Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Fitting Mat to Feature

It is now the 10th day since our arrival in Barbados. Man, time sure does fly when you are having fun. We have crammed lots in but are trying to pace ourselves and save some special places and pastimes to meter out over our stay.

I think when I was at the airport hotel the night before we left, I received an email from Diana, one of my students in Edmonton. She was sending me her finished piece from the Photo to Mat class. And she gave me permission to share it with you.

It is such a sweet mat of her grandson. And coincidentally, my grandson Jackson is arriving here on Monday with his parents. I am sure that many of the pictures I take of him will look exactly like this little fellow.

Tomorrow, a group of us who are all rug hookers from Ontario are getting together for a Zentangle session. I first learned about them when I was out west and have been doing a few of them since I arrived. Although it is very early in my journey, I am finding it very calming and a perfect thing to do here. And I can see why so many people enjoy doing them. Now that I am aware of them, they seem to be everywhere.

These early explorations have been done in pen instead of the preferred fine point marker and pencil, but I can already see how you can create movement and shape within the shapes. My ultimate goal is to try to interpret this into a hooked piece.

I am hoping that once I do a few more, I can find shapes that capture the beauty here - of the sea, sky, sand and water. And that is what I am planning on doing with my worms that I showed a couple of posts ago.

Whatever the outcome, it is a wonderful way to de-stress (not that there is very much stressful about this beautiful place).

On this morning's coffee walk, we finally saw a family of green monkeys and I took lots of pictures.
This is another thing that might just have to be incorporated into that mat somehow.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Sneak Peak

Not sure if everyone is aware that Jennifer Manuell has undergone a transformation from Fish Eye Rugs to FISH EYE SISTERS with her sister Sandra. If you haven't seen anything yet, go here to see what they are up to.

When you get there, you will see lots of eye candy in the gorgeous photographs and also a link for their newsletter and their Instagram page.  They are definitely a dynamic duo and we will all benefit from the fruits of their labours and their awesome creativity.

I have been lucky enough to be their "fresh eyes" cum editor of two new pattern booklets they will be offering soon. Both are based on Jennifer's foray into Ewe Fuse, her proprietary method of fusing wool pieces to make fabric and then create outstanding original pieces.

The sisters gave me permission to do a screen capture of the covers of the booklets, so that I could tickle your curiosity and you can make sure you get notified when they are available.

They are extremely well written, very detailed and step-by-step (even for the logically challenged such as myself) and will produce results that will be awe inspiring for you and the folks who admire your creations.

Congratulations Fish Eye Sisters.  I think you have the start of something HUGE.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Warm Weather Worms

On our upcoming trip to Holetown in Barbados, there will be a number of rug hookers in our little "Canadian contingency". We agreed to bring some rug hooking supplies with us this year, for those rainy days when you really need to stay indoors - or at least in shelter.

Needless to say the 29 degree temperatures are not conducive to sitting under burlap or even linen - nor to holding wool strips in your hands, so I am putting together what I want to touch when in is warm and humid.  So my worm pile is made from lots of different dyed panty hose, some jersey fabric, some sari silk and some miscellaneous fabric and ribbon I have hanging about. My backing will be a piece of Monk's cloth left over some something - I think punch needle.

As you can see, the colour palette actually has quite a Caribbean feel. Not my usual colours when hooking at home for our colder climates. Sea, sky, bright florals. I just seem to be missing some palm tree greens. Think I will throw some panty hose into the dye pot this afternoon.

Everything in Barbados is brighter - clothing, house colours, artwork - even nature itself. In fact, many of the pieces of art that we admire there would look very out of place in our home - unless we had a Caribbean room (which is not a bad thought).

I have no idea what I will hook when I am there, but may opt for Susan Feller's method of doing a series of small studies, which could perhaps be joined together to make a "dreaming of Barbados" piece.  If you are not familiar with Susan's amazing work, please take some time to go and see her work. She is truly inspirational. I am a huge fan.

Or, I may just hook freeform - laid back and relaxed - like the culture itself. It's nice to not have anything specific planned.  No rules. No restrictions. Just do what you like.

Meanwhile, here in Parry Sound, as I stare out the studio window today, it continues to snow snow snow snow snow. It has been relentless, since our return from the city on New Year's Day. So dreaming of sea and sand is kind of a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring in the New Year in Style

Wow - I can't believe it has been nearly a month since my last post. Glad nobody is hanging in the lurch between them.

We are in Toronto, camped out at my friend Elaine's home while she and her family are in Florida. She tried to convince me that they needed house sitting - and maybe they did - but we sure appreciate having a home base over the holidays. We are so grateful!

It has been a crazy time, juggling our kids with the "outlaws" and figuring out where we are supposed to be and when. But I think we have been where we were supposed to be, when we were meant to be there and we really enjoyed being able to get to spend time with everyone this year.

