Friday, September 26, 2008

Going Gray - More Hooking Sisters


If you have not already visited this website, www.goinggray.com, please take time to do so. It will definitely make you smile. Since the very first time I visited, I was taken with their sense of whimsy. Their patterns are wonderful. Their site is quite entertaining. If I weren't into designing my own patterns, there are several that I would choose.

Yet another set of sisters who have been bitten by the hooking bug - big time. One of the sisters is the pattern designer (and I believe the website as well). And the other calls herself the Boss and Rug Hooker. A husband is involved in the "wood business", which features frames and grippers and hangers. Even their mother was the inspiration for their new segmentation of patterns. Trust me, there's a category for everyone.

As I anticipate the design of my own site, theirs is quite inspirational. However, I am not at the point where I am organized enough to get all my patterns together. And I am not quite proficient enough on software to build my site, though Rapid Weaver promises to make it easy.

Anyway, click on over to their site - see link in Favourites - and enjoy your visit.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another "Jeanius" Weekend.


This past weekend I had the pleasure of doing a Jeanius Bag workshop with JJ Ruggers at Apps Mill near Brantford. The weekend was absolutely perfect from arrival to departure. The drive to and from, the weather, the food, the laughter, the camaraderie - all the elements for the best kind of hooking retreat were there in spades.

JJ Ruggers has been holding a retreat on the same weekend in September for the past 16 years and there is closeness among the group that is wonderful to see. Each year they have a teacher or two who come to lead them through a workshop, and this year it was my privilege to be there teaching the bags.

This group’s creativity and enthusiasm were contagious and they hooked and bantered gaily throughout the entire time. Not all the attendees did the bag workshop, some were doing FIFI projects. They sat on sofas around the fireplace while we worked in a tabled area, but everyone wandered back and forth to check progress and we all came together at mealtimes and free hooking time.

The first bag was finished early Saturday night (I think even before dinner), followed by two more before midnight. (Lori was determined to have hers done before she went to bed - and she did.) Lots of cameras were busy capturing lots of shots, so I promise to post pictures once we have finished exchanging them. I am missing one bag, so don’t want to post two without the other.

By leaving time, all the other bags were very close to finished and everyone had a chance to see the three put together, so I have no doubt that they will all be finished in the next little while. Everyone agreed that this was just their "first bag" and that there will be many more to come. (Ann Smith was well on the way to finishing her second flap by noon on Sunday.) I hope that each finished bag finds its way to me for posting. So check back often to see.

Thank you JJ Ruggers for allowing me into your circle. It was warm and welcoming there and I hope to be able to come back again and again - as a teacher and as a student.

Each and every one of you is a true "Jeanius".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Check this out.


I just received this from my very good friend Jennifer Manuel - Fish Eye Rugs (see link). It's an "I love your blog" blue ribbon award. She received it from someone else, and has now Paid It Forward in blogger fashion. Here's what one does when one is blue ribboned:

1) Post the award on your blog. (which I have just done)
2) Add a link to the person who gave you the award. (which is already there)
3) Nominate at least 4 other bloggers and add their links. (I think Jennifer took them all, but I will find some other treasures.)
4) Leave a comment at the recipients' blogs so they can pass it on. (What a great idea!)

So, I will pass along this honour and try to share.

Thanks Jen. I will definitely pass this on.

It's that time again.


What is it with that overwhelming urge to buy a new pencil case that hits us all every September? Is it because it follows a summer that was maybe not so structured and we crave that? Is it because our brains are ready to learn new things and face new challenges?

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions, but have spoken to so many people who feel that pull no matter how long ago they last attended an institution of higher learning.

In the world of rug hooking, it’s pretty much the same. At least for me. Groups get back together. Guild meeting dates get marked on the calendar. Classes start again after a summer apart. And workshops and schools are back.

This weekend, I am teaching my first Jeanius bag workshop of the season. Our Chapter of the OHCG has picked our group project for next February's hook in. And I am booked for several “gigs” in 2009 already.

Three of these sessions are at my friend Karen Kaiser’s new endeavour, which she fondly calls “A little piece of heaven.” If you visit her website (see link in favourites) you will understand where the name comes from. Amazing location, outstanding itinerary and a pretty wonderful line-up of classes and teachers. Definitely something for everyone. And, in typical Karen fashion, everything is incredibly well organized. The girl has thought of everything and then some.

