Different loops, different hook.

This past week I made a decision to spend more time in my daily life doing self-healing activities.  I have felt that I need to take care of myself, a concept that many women ignore.  Women are busy being caregivers, wage earners, and household organizers.  We often forget that to be able to give our energy, we must first create and store energy.  One cannot give what one does not have.

I started taking tai chi class again after a ten-year hiatus.  This is a very centering and calming form of exercise.  I also downloaded an app on my iPad called, Calm.  I bought the one-year contract, which enables me to use all of the many features it contains: guided meditation; breath work; sleep stories; nature sounds; ambient music; and more.  And I spent time with small groups of women on two occasions this week.  This is always healing and energizing. 

Very quickly after making this conscious decision to care for myself, I had a great idea for a hooked project.  I have been struggling for ideas, which I have mentioned in previous blogs, but maybe by the simple act of relaxing and looking within, I have unblocked my creativity.  Time will tell, of course, but this is encouraging.  When I flesh out this hooking idea, I will share it.

This past week I used a different hook as I continued to crochet an afghan for the guest room.  I just felt like making one and it’s going to be pretty. The guest room is the one room in the house with lots of intermixed colors and patterns.  I sometimes call it Lucy’s room [our granddaughter] or Pat’s room [my friend who likes to come and visit]. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there when one stops to look within.  Calm. Serene. Healing. Energizing. Restorative.

The afghan is coming along.

The afghan is coming along.

I found this on Facebook and have adopted it as my new mantra.

I found this on Facebook and have adopted it as my new mantra.

This 'n' that.

This past week had three consecutive days over ninety degrees, which is called a heat wave in these parts.  It’s not even summer yet, so there will be many more of these hot days to come.  Hot days require more attention to my hens, who need lots of cool water to drink.  That means lugging pails of water out there everyday.  It's good exercise.

I also have a hen, who was attacked by a predator [the same one, I suspect, who flew away with two of my other hens and killed a third one in the pen].  She is doing well, but I need to keep an eye on her and keep her separated from the rest of the hens until she has completely healed.  I am also keeping an eye on the sky for the winged predator. Once a predator is successful, he will return.  

I’ve been seeing several deer out by the cemetery behind our house, where the original German landowner and farmer is laid to rest.  I realized that the big mulberry tree that shades that area has already ripened its berries, which are now covering the ground.  I don’t blame the deer.  Mulberries are delicious!  Speaking of our little cemetery, a great-granddaughter of Daniel Peifer [the resident of said cemetery] visited with her husband to pay her respects. I love when Daniel's kin come calling.

As for artistic projects, I did a little of this and a little of that during the week.  I worked a bit on my super secret project, which included some dyeing; I began crocheting a granny square afghan for the guest bed [just had a hankering to do granny squares]; and I started planning my “Welcome” wall hanging, which will include at least one hen in the design.

There’s a lot of beauty out there in these hot, last days of spring!

Tillie struck such a nice pose that I had to take her picture.

Tillie struck such a nice pose that I had to take her picture.

Elphaba and Lucinda enjoying a sunny day.

Elphaba and Lucinda enjoying a sunny day.

The mulberries are ripening quickly in the heat.

The mulberries are ripening quickly in the heat.

I love the delicate pink of the Evening Primrose.

I love the delicate pink of the Evening Primrose.

For a dog, who is 99% blind, Ikey gets around very well.

For a dog, who is 99% blind, Ikey gets around very well.

My Zen Pizza in situ.

My Zen Pizza in situ.

A book winner and a pizza finish.

It was a fun week reading comments on the book giveaway and tossing names into the dye pot.  This book, Designed by You: Ideas and Inspiration for Rug Hookers, by Tamara Pavich [© 2017 Ampry Publishing LLC /presented by Rug Hooking] is so full of ideas and colorful rugs by many hooking artists.  I received my RHM Book Club copy of the book, and I’m happy to also have a giveaway copy to send to lucky winner, Naomi Duval. Naomi’s comment reads, “I hope I can get this post to work.  Great blog. Great pictures. Like your designs very much.”  Thanks, Naomi!  I’ll contact you for your mailing address and send this book on its way.

