Thursday, December 21, 2017

Still some December left, and I'm done!

Well, at least until I come up with another project to fill the remainder of the month.

For me, December is all about making Christmas things AND Barbados things too. It's become a tradition to do both. Some hats and mitts have been knit and given, since they aren't really a Christmas present for a 4-year old.

Neither are pyjama pants, if truth be told. But this year I had even more fun than last year's "beer pants". Because this year I got to do mother/daughter and father/son pj pants. Everleigh will only be just over three months on Christmas Day, so her pants are nearly as wide as they are long. But I figure I only need one picture and it will all be worth while. The boys will wear theirs all year long and love them.

Once again, in an effort to be frugal with the fabric, I managed to get some upside down hockey sticks on the boys' pants. Not nearly as funny as last year's upside down beer glasses and bottles.
Some modifications this year, Kris (father) asked for pockets. And Jackson (son) needed drawstring plus elastic, since he is such a skinny little fellow.

The other Christmas goodies are a bunch of appliqued ornaments, which was the project for our rug hooking group this Monday.  I made a few ahead as samples and just kept going. I love to hang one on a bottle of wine, or just give as a little gift.

As to the Barbados making, here are a few shots of the "frocks" I made for the trip. Let me say that when I am in Ontario, I rarely wear dresses. I am a t-shirt and jeans gal, but when in Holetown, wardrobe requirements are quite different. First of all, it is WAYYYYY warmer - hot in fact - realized by the first blast of hot air when they open the airplane doors. Dresses are cooler and the ones I have acquired over the years are perfect for multi purposes, including casual dinners and bathing suit cover ups. Every year, I add a few more to the line up. 

Here are this year's additions to the regular wardrobe.

A tie-shoulder maxi which will get lots of wear. 

A cover up made from the cheeriest fabric ever!!

A seer-sucker maxi with a little surprise hem. 

An amazing Sandra Betsina patter that I made for the Because of Jenna fundraiser.

Christmas projects are done. Barbados sewing is done. And I still have a few days left till Christmas and then a few more till Barbados. I am sure that I will find things to fill the space. Including the second sock for my husband for Christmas.

There are some other projects calling my name - so I will see where my time takes me.

I promise to share.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hooking, Sewing, Dyeing, Making: Must be December.

Every year my Christmas list is filled with making. And as I make my way through my list of projects, I am pleasantly interrupted by other projects.

Another RHGNL student finished her project from rug camp this August and sent me a picture. These are her grand dogs and they have an incredible story. These two dogs were first rescued by their owners - and then were rescued again by their grandmother from the fires in Fort MacMurray. They stayed with her, in Newfoundland, for a few weeks and then flew home after the worst was over. Their proud grandma started hooking their likeness in our time together, and recently emailed me the finished (and framed) piece.

I can't remember if this was a gift, but if it is, I hope there are tears in the eyes of the owners. Not sure the dogs totally get it, but they would be very impressed if they did.

My gift making this year has slowed a bit. I had grand plans, but somehow a new "grand baby" and other news cut into my making time. I did sew some mother/daughter and father/son Christmas pyjama pants for daughter/new grand daughter and son-in-law/grandson, which I am totally hoping to get a shot of on Christmas Eve, which I can hopefully share after the fact. 

I knit an awesome Anemone hat for grandson Jackson and then made another for me, so we can be "twins". It is such a fun pattern to knit, I highly recommend it. Also, it is the first time I have received a thank you email from a ravelry designer and I must confess, I was totally star struck. Note to self: We all must remember to thank those who support us, and Cat Bordhi gets full marks for doing exactly that. I feel like I have truly made a friend. 

Today, I started my husband's yearly socks. He loves them more than anything. And he gets a new pair every Christmas. But these are socks with a difference. They are being knit from a "sock blank", dyed by my friend Sandra Marshall. If you don't know what a sock blank is, it is a pre-knitted piece of fabric that is then dyed by someone with dyeing talent. It has a live edge and that is what you ravel to knit your socks. So far, so beautiful. I will share a picture of the finished product.