Our little grandson celebrated his first birthday in style. Here he is in the tuxedo cardigan that his proud grandma (that'd be me) knit for him. Isn't he handsome? Luckily his mom took it off long before the cupcake moment - an entirely different set of pictures.

This was one of the many homemade gifts that I managed to get finished in time. 
Everyone seemed pleased to receive them.

Amazing what a year can bring into your life. A new grandchild has redefined a number of relationships - with him, with our daughter. It is all brand new. And it shows you that you are never too late to re-invent yourself.

Tonight, he is sleeping upstairs. His parents are out for a much-deserved night off. And tomorrow starts the second year of his life, with so many adventures ahead.

I hope all of our lives are filled with adventures too. And I have realized that this year, I am flipping the Happy and Healthy New Year to "Healthy and Happy", because I believe that one really does determine the other.

I wish you all good health - and much happiness for 2015. Hope we all have many sharing moments in the year to come.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

International Rug Hooking Day

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of TIGHR’s (The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers) founding and to promote rughooking, rug punch, proggy, and braiding using these techniques in traditional to contemporary interpretations we have declared DECEMBER 4, 2014 the International Hook-In Day.

Rug Hooking Magazine has invited people to post pictures to their facebook page as well, so there is lots to see there.

Due to many conflicts, I was unable to host anyone here in the studio today. But if you click on the link above, you can see what other rughookers are doing around the world.

My students were here on Monday and here is a recently-finished piece that will be on full display during the festive season.  Great job Shania!

On my frame, some little "gifties" that can't be shared or the surprises will be ruined.
Happy hook-in day to everyone. Next year, I will hopefully plan something around the date.

Monday, November 24, 2014

How I spent Snowvember

Since my last post, it has been a winter wonderland here on Salmon Lake. Yes, even I an avowed snow hater had to admit it looked beautiful - for the first few days. But after starting each day shovelling 6-8 inches of snow from around the cars so that Rick could use "Lurch" (our a-bit-too-mighty snowblower) to do the driveway, the gild was quickly off the lily.

Then last week, we made the Global newscast - right up there with Buffalo for the amount of snow received. We were pretty much locked inside, and my internet went down for weather-related power outages, so my days took on a different rhythm. Lots of knitting and bad movies!! Ok for a week, but my tolerance was waning.

Anyway, I did get a few projects done, so not a waste of time, for sure. A couple of pairs of socks knit in worsted weight. Man, are they faster than sock yarn!! I had forgotten. One pair for my son-in-law's birthday gift and a second pair for my hubby - just because he loves them. Simple pattern, quick to do, and a great way to use up a bunch of yarn I bought for a long-ago-abandoned sweater coat project.

Another zig zag baby blanket used up a few balls in my baby stash of yarn. Since most of the babies lately have been boys, it was the perfect chance to use the soft greens and pinks that are in this. Each time I make this blanket, it seems small to me. But, I think it is a good swaddling blanket and will be a good stroller/carriage blanket and then later - much later - a doll's blanket.

I also worked on this little hooked piece, for which I had no pattern - not a single thought of what would go where - just a big basket of worms that got placed wherever whim took me. What a freeing thing it is to hook with absolutely no idea where you are headed.

The black and white beading lines sort of dictated a little bit of direction for the worms beside them, but other than that - total free fall!! I think this will become a little bag of some sort. I will just fold it in the centre, whip the sides and add a zipper. I really like the other one I did, and am sure it will come in handy for someone for something. 

Since I am planning on doing some hooking in Barbados this winter, I think I will cut a big bag of worms from non-wool fibre -  pantyhose, ribbon and t-shirt material and take that with me to do the same "free fall" hooking while I am there.

Today internet is resolved, most of the snow has melted so this week will be different again. Mind you, the forecast for tomorrow is snow again. Poor Mother Nature has had a bad month too. Let's hope December is a bit kinder to everyone.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Different Take on Photo to Mat

When I was first corresponding with my Edmonton students about my classes, one of them contacted me to say that instead of rug hooking in the class, she wanted to interpret her photo using a combination of applique and embroidery. She has hooked before, but this type of needlework is her true passion.

Not only did she interpret it once, she did it three times. Each one a little different from the other and all results outstanding. Yesterday, she emailed me two of the finished pieces.

First, here is the photo that she chose (after being edited in befunky)

And here are the results of her efforts. You need to know that these are only about 5 x 7 (maybe 6 x 9) - so the work was incredibly tiny and details are amazing.

The first piece is actually painted first and then embellished with some paper applique and then beautiful hand and machine embroidery.

This version is appliqued fabric pieces that have been embellished with hand and machine embroidery.

 It was a treat for me to be introduced to this kind of needlework in the classroom. For show and tell one day, she brought along a framed piece and an album she is creating to feature all these masterpieces.

I think that everyone was as fascinated as I was to see her at her table working away on the different versions.

Thanks so much for sharing Armande.

It is a beautiful image too, which someday one of us should hook as well.