I completed my large pizza with a variety of toppings.  I finished the piece by trimming the excess linen to three inches and steaming two and a half inches of it to the back of the piece, leaving one-half inch showing all around.  I then spot dyed a piece of speckled wool, which wasn’t quite brown enough.  I laid the pizza [face up] onto the backing wool, which I trimmed in a circle about one inch bigger than the pizza . I brought the wool over the edge of the linen and folded it neatly against the row of loops on the front.  Basting it in place held it nicely until I could use two strands of wool yarn [one brown and one beige] to crisscross the edge.  The beige yarn was too light, so I used a brown marker to color it a bit here and there.  I wanted it to be spotty.

Now to decide on my next project.  I do want to hook a wall hanging for the back hallway.  And I have my super secret project that I have begun. Our weather is very hot and humid, but that doesn’t seem to deter me from working with wool.  How about you? I hope you are all hooking and having fun.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in all of our wooly artistic projects.

The Zen Pizza is finished!

The Zen Pizza is finished!

An inspirational book to give away.

The good news is that I have a great book to give away.  The not-so-good news is that I don’t know how to tell you about it.  The book is, Designed By You: Ideas and Inspiration for Rug Hookers, by Tamara Pavich [© 2017 Ampry Publishing LLC / presented by Rug Hooking].

There are so many wonderful and colorful examples of how to go about planning and designing your own rug that I’m wondering where to begin.  Tamara Pavich, the book’s author, has her inspirational designs alongside those of rug hookers she admires.  Every page has color photos of rugs from the minds and hands of many talented artists.

Tamara and the other rug designers share the inspiration for their designs and give details about the nuts and bolts of getting the design from their head and onto the rug backing.  Wouldn’t you want to follow along?  Ideas – Drawing – Style – Color – Art - Materials – Story – Yourself.  Don’t you want to take the journey?  Keep reading for the how-to-enter directions.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the imaginations of rug hookers everywhere.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Designed By You: Ideas and Inspiration for Rug Hookers, by Tamara Pavich [© 2017 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 post is the teeny tiny word "comment".  Click on that to open a space to type 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, June 11th at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, June 12th , 2017.  Good luck!

Enter to win a copy of this great new book!

Enter to win a copy of this great new book!

In the kitchen.

The dye kitchen, that is.  I needed some interesting wool for the cheese on my pizza.  I had a few pieces of wool in pale yellow, which I cooked with onion skins.  Some of it came out a bit dark, but I think it will work if I blend several values. For the colorful toppings, I’ve added pepperoni, anchovies, red and green peppers, and slices of red onion. 

The hooking on the pizza is proceeding quickly, which is good, because I must get my next super secret project underway.  I know what I’m going to do, but I will need to dye some wool.  I’m trying to keep in mind the meditation card, Whirlwind, which means I need to shake things up and not just work on one thing at a time, as I usually do.

I’m also planning on hooking a narrow, vertical piece with the word, Welcome, on it for the back hallway wall.  Ugh, more lettering, which I do not enjoy, but once again, I need to shake things up here.

Crow's Foot Farm is home to dogs and chickens as well as two humans.  This past Thursday, I lost one of my sweet old biddy hens, Edith Olive.  She hurt her leg three years ago and I nursed her back to health, albeit with a permanent limp.  She just absolutely disappeared, so I assume a large varmint of some kind got into the pen and took her away.  This can lead to more brazen thefts, so we will be on the lookout for the culprit.  I think I should make a rug in Edith Olive’s honor.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in cooking with wool.

P.S.  Be sure to read my blog next Monday, when I will be doing a BOOK GIVEAWAY.  You will love this book!  In the meantime, if you haven't "Liked" my Facebook business page yet, I invite you to do so.  I'm almost to 1,000 Likes!