So now there are still 14 days to go before the Santa event. I am sure there will be last-minute projects that I will come up with and wrestle to the ground. And that is just fine with me. I would rather be in a "making" frenzy than a "shopping" frenzy.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I LOVE my students!!!

The last few weeks have been a hooking teacher's dream. Following my weekend at OHCG school in Ancaster, I have been receiving pictures of progress in the school and this week, more pictures of finished bags.

Drumroll please, for these finished bags. I love how different they all are. And remember, there was no pattern and everyone was working with their worms stash - no cutter was present (someone needed one and had to go to another class). People used yarn, sari silk, velvet, wool strips - and there was lots of wonderful sharing going on among the students. Somehow, worms are free game when everyone has a giant rubbermaid tub of them on the table. lol. For the middle bag, Sandra dropped in a little pre-made cosmetic bag.

If you click on the images, you will see interesting embellishments like quillies and wool roses. I love the zipper pulls on the first two bags. The third one is a clutch style with a beautiful button that has great sentimental value.

If that wasn't fabulous enough, I am thrilled to have FOUR new rug hooking students here in Peterborough!!! They all contacted me within the last several weeks and after each had a one-on-one session to get them pulling loops, they are now a wonderful new group for a Wednesday night class in the studio.

They are each on their way with their very first projects. One is doing a Karla Gerard pattern for her daughter. Another is doing a "moose" pillow (we are obviously a match made in heaven). The third is doing a series of chair pads for her cottage - in polar fleece. And the newest person to join the group is doing a poppy rug that she will start next Wednesday.

So many opportunities for "lessons in the moment" and for them to learn from one another. They are all at the very beginning and can share their journey with someone at the same place. Lots of fun and they will be well into their projects before I desert them for sunnier shores.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Double Up Pups

Another wonderful work by a Newfoundland student to share. And this one has quite a story.

When I was looking for photos from students for my photo to mat class, she was the last one to get photos to me because she was so busy going from workshop to adventure, all over the place. And when the photos arrived, this ambitious hooker sent two picture of two different Black Labs in her life - Brody and Boscoe - though I'm not sure which is which. 

So, I did the photo editing magic and sent her two colour plans, expecting she would choose one or the other. Oh no!! This dynamo decided to incorporate them both into a single mat. And a large mat to boot. Eager beaver falls short in describing this woman, who is a relatively new hooker, but takes on a challenge with a fierceness and dedication that is inspiring.

These are the photos we started with.

And this is the photo of the finished mat I received from her today.

Pretty incredible right? When we left school, she had both dogs pretty much done, and a little background in on the right hand photo. She also had a plan for the background and borders framing both images.

As you can see, the background on the left side pup was simplified, and made into an outdoor scene versus indoor, which I think makes the mat far more harmonious. And makes sense of the leaves in the inner border.

I think it is fantastic and will be a keeper for life that preserves these wonderful dogs. And what a learning curve for their creator, who had never hooked smaller than an 8-cut. She learned how to do smaller, lower loops when necessary, and go bigger when she can. Learning to combine different cuts in the same piece is a wonderful lesson.

Am I bragging? Only in that she is a very special person who I am proud to call my friend. I know she will be inspiring me and the hooking community for years to come.

Kudos to you, Margot.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Gorgeous Pooch and Three New Hookers.

Another finished mat to share from my wonderful class in Newfoundland. Here is the first finished pooch - one of 6 of the featured in photos in the class. When I said the class was "going to the dogs", I meant it literally, not figuratively.

This mat combines wool strips and wool yarns in order to get the many colours of brown. The expression in his eyes is totally captured and I love how Linda changed the background from snow to something less cold. Nope - not a big fan of snow, even in a mat.

