the same class I will (hopefully) be teaching at Rug Camp in Newfoundland this coming August.


Another student who hooked with me in my studio in Parry Sound has been working on some mats that are for a special stool in her home. She sent me pictures of the series she has created. Her grand kids love to sit on the mat and love the whimsical patterns.


Although I didn't bring hooking this year, I did bring knitting and have been working away on a sweater for my daughter's birthday next month. Amazingly, it has been windy and cool enough to knit on my perch on the deck by the sea. The sound of the waves and the palm trees swaying are quite a different scenario for knitting from anything at home.

Here's a progress shot of this beautiful pattern "Bello" which you can find on ravelry.  One of the knitters who shared her project is tall like my daughter, so I was able to see the modifications she made to make it longer. Nearly finished the body and I will get going on the sleeves shortly.


This is a picture of the sweater finished and the lovely designer who created it.


Before starting Bello, I finished a pair of "scrappy socks" for a friend, knit with leftovers from all my other socks. If this gets done with time to spare, I have yarn for another pair. And if I don't get done, the socks will still be the plane project for the flight home.

Keep warm everyone.




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Guess what I got for Christmas? Patience!

Or maybe just a little more self control.

A couple of my recent projects have called on me to "do the right thing" which means not throwing the entire thing into a bag and walking away. It means "backing up" to where you went astray.

The first is the Inspira Cowl I am knitting. I bought this as a kit from The Needle Emporium  in Ancaster when I was teaching at the OHCG School last year. I finally got around to starting it and was more than 1/2 way through when I realized I was complicating the pattern by twisting my yarn behind as I carried it along (old school technique when doing stranded work - not necessary on three stitch pattern).

It wasn't awful, but I knew it didn't look as great as some of the others on Ravelry. So I frogged the whole thing and started again. It's amazing how quickly you can frog versus knitting - even stranded work!

Now it is perfect and I LOVE the colours. Just a few more rows to go and it will be off the needles and warming my neck.  BTW, Julie at The Needle Emporium's kit is a much faster knit in worsted weight than the one shown on Ravelry. And she has about 6 of them on her blog A Really Good Yarn 


The other exercise in patience is a wonderful new dress that I made to take to Barbados. It is from another Marci Tilton pattern - Vogue 9112.  Since it is already packed, I am showing you an image from the pattern sleeve. I will take a picture when I wear it in the sun.


I made mine in a yummy coral red linen and it turned out beautifully. Like her other patterns, it is quite an architectural feat to assemble all the parts. I think there were 15 pattern pieces - here is a sketch from the pattern sleeve which shows how much stuff is going on. That's what make her patterns so interesting to sew.

The exercise in patience came when I attached the front to the back - about halfway through the assembly. Since linen doesn't have a wrong side, and since I didn't think to clearly indicate which was the right side, the fronts and backs did match and the side seams clearly indicated I had done something wrong. I had left front side to right back side - or something like that.

I decided it was easiest to undo the shoulders and the back seams - only FOUR! and re-do them. Note to self - check progress before finishing seams. About an hour later, I had reassembled and was on my way. Must confess there was a momentary urge to "bag it" and try again much later.

But my new "cup of patience" totally paid off. The dress is wonderful and I will definitely be making it again - having learned from my errors. Will make sure to choose fabric with a visible difference between right and wrong sides.

Is it maturity that gives us the ability to remain calm and "back up"? Or just the experience in knowing that if you take the time to undo - the end result will be worth it. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sharing the Christmas Present Pics

Now that they have all been gifted to their owners, I can share my "makings" for this year.

First is the Jeffrey pillow. Jeffrey is our "grand dog" and this was hooked from his adoption photo.
Matt and Theo - his owners - were thrilled to receive this and have even shared it on their Facebook stream.


Next up, the "beer" pants I made for my son, son-in-law and grandson. Jackson's are made from the leftover fabric of his dad's and his Uncle Matt's. They are the funniest of all. If you look closely at the red ones on the left, you will notice that I cut the fabric upside down - look at the bottles.


Home made socks are always on the list for my family. They all love them. So here are two pairs I made. The first are "leftover socks" that are knit with 10 rows of one yarn followed by 10 of another, with no real plan of colour order. They are a great way to use up leftovers. The next pair are from a skein of yarn I bought in Fredericton. I had no idea they would turn out like this - I thought they would just be striped. I think they look like the background for lettering in Marvel comics. Rick loves them!!


Here is a little mug rug that I gave to a dear friend in Fredericton on my visit. I decided to give her this instead of an ornament so that she could use it all year long. It looks completely different in every orientation - kind of like a rorschach test.


And to end this post, a gift that I didn't make but have permission to share. On Christmas Eve I received an email from someone sharing the Jeanius Bag that she made for her grandson's girlfriend. I am sure she was thrilled.


Two days left of making in 2016, which will have some sewing and hooking in them. Then a whole new year to create more treasures.

Happy New Year to everyone. May the year be filled with health and happiness for all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wonky Little Tree, Freddy Beach and Counting Down.

December 13th!! Wow, that came quickly, didn't it.

Here is a little gem that came in my email last week from a student at Apps Ridge. This was in the doodles class and I think every home should have some of these little "wonky trees" for the season.


Luckily, my "to make" list is getting shorter. A few glitches along the way - like an upside down print on one pair of PJ pants - but headway is being made. I think I will get everything done, except Rick's socks. The yarn will be in his stocking with an IOU.

My mini sojourn to Fredericton last week took away a few days of production time, but it was worth every second! Big thanks to my sister Nancy for prodding me into a long overdue trip home. And we sure squeezed in a lot of stuff into what I am calling the Whirlwind Freddy Beach Tour of 2016.

It seems like we spent a lot of time eating lol, but there are some favourites that just don't taste the same anywhere else. Fried whole clams and lobster rolls are at the top of the list.  I sampled both at our arrival lunch at the Blue Canoe. Apparently, it is a tradition that brother Bill and Nancy have shared for years.



There were many highlights during the tour. A big one was a hike across the old railway bridge. There is a new micro brewery and restaurant cafe on the "other" side of the river, which is where we started. It was a brisk day, but the walk was invigorating and there were shops and galleries beckoning from the other side, so there was a nice interlude before heading back across. Apparently, in the summer, the bridge is packed with hikers, bikers, roller bladers, dogs and just about everyone who wants a good walk with a great view.

An Advent Choir Recital was the other surprise highlight event. It happened to take place in my old church, St. Paul's United, where I haven't set foot since my Dad's funeral 40 years ago. A nice reason to go back and enjoy an evening that for me kicked off the joy of the season.

Catching up with a high school pal and seeing her wonderful new apartment on the river was neat too. So much development (like everywhere else), but there seems to be a split between condos and rental units there. And, also like everywhere else, the big box stores are reproducing like rabbits "up the hill" in Fred. I couldn't think of a store that wasn't there.

A nostalgic trip around the old Pony Club was the event of the last day. The horses have been gone for over a decade. The indoor ring apparently collapsed a couple of years ago because of the snow. And now it appears to be a shed for all the equipment for tending Odell Park.

So, in hindsight I learned that you can definitely go home again. The one take away is that in the 25+ years since I have been there, a lot of residential development has taken place. And where our old Golf Club Road house once seemed to be on the "other side of the earth", there are now streets and houses all over the place, which make the house seem further down the hill and closer to the road - neither of which are true. Perspective is everything.

Thanks Gaye for being the best hostess ever. Sorry about that teapot lid. Will find a way to get another one to you somehow. And thanks for arranging your "deer" visitors during my stay.