The pizza is well underway.  Stay tuned for how I will finish and bind when the hooking is complete.

The pizza is well underway.  Stay tuned for how I will finish and bind when the hooking is complete.

Zen pizza.

Working on my hooked pizza is the closest I’ve come to wanting to cook food.  It has been so hot and humid here in south central PA that the thought of cooking and creating more heat is out of the question. Having grown up in NJ, I should be used to hazy, hot and humid, but it’s a bit too early in the season for this.

I mentioned last week that I’m using some of my many decks of divination cards to enhance my meditation and creativity.  I had drawn three cards, which were really perfect.  Angel of Painting; Whirlwind; and Orange.  The Angel of Painting depicts my love of painting with wool, Whirlwind tells me that I need to mix things up and not be focused on one particular project, and Orange has long been my power color, which means Creative Energy.  I will meditate on these three cards until I feel I need a fresh pick. 

Starting with my pizza toppings, I cut two wools for the standing-wool pepperoni using an 8.5 cut.  One wool is dyed a dark rusty-red and the other is a plaid wool over-dyed a similar, but paler, color.  I want them a bit taller to stand out among the rest of the pizza toppings, which will be in an 8 cut.  At least, I think so at this point.  I don’t plan every detail out ahead of time.  I like to see how things look as I hook along.  It makes the journey fun.

I finished my Resistance Rug #1 this past week.  I whipped it with a charcoal grey wool yarn with white slubs in it.  It’s a Lopi yarn, which is my favorite yarn for whipping.  It has a soft twist and fuzziness, which might not appeal to everyone, but with experience, we each find what works best.  As always, I used cotton clothesline to give the edge a nice fullness. 

I just put this rug pattern on the SHOP page of my website.  There will be another Resistance Rug in the near future.  

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a variety of design projects.

My three cards and the zen pizza.  The pepperoni are finished and hand-sewn in place.

My three cards and the zen pizza.  The pepperoni are finished and hand-sewn in place.

If you'd like to hook your own Resistance Rug, this pattern is now available on the SHOP page of my website.

If you'd like to hook your own Resistance Rug, this pattern is now available on the SHOP page of my website.

Filling a creative void.

You know how “they” say you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry, because you’ll buy everything in sight?  Well, the same might be said for rug hooking.  I had just cut into this pretty and colorful pizza, when I had to grab my iPad to take a photo.  I knew I had to represent this pizza in a hooked rug piece.

A while ago, I made another hooked pizza, which was actually in the June/July/August 2016 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine.  I had such fun hooking that one with the standing wool pepperoni.  I gave that one away in a mat swap and it left me feeling hungry.  A few of my friends are very tired of hearing me whine about that pizza, so I’m sure they will be happy to know that I’m going to hook a replacement.

The super secret rug that I will be starting soon is also food oriented.  Is there a theme emerging or am I just hungry?

I thought I would be finished with the hooking of my Resistance Rug #1this past week, but I didn’t quite accomplish it.  One thing I dislike to hook is lettering.  It’s not so much hooking the letters as hooking around the letters.  But with perseverance, I will finish this rug this week. 

Looking to amp up my creative juices, I brought out my many decks of divination cards and I’ve started using them again as meditation tools.  By drawing one card from several decks and meditating on them to find a thread of meaning that runs through them, I can form a creative narrative.  It’s hard to put into words, so maybe I’ll try to say it better next week with some photo examples.

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

My dinner that inspired the design for a future hooked piece.

My dinner that inspired the design for a future hooked piece.

This is my original hooked pizza that I gave away.  It looks pretty yummy.

This is my original hooked pizza that I gave away.  It looks pretty yummy.

Here's a black and white photo of Resistance Rug #1.  Almost finished.....

Here's a black and white photo of Resistance Rug #1.  Almost finished.....

Feeling Earth bound.

Sunny and cloudy mountains, a vineyard, a downtown full of unique restaurants and shops, some sips of Lithia water, and grandparents’ day at granddaughter Lucy’s school = my time in southern Oregon.  My trip went by much too fast.

