Monday, August 25, 2008

Inching along.


Have you noticed how some weeks have much more hooking time in them than others?

The last two have been ones that didn’t have nearly enough for me. I’m not even sure what kept getting in the way, but I think it was a variety of things. I think it started two weekends ago at the cottage, when I had everything ready to do some dyeing for my sky, till I realized I didn’t have any vinegar. (Unlike the city, nipping out for a quart of vinegar is not an instantaneous decision, and I opted to not make another trek to town.)

Work repeatedly got in the way with longer days which led to later dinners which led to no reasonable time left to hook. Layer in a birthday (which now lasts for weeks, not days) and I just really didn’t get as much done on this as I had hoped for.

However, I am testing different combinations of “as is” wool for the clothing, rocks, water and sky. I do like to use what I have on hand rather than dyeing new wool, so I always begin there. And I think that I probably have everything I need, other than the aforementioned sky, which I will try to get to again now that I have vinegar on hand.

Hopefully, this week will have more time for hooking and dyeing and all things related to this wonderful project. But, at this back-to-school, end-of-vacation time, life does have a habit of putting the “need to do” list ahead of the “want to do” one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The light fantastic.



My two favourite times of day at the cottage are the morning and early evening. I think it's because of the light. The lake is usually calm and the sun creates images with the light that are pretty tough to beat. I shot these two pictures from inside the living room to see if I could capture the light.

In the morning, since we face south east, the sun comes over the tree line on the other side of the lake and creates amazing patterns - first on the water - and then on the deck when it pokes through the trees on our frontage. In the evening, as it sets in the same spot, the island trees are flooded with soft evening light and then the shadows from the trees on our side of the lake creep up from the water and cover the trees like a blanket. The shades of green are delicious.

Whenever I see this light, it makes me want to hook it. The problem is that there are so many things at the cottage that would make a great rug. For example, yesterday morning on our first canoe ride of the summer, I looked down at the bow of the canoe, my hands on the paddle, the water below and saw an awesome rug design.

Does that happen to you? Does everything make you think "What a great rug that would make."?

I will never live long enough to sketch all these things, let alone hook them. But I love how my brain is constantly whirring with the possibilities. Sort of like my computer when I have too many temporary internet files stored on it.

I still have sketch books from my painting days that are filled with all the things I tried to capture then, so I know this is not a new phenomenon. But I will continue to take pictures and make sketches and see which ones make it to the pattern stage.

And I will still marvel at Mother Nature and her lighting. Let's face it, she's pretty tough to beat.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What makes us look like us.



Here are a couple of faces in progress on Totem 40, my latest rug based on a fabulous picture from my 40th birthday. After much revising, they actually look like Laura and me. I have somehow managed to capture something in the expressions that makes us look like "us", not just two people in a rug. I have not been that lucky yet with Rick's face.

When I first hooked him, Laura said he looked like our dentist, which was definitely not what I was going for. Steve wasn't even at my 40th birthday! And I certainly never thought that Rick and Steve looked alike. So I still need to capture that certain something in him.

When fine tuning a face, I find that using a reducing glass (a peep hole at the cottage) and taking lots of digital pictures helps me see what needs tweaking. Looking at it actual size, it's very hard to tell what's amiss, but making it smaller seems to make the elusive nuances quite obvious.

I took this "in progress" piece with me to Rosseau Day 2 and it was quite a conversation starter. I think it gave people a very good idea of what is possible in the art of rug hooking and they marvelled at seeing the original photo and how the hooking was reproducing the same image - in wool!

Rosseau Day 2 was a bit of a disaster, since the weather was on-again, off-again rain all day. I finally gave up around noon, since I didn't want to ruin any of my pieces on display. Luckily, my daughter came along with me to help with set up and take down. Since I had been unable to locate a canopy despite a few searches, Laura and I tried our best to fashion a cover with a tarp. Unfortunately, it was really just an ongoing comedy of errors and the rain that was collecting on the tarp kept dripping on the poor vendor beside me. I would not venture out again to any outdoor show without a canopy. Lesson well learned!

At any rate, it was another day of fascinating conversations with lots of other hookers or would-be hookers, so the contacts made were wonderful. And I did sell a belt and buckle to a friend from Toronto, whom I was not expecting to see there. It was a delightful surprise to catch up with her.

If the weather had been better, perhaps the day would have been as well. Same can be said about the entire 14 days up north. One forecast for the entire time is not a good thing.

I did very little hooking after my show day and have brought this rug back with me to the city to move on to the background. I find that taking a break from the faces, and coming back to them after a while, also gives me a fresh perspective.

Stay tuned to see if I can manage to get Rick to look like Rick.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My First Purse Purchase.

I am currently on holidays at the cottage and am home for 24 hours to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday, so I have the time and internet access to do a post.

On Saturday, some neighbours on the lake came to see the renovation. We did the usual 25-cent tour and the wife, Sara, and daughter , Lauren, were particularly intrigued with the hooking and the studio. So much so that the daughter, Lauren, got to choose a Jeanius bag for herself. She chose “Sherbet Squares” which was a design I featured a few months ago on the blog because of the sunny bright colours which made me think of summer.

Lauren happened to be wearing a bright pink t-shirt which looked great with the bag and I’m pretty sure she will have lots of other things to go with it. I have asked her mom to take a picture of her wearing the bag. Her mom is a photographer, so I’m pretty sure the picture will be a great one and I promise to post it once received.

Friday is Day 2 at Rosseau Farmers Market and I hope I enjoy it as much as I did the first one. If the weather cooperates and if my daughter manages to get up to the cottage on Thursday night to be my helper on Friday, it will already be a success.

So thanks Lauren, for being my first customer. I hope the bag gets you lots of compliments and lasts for years to come.

Some New Blogs to Share.

Today I found 2 comments posted on my blog and traced them back to two fabulous blogs called "Shabby Sheep" and "Skip to my Ewe". Both sites are buzzing with all kinds of newsy bits - book recommendations, hooking pictures and info and photos from some very fun adventures. And there are lots of pictures posted on Flickr if you follow the links. I still have to figure out how to do that - another day!

I've added them to my "blogs I like" and suggest you take a peek when you have time. I'm sure you'll become a regular visitor. I know I will.