Spring break.

My spring break was a break from rug hooking.  It was a “staycation” filled with caring for the neighbors’ hens and guineas and enjoying a visit from our son, who lives on the other side of the States.

I have many, many eggs from those young and prolific hens and will most likely make another batch of pickled beet eggs.  They keep a long time in the refrigerator.  I love them sliced on a salad or eaten as-is.  The egg yolks from these insect-eating hens are bright orange and oh, so delicious!

This week, I hope to steam the super-secret rug I’m working on.  I need to steam it before I add some yarn and another element to finish the design.  It’s different than my usual rugs and I wish I could show it to you.  I also continue to save plastic bits and bobs for my plastic pollution rugs that are in the planning stages.

Spring has definitely sprung here in south central Pennsylvania.  It’s an exciting time of year filled with the promise of things to come.

There’s a lot of beauty out there in the yellow of daffodils and the orange of freshly laid eggs.

The first of many daffodils in our little cemetery.

The first of many daffodils in our little cemetery.

Some of the neighbors’ hens admiring their early morning work.

Some of the neighbors’ hens admiring their early morning work.

My old girls still lay a few eggs, which I scramble up and feed back to them.

My old girls still lay a few eggs, which I scramble up and feed back to them.

Come on in and visit a while.

Come on in and visit a while.

Channeling a bit of springtime.

Channeling a bit of springtime.

Whatever the season, frogs and crows are part of the display.

Whatever the season, frogs and crows are part of the display.

The three R's.

Back in the day, the three R’s stood for, “Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic”.  Today they are often used for “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”.  All of these things are important, but I’m glad the new version is gaining popularity on our crowded planet. 

I’ve been pondering what rug to do next that isn’t a super-secret rug and I’ve chosen to do two pieces in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  I switch between depicting a man-made ecological disaster and a natural one.  Since Looming in Greenland was the last one I hooked, and that was a natural near-disaster, it’s time for a man-made one.  There seem to be abundant choices, unfortunately.

Scenes of our beautiful planet choking on plastic waste haunt my thoughts, so I will do one rug with detritus found on just about any beach.  I even saw photos of garbage washed ashore on an uninhabited island!  The other piece, which goes along with this unfortunate theme, will be plastics floating on the ocean. 

A couple of years ago, I gathered some man-made items from beaches on Cape Cod.  I had the kernel of an idea in my head that I would incorporate this into a hooked piece.  The time is now.

I hope you’ll take this journey with me as I decide how to depict this growing problem.  Perhaps you will join me in being aware of the problem and doing your part in picking up litter along a roadside, using cloth grocery bags, saying “no” to one-use plastic.  It’s not easy, but if we each do our part, it can make a difference. 

I’d love it if the rug hooking community would create pieces addressing this issue.  Perhaps you already have.  Please share them on my Crows Foot Farm LLC Facebook page.  I’ll try to figure out how to make an album of them there.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and we can each do our part to protect it.

Some of this detritus is from beaches on Cape Cod.

Some of this detritus is from beaches on Cape Cod.

Some of the collected “stuff” for my projects.

Some of the collected “stuff” for my projects.

UFOs and other sightings.

Happy April Fools Day.  The UFOs I reference are the Un-Finished Objects type, not the Roswell, New Mexico ones.  I seem to have a few knitting projects waiting to be finished.  And somewhere there is an embroidery project begging to see the light of day.   UFOs can feel overwhelming at times, so I will choose one at a time and plug away.

Another amazing sighting is the mosaic, “The Witching Hour”, created by my talented friend, Josephine Alexander.  We had our hooked rug/mosaic exchange at Breakfast Club last Friday and her mosaic is even more impressive in person!  It will be hung in the hallway, so everyone who enters can admire it.  For right now, it’s sitting on the antique cupboard until the hubby can get it hung on the wall.  I will do a bit of redecorating in that area to highlight this masterpiece.  Be sure to check out Jo’s amazing mosaics on Facebook under her business page, Grandmother Moon Mosaics.  Her still lifes, flowers, goddesses, and chubby mermaids are beautiful.

I am making progress on a super-secret hooking project.  And there’s another secret one that I have to design and hook.  They don’t help when I want something to blog about.  I think I will start my next piece in my Mother Earth Speaks series.. It will be a man-made disaster this time.  And what a sad disaster it is!  Stay tuned.