It’s wonderful to get away and also wonderful to return home. This week I hope to finish my Resistance Rug #1.  I found some embellishments for Resistance Rug #2 while I was away, so finishing that rug comes next.  Then what?  I have some ideas for a series of Earth rugs, which I need to bring forth. Sometimes designs give life to themselves and an artist is just the conduit. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there.

I never tire of looking at Grizzly Peak.  Here it is as a storm approaches. The sky had an eerie yellow cast to it.

I never tire of looking at Grizzly Peak.  Here it is as a storm approaches. The sky had an eerie yellow cast to it.

While enjoying a bit of Oregon's grape we witnessed a controlled burn on the mountains.

While enjoying a bit of Oregon's grape we witnessed a controlled burn on the mountains.

I love to see the organized rows of grape vines. Oregon's climate makes for some delicious grapes and wines made from them.

I love to see the organized rows of grape vines. Oregon's climate makes for some delicious grapes and wines made from them.

The town of Ashland is known for its natural lithia water springs. It does come with a warning, however.

The town of Ashland is known for its natural lithia water springs. It does come with a warning, however.

The lithia water public fountains are always bubbling. Lithia water has a sulfurous taste.  Not pleasant, but worth a try.

The lithia water public fountains are always bubbling. Lithia water has a sulfurous taste.  Not pleasant, but worth a try.

Going to my happy place.

I’m flying to Oregon today to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and adorable granddaughter, Lucy.  I can’t wait to see them.  Spending almost a week out there is worth the forever-long trip each way.  Three flights on United!  Isn’t (or wasn’t) their motto, Fly the Friendly Skies of United?  One can only hope.

Oregon is such a beautiful place with a variety of ecosystems.  I will share some of the sights and adventures with you next Monday unless, of course, I don’t take any photos.  I prefer to enjoy the sights without the layer of a camera lens in the way, but we shall see. 

I have hooked a bit more on Resistance Rug #1.  I like how it’s going.  There will be a border around it with wording, so there will be more to share as I go along.  I’m not rushing through this rug.  Actually, the monochromatic background is tricky.  I have an app on my iPad that takes black and white photos (bwCamera is the name of it) and I’ve been using that to take photos of the rug as I go along. It helps me see where I have to make corrections and how the values are working to create contrast.

I am proud to say that I know an Earth Warrior, who marched in Washington DC in support of the importance of Science and the health of our planet.  I think that deserves a rug design and I will be thinking on that.

There’s a lot of beauty out there on this planet we call, Mother Earth.

This will be my view when I get to my son's home later today.  Grizzly Peak, Ashland, Oregon.

This will be my view when I get to my son's home later today.  Grizzly Peak, Ashland, Oregon.

I'm making headway on Resistance Rug #1.  More hooking and changes to come.

I'm making headway on Resistance Rug #1.  More hooking and changes to come.

Two names pulled from the dye pot.

TWO lucky winners this week!  The new book, Needle Felted Tapestries by Neysa Russo [©2017 Stackpole Books] elicited entries from many hopeful fiber enthusiasts, whose names were added to the dye pot.  The two winners are Laura S., who said, “This looks interesting. My felting experience is limited, so should be good.” And Connie B., who commented, “That sounds like it would be so much fun and bring out the creative juices in all of us.”  Congratulations to you both.  I’ll email you for your mailing addresses.

Fiber folks are a curious bunch, who love to learn new techniques.  This book will give them many exciting ideas.  Thanks to Stackpole Books for the giveaways.

I’ve continued to make progress on my Resistance Rug #1, which depicts Dorothy and Toto looking out over the new American landscape.  Contrary to Dorothy’s experience of landing in Oz, where everything is in dazzling color, this landscape is all in shades of black and white.  What to make of it? 

I’m hooking another rug titled, Resistance Rug #2, which I will show at a later date.  So far, the hooking is progressing well, but I want to add elements to it and that will take some time to ponder.

