Monday, February 26, 2007

For Wanda


Every rug tells a story. There's always a tale behind the design, the colour choice, the hooking. I guess that's what makes every rug a little piece of history. And why their stories need to be told.

Some rugs have much bigger stories to tell, as does the one I am writing about today. This story is "A rug for Wanda."

Wanda is a friend of mine who has been waging a war against cancer. She is a high-energy, extremely creative actor, writer, and communications specialist whom I met through work. We became instant friends.

Cancer has not been as easy to overcome for Wanda as the rest of life's battles, but she is so strong willed and determined that I believe she will persevere. Wanda reached the end of traditional cancer treatments without a happy ending. Not ready to concede, she decided to pursue alternative therapy, and here begins the story of this rug.

To help her raise the money she needs to continue her fight, a group of Wanda's friends organized a fundraiser, East Coast Style, with pot luck dishes, fiddle music, story telling, poetry reading, acting and step dancing. It was amazing to see a former church hall filled with people of all ages and connections there to support her. The food was awesome. The mood was magical.

The evening was filled with creative ways to raise funds, including admission, raffle items and a silent auction. I decided my contribution would be to hook a rug to donate to the silent auction. In keeping with the Celtic theme, I chose a rug titled "Heart Knot", designed by David Rankine a very talented Canadian Celtic artist. I put in a poster displaying the rug, to be hooked in the bidder's choice of colours.

A couple of weeks later, I received a call from Jada Birt who, with her husband John, had bid on the rug. She was an actor friend of Wanda's whom I had never met. We introduced ourselves, talked about Wanda and the fight ahead and we eventually talked about what she wanted me to do with this rug.

We kept in touch via email, with progress images and updates on the rug and on Wanda. As the rug progressed, so did the treatments in Germany. She is undergoing a form of cell therapy in which cells are extracted from the body, treated and re-injected back in to fight the cancer. Wanda travels to Germany for the treatments, then comes back to Canada to rest and recuperate in between treatments. So far, Wanda believes they are working. And that is all that counts. She still has a long way to go.

The rug is finished and has been delivered to Jada and John, who seem very happy with their Heart Knot. I'm sure its story will be told over and over again. I was happy to get to know them and forge another connection to Wanda.

So, here's to old friends coming together to support one another. Here's to new friends who meet in unusual circumstances. Here's to rugs that are created for all the right reasons and that carry hope and love in every loop.

And most of all, here's to Wanda. We are all rooting for you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My first blog.





Well, here goes. I decided to see if creating a blog would be as easy as rumoured. So far, so good.

I decided that the first rug I showed on my blog should be my sign for The Rugged Moose, since that is the name of the blog. I created this sign, along with a logo, a while ago. It was to be featured on my website, which is still off in the distant future, I fear.

The "rugged" in the name is a play on the whole rug theme, plus a fond salute to my fabulous log home near Parry Sound, Ontario. The "moose" is for both my nickname and my love of all things moose. Imagine my delight when I found out that the name was available.

To date, I have already hooked 3 moose-themed rugs, with many more to come I'm sure.

The first one I hooked was designed by an artist named Janet Bailey and I found the pattern at Best's Harbour in Glen Williams Ontario. I hadn't pulled a loop before I found it, but had someone show me what to do and away I went. I think my years of all kinds of needlework crafts and countless painting classes came together nicely in my first attempt. It's called "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and although it was my first rug, it's still among my favourites.

My second moose rug is called "Cottage Critters" and I created it as the Wide Cut assignment for my teaching certification in the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild, which I obtained last year. This rug was fun to design and to hook and I have templates for all the critters so they can be featured in pillows and footstools and other rugs.