Spring has sprung around Crow's Foot Farm with chirping birds, spring peepers, daffodils, and increased wild animal sightings.  I hope you’re seeing lots of signs of new life where you live.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the gifts of nature and friends.

The Witching Hour 24” x 34” mosaic by Josephine Alexander of Grandmother Moon Mosaics.

The Witching Hour 24” x 34” mosaic by Josephine Alexander of Grandmother Moon Mosaics.

The Witching Hour 24” x 34” mosaic by Josephine Alexander of Grandmother Moon Mosaics.

The Witching Hour 24” x 34” mosaic by Josephine Alexander of Grandmother Moon Mosaics.

Ready, set, to go!

My bright and cheerful Harvest Moon rug is ready to be given to my friend, Josephine Alexander, on Friday.  I fixed the back of it so it can be hung on the wall. Jo’s walls are filled with the most beautiful array of paintings, decorative goddess plates, and her mosaics.  I’m guessing she’ll have to do a bit of rearranging to find a spot for this rug.

I will be hosting my Breakfast Club ladies on Friday.  I love this group of women, who are so creative and supportive.  I am always thankful to have them in my life here in Pennsylvania.  Jo will bring the pumpkin mosaic she made for me.  I cannot wait to see it in person! I will post a photo of it in situ next Monday. Jo is an amazing artist and you can check out her mosaics on Facebook under her business name, Grandmother Moon Mosaics.  She is truly amazing!

Speaking of Breakfast Club, although March is almost over, I’m doing an Irish themed meal.  My menu is below.  I love hosting this group, since breakfast is my favorite meal and there are so many variations of foods to make.  We are pretty adventurous and often have things that are not traditionally served at breakfast. We think outside the box!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a diverse group of wonderful women.

Harvest Moon  22” x 40”  all bound and ready to go.

Harvest Moon 22” x 40” all bound and ready to go.

I sew nylon webbing onto the back and insert a wood lath or yardstick with a hole drilled in the middle.  It can then be hung on a hanger pushed into the wall and moved side to side to straighten it.

I sew nylon webbing onto the back and insert a wood lath or yardstick with a hole drilled in the middle. It can then be hung on a hanger pushed into the wall and moved side to side to straighten it.

It will be an Irish theme with green and orange colors.  Slainte!

It will be an Irish theme with green and orange colors. Slainte!

Colors of spring.

I know that spring is definitely on the way when I go to the Woolwrights’ hook-in in Lancaster, PA.  Those ladies do a superb job putting on this annual event.  There were many wonderful vendors and lots of rug hookers sharing their beautiful rugs.  The Magdalena Rug Hookers, the group I’m in,  had a nice turnout and did some impressive shopping and hooking!

I took my Harvest Moon rug and whipped most of the border.  I was so happy to find Lopi yarn to match the fuschia wool that I dyed.  I will finish it up this week and fix the back of the rug for hanging.  Then when I host Breakfast Club on March 29th, I will exchange this rug for a fabulous mosaic of pumpkins by Jo Alexander.  I cannot wait!  I will share photos when the exchange takes place.

I have finished my week of animal wifery for the neighbors’ 28 hens and 13 guinea fowl.  I have a refrigerator filled with the most colorful eggs!  They are destined for several quiches and the rest will be made into delicious pickled beet eggs.  What a treat!

I’m still pondering what rug I’ll do next as I work on a super-secret rug for a group project.  There is an idea percolating in the back of my brain.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a room full of rug hookers and a henhouse filled with egg layers. 

Happy spring!

My favorite way to bind a rug. Roll linen over cotton clothesline, baste in place, and whip with yarn.

My favorite way to bind a rug. Roll linen over cotton clothesline, baste in place, and whip with yarn.

Yummy colors everywhere at the hook-in!

Yummy colors everywhere at the hook-in!

Look at these colors! Rich brown, pale brown, light blue, light green, olive green and white!

Look at these colors! Rich brown, pale brown, light blue, light green, olive green and white!

 

Saving time?

Right now I have three super-secret hooking projects that I can’t share.  That’s always a problem when it comes to writing my blog. I seem to be in a slump without a new rug to design and hook.  I had quite a slump a year or so ago and it took a while to dig myself out of it.  Perhaps the Woolwrights’ hook-in this coming weekend will help to inspire me.  All the wool!  The colors!  The rug show!  See? I’m feeling better already.