A third piece that I’m about to begin is another “super secret rug”.  I know this is worthy of a sigh and a shoulder shrug, because I can only mention it and not show it.  This means that I need to start something that I can hook and show as I go along.  My supply of hooking mojo is still somewhat low, but with determination I shall persevere and come up with a new design.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in fiber in all of its forms.

Two wooly book winners. Congratulations!

Two wooly book winners. Congratulations!

Another book giveaway!

Yes, it’s true. I love doing book giveaways and there are so many exciting new books on the market!

I’m going to give away TWO copies of the just released new book titled, Needle Felted Tapestries by Neysa Russo [© 2017 Stackpole Books]. For those of you who love to needle felt and those who would love to learn how, this is a book filled with designs, ideas, and all the practical information you need.

In her book, Neysa has included not only how-to information on her variety of two- and three-dimensional projects, but she also gives directions on how to wet felt wool and exactly what tools you need. She even suggests how you can make some of the tools to make your projects picture perfect.

The designs and projects in this book are really charming.  Neysa gets some of her inspiration from antique textiles, samplers, embroidery, needlepoint, and Middle East rug designs. I can imagine many of them not only as needle felted pieces, but also as hooked rugs.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the creative designs and needle felted process of Neysa Russo.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have TWO copies of Needle Felted Tapestries- Make Your Own Woolen Masterpieces, by Neysa Russo [©2017 Stackpole Books] to give away.  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post on my website.  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, April 23, 2017 at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, April 24, 2017. Good luck!

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

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

Progress in West Virginia.

This past weekend I was in West Virginia at Susan Feller’s Retreat Into the Mountains. This was Susan’s tenth anniversary of hosting a group of rug hookers for a weekend of learning, sharing, and inspiration.  I drove down with the other two Maggie’s Meyvns. Rug hookers don’t travel light, so my Forester was filled to the gills.

This weekend is set in a beautiful woodsy area with a rushing stream and trails to walk into the woods.  It is a perfect place for reflection and recharging the creative batteries.  Thank you, Susan, for another wonderful visit to your part of the world.

I took my Resistance Rug to work on.  I had already hooked Dorothy and Toto in color and left the background to work on while there.  The background will be done in monochromatic black and white, the opposite of what Dorothy discovered when she arrived in Oz.  I am posting a photo of it below with a caveat to “enter at your own risk”.  My political viewpoint is really not so radical, just another way to look at the new reality in our country.  I will post more from the Retreat Into the Mountains next Monday.

Also next Monday, I will be doing another book giveaway.  Really!  This is another brand new book from Stackpole Books, so be sure to read my blog then and add a comment to it.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and the rural mountains of West Virginia.

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Many hours of hooking produced the beginning of the background.  I also hooked lots on my second Resistance Rug, which I will share in a few weeks or so.

Many hours of hooking produced the beginning of the background.  I also hooked lots on my second Resistance Rug, which I will share in a few weeks or so.

A book winner and why "Art is more than just pretty pictures".

What a great response to my giveaway of the new book, Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns by Tracy Jamar [© 2017 Stackpole Books].  This is truly an exiting book and I know the lucky winner will be as inspired by it as I have been.  It has given me a creative idea for my next super secret rug.

The winner is [drum roll please…] CINDY, who said, “Looks like an exciting fiber book. Thanks for the opportunity to win!  Congratulations, Cindy, I will contact you for your mailing address and have this book sent your way.

I have hooked more of my Resistance Rug and will do the background at Susan Feller’s Retreat Into the Mountains [WV] this coming weekend. I’m looking forward to this relaxing and rejuvenating weekend spent with other creative rug hookers.

Apparently, posting a photo of my Resistance Rug on one Facebook rug hooking group may have offended some people and it was taken off.  I’m not upset by that, just disappointed. and a bit confused.  “Art is more than just pretty pictures”, as I often have said.  I actually think my Resistance Rug is pretty attractive.

