Monday, May 28, 2012

How Proud Am I?

Me and my imac are back from the OHCG Annual. I'm sure there are a week's worth of posts in the offing, but first and foremost, I need to boast about my extremely talented friends Jennifer Manuell and Elaine Copeman. I have known how creative and talented and wonderful they are for years now, but this weekend it was confirmed by all the attendees at the Annual.

Elaine won the award in the Wide Cut Category for her fabulous rug "Bertha at the Beach". This rug is Elaine's homage to the larger girls who enjoy a frolic at the beach as much as anyone. And every time I was in the vicinity of the rug, I heard such laughter and joyous comments, there was no doubt in my mind she would win. We should have set up a tape recorder to capture the comments.

How fitting that Jumbo was hung right next to Bertha in the "independent" section. Those who have been following Jumbo's progress on Jenn's blog were thrilled to see the finished rug. Those who hadn't seen it before were gob-smacked. Jenn walked away with the Rowan Award for Best In Show.  As you can see, that award included some awesome hardware - The Stanley Cup of Hooking.  I have a feeling that many people were inspired to go home and start their own big rug project.

So my very biggest congrats to both of you!!! I am so proud and honoured to be in your company on such a regular basis. And I'm sure the swelled heads will be back to their normal size by Wednesday or Thursday. LOL.

Much love to both of you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doing it Again!

Our OHCG Rug Hooking Annual is this weekend, and as always, I am sprinting to the finish line scrambling to get everything ready.

I am teaching a 1/2 day workshop on Saturday and it is incredible the amount of STUFF that I need to do for a "hands off" workshop. I am sharing tips and tricks that you can do on the computer - the attendees will watch the demos and hopefully go home and play on their own computers.

It's amazing how much time it takes to get ready for this.  Hours and hours spent putting together a two-sided handout, getting all the visual aids ready (I am a firm believer that a picture is worth MORE than a thousand words) and then building a PowerPoint Presentation that I will show before the demos. Yep - lots of time invested for such a short gig, to be sure. But it is something that excites me and I love sharing - a definite labour of love.

So, even though I haven't yet started to pack all the things I need to bring, what did I decide to do at the last minute? Finish the little "goodie bag pattern" that we all got last year. We each received a Bodacious Babe and some fun little stuff to hook her with.  I think I started it at the Powwassen hook in last summer and then hadn't touched it since - in fact, nearly forgot about it till it showed up this week. And I decided to finish her and take her to display with all the other Babes.

My Babe was already hooked, but she needed a background and a back story.  I came up with two choices for her story - the first was a lamp post and a car pulled up (LOL) - the second was floodlights and legions of adoring fans in a packed theatre.

I opted for the latter, since somehow the thought of the other kind of hooker, although it tickled my funny bone, might not appeal to everyone. So here she is. Ready to have the backing basted under tonite.

Ta - da. I am not so sure about the Babe, but I sure LOVE the audience - it was so much fun to do.
And isn't what this is all about - a weekend of fun with people who are all crazy about this art form.

On with the show!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Powers of Observation

For whatever reason, as I was sitting at my computer this afternoon, I noticed something in a mat on the wall that I had never seen before. It made me laugh out loud when I saw it. It's so obvious, now that I've seen it. But I am amazed firstly by how I never noticed it before and secondly, why I would notice it today. It's been hanging there for well over a year.

Here's a picture - can you see it?

There are actually three strange things going on here, though they are all in the same area. The first thing I noticed was the strip of light blue above the arm holding the hook on the right of the mat. Instead of continuing my sweater down behind my arm, for whatever reason, I put in a strip of background. Not only that, I also put a few loops of the multiple borders of the rug, which look like they are stabbing me in the waist.

Now look over a little further to the left. See how the other side of the sweater looks as if it is laying on top of the rug? How could I have decided it was ok that on one side I'm behind the rug, but on the other side, my sweater is on top of it. Yikes!!!

Luckily, it is a big piece and I can easily lay it on the frame and fix it. But some serious thought will be going into what makes the most sense. Stay tuned for the "after" picture at some point soon.

So the big question is, how can you look at something over and over - while hooking it, after hooking it, while hanging it, after hanging it - and suddenly, on May 18th, 2012 at 3:15 p.m. your "powers" of observation kick in - pow. Pretty random if you ask me........

Monday, May 14, 2012

Feeling the Mother Love

Like many of you, I spent the weekend celebrating that day of the year that we moms hold sacred. Even though I still long for the melted plastic cup brooches and the home made cards, my two wonderful offspring still manage to make me feel pretty special. This year was no exception.

It was a "divide and conquer" weekend however, since our son had to work and wasn't able to commit to the Sunday plans which also included his "Gram". So we drove to Toronto and had a quick lunch with him on Saturday before heading to Peterborough for the Sunday celebration with Rick's mom.

Since my son is a real flower giver, along with whatever else is in his arsenal, I requested perennial plants instead, and he greeted me with 10 smiling asters!! They are now safely planted in both the front and back gardens, so I will see Matt no matter where I look. (Nestled amongst the plants was my favourite candy bar "Eatmore". And an appropriately goofy card.)