I have been looking for signs of spring in spite of the ongoing snowstorms. I’m sure there are daffodils and crocus [croci?] pushing up through the cold earth. It’s just hard to find them under the snow.  I actually did have an egg from my old hens, which always amazes me.  I don’t know who laid it, but of the four hens, the youngest one might be seven years old.  That is optimistic determination and a sure sign of spring.

I seem go through a slump every year when “they” turn the clocks ahead.  Daylight Saving Time.  Does it save time?  I know I’m in a tiny minority of people, who don’t like this time change.  I don’t think I personally know anyone who agrees with me.  I don’t mean to dampen anyone’s excitement for the longer daylight hours and warmer temps.  Go for it!  Get outside and revel in it!

In the meantime, I’ll light some candles and leave offerings to my Muse.  She always comes through for me in her own good time.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and some of it is hiding under the snow.

Who laid this hopeful sign of spring? Elphaba? Tillie? Charlotte? PeepPeep?

Who laid this hopeful sign of spring? Elphaba? Tillie? Charlotte? PeepPeep?

Asking my Muse for inspiration.

Asking my Muse for inspiration.

 

A rug to dye for.

Some of you might have heard me say, “I don’t want to dye!”  I’m not sure why I don’t like to dye wool.  Maybe it’s too much like cooking, which I’m not crazy about either.  But this Harvest Moon rug that I’m hooking for a friend, who loves rich color, needed a deep magenta/fuschia/raspberry [not sure what to call this color] border.  I knew I had to bite the bullet and dye some wool.

I used Ingrid Hieronymous’ recipe for the perfect color and made up a batch of dye.  To make a long and tedious story short, I had to dye this same yard of wool FOUR TIMES to get the intensity of color I wanted.  But in the end it was worth it.  The hooking is finished.. Now comes the binding, which I enjoy doing. I might take it to the Woolwrights’ hook-in in a couple of weeks and do it there.

As I was bemoaning this dye job, I amused myself by thinking of the interesting terms that we rug hookers use. We strip, bind, whip, and dye.  Sounds like one of the true crime podcasts I listen to.

I am without a next rug to design and hook, which I can blog about.  I’m sure something will pop into my imagination.  Hopefully, I won’t have to dye any wool for it.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a dye job that finally comes out right.

Harvest Moon 22” x 39”.  All ready for the binding and whipping!

Harvest Moon 22” x 39”. All ready for the binding and whipping!

Talented friends.

I’m fortunate to have many talented and artistic friends. They never cease to amaze and inspire me.  Some of them make unique jewelry, knit beautiful garments, do creative embroidery, hook wonderful rugs, and create mosaic masterpieces. 

My friend, Josephine [Jo] Alexander is a mosaic artist, whose pieces take my breath away.  I love glass and have been tempted to take classes from her, but I’m resisting adding another craft to my repertoire.  I have a studio filled with wool. Can you imagine it equally filled with glass?!

Jo Alexander’s mosaic business is called, Grandmother Moon Mosaics.  Do yourself a favor and check her out on Facebook. She is prolific and extremely talented.  I am very excited that she and I are doing a trade.  To be honest, I think I’ll get the best of this deal.

I have begun hooking my design, Harvest Moon, for Jo.  I love hooking pumpkins, because orange is my favorite Creative Energy color.  One pumpkin is a brighter orange, with magenta highlights, which I love to add to orange.  The next pumpkin is more of a yellow color with a few dark teal highlights. The third pumpkin will be a blue gourd, I think.  I’ll have to see how it looks behind the barn owl.

I purchased a beautiful piece of Jan Cole /The Wool n’ Gardener’s spot-dyed deep turquoise wool just for this rug.  Jo loves rich colors and the turquoise behind the orange will be perfect.  I can’t wait to hook further to see how this all will play out.  The vines and leaves will be hooked in a variety of yellow-greens and I think the outer border will be a deep magenta, which I will dye. 

Oh, and the mosaic that Jo is doing for me also has pumpkins. And a crow. How perfect!

This new project has given me new energy during these snowy, quiet days.  I hope your winter is progressing well and giving you time for creativity, too.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the vibrant colors of a new hooking project.

Oh! These colors!  The start of my Harvest Moon piece.

Oh! These colors! The start of my Harvest Moon piece.

Color closeup.

Color closeup.

A winner and a rug finish.

