Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Dog Day of Winter.

That's what today was. A snow filled day with a little bit of dog in it.

Majorly winter - from the moment I woke up this morning till the sun went down. Here's the proof.

It all looked so much more beautiful when the sun came out around 2 this afternoon.

So after rearranging the snow in the driveway with Rick,  I came down to the studio and assembled the pooch. Lots more smiling to myself as he started to emerge.

Tough to get a picture of his cute little push face, but he definitely is a cutie pie!! A little fiddly in the construction, but worth the effort. I'm not even a pug lover, but I think his new owner will adore him.

And as I finished the last of the stitching and the picture taking, here's what I saw out the window.

Yeah, I know. It's always beautiful the FIRST day.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm knitting a what??????

A pug.

Yup. A tiny little pug from this book. When I first picked the book up in the store, I'm sure I chuckled out loud. And the merriment hasn't stopped yet. I highly recommend both it and Knit Your Own Royal Family - if you are so inclined.

The knitting was very quick. Yes, there are a lot of pieces, but they are small, so the sewing won't be like assembling a sweater. (When I blocked the pieces this morning, all of them fit easily under the width of a tea towel, which gives you some idea of scale.)

The finished pooch is only supposed to be about 4.5 inches high by 6 inches long, so not a lot of stuffing required.

Since my offspring really want a dog, I am giving them each one!!! Maybe this will hold them off from pressing us to get one LOL. Stay tuned for a finished pug and a "silver lab" (who knew there were silvers - but two people mentioned them last week, including my son).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vermont is Becoming a Memory

Well, you do hear that time passes more quickly as you age, but man, I can't believe my trip was two weeks ago already. And I haven't even shared all my pictures yet.

Here are the rest that I took of mats I particularly liked - well, not the last, but I'm saving a few for a different kind of post later.

These are grouped together, since many of them appear to have come from photos and others look as if they did.

This panel of crows was very tall - nearly 5 feet and I thought the detail was amazing. The moonlight on the crows and the branches was incredible.

The foliage and the borders on this one were really well done.

I loved everything about this one!

You could disappear into those eyes. What a beautiful monochromatic study.

and speaking of monochromatic - I think this was called Aries.

Just a segment of this rug. The blue vein in the feathers ties it all together.

This is a c/u of the rug below. The dark lines make it look like an underpainting.

The palette and hooking style make this rug look really old, I think.

Incredible shading in the pine cones and the spruce and birds and I love the little movement in the background.

Another one that called to me from across the room. It is hooked very fine - almost looks like yarn.

The colours in the snow - the swirls in the shrubbery and the pulled up collar - I can feel the cold.

Doesn't that sweet pooch just stand out against that background? Love that birch too.

Ok, so I fell for the tilted head on the pup - along with everything else in the rug. The daisies echo the innocence.

 I thought the background in this bluebells piece made it look like a snow globe.
Truly inspirational, each and every one, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Rug Commentary from Vermont

Here are a few more rugs that I took pictures of. Each one has a reason why - over and above being fantastic.

I loved the textures in this one. So much interesting movement, yet they are not in conflict.

This was a beautiful wedding rug. On its own it is lovely, but the little outlines of the cups and coffee and tea pots around the outside was that special little extra that really did it for me.

This was another rug by the woman who did the large one with the fox and the owl and the tree (in my first post from Vermont). I'm pretty sure they are punched with wool and this one had a title about "a Lobster in my Garden", which appealed to my Maritime sensibility. Plus it's absolutely fantastic. (Sorry for the dark top, but it was in the lower gallery and in a dark corner.)

This one was from a previous year's Viewers' Choice. I have never seen such perfect lettering. I think this may have been in Rug Hooking Magazine (as have many of the rugs that were there).

This was just a fabulous piece, with so much interesting texture going on. And the colours - and the finishing - amazing!

And today's final four - what a collection. A farmer in the four seasons with his corn. The main images in each one are so appropriate for the season, but the borders have their own stories to tell. Such a creative endeavour. Ya gotta love the winter one!