I will have a couple more to share in the next while, since two more students have said they are done and just need to take photos. How awesome is that!!

I am also thrilled to say that three new hookers have contacted me in the last six weeks, looking for a teacher to help them get started. I think that they are all 'keepers'.

Kim was well on her way on a small sunflower chair pad, but wasn't sure she was doing everything the right way. Well, she was doing just fine, but some tips and a little guidance and she was off and hooking. We are meeting on Monday to discuss finishing. And she is going to try a sit-upon gripper frame that I am sure she will order from John Boorman, a local frame maker here in Peterborough.

Jennifer had just fallen in love with hooked pieces and wanted to learn. She was a natural at loop pulling and before she left after our first session, we had decided on a design for the first in a series of chair pads for her cottage. A simple design with fish and some brightly coloured polar fleece and she is killing it. She stopped by this week to try John's frame and had two fish done already.

Jill, the newest, arrived last night, bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. She brought a bag full of wool garments ready to be recycled. And a pretty big pillow pattern with a moose ready to go. Another one whose first loops were a breeze. With a few corrections to her pattern to get it on the straight of grain, she is ready to dive in.

How fun to have them find me and have each of them find out that "yes" - hooking IS for them. Hoping we can create a little group to meet on a regular basis, so they can get guidance from me and camaraderie from one another.

And before you know it, I'll be here bragging about them as well.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Some Very Serious Bragging.

Let's begin with the safe arrival of Everleigh Rae Scott Saville. She came into this world on Sunday, October 1st at 1:15 a.m. And we got our first glimpse less than 10 hours later. Her big brother, although a little tentative in the hospital setting, was quickly bewitched, as you can see in this picture.

At the very first glimpse of her, I was amazed at how much she looks like her brother. And everyone seems to agree, including their mom. Here is a picture that she shared on FaceBook that pretty much seals the deal. I guess the recipe was perfect the first time lol.

After staying in Toronto to help over the first week, I brought big brother home for Thanksgiving weekend while mom and dad continued to adjust to the new addition. I sent them back their very own turkey on Thanksgiving Monday.

I headed back again this week for a few more days, following a minor procedure Everleigh had to correct a tongue tie. Hoping that this helps the breastfeeding move forward. Dad Kris had to work the rest of the week, so I went to offer whatever help was needed.  I drove back home this morning and it sure is quiet here!!

Within two weeks, Everleigh seems like she has been there forever, and is adored by all. The infatuation her brother has for her holds tight. He can't wait to have his turn to hold her and is thrilled when she comes to meet him at the end of a school day. That will be Laura's big challenge - to not be feeding EXACTLY when it's pick-up time.

Here's a cute shot of them yesterday. Jackson wanted to watch "Frozen", so moved his stool over by her swing. As her eyes begin to focus, it looks like she is watching right along with him.

The other bragging comes in the form of two projects finished by my students at rug camp in Newfoundland this summer. They arrived in my "inbox" within a day of each other, and I have permission to share them both.

Here is Bandit, one of two cats hooked in the class. His mat was a gift for his owner who is the sister of the creator. Needless to say, she was thrilled to receive him. Although the background was simplified, there is no taking away how well she captured his 'catitude'.

The next mat is masterfully hooked from a photo of Quidi Vidi Gut. I am really hoping to visit there on my next trip to Nfld.

There is no greater compliment a teacher can receive than a photo of a finished project. It means that student enjoyed your time together enough to finish. Plus, we get to brag about them later.

Looking forward to seeing all the rest of them in their time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Projects done. Baby can come now.

Any time now - according to the doctor.

So, I am very happy that all the necessary knitting and sewing are done. Off the needles are this cute little dress and a stroller suit.

The dress was a pattern found here and the gorgeous yarn came from my LYS here in Peterborough, Needles in the Hay. The stroller suit was also from the same store, from a kit from Fleece Artist, whose yarns I love. But this pattern was not my favourite. Very vague instructions  - and very small!!! I did the larger size, but think it will truly be newborn size. (Note to self: read all comments on ravelry before embarking on a pattern.)