Thanks for all the entries and comments for the book giveaway.  The lucky winner of Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [©2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rig Hooking] is Lisa, who said, “I’m new to rug hooking and am completely taken with it. I love looking at others’ creations for inspiration. Thanks so much for this wonderful gift. Here’s hoping.”   Congratulations, Lisa, I’ll contact you for your mailing address and send this wonderful new book your way.

We had more snow here in Pennsylvania this past week and then some icy rain, so things were a bit dicey.  I stayed home as much as possible, which gave me a bit of cabin fever.  The good news is that I finished my piece titled, Looming in Greenland, the third installment in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  I have trimmed, folded, and basted my usual cotton clothesline into the edges, but I still need to whip the edges with yarn, which I will do at the Woolwrights’ hook-in next month.

Before I continue with my Mother Earth Speaks series, I want to hook my pattern, Harvest Moon, which I am doing as a trade with a friend, who is a very talented mosaic artist.  More on all this next week with some beginning progress on that rug.

I’m having a visit from my friend, who now lives in Connecticut.  We plan lots of things to do while she’s here, so it’s been fun. That has helped with the cabin fever.

I hope winter is bringing you time to be inside with your rug hooking project and a warm beverage on these cold days.  Look for signs if spring, which can surprise us when we least expect it.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the next new project.

Lisa is the winner of this great new book!

Lisa is the winner of this great new book!

Looming in Greenland designed and hooked by Karen Larsen. All finished but for the yarn whipping.

Looming in Greenland designed and hooked by Karen Larsen. All finished but for the yarn whipping.

Jump in the dye pot - BOOK GIVEAWAY

I have a brand new book for today’s giveaway.  It’s Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [©2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking].

This book is filled with rugs and their artists and is a visual treasure trove to inspire all rug hookers and designers.  There are artist interviews, which share the process and inspiration of many well-known and excellent rug hookers.  You will know many of them and others will be a surprise. In all cases, their designs and stories will delight you!

Words are inadequate to describe this book, which is really something to be seen and enjoyed. There are many color photos to get your inspiration flowing.

So, with that in mind, if you would like a chance to win this book, here is the way to get your name in the lucky dye pot.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a book filled with inspiration.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [© 2019 Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking].  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my website.  [Below this blog post is the teeny tiny word “comment/s”. Click on that to open a space to type in your comment.] Be sure to sign in to leave your comment, so I will have your email address to contact you if you win.  [Your email address will not be used for any other purpose].  The drawing will be held on Sunday, February 17th at Noon [EST].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, February 18th, 2019.  Good luck!

Get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this excellent new book!

Get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this excellent new book!

Only The Shadow knows.

Groundhog Day, this past Saturday, brought some opposing prognostications about the arrival of spring.  In either case it will be six weeks until spring begins, but it’s a fun tradition.  Punxatawney Phil, a PA celebrity, predicted that spring weather would arrive early.  That’s good news.  However, my hen, Charlotte, saw her shadow, so she’s predicting six more weeks of winter.  Only time will tell.

This past week consisted of cleaning and straightening my studio.  My first priority was organizing my paper patterns from which I make my hooked rug patterns on linen backing.  Some of my “working patterns” [as opposed to the original drawings that I keep in separate folders] needed to be redrawn.  Having worked in a library many years ago, I also made sure the patterns were put back in alphabetical order.

Studio cleanup didn’t take as long as I anticipated, so I did get some hooking done on my Looming in Greenland piece.  I finished hooking the grey and threatening sky.  I don’t enjoy hooking in straight lines, but it seemed a good way to make a visual separation of the sky and the iceberg. I hope to have this piece finished in a week or two.  My next piece will be a lot more colorful, which will be fun.

I hope your weather is a bit milder after the cold snap we just had.  I’m going to start looking for signs of spring, how about you?

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the anticipation of warmer weather ahead.

Charlotte saw her shadow, but she wasn’t frightened at all.

Charlotte saw her shadow, but she wasn’t frightened at all.

Come into my studio while it’s clean and tidy.

Come into my studio while it’s clean and tidy.

A brief  neat and tidy view of the studio.  I’ve already dragged out some of these tubs.

A brief neat and tidy view of the studio. I’ve already dragged out some of these tubs.

Two steps forward and one step back.