Just a few left that I will share later. As you can see, I have divided them among several posts.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to Bev Conway's Special Rug Backs

I was lucky enough to get a picture of the back of one of Ben Conway's rugs from my friend Elaine, who couldn't believe she didn't take a picture of the front. But this is what I wanted to share before.

Because it is a little hard to see, I will tell you what it says:


This is a wedding rug with initials and date in the lower left corner. And yes, that is the BACK of the rug. I don't know if that is an original saying, but how perfect for a wedding rug. And what a fantastic way to make a gift even more special.

I still have more rugs to share from the show, but need to organize them a bit first. The weekend got busy with Christmas knitting and some company yesterday.

I'm happy to report that I did get my first stair riser on the frame and it is about 60% hooked. I think these are going to be a lot of fun to do and will put a little bounce in my step as I go up the studio stairs.

Another Blankie Baby for the Brag Blog

Last week, I received a picture of "Gavin and his blankie" - the first one that I knit for the "Brooke Avenue Grandbabies".  Brooke Avenue was our street in Toronto where we lived for 26 years. And we were lucky enough to have some incredible neighbours and we developed life-long friendships with the parents and the kids. Now those kids are having their own kids - the Brooke Avenue Grandbabies.

Gavin was the first to get a zig zag blanket. It became the prototype for the blanket for Abby that I posted a while ago. Gavin's mom Julie, who happens to be a formidable knitter, follows the blog and saw Abby's picture and knew it was time to feature Gavin on the Brag Blog.

I can't believe how big he is already! He is the happiest, brightest little fellow - at least in pictures. And he sent the best Thank You note ever! It has his picture at the top and "Love Gavin" at the bottom (with a little hand writing from his parents Julia and Robin).

Thanks Gavin. You look pretty adorable on your blankie.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hooked on Whimsy

I promised to share some more pics and indeed I will. I just popped over to Jenn's blog and she has lots of pics today. Again, it is interesting to see what pictures everyone took. My friend Loretta is also posting pics on her blog and they are different again.

Anyway, the pics that I am going to show today are a few of the rugs that made me smile. I think that is always a good thing. Any kind of emotion, from awestruck to a tickled funnybone is a great experience.

Here is one I particularly liked, for the the thinking, the hooking and the smiling it caused.

Here is another one that definitely had me chuckling. Sorry the pictures aren't great - it didn't show up too well against the pale wall, but the caption was "Follow Your Heart", which this little fellow is doing.

He's pretty darn adorable, isn't he? (Don't know why I have decided it's a boy pig....) I love that his little legs are covered in the same plaid as the hooking.

There were lots of Bev Conway rugs that had been hooked by Bev and many others. Bev was one of the featured artists and her body of work was amazing.

This is one of my favourites of her designs, full and a close up.

Another person who hooked this rug changed the "he" to "she", which I think I would do if I ordered the pattern. This is definitely a saying I would like to have hanging on my wall.

Here is another of her pattern that someone else hooked and personalized.  I had to take a close up of the rolled down stocking. Love the proddy hair and there were earrings and a real hook.

Here are some of Bev's stair riser patterns that were on display in her feature area.  I have 8 of them, waiting to be hooked: all log-cabin-appropriate critters - and I am now motivated to get going.

One of my favourite things about Bev's display was that several rugs were hung so you could see what she does on the BACK. There was some kind of message - or saying - usually pretty witty and very appropriate to the rug or the occasion. I'm not sure if she does it on every rug, but what a great thing to do. I thought I had taken a picture, but guess I didn't. I will see if either of my traveling companions did.

In a binder next to her display, she briefly described her process. Apparently, she reverses the lettering, which she hooks first - in very low loops on the back. Then, when she hooks the front design, the higher loops hide the lettering on the front.

Many of the words were very funny - all were witty and meaningful, and I only wished I could have been there Tuesday when she was scheduled to talk about it.

The last thing I learned about Bev (since she was another "legend" I got to see in the flesh) is that she has totally captured herself in caricature and she is the star in many of her mat designs.

