Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Loss and a Gain in the Sewing Machine Kingdom.

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Kendra, my old Kenmore sewing machine. After a lengthy struggle with her tension and her relentless depositing of gobs of extra thread underneath the sewing on many projects, and despite my valiant efforts to rehabilitate her with TLC, new needles and a good cleaning, I decided to pull the plug. Enough suffering for both of us. Especially in light of my renewed interest in sewing of late.

So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Hazel Husqvarna, Kendra's successor. She is the third sewing machine in my lifetime. The first was a used Singer which my mother got "off the back of a truck". She served me well for a good 15 years, until she was replaced by Kendra. Kendra has been with me for about the same length of time. I'm not sure of the life expectancy of a sewing machine, but if it's like appliances, I guess she lived a good, long life.

Hazel has many of the same qualities and features that I loved about Kendra, but she has definitely got some benefits - over and above the not gobbing of thread. Above all, she is electronic, which means whisper quiet and doesn't shimmy the entire table as she sews. And she has a full array of stretch stitches, which are perfect for all the knit sewing I am doing. I'm sure we will become great pals.

I chose her name, partly because of the H-factor (for Husqvarna), but also because the only Hazel I knew (the maid from whichever show that was) was such a smart and hard working gal.  I am hoping this Hazel remains my partner in stitchery for decades to come. And, in the event that Hazel has difficulties in the future, I have a sewing centre in town that will be able to treat her.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Buffalo Check Bargain

Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and is recovering from the bunny hangover. There is an awful lot of chocolate around here, that's for sure.

We had a busy weekend with both kids here for Good Friday and Saturday and then off to Grandma's on Sunday - which turns into a 7+ hour road trip by the time you do the Peterborough leg (3+ hours), the Toronto leg (1.5+ Hrs) and then the Parry Sound leg (2+ hours). Luckily our son did the first leg, so it was a bit of a break.

While they were here, I put a show binding on my little "No Hunting" mat, which will be placed in the powder room window - facing out - as a bit of a screen for when people are sitting out there. It's quite fitting that he ends up there. He will be next to the moose on our DAVIS sign, surrounded by log walls and above a twig table. From inside the powder room, you will get a glimpse of the mat from the back, which is nice too. And this trio will be in good company with Max and the gang on the washer/dryer.

What I really wanted to post about was the beginnings of this little piece and how it was virtually a "free" mat. I LOVE it when that happens. Here is a piece of buffalo check wool that I bought last year at Circle of Friends for $2. (I think). It looks like some kind of mill end and is only 2 3/4" wide. But as you can see it is very, very long.

The moose was already hooked on a piece of backing, since he was originally going to be put inside the stocking that I designed and hooked for the RHF stocking challenge last year. But I didn't get him quite finished, so I added the other critters and decided to use the buffalo check for the background of this little mat (which is about 12 x 16). The lettering was just an after thought, which I thought was appropriate.

I reproduced the check in most of the background, which was trickier than I originally thought it would be. Then I just used the wool as is for the show binding. I have only done show binding a couple of times, but this seemed like the perfect spot for it.

I had to decide whether to do the short top and bottom first or the longer sides and ended up going with the sides first - top and bottom second. In hind sight, I should have done it the other way around - note to self for next time.

But I love the final result.  And it's great that No Hunting had No Cost.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Here's "Bra-ddy"

Well, here's another bra for the project.

Finished in time to join the others on display at the OHCG Annual in London next weekend. It was so much fun to do, once I figured out how to get it on my frame - let's just say it involved a lot of creative

I used all the same colours as I did in "Support the Girls", so they will become a bit of a team, I think.

Now I will go and upload the picture to the website.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Grammy

Well, the Grandma's Trunk challenge members uploaded their goodies on Friday and they are wonderful!
Very creative. Very heartfelt. And very different, which I think is the most amazing thing about a challenge. Give someone a topic and see what they will come up with.

Here is a link to the Album on Rug Hooking Daily, so you can see them all.

As promised, here is mine.

and here is the story that goes with it.
Thank you Grammy

When the initial challenge came out for Grandma’s Trunk, I didn’t give it too much thought. After all, I hardly knew my Grandmother and only saw her 3 or 4 times in my lifetime. She lived on the other side of the country.

However, a day after receiving the email to participate, I was hit with a memory of my Grandmother that was so strong, I had to go with it – and the challenge.

When I was about 10 or 11 I decided, for whatever reason, to ask my Grammy to knit me a Mary Maxim sweater with horses on it. I was horse crazy, an avid Pony Clubber and those sweaters were all the rage. I think my mom was too busy,  so when I asked about Grammy, she encouraged me to send the letter.

Anyway, the sweater arrived. It was gorgeous. A beautiful rust wool with brown horses and beige and orange diamonds on it – remember how they all had diamonds at the top and bottom? The orange was very distinct because it was like “cheese whiz” – very orange. Instead of a zipper, Grammy had sewn on round wooden buttons.