This past week I was determined to finish hooking the biggest chunk of iceberg on my Looming in Greenland piece.  I did decide to “reverse hook” a good portion of it before forging ahead.  The acronym, NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard] kept running through my brain.  Can you imagine seeing this out your back window? If this berg should calve off a large piece, there would be mayhem and danger on this coastal village of Greenland.

I also began hooking the sky, which I decided to make grey and threatening to add to the suspense of the piece.  The grey also is a good contrast to the brighter color of the iceberg and helps “push” the berg visually forward.

There might not be more progress on this rug this coming week as I’ve decided I need to reorganize my studio.  I am not one of those artistic types, who love to be surrounded by messy tools of the trade and partially finished projects.  Too much visual clutter confuses me.  So, with that in mind, I will be working on boring, but necessary, studio organization this coming week.  Although not my favorite thing to do, it will help me in the future to work more efficiently.

A forward-thinking customer ordered one of my robin and babies patterns.  Spring is coming and it’s a great idea to hook a pattern for the upcoming season.  I’ve posted some of my springtime patterns below, which are available on the Shop page of my website.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in planning for the season soon to arrive.

Looming in Greenland work in progress. Adapted from a photo by Lucia Ali Nielsen//Reuters

Looming in Greenland work in progress. Adapted from a photo by Lucia Ali Nielsen//Reuters

The Early Bird Gets the Worm 20” x 16”

The Early Bird Gets the Worm 20” x 16”

Dinner Time  18” x 24”

Dinner Time 18” x 24”

Nest Eggs 14” diameter

Nest Eggs 14” diameter

This and that.

This past week was a quiet one in which I did some knitting, hooking, sewing, cooking and sitting by the wood stove. I do love the cold days of winter, which encourage all of the aforementioned activities.

My Looming in Greenland hooked piece, which is in my Mother Earth Speaks series, is coming along slowly.  Is it the giant iceberg that is causing a bit of obstruction?  I’m using spot dyed wool in values of a green-blue for the berg.  I’m not sure I like it, but I shall continue hooking and see how it comes out.  I’ve had lots of practice “reverse hooking”, so I might have to do some of that. Patience is a virtue when hooking a rug.

I’m also knitting some socks, which I love to do.  They might be a gift.  I’ve knitted many pairs of socks and wear them all the time. When one sock gets a hole in it, I admit that I toss it instead of mending it. I find that a mend on socks [at least the way that I mend] makes a lumpy area and is uncomfortable to walk on.  So, you might just see me wearing mismatched socks.  Happily, with age comes a letting go of what’s considered “normal”.

A beautiful bit of spring has bloomed in the house this week.  My friend, Pat, gave me an amaryllis bulb and I potted it the week before Thanksgiving. It is just now blooming!  Is that normal or did I have it in a window that isn’t quite sunny enough? I’m not much of a gardener, I admit.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a home filled with projects and a hint of spring.

Looming in Greenland is a work in progress.  There may be many changes ahead.

Looming in Greenland is a work in progress. There may be many changes ahead.

I love knitting socks. My “signature” is using different yarn for the toes.

I love knitting socks. My “signature” is using different yarn for the toes.

Heavy blooms of this slow-blooming amaryllis.

Heavy blooms of this slow-blooming amaryllis.

Why rug hookers love snow.

We finally got our first snow since before Yule, when winter actually began.  It’s only an inch, but it’s plenty enough to clean hooked rugs.

If you’re a rug hooker, and you live where it snows, you have probably cleaned and refreshed your rugs this way.  For the uninitiated, here’s how it’s done.

I carried my rug out past where the dogs do their business and threw it on the snow topside down.  Flipping it over, I admired the perfect amount of snow clinging to it.  This snow was the perfect fluffy kind.  Then I used my favorite rug broom to gently sweep off the snow., which gets rid of any dust, dirt and dog hair.  I hung the rug inside to dry completely before putting it down on the floor again.  Easy peasy!

A word about my broom, which is pictured below.  I’m fortunate to live near a talented broom maker, Tony Campbell.  I have bought many brooms from him and each is unique with different handles, length of broomcorn, and stitching.  He’s a master and uses antique broom-making equipment.  Some of the whiskbrooms I have bought, have turkey feet or deer antlers on top.  The one I used to sweep the snow off my rug has long, soft broomcorn at the business end and a long handle fashioned from an amazing stalk from some Sweet Annie that he grows.  He must feed his crop some magic vitamins to get the stalks so thick and strong!