More rugs to share tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hooked on Hooked in the Mountains

Well, I am back from my virgin experience with Hooked in the Mountains. It was everything I hoped it would be - and more. The trip itself was "worth the drive to Acton" as we kept saying. Doesn't this picture of the mountains look like a rug?

These are the mountains. Easy to see why you would get hooked.

I knew the show would be amazing. I knew the Round Barn would be the best venue ever. And I knew that my traveling companions - Jennifer, Mary (Jenn's mom) and Elaine - would make the trip even more special. But there were surprises along the way that made it even more than I could have imagined. And, according to those who have done this more than once, it is a little different every time.

Having a guide for your first time is a very good thing. Jenn's narrative about what would be overwhelming was not an overstatement, but spot on every time. I really had to pace myself so that I didn't go overboard on the first stop, which was a wonderful yarn store. I did end up going a bit overboard and bought some lovely cotton blend yarn for a long t with short sleeves. I consoled myself that the pattern was free. And there was more yarn to come.

Dorr was incredible!! It would have been overwhelming if I were looking for wool. But I was content to wander about, touching it all and looking at the other fiber arts, like braiding and applique. Little did I know this was a foretelling for later acquisitions.

The show was unbelievable - as the Brits say, I was gobsmacked. Jennifer has posted some pics which you will see on her blog. Some are ones I chose - but some are different. I guess every visitor is drawn to something different. In this post, I am going to share the three that were vying for my "viewer's choice" vote. (I couldn't decide and didn't vote.)

This was a very large piece by Jenn Lavoie. I think it was six feet high and is obviously a corn field.
Her foliage was unbelievable, along with the perspective of the design and the colours that she used in every element. This was on the main floor of the barn. And I discovered another of her masterpieces on the lower level.

This was her rug of Hawaii, which was absolutely magnificent as a whole, but it was the "sum of the parts" that made it so much more.

The textures she used, the movement she created - breathtaking!

I couldn't resist introducing myself to Jenn and telling her how much I admired her work. She, like everyone else I met, was extremely humble. She asked me to email her and add myself to her newsletter list, which I fully intend to do.

The other piece that was vying for first place in my head was a very large punched piece, which I was unable to capture well enough as a single shot. Instead, I took pictures of various elements. I don't think I have ever seen a punched piece that had so much texture and movement before. Every one of the pictures below demonstrates how amazing this rug was.

The yarn colours were amazing, the detail incredible - the more you looked, the more you saw.

(I hope that Jennifer or Elaine did a better job of getting the overall piece - so I can link you to it at some point.) I also hope that Jenn did a better job than I did at getting the details of the rugs. If you go to her blog, you will see that she took pictures of each of the cards next to the rugs. Since my camera has a very short battery life (old technology, don't ya know), I couldn't use my juice for other than the rug pics.

I took quite a few more shots, which I will meter out over the next few days. There were many that made me smile or outright giggle, which I think is always a good thing. There were some that had hidden messages. There were some "series" rugs which were awesome. And there were alternate technique rugs which were fascinating.

We were also lucky enough to hear two presentations on the Saturday morning - something new that has been added to the show - and something that I would love to see continued. It's like hearing "living legends" talk about the craft. I felt like a groupie, getting to see and hear women I have admired for years "in the flesh".  I did restrain myself and not ask for autographs, but it took some effort. This was definitely one of the things that turned amazing into perfection.

My purchases while in the Barn - one at the silent auction - and two from a vendor - are all things that will require me to stretch into new turf. My silent auction item was a full set of Amy Oxford punch needles, which I got at an incredible price. My other two purchases from Camp Wool are wool applique patterns - one for some stand alone Santas and a runner - the other for a wool purse I have admired for years.  Hopefully, I will be able to share finished projects from both.

So my fiber addiction continues to spread. New horizons. New challenges and new adventures.

Just like my virgin voyage to Vermont.

Cozy Evvie is Complete - well at least the hooking part.

Here she is. She is all hooked. She has the "best saying ever" on her shirt - printed on fabric, since it was way too small to h...