It’s pretty wonderful to think that hooking school choices keep expanding for all of us. Whether it’s a weekend retreat or a week-long school, you can find just about any topic of interest near where you are. The hardest part is choosing.

For those of us who are still working full time, it’s not easy to keep taking vacation time (especially without your significant other) to attend schools. But I spend lots of time fantasizing about all the ones I'd love to go to. Every year I vow to get to Shelburne and the Red Barn Show - next year for sure. This year my special treat is Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Creativity Symposium, which is just a month away (yippee).

If you don’t know where to find schools and groups in your “hood”, check in the back of Rug Hooking Magazine. Or visit the website of your local hooking guild - in Ontario, visit the OHCG website for a calendar of schools.

And as per my wonderful mentor Barb D’Arcy’s advice, “never stop taking classes”. Trust me when I say there is always learning to be had, whether it’s a weekly class where everyone works on their own project, or a dedicated workshop on a particular topic. Students learn from teachers and teachers learn from students. In any group dynamic, we all learn from one another.

So get yourself a new pencil case if you really feel like it. If nothing else, it’ll be perfect for holding your hook and scissors. And it will scratch that ‘back to school’ itch.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ta Da! CARdigan done.


As promised, here it is.

Finished in time for the first day a sweater was actually needed. And I was right. It’s the perfect thing for a day when a full-sleeved, full-bodied sweater would have been just too warm. Bigger than a shrug - smaller than a real cardy.

Think I like this enough to do it again. This time in black.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A link to something wonderful.


On May 5th, in my post about the Rug Hooking Annual in Midland, I wrote a bit about a group of rug hookers who have come together to raise funds for Women of the Congo, a cause about which they are passionate. They have called their group Women Matters, which is a proud, bold name. Karen Kaiser, another force to be reckoned with in our community, has designed and hooked a logo for them.

Women Matters have now created their own blog, which shares the history and progress of the rug they are working on. It shows the momentum that has been created by their undertaking and is truly inspirational in its content. I have added a link to my list to make it easy for you to go there.

Please visit them. Please contact them to let them know how wonderful they are. They represent the very best in our community and deserve to be told so again and again.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My newest CARdigan.


It’s Septemer 4th and I’ve just spent a great part of the past few days in the car, getting my son back to university. Each year, you would think it would get easier, but it doesn’t seem to. This year required three return trips to Guelph, which is about an hour away. The only good thing about all the to-ing and fro-ing is the amount of car knitting I got done.

I have been working on this Berrco cardigan for about a month, and I finally feel like I am heading into the home stretch. This has definitely been a 1-step-forward; 2-steps back project. I think I have knit the equivalent of two sweaters because of all the raveling and re-knitting I have done.

The yarn I am using is a camelly-brown colour and it has been one and a half sweaters before this one. It started as a sweater for my husband, the fit of which he wasn't crazy about. Since I had spent a lot on the Merino wool, it was definitely worth raveling back to figure out something else to make instead. (I have since knit him a replacement sweater that will be sewn together right after this one.) I then started a tunic type vest, but I decided that pattern needed yarn with a bit more "oomph". So, I found this cute cardigan (Napoli in Berocco book #259) and decided it would be perfect.

The pattern does have quite a bit of shaping, as you can see from the picture, but it was the decreasing plus increasing on the fronts that gave me the trouble. The first front turned out to be about 4” longer than the corresponding side of the back, until I re-read the decrease instructions. The second one turned out to be a lot wider, probably looser tension as I was relaxing into it.

Now I am putting the ribbing around the entire bottom – 350 stitches – that’s how many needed to be picked up from the two fronts and the back. Try as I might, I couldn’t get more than 156 stitches from the back section (the pattern calls for 176), despite trying twice. I decided to “cheat” a little and add some as I went across the back and figured if I don’t like the result, I can always start over. I think I still netted out 10 stitches short.Yikes.

Anyway, I really like the style of this little sweater and figure it’s the perfect transition item for fall days where you really don’t need a big heavy sweater. And I think the lines are fun. So, I will persevere and figure out all these challenges and then hopefully love this sweater for testing my time, talent and patience.

In the meantime, it stays in the car waiting for the next trip, which is to a meeting in Port Hope this afternoon. At 2 hours each way, that should be enough time to finish the front ribbing and button holes.

And there's another project bagged and waiting for tomorrow night's 2 hour trek to the cottage.