One example of this is Picasso’s, Guernica [1937], which I saw many years ago in NYC.  It is probably Picasso's most famous work and political statement.  It was painted in response to the Nazi's devastating bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The tortured figures of both humans and animals create a very disturbing and chaotic scene. The large size of this piece [11'5" tall and 25'6" wide] makes the viewer become part of it. I’ve never forgotten standing in front of it and the effect it had on me.

I will show more of my Resistance Rug in a week or two with a caveat for those easily offended. For those of you with a sense of humor, I do want to give a link to the incredibly creative fiber work of Salley Mavor, who has also ventured into the political arena with her Wee Folk Players. Visit her website for a world of her small handmade folks. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in using one’s Art to make a statement.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing.  I actually have ANOTHER BOOK to giveaway in a week or two, so stay tuned.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing.  I actually have ANOTHER BOOK to giveaway in a week or two, so stay tuned.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso 1937.  Black, gray, and white oil painting on canvas.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso 1937.  Black, gray, and white oil painting on canvas.

Another fantastic book giveaway!

A new book by Tracy Jamar, Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns [© 2017 Stackpole Books] is out and it is filled with amazing eye candy and projects to up your rug hooking/fiber craft game!

The title says it all. Tracy shows you how to use these varied techniques to add interest, depth and excitement to your fiber projects. I personally love her coiled and standing wool projects. The instructions are all in the book and I can’t wait to get started. But then I flip the page to a shirred project and I am smitten again. And mixed techniques, too. Tracy also includes a gallery of incredible work by other fiber artists. These photos are sure to inspire you. I love this book!

If you would like to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this book, you have until noon on Sunday.  Good luck and thanks to Stackpole Books for offering this giveaway book.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the creative fiber techniques of Tracy Jamar.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a copy of Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns by
Tracy Jamar [© 2017 Stackpole Books] to give away.  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my website.  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, April 2, 2017 at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, April 3, 2017. Good luck!

Enter to win this excellent new book.

Enter to win this excellent new book.

Hook-in inspiration.

Saturday was the annual Woolwrights’ hook-in.  As always it was a fun, well-run and inspiring event.  Thanks to all the members of the Woolwrights group, who worked hard to make it a great day.

There were many excellent vendors, so the first order of the day for me was to shop!  Although I didn’t have a particular future design in mind, I managed to buy some beautiful dyed wool from Jan Cole, The Wool n’ Gardener.  I also bought a new Hartman prim hook from the Green Mountain vendors, because I have actually worn down the end of the one I’ve used for years.  The new hook is identical to the old one, so it has a wonderful, familiar feel to it.

It was great to finally meet Lori Brechlin and her daughter, Hannah, in person.  Facebook is great for making virtual friends, but there is no substitute for the real thing.  I’m looking forward to seeing Lori at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week this coming August.

I actually did some hooking on a new, possibly controversial, project.  I think I have to get several of these designs out of my mind and onto linen.  Maybe that will unleash my creativity again.

Below are a few photos of the hook-in.  I did take pictures of some of the rugs on display, but I didn’t note the name of the hookers/designers, so I am not sharing them here.  I am not a big picture-taker, because I prefer to experience things “in the moment”

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a room filled with happy rug hookers.

The beginning of my new design. More to follow.

The beginning of my new design. More to follow.

Lin Keller, a quilter and rug hooker, finished her log cabin design rug. Isn't it gorgeous?  It looks like sunlight is streaming across it.

Lin Keller, a quilter and rug hooker, finished her log cabin design rug. Isn't it gorgeous?  It looks like sunlight is streaming across it.

There was an abundance of dyed wool at this hook-in.

There was an abundance of dyed wool at this hook-in.

More eye candy...

More eye candy...

These colors are so exciting and chase away any residual winter blues.

These colors are so exciting and chase away any residual winter blues.

A book winner announced and a project finished.

There was a large and enthusiastic response to my giveaway for the book, Hooked Carpetbags, Handbags & Totes (© 2017 Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking Magazine).  It seems that I am not the only one who wants to make something beautiful and practical.