This past weekend I spent a fun day with some of the Magdalenas [my rug hooking group] at a hooking retreat.  There were some newbie hookers and it’s always exciting to see them get into this fun and creative fiber art. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the bounty of winter snow.

Step one:  throw rug face down on the snow.

Step one: throw rug face down on the snow.

Flip the rug over and admire the beautiful snow on it!  Start sweeping the snow off.

Flip the rug over and admire the beautiful snow on it! Start sweeping the snow off.

All finished.  Admire the clean bright colors!  Hang inside to dry.

All finished. Admire the clean bright colors! Hang inside to dry.

Copyright and wrong.

I’m starting off the new year with a discussion of copyright law.  Pretty dry stuff, I know, but read on because there might be information you don’t know.

I’m a stickler for following copyright laws.  I’ve had some of my rug designs taken and used without permission and it doesn’t feel good.  In this era of the internet, it’s easy to think that because some image is “out there”, it’s up for grabs.  I understand how any why the disregard of copyright happens, but I hope that sharing this topic will be a good reminder.

I’m hooking the third piece in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  It depicts the gigantic eleven million ton iceberg, which is much too close to a small island village of Inaarsuit on the western coast of Greenland.  I think the iceberg has receded a bit, but it’s still a huge threat.

I searched online for photos of this iceberg and found several taken by different photographers and disseminated by several news outlets.  They are all very similar and are taken from about the same vantage point.  The photo I’m using as my inspiration is by Lucia Ali Nielsen via Reuters.  I have searched long and hard to try to contact Ms. Nielsen, but to no avail.  She is on Instagram, which I don’t do.  I’ve decided to not post her actual photo, but to give her credit whenever I share my hooked piece. 

I discovered a very informative article titled, Fair Use in the Age of Social Media.  This does give some leeway when using someone’s image as inspiration for an art project.  I hope you’ll read it as it gives a lot of good information on the subject.

I’m making good progress on my Looming in Greenland piece.  My Mother Earth Speaks series depicts natural and man-made ecological disasters or near-disasters.  Photos of my previous pieces are below with credit given.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the world around us.

Looming in Greenland - 22” x 40”. Adapted from photo by Lucia Ali Nielsen/Reuters.

Looming in Greenland - 22” x 40”. Adapted from photo by Lucia Ali Nielsen/Reuters.

Pele Speaks - 24” x 43”. Adapted with permission from photo by Leigh Hilbert. Depicts Hawaiian volcanic eruption and lava flow 2018.

Pele Speaks - 24” x 43”. Adapted with permission from photo by Leigh Hilbert. Depicts Hawaiian volcanic eruption and lava flow 2018.

Oil and Water - 22” x 30”. Adapted from photo by Kari Goodnough /Bloomberg/Getty Images. Depicts Deepwater Gulf Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico 2010.

Oil and Water - 22” x 30”. Adapted from photo by Kari Goodnough /Bloomberg/Getty Images. Depicts Deepwater Gulf Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico 2010.

Looking back and looking ahead.

Ever since I was old enough to understand what New Year’s Eve is all about, it has always brought about a feeling of sadness. Maybe I don’t feel ready to start a new year, maybe the ending year hasn’t been great, or maybe it’s a reminder that I’m a year older.  I’m not sure exactly why this feeling descends upon me.  The euphoric celebrations always feel forced.

This year, I’m determined to look forward to 2019 with positivity. With that in mind, I sat with my sketchbook this past week and worked on a design for a project in which I am honored to be invited to participate. I had a general idea of what I want to depict, but how to do it is another thing altogether.  I sat and contemplated, and jotted down the feelings that I want the design to impart.  I think I am well on my way to a design that will be meaningful.  This hooked piece will not be worked on for months yet, which gives me lots of time to tweak my design.  This gives me hope for the year ahead.

I also have a couple of designs already on linen to hook.  One will be very monochromatic and the other one will be filled with rich, jewel tones.  I have a substantial stash of incredible wool, hooking tools, a comfortable chair, and music in my hooking studio. These also give me hope for a good year ahead.

I hope you all have a positive year ahead. Thank you all for your friendship, your comments, and your pattern purchases.  Let’s all make 2019 the best it can be!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in counting one’s blessings of all kinds.

Snow Angel. Wool cloth strips on unbleached primitive linen foundation.

