Friday, September 19, 2014

Holy September, Bat Man!

And not just the beginning of September, but past the middle!!
Let's just say it has been a blurry month so far. And after such a you-know-what summer, not a graceful transition.

Too much on my plate. Starting with the paying work which has me at the computer at least 7 hours a day lately. So my life is back to having "weekends" in it. My play time.

So what else have I been up to? Here are a few projects that have somehow managed to get done.
A cutie-pie "monster cardigan" with monster for Jackson.

He is so big now that my early fears it would be way too big may be for naught. Here he is at my Toronto office a couple of weeks ago. Check out that hair!!!

Back in the Quilting department, I needed to make a housewarming gift and discovered the world of the Jelly Roll Race. Amazing what you can learn to do on the internet. Anyway, based on a couple of paint chips of specific colours, this is the lap quilt that resulted.

And as to hooking? Not a lot taking place, but another sample for my second class in Edmonton. This little mat is done from a painting I did a few years ago. I like how it turned out. The colour of the painting is really off.

The rest of whatever time I have has been spent getting ready for the upcoming trek to the Focus on Fibre Art Festival in Alberta. First time I have ever tried to do two classes back to back, but there you go.  Many of the students have signed up for both. Man, will they be tired of me by the end.

And I haven't even visited a single blogger friend lately either. Will catch up soon, hopefully.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What happened to summer?

It is July 30th. I am in the studio wearing long pants and a wool sweater. The furnace was on when I woke up this morning. This has not been Mother Nature's finest summer, that's for sure. And after that winter, I thought she would take a little pity on us. Apparently not!!

On the good news side, the flora here is very happy. Here are some of the roadside plants where we walk each day. There are some thistle-style weeds that tower over my head and I am 5'8" (or at least I used to be).

Someone else who is growing like a weed is the grand baby. He is now 7 months old and seems so big already.  His poor mom has started back to work this week, but his dad is taking over for the other half of the leave. This was the picture that Kris posted of him on Day 2 of Daddy Care. (Note that he has his phone handy, in case he needs to call his mom lol.)

The other benefit of the cooler weather is that it is perfect for hooking. And I have been doing quite a bit in between my paying work. Getting things ready for my big trek out west.  I am doing a few small pieces for samples of hooking in a painterly style.

The moose is very small - just over 5 x 7. The fruit is about 7" square. I have a few more to do and they are very enjoyable and quite quick. I am learning lots as I interpret each one.

Who knows what August will bring, but hopefully a few warmer days. I have only been in the lake once this year and same with the stand up paddle board. If the weather is truly a month behind, maybe we will have July in August.

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 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.