Monday, September 27, 2010

My first punched chair pad.

Well, after doing absolutely no hooking all week, I punched for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and finished this chair pad. And I must say, it turned out even better than expected. Why? Well, because after choosing yarns for it without a colour plan or forethought (simply pulling from my overly large stash), when I finished, I realized that it matches my studio chairs perfectly.  See what I mean....



Truth be told, with all the colours in this pad, it would probably match any chair, but I laughed when I placed it on the chair because it looked so great. I guess we instinctively choose our colours - we come with a pre-set palette. I know that I tend to use the same colours a lot. But there are certainly colours in this little mat that are not in the usual repertoire.

I took this picture before I covered the back of the pad, the perfect way to use some of my stash of blanket wool. But you know what the thing about chair pads is? Chairs come in multiples. So now I have 5 more to go.

Kudos again to Sandra who made the entire experience, from first punch to finishing, easy and fun.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Punch Needle Adventure with Sandra

Saturday found me driving back to Toronto - second time in less than a week - for a punch needle course taught by Sandra Marshall at Barb D'Arcy's studio. This was a double whammy of fun for me, not just because of the course, but also the chance to spend the day with friends who I don't get to see as much anymore.

Sandra was super organized, as I knew she would be, and had all of the supplies that we needed and the knowledge to guide us along. And both she and Barb provided delicious snacks throughout the day - to keep up our energy (ha ha).

Although I thought I did good prep work ahead, my pattern turned out to be too large for the frame, so some off-the-cuff modifications were needed. When you look at the pattern that I ended up hooking with, it looks as if a very intoxicated bird wearing Sharpie markers staggered repeatedly across the monk's cloth.

But I finally settled on a chair pad pattern that would allow me to play with many of the yarns that I have in two or three large rubbermaid containers - the remnants of many projects from years past.

In case you don't know - in punch needle, the pattern faces you, but the hooked result is on the other side of the frame. So you can't really see what you are doing until you turn it over. And boy, what you see on the other side is a big surprise.

Here is the pattern side (with the bird markings). The strips of under pad protect you from the incredible sharp teeth on the frame, over which the monk's cloth is stretched. They are then stapled into place and removed when you are finished punching the project.


And here is the finished side. If you click on the image, you can see it much closer.



See what I mean?

What fun it was to "play" with colour here and see what happened. I began with a skein of yarn I purchased on its own many years ago to use as my background and just started picking colours that were hiding in the tweed.

And there were a bunch of tricks and tips that are best learned in person. Thanks Sandra for all of those.

It's amazing how fast punch needle hooking is!! I think it appeals to the instant gratification in all of us - this chair pad is the result of only a few hours' work - by a newbie. And I imagine I will only get speedier.

It is very different from traditional hooking and I think there will be a balance of both in my future. But for things like chair pads and gifts, this is amazing to know how to do.

And my yarn stash will be significantly reduced as I move forward on my 14 stair risers that I hope to do this way.

Stay tuned.

(If you didn't read my Ark post from this morning, please click on older post and see it as well.)

Noah's Ark was absolutely amazing!!

When something big happens in my rug hooking world, I'm thrilled to share it here on my blog. This week there were two big events that each deserve their own post, so I hope you read both.

The first was a trip to see Noah's Ark at the showing in Georgetown. I knew it was going to be incredible to see the ark in person, but the entire evening - in fact the entire journey - was magical.

To give you an idea of scale, here is a picture of the ark with a person standing next to it - albeit a bit fuzzy. That's the one thing that all the pictures I have seen have not been able to portray. It's massive!!


Here are a couple of other pictures that I took. The water on the hull was incredible and it was hooked by Mary Shepherd Burton. The animals that are on the ark were hooked by a group of rug hookers and were all quite amazing. 



My favourite animals - and that was hard to choose - were this gorilla and the cat next to it.


But I'm sure you could spend hours and hours looking at them all and picking other favourites.

The bonus part to the evening, which going on your own to see the display which is on until the 25th, was hearing Len Feenan talk about the 5-year journey in creating the ark with Mary He is a passionate and gifted story teller and I could have listened to him talk for a week. To be the one who gets to present this treasure to the hooking world is a real thrill for him, but he couldn't have been more humble.

The ark is en route to the Hooked Rug Museum of North America where it will reside permanently. Part of the evening was the dedication of the ark by Mary's grand daughter. It was very emotional indeed.

So on to the next great adventure!!





Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Special Occasion Mat

This is a little mat that I did for my friend Ann's 60th.



Ann was my second friend when I moved to Toronto from Fredericton. In my English class in Grade 13. So, if you do the math, that's a l-o-n-g time friendship. Unfortunately, she moved to BC a million years ago, so we don't get to see one another often - lucky if we do once in 5 years, but thanks to the internet, we do manage to keep in touch.

One of her passions is kayak tripping, so, when I started to develop my little series of cottage sketches, I decided to do the first kayaker for her. It arrived a couple of days late, but she loves it and I'm happy that she has a little piece of me in her home. And I think it does look like her - maybe I'm projecting that into it, but my sister said the same thing.

This piece is only 5 x 10, so it was quite quick to do and a lot of fun. I think I will work up a whole series of patterns now that I am feeling inspired. Since I'm running out of floor space, it's fun to have a new direction to create small works that go quickly.

To be able to give something like this to people on a special occasion is really rewarding - both to the hooker and the receiver.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Glad Plaid Bag is Done!

Thanks to Jennifer's detailed assembly instructions, the bag is finished. In fact, I took it out with me yesterday and I love the size.

Here are some pictures of the finished bag - with the glorious hardware - and the funky lining.




I love that, without the flap, a little of the lining peeks out. It makes me smile.

For some reason, it feels like a "back to school" bag, probably because of the many plaid kilts I owned as a kid. There's something very familiar about it and it feels old and comfy already.
I am now on a quest to find a plaid wallet to carry with it.

In hindsight, I should probably have hooked the outside solid parts a bit tighter. As is the case whenever you hook a dark colour on the rug warp backing, any kind of bending exposes the backing. Oh well, nothing that a little strategically located Sharpie won't fix.

I look forward to the conversations that this bag will invite. It will be hard pressed to rival my "faces" bag, but time will tell. 

Thanks again Jenn, for giving the inspiration and the tools I needed to create this wonderful bag. I'm sure I will be wearing it a lot.