Monday, March 26, 2007

Death by Dyeing


I have discovered my Achilles Heel in hooking. I suspected all along that it was there, but never spent enough time getting to the bottom of it. If design is my strongest suit, dyeing is my weakest. Despite having dedicated a week at Trent School of Rug Hooking two summers ago, and being relatively happy with my outcomes, I have now discovered that not only do I not excel at it, I really don't enjoy it.


My hat's off to those hookers who love dyeing. Those who truly relish that "mad chemist" aspect of putting combinations of powder into a cup of boiling of water and getting the same results over and over again. I am obviously not in that club.


If the task is to create something completely original in a casserole dish, count me in. If it's to get a perfect gradation for a swatch or to reproduce someone else's time-tested formula, count me out.


I would love to believe that it's the time pressure I put myself under to achieve the results I need - remember that last "deadline-oriented" post. Well, dyeing the night before you need a perfect blue, brilliantly abrashed for your Oriental project is not a good application of the adage.


When I no longer work all day and drive around the countryside all weekend, perhaps my patience for packets of dye and syringes and 64ths and 132nds will improve. I sure hope so, because it's an expensive enterprise to purchased dyed wool from those colour wizards.


I will go back to the dye pot this week to try to transform my supposed-to-be-dark-blue from it's ugly grey-green consistency to a majestic navy. I will try to be more patient and stir more diligently. However, I feel incredibly handicapped and need to learn to enjoy it more. I'm sure that's the secret.


In the meantime, I will take my sorry excuse for dyeing to class tonite and see if the dye wizards can suggest some rehabilitation for my poor attempts. As there are no pretty pictures to accompany this post, I will instead include an illustration that portrays my current feelings on dyeing for Orientals.


Monday, March 19, 2007

With 3.5 hours to spare!






So, I did it. And here is the proud Birthday gal with her Bean Bag which she loves.

I finished the whipping, did the lining, attached the strap and was finished by 1:18 p.m. on Saturday.

Don't ever under-estimate the value of a definitive deadline. Although you wouldn't want every project to be quite this tight.

A challenge worth the rush!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Deadline-Oriented Hookers Unite!


It's Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. It's my daughter Laura's 24th birthday today and this is a jellybean jean purse I am making for her. (Her nickname is The Bean, and this bag will be stuffed with jellybeans, which are her favourite candy.)

As you can see, it's not done! In fact, it's not even hooked yet. And I still have to finish the hooking, do the whipping, cut the jean leg to fit, cut the lining, assemble the purse and attach the strap. Oh well, I won't see her until 5:00 tomorrow, so I still have 32 hours! If I subtract working a full day today, eating and a few hours of sleeping, I really probably have about 8 hours to finish. But I'm not the least bit nervous!

I am extremely deadline oriented. It will undoubtedly be the end of me, but it's part of my DNA and there's not much I can do about it. If you give me all the time in the world to do something, I'm great at getting started, but I'm not so motivated to finish. But back me into a time corner, and I'll come out swinging every time.

The only unfinished hooking projects I have are ones that really didn't ever need to get done.
But the ones that were gifts or required for a show or workshop all got done in record time.

So, I'll do another post to show you the finished bag and how close I got to the 5:00 deadline.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sisters





I have always thought of the women in the hooking community as sisters. Like many who went before us, we are joined together by a love of the art form, which is a bond as strong as women kind. Lucky for me, I now share that bond with a biological sister as well. I introduced my sister Nancy to hooking nearly a year ago. She and I have always enjoyed various art and craft forms, and I knew that it would be something she would love. Also, I was a fledgling teacher in need of a student. Did I say guinea pig?


Anxious to ply my new-found skills, I convinced her to try a small primitive house that had been designed by one of our OHCG teachers, Iris Simpson, and shared at a Teachers’ Branch meeting. I thought it was the perfect starting piece, as it had a simple house, a tree and some lettering (which Nancy turned into a fence instead - already she was a creative student).
She wasn’t even finished this small piece before she was ready to move on to something larger, which she found in a pattern at Bests Harbour in Glen Williams. Perhaps we were both a little over zealous with the size of her second project, but she fell in love with the pattern and who was I to talk her out of it. Have you ever tried to convince your older sister (who happens to be a Taurus) to change her mind about anything????


The next bit of convincing was that she should join me at the Trent School of Rug Hooking for a week that would take her completely away from the tedium of jobs, laundry and other things from which we love to escape. She was “hooked” by the end of the first day. I must confess I loved having her there to share my joy and meet all the other “sisters”. And they all loved meeting her.


Her next act of sisterly devotion was to be part of my first one-day workshop in my home. Five “friendlies” took part - one sister and four girlfriends, all from different aspects of my life who had never met one another. Nancy was the common denominator. And my star pupil. She was the first to finish her primitive sampler and she certainly had the best tension and technique of the class.


It wasn’t long before she completed that large second project and was chomping at the bit to do more. The next projects were discovered at our area hook in, where she acquired some patterns and lots of inspiration. Now her wool collection is growing in leaps and bounds and she is a true convert.


What’s it like to hook with your sister? It’s awesome. It adds even more cement to a relationship that is already rock solid. (Not that it was that way in childhood - I was ghastly to her!) It’s yet another reason to get together and wile away a day, which I always love to do.
We are not the only sisters among the hooking sisterhood. Seems everywhere I go, I run into them. I guess we are on to something. There are also lots of other gene combinations among the “sisters”. There are mothers/daughters, aunts/nieces and even some three-generation combinations. One friend will go to Trent this year with two daughters and a grand-daughter. That is really awesome!


Although I am of East Coast heritage, the rug hooking was not introduced there.
As far as I know, no ancestor of mine ever pulled a single loop. But now, with the two of us, hooking is firmly entrenched in the Scott gene pool. I hope that our daughters join us some day. They certainly are supportive of what we are doing. And they can become hooking cousins, which would be another gene link in the sisterhood.

So, here’s to my sister Nancy. A great student, a wonderful hooker and the best sister a girl could ask for.