Snow Angel. Wool cloth strips on unbleached primitive linen foundation.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

This holiday time has been a busy and fun one, and isn’t over yet, so today I will just wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year ahead.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in this season, filled with many delights to see, hear, taste and experience. I hope you are savoring them all.

Night Visitor 24” x 18” The tomte is one of my favorite winter figures.  [Photo by Impact Xpozures]

Night Visitor 24” x 18” The tomte is one of my favorite winter figures. [Photo by Impact Xpozures]

Not Quite White  27” x 21”. This design is in the new book, Rug Hooking Through the Year, [©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking]

Not Quite White 27” x 21”. This design is in the new book, Rug Hooking Through the Year, [©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking]

Northern Lights à la Emily Carr,  24” x 18”

Northern Lights à la Emily Carr, 24” x 18”

All set to fly.

For most of us, this pre-holiday time is filled with stress, deadlines, and shopping lists.  I always try to avoid stress in my life, so I admit that this is not my favorite time of year.  I feel pretty good that I have finished up my homemade gifts and have mailed the ones that need to fly far away.

I was so excited to mail my friend’s Waxing Crescent rug to her.  I wrapped and boxed it up with lots of tape and then realized, thankfully not too late, that I had not taken a photo of it.  I’m so glad that I didn’t have to wrestle it back from the post office lady!

I rarely re-hook one of my patterns, but this was fun to do.  It never comes out the same way, because of the wool that I have available at the time, and maybe some changes that just seem like the right thing to do.

For those of you, who buy patterns to hook, you are always allowed to make some changes to the pattern. Maybe you want to add some special design elements to make it more personal, or maybe you want to leave out a few parts of the pattern to keep it simple.  Design credit should always be given to the original pattern designer, with changes by [you].

Be creative and have fun. Hook outside the box!

I hope your holiday time is going along well and filled with fun and special times spent with loved ones.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the gifts that are made by hand and come from the heart!

Waxing Crescent all set to fly.

Waxing Crescent all set to fly.

Ready to be boxed and taped up again!

Ready to be boxed and taped up again!

Fruitcake oddballs and woolly weirdness.

A friend came bearing fruitcake on Saturday for our annual Fruitcake Nosh.  We are the only two people that we know, who love this seasonal delicacy. Well, fruitcake can’t exactly be called delicate, because it’s heavily laden with fruits and nuts. I added brandy to mine. We had tea, talked about a wide variety of things and shared our sweet treat. Two happy oddballs.

I made some good progress on the Waxing Crescent pattern this past week. I didn’t hook every day, because of holiday-related projects and distractions, but the background is hooking up quickly. I’m using the perfect night sky wool that I bought a long time ago from The Wool Studio.  The wool is called After Hours, but I doubt Rebecca has any of it, unless she had it re-milled.  I’m determined to use up my wool, but the bins seem to remain as full as ever.  That’s really not a bad thing, just weird.

The weather has gotten COLD, which isn’t news.  It does mean that I have to plan ahead when I want to spend the day hooking in my studio, because I have to put on the heater in the morning.  I love it there listening to music as I hook away, stopping occasionally to look out the windows at the rural beauty and maybe the neighbors’ guinea fowl foraging for insects. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the quietude of the season.

Good progress on Waxing Crescent.

Good progress on Waxing Crescent.

Seeing double.

I finally got back to the hooking frame this past week.  I started with the barn owl on the Waxing Crescent pattern I’m hooking for a friend.  For some reason, the face was giving me trouble, causing me to pull out and re-hook areas.  I always download an image of the animal or other subject I’m hooking, so I can study the colors, etc.  I’m not trying to create a photographically perfect image, but rather an interpretation.

As I was fussing with it, a lightbulb went on over my head and I remembered another pattern that I have on linen, which is in the I-need-to-be-hooked queue. That one is Harvest Moon and it also has a barn owl.  Doing them both at the same time will save me from trying to remember how I hooked the first owl.

As always, my noodle bin is providing much of the wool that I’m using. As hard as I try to use up my noodles, they remain the same. Too bad that doesn’t work with money.

Meanwhile, there are Yule gifts that need to be made. They’re fun to make and offer a nice diversion from my usual obsessive rug hooking.  I tend to get lost for hours in my studio and when I look up, the afternoon is already darkening.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the variety of creative projects to complete.

Waxing Crescent owl on the left. Harvest Moon owl on the right.

Waxing Crescent owl on the left. Harvest Moon owl on the right.