Anyway, they are washed and blocked and ready to go.

So the next project was the "big brother Spiderman quilt". I bought the panel and the other Spidey fabric online and then went to my Fabricland for the red fabric and the backing. Most of the panel was quilted on my machine, but then I had some fun hooking by hand. Some small areas on the panel and the eyes on the upper and lower print panel. It is also washed and ready to go.

Now we wait. Daughter is more than past ready to have the little one here, but as the doctor said, "she could come any time." So our ears are on alert for the late night call and we will zoom to TO and stay with Jackson until his sister arrives.

Maybe tonight.......

Monday, August 28, 2017

Baby Nest is now a Hornet's Nest.

Here are some pictures of the finished Baby Nest plus the waterproof liners that I made for it.

But as I was sewing the last seam, Health Canada was on every news media warning about risks of suffocation. They continue to offer other advice such as "never leave baby unattended... many ads depict babies sleeping unsafely i.e. on their tummies...the best way for a baby to sleep is on their back, alone in a crib (that meets Canadian regulations)".

I heartily agree with all of that. But I wonder if, used correctly, a nest poses any bigger suffocation risk than things like blankets, sofas, comforters on beds or pillows placed around a baby. What poses the biggest risk of all is leaving a baby unattended. And that can be said for just about anything to do with babies.

Whether it is a commercially available nest, or one like mine made following a DIY tutorial or two, every single one I saw always specified SUITABLE FOR 0-4 months. That is because 4 months is often when a baby learns to roll over from its back to its front. And that is why you wouldn't use it once that stage of development was reached.

So, is the nest destined to become a cat bed after all? Perhaps. But that decision is up to our daughter, who would NOT leave her baby unattended. She would also never put a blanket on a baby, put it on its tummy to sleep, put bumper pads in the crib or co-sleep, while many choose to do so.

I am sure she will make the right choice - for her and her baby. And maybe for her cat.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Camp Killdevil Killed it Again.

Whoever said "You can't go back. It will never be as good the second time." has obviously never been to rug camp in Newfoundland.

From the moment I landed until take off 5 days later, I was once again charmed and delighted with the province and the people who live there. One of the camp directors, Sue, met me at the Airport and drove me to camp. Since my flight was late, we made the trek in the dark - a dangerous activity because of moose on the road at night, especially in Gros Morne. Luckily, the hundred or so frogs (plus one bunny) we slalomed around took the place of moose and we arrived unscathed.

Here I was, back again, and in the morning, the site of the cabins and the smell of the air were already familiar. And since we had a free morning, Sue generously offered to take me to Woody Point, where I bought a wonderful piece of art. The lupins of my youth interpreted in driftwood, beach stones and sea glass. 

This year, I was back as a teacher, with my 'Photo to Mat' class, filled with very personal memory photos. We had lots of dogs, two cats, one grand child, a boy in a pumpkin patch, a black and white wedding photo from 1939, a father-in-law, and a few harbour scenes.

Here is the wonderful group that came along for the ride. As you can see, it was a totally serious bunch.

It's ironic to do an internet-based class in a place that has no internet, but since all the prep work was done in advance, I didn't see it as much of a hindrance. And with all emails to and fro with the pre-work, I developed a relationship with everyone (and their subjects) even before I got there.

Each student had sent me their image weeks ahead - I had run it through some photo editing sites and sent back a few options. Based on the choice, I prepared a colour plan. For class, I had presentations on how to use the different tools versus a live demo on the internet. With these step-by-step instructions, they can play on their own computers at their leisure.

Each year at camp, there is a "theme". This year it was Elvis. And the students rose to the challenge of representing THE KING. Here's a video that just shows you how the folks from Newfoundland take on a theme challenge for a party. Within three beats of the first song, everyone was on the dance floor and pretty much remained there until the last beat of the last song of the encore.