The first day that I wore it to Pony Club, my horse was cross-tied in the stable for some unknown reason (vet or blacksmith I suppose). When I went to pat his head, he nuzzled the buttons and the next thing I knew, I was about 6 inches off the ground. He lifted me up by the buttons.

Everyone howled with laughter. But the sweater was the envy of all the girls.

So this is my rug to commemorate that memory. It really isn’t something that was inside Grandma’s trunk, but it sure released a memory from the trunk in my brain devoted to my Grandma. 

This was definitely a fun project and I will undoubtedly participate in more in the future.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in Alternative Fiber

Seems that the last couple of weeks have been spent looking through Rubbermaid bins, knitting baskets and "hidey" places to find interesting "non-wool" fibers to hook with.  I was getting ready for a workshop I attended on Saturday that was like "play time" in kindergarten.

Patti Armstrong, a fellow OHCG teacher and the workshop leader, is allergic to wool so has been ahead of most of the rest of us on the curve of fiber experimentation. She did an amazing job of showing us her binder full of results that could be achieved using all manner of interesting things - including bubble wrap, candy wrappers, garbage bags, the net from body scrubbers and many other amazing fibers.

I had decided to create something functional and do a "jeanius bag" front. Some of the fibers used wouldn't suit a hot plate or a mat on any surface, so carrying it around will be much more fun. Oh, the conversations it will start.....

Here are the results. I have labeled a few of the materials that I used in this piece.  If you click to enlarge, you can see what is in there.

I took pictures of the rest of the pieces on my iphone - I have not labeled them,  but suffice to say that there was lots of sparkly bits, bathing suit fabrics, quilting bias tape, gift wrap, the Grab-it sheets that go in the wash to prevent colours from running, the mesh tape you use to hold up plants, ribbon, velour, etc. etc. I have made a few notes under each picture.

And as Patti said, if you can cut it into strips, you can hook with it. Look how amazing these are:

Marnie's exploration included eyelash yarn, fabric strips, yarns and some unrecognizable tape from Norway that had been hidden in her weaving stash.
This lovely bird was part of a free pattern from RHM - he is a multi-coloured organiza type fabric that was just beautiful.
Cheronne was working on a mushroom and using all kids of textures that were animal prints and anything else that would create lovely texture in here. If you click in, you can see a couple of the fabrics at the top right of the frame.
 Ruby was working on a landscape with an amazing cherry tree and all kinds of wonderful textures in her water. Click in and you can see them more closely.
Elaine wanted to be able to identify what she used, so set up a tidy grid for further experimentation. She is going to take scissors to a couple of them and "fluff" them up a bit.
 Marjorie's rooster is definitely the "cock of the walk". Click in and see him shimmer.
Anne's Mexican pattern will be ripe with textures when she is done. The plant next to the cactus in the foreground is made from brown plastic bag.
Barb's foreground in her landscape is a monochromatic exploration in a multitude of fibers, including ribbon and roving to make the flowers.
Jennifer's geometric has lots of texture and already looks like an antique.
Viv's geometric also has segmented areas for exploration. Look at the calico cotton she is using in the wedge at the top.
All in all, it was a fabulous, care-free day. People were sharing like crazy and soon sequins and shimmer appeared everywhere.  Not a single wool strip was used by anyone for the entire day - and the results couldn't be more spectacular.

Thanks Patti for being our sherpa on our big adventure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A new blog in my sights.

Jennifer Manuell sent me a link to a brand new blog yesterday. And it's definitely worth going to check out.

Wait till you see what Bird Brain Designs is doing with her hooked bags!!! They are delicious!

And her little line under her logo in the headline "practically imperfect" is practically perfect.
I'm sure, like me, you'll be visiting a lot.

Welcome to the blog world Christine. You will love the people you meet here.


Here is what I awoke to this morning!!!

I don't even want to imagine what my poor little flowers look like in the urns.

But they are forecasting a high of 6 today, so hopefully it will be gone by dinner time and I can go and fluff my poor little flowers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Y-urning for Spring

Since my hooking this week was finishing the 'challenge' piece, which has been pushed back to April 15th, I had to find something else to post about. So why not the weather.

After a beautiful sunny week, and a beautiful Saturday, we decided to pick up sticks around the property and for me to "un urn" from Christmas.

Personally, I think there is nothing sadder than an empty urn, so I decided to put something in mine. Over the years, I have collected quite a few artificial things that I use between events - or even to add to my real stuff.

So, yes, I may be pushing the season a little, but Easter is coming soon and the snow is going - as you can tell from the tiny pile behind the urn (we won't talk about what's on the other side of the wall).

But it makes me feel good and I know that soon there will be real daffodils - I saw their little heads peeking up in the garden.

That, and the sound of robins, means we won't be waiting much longer.

Big Bird is Coming Along Nicely

First of all, welcome to another "theme" for my blog. The last one was just too hard to navigate - as an author or a visitor. This...