The Sunday celebration with our daughter yielded the prequel to Glass Castle (a book we both read and loved) and some new CDs for my itunes collection: Every Mother Counts 2012 (a CD that raises funds for maternal-mortality reduction around the world - this is year 2), Gotye, Bonnie Raitt and the soundtrack from Country Strong (which Laura played on her ipod last time she was there - and I kept asking about). Her new beau gave me a beautiful arrangement of flowers. And we went out for a fantastic brunch too -  the bonus meal deal LOL.

We drove home yesterday enjoying the leaves-in-progress on the trees and a beautiful sunny day. Sometimes that drive feels very long. Yesterday, it just felt like a nice Sunday drive.

After we got in and got settled, we relaxed in front of the TV and watched the last of the Players golf tournament, something that we very rarely do.  And something wonderful happened.

I was struck with a vivid memory of my own mother, something that doesn't happen that often anymore: she's been gone for 36 years. She used to love to watch golf on TV. She would become very vocal in her opinions, sounding more like a hockey fan than golf. It was out of character for her and it always made us laugh - after all, it was GOLF.

But, fittingly, I felt close to her yesterday - as if she had tapped me on the shoulder to think about her on Mothers' Day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A "Jewel" of a Presentation

Saturday's featured program speaker at RUG was Carolyn Clemens.  She is a masterful hooker, dyer, teacher and - as I learned yesterday - presenter. She is also one of the hookers of whom I have been in awe since I first picked up a hook.

Carolyn's work adorned the walls and tables in the room - people were asking which "branch" had the display and were amazed to find out that they were all hers. Some of the larger pieces were simply breath taking and were done in an incredibly short period of time. There were the beautiful works that I was expecting -  Orientals, Kilims and Crewels - perfectly executed in her favourite #3 cut. There were also quite a few pictorials, for which she is renowned. Her classes for pictorials seem to always be the first to fill in any school.

I was so disappointed at my lousy pictures that I decided to see if anyone had better pictures and then  dedicate a post to Carolyn and her rugs.  Luckily my friend Elaine did have a few, so I had added those to the only two of mine worth sharing. I hope the post captures the awe of the afternoon.

Carolyn with her pointing stick (donated by a feisty neighbour) in front of a small sample of her work. Right behind her head is an Emily Carr rug of Sitka Alaska with the most amazing sky reflected in the water.

This is a shot of one of her most beautiful pieces which was hung on one wall with several others. I believe she did this one for her McGown Teaching Certification, and if I recall correctly, she did it within a year. You can tell from the camera angle that it was an enormous piece.

This close up gives you a better idea of just how incredible the colours and the details are.

And here is a leaf sampler which she showed in her presentation and confided has a mixture of cuts used in the leaves. Everything from a 3 to a 6. This pattern is available through Martina Lesar.

But there were other pieces that I wasn't expecting, like a couple of Primitives" including a Mola, a large rooster and a Maude Adams in bright colours that were incredibly wide cut for her - I think they were a 5! There was a fantastic wolf portrait, beautifully executed, looking ready to jump off the wall. And there was a Thor Hansen pattern that was again a total departure. I think what I learned most about Carolyn on Saturday was her curiosity and willingness to try just about anything.

Her large pieces demonstrated her uncanny ability to fine shade that is rivaled by only a few of the other hooking goddesses. And her sense of colour is astounding. So much so that one of the "must have" dye books was written by her. If you don't already have a copy of "Jewel Tones" in your dye library, order now. The MC spent the afternoon wearing the swatchette samples from the book around her neck like a beautiful scarf. (Here is a bad picture of the book.)

Carolyn's presentation was filled with great stories, funny anecdotes and very effusive praise and credit to all whose patterns and classes she was showing. The words most often out of her mouth were "I really enjoyed hooking this." which made me wonder if there were any rugs that she didn't enjoy hooking.

She had many tips that punctuated the presentation. And she answered questions with thoughtful responses. What more could you ask from a presenter? I can't think of a thing! I think that every rug hooker who was there would dream about some day having a body of work like hers.

Thanks Carolyn for captivating each and every person who was in that room as well as the countless students who you have similarly inspired over the years.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It seems that just when you need a little boost in the inspiration, it comes. And come it did in spades on Saturday at RUG. There were so many friendly faces and so many interesting, creative rugs in the show and share that I came away feeling revitalized and ready to put something new and wonderful on my frame.

For whatever reason, the pictures that I took with my iphone were horrendous! Green, blurry and not at all worth sharing. The unfortunate thing about this hook-in was that the usual display spaces for the rugs were all being used, so the only photo opp was when the rugs were being carried by - so lots of heads in the way etc.

But the variety in the projects that were shared was incredible. Beautiful pieces small and large, including the reveal of Jumbo, Jenn's massive undertaking. I am hoping this is a hint of things to come in the Annual display.  Some very original designs of many different things.

A few "years in the making" rugs were shown, including the longest rug-to-make story that I have heard. I think. I'm sure she said it was started in 1978 and finished in 2012.  With a few dozen years off in between for kids, life, etc. I'm feeling a bit better about some of my slower projects.

My drive back home was lovely. It's so quick when there is no traffic. Plus I got to see all those emerging leaves that have that special green colour that you only see in spring. It's nearly fluorescent and looks so incredible against the birch trunks and the blue sky. I pulled over on my road and took a couple of shots which are not green and blurry.

They almost look like green blossoms. I think there is a rug in here.....

Oh, and there is one picture that relates to Saturday, since I finished my bulky Buttony and wore it, to lots of compliments.