My Elvis costume for theme night was a hooked Elvis face mask plus Hawaiian shirt and leis to be Elvis in Blue Hawaii. The mask doubled as a teaching tool, since it was hooked from a royalty-free photo. It also was my entry into the theme challenge and won first place. My prize was free membership in the Guild for a year.

At the festivities, lots of folks had their picture taken with it. Here are a couple of my students and one of the directors as "instant Elvis".

After the party, Saturday and Sunday passed in a blur of activity. Lots of hooking and one-on-one time to make sure everyone in the class was at a point where they could finish without me. I didn't take any pictures of work in progress, but one of the class members offered to be the official photographer. She is lingering behind in Nfld. with her hubby, so I will do another post when she is back in Ontario and sends them to me.

We had a little time to visit the other classrooms and see what everyone was working on. There were a few vendors selling wool cloth, wool yarn and other goodies. And Saturday night, there was a bonfire with lots of singing and an accordion player. I fell asleep to "Kumbaya". It doesn't get much camp-ier than that!

Sunday morning class went by in a flash, our last lunch was over, and camp was finished for another year. Everyone was sad to go and the rainy weather reflected the slightly melancholy mood. Lots of hugs and "see you next year" rang across the campground.

Luckily, I was in for another afternoon of Newfoundland magic before my evening flight back to TO. I was hosted by Jane, the other camp director, and her husband Jerome, who have a charming cabin in Woody Point where they spend their summers. We wiled away the afternoon sharing stories around their wood stove. I was treated to an incredible salmon dinner, prepared by Jerome and then chauffeured to the airport and hugged goodbye.

So, you definitely CAN go back. And sometimes the second time is even better!! If I'm lucky, there might just be a third. A couple of the Elvises (or is that Elvi?) told me they are taking my class next year. Apparently, there is a move afoot to get me on the teacher list for Photo to Mat 2018. Let's just say, I would be thrilled to return and teach it again.

Here's a link to the RHGNL (Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador) website. Winnie Glavine, the publicity and social media co-ordinator, will be sharing whatever images are sent to her by all the campers, so keep watching for those. In the meantime, grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a peek around the site. You'll enjoy the visit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Building a Nest is NOT so Easy.

In anticipation of Tadpole 2's arrival, I talked to my daughter who was lamenting that she hadn't received a "nest" as a gift. After learning what they were, and seeing hers in her registry list, I am not surprised. They sell in the $200+ range - yikes!

"No problem", says the doting gram. "I will make one for you." They are all the rage on Pinterest, so how hard that it be!! Like everything else, I am sure my prototype is the true test. And after umpteen hours already, I am about to start sewing.

Just so that you are aware of what a "nest"is, here is a link to see a few on Pinterest. And here is one picture from one of many blog posts that offers advice on making one. Seems they are more of a "thing" in the Scandinavian countries than here, but they appear to be catching on.

Many thanks to jaggedrose and her blog for guiding me through here. She even calls it the "Scandi Bed", and most of the other patterns and images were from Sweden, or somewhere else with a language I couldn't read. (The image above is from her sew-along on her blog, which was excellent.)

My daughter and grand-daughter-to-be picked this palette for their "nest". The grey chevrons are for the bottom, the white for the inside, and the pink to make bias tape for the top, where the cord goes through to draw the shape into the nest.

Yesterday was pattern day. I saw lots of pictures on Pinterest, in a few different sizes, so decided I would make my own. Since math is NOT a strong suit for me, I resorted to blowing up and tracing one pattern onto many pieces of tissue, taping them all together and coming up with something that quite closely resembled the pattern I wanted.

Today, I used that pattern and cut out the top and bottom. I then moved on to making my own bias tape, which of course included a trip to Fabricland to buy a bias tape maker. Then a 45-minute search for my rotary cutter (which has not been used since we moved here and I had to remember where I packed it.) Now I am ready to begin sewing. Well, I will be once I try my trusty new bias tape cutter.

I will share progress and completion shots here, so that we can all enjoy the end result, hopefully.

Must confess to thinking, on first blush, that nests look suspiciously like cat beds. So, if this should turn out less than Tadpole-worthy, at least my grand cat Jasper will have a nice soft place to sleep.

Stay tuned.....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Whole Lotta Burpin' Going On

With a few other babies arriving the same time as Tadpole 2, I decided to make a bunch of burp cloths for each of them. 32 burp cloths in all - quite the pile.  When Jackson (aka Tadpole 1) was born, one of his mom's favourite gifts were some shoulder-sized burp cloths, which she found so much easier to put over her shoulder than full on receiving blankets.

So I found a free online pattern on Pinterest and decided to make each expectant mom 8. I chose genderless patterns and they will each get two of four prints. This pattern even has a little shape around the neck to keep them in place. Pretty brilliant!!

The first batch was delivered a few weeks ago, just before the arrival of the first burper "Clementine". She is safely here, her new mom is over the initial shock, and I am pretty sure the cloths are getting more than their fair share of action.

The other arrivals are slated for August and September, so I am done with far more lead time than before.

Tadpole 2 is being "showered" this Sunday, and I got a few other goodies ready for the party.

Sweater number 1 is Gwen, from a free Debbie Bliss pattern here.  It is meant to be Taddy's "homecoming sweater" and I worried it looked a bit large.

So, with the leftover yarn, I knit sweater number 2, which you can find here.  It does appear to be a bit smaller, but not by much. She may end up with two sweaters that she can rotate through her fall wardrobe lol.  And there's enough yarn left for a second hat - mostly pink - so she has a choice there as well.

Tadpole 1 is a hot little dude - can't wear sweaters. Loves hats though. Hoping Taddy 2 loves sweaters, cuz there are so many cute little girl ones, I can just keep cranking them out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Clip Art Cat Gets Nine Lives

Next week I am show casing a possible class for Trent Rug School in 2018. The proposal is to hook one piece of clip art different ways, with a mini lesson each day in various techniques.

I have always loved the "possibilities" that every new project presents. In addition to the design are the decisions about colour plan, technique, materials. For me, this is the creative phase, making these choices and going for it - the loop pulling is the therapy and the journey.

If you have been following my blog, you know this is not my first rodeo. A few years ago I hooked One Moose, Four Ways.

This is the Primitive Version 

This one is done with alternative fibers. Click in for a closer look.

She is my "impressionist" moose.
She is my "realistic" moose, or as realistic as you can get in an 8 cut.
A while later, getting ready for a Zen and the Art of Doodling class, I hooked this version in polar fleece. It was fun and another way to hook my same beautiful moose.

I decided my next exploration would go in a new direction and I was searching through royalty-free clip art and found this handsome cat.

I initially drew him on a piece of backing six times. And before very long, he became these six feisty felines.

This is Proddy Cat (with a nod to Maude Lewis)

This is Primitive Cat with Snow Balls 

This is Doodle Cat with the palette from Doodle Moose.

This is Realistic Cat who looks very serious.

This is Applique Cat, with buttons.

This is Painterly Van Gogh cat.
When these six were done, I was pretty sure there were lots more ways to go and decided that since a cat is reputed to have nine lives, I would come up with three more. And this trio of cats bounded off the frame.

This is "inch mat" cat, peeking up from lower frame. - I accidentally put him 1" lower. 

This is "calico cat", hooked like the fabric. 

And this is "Abstract Cat". The clip art cat cut apart and arranged in this way.

This was a fun exercise and I loved every one of these. They are all around 6 x 8, but each took on their own dimension as I hooked them. I certainly don't expect any student to do this many renditions of their clip art, but it's fun to consider the possibilities.

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...