As always, the names were put into the dye pot, shuffled around profusely, and the lucky winner was pulled out.  It’s Estelle Vickery, who commented, “The very book I need. The hooking is easy, it’s the finishing part that intimidates me.”

Congratulations, Estelle, I will contact you for your mailing address and get this book on its way to you. Get ready to start creating all sorts of bags.

I showed the beginnings of my iPad carry case a couple of weeks ago and I’m delighted to say that it is finished.  I got a lot of hooking done on it while I was away at a quilters’ retreat (every gathering needs a few good hookers) and finished it up when I got home. The leather strap and the magnetic closure that I had bought a couple of years ago worked out perfectly.  Now Tinkerbell2 (my iPad) will travel in style.

As happy as I am to have completed the carry case, I now have to design another project.  I’m still struggling with getting my mojo back. I guess this happens to artistic types, but this has gone on way too long. I need a visit from the Muse! I will be reaching out to Her this week. Maybe she needs more chocolate.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the enthusiasm of rug hookers everywhere.

Here's the "day" side of Tinkerbell's carry case and the beautiful Harris Tweed wool that I used for the lining.

Here's the "day" side of Tinkerbell's carry case and the beautiful Harris Tweed wool that I used for the lining.

Tinkerbell showing off the "night" side of her carry case.

Tinkerbell showing off the "night" side of her carry case.

A book giveaway and a secret revealed.

There’s a great new book out that is filled with thirteen amazing rug hooking projects.  It’s titled, Hooked Carpetbags, Handbags & Totes, presented by Rug Hooking Magazine and published by Ampry Publishing LLC. 

The range of bags makes this book perfect for the beginner or seasoned rug hooker. Whether you want to replicate the designer’s bag or use it as a stepping off point for a design of your own, the instructions will help you turn your hooking into something useful and beautiful.

The designers included are Ali Strebel, Nola Heidbreder, Linda Pietz, Jennifer O’Malley, Norma Batastini, Sharon A. Smith, Cindy Irwin, Susan Clarke, and Jen Manuell. Each of these women has given her own creative spin on a bag that would be fun to make and carry. And I'm proud to know Kathleen Eckhaus, who photographed the finished bags for this book! See below for how to enter to win this book!

I received the latest issue of Rug Hooking Magazine [March/April/May 2017] and I can finally reveal one of my super secret rugs. My Aesop fable rug, The Golden Egg, is featured. I had so much fun hooking this piece and including some “other” fibers and techniques.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a copy of Hooked Carpetbags, Handbags & Totes [© 2017 Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking Magazine] to give away.  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my websiteBe 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, March 12th at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, March 13, 2017. Good luck!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in hooking something fun, beautiful and useful.

Enter to win this excellent new book!

Enter to win this excellent new book!

The Golden Egg is featured in the March/April/May '17 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine. Pattern available on my Shop page.

The Golden Egg is featured in the March/April/May '17 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine. Pattern available on my Shop page.

What's in a name?

I don’t know about you, but I like to name inanimate objects that I rely upon. My car is named BC (Big Car), my GPS is Tiffany Amber, my old iPad is Tinkerbell, and my new iPad is Tinkerbell2. Is that weird? I don’t think so.

I just bought Tinkerbell2 and decided to hook a nice carry case for her. I had bought a long leather strap for a purse that I planned to make a couple of years ago, but never got around to it, so now is the time to use it for Tinkerbell2. I’m a big fan of making something useful. I have enough rolled up rugs in my studio closet, thank you very much.

Since Tinkerbell is a fairy, I designed a case with a woodland theme. I have wanted to do toadstools for a while, so this will satisfy that urge. The case will be folded up from the bottom and one side will be nighttime and the other daytime.  I’ll keep the whole thing simple and childlike. I have a beautiful piece of Harris Tweed for the inside. I’ll show more photos when it’s closer to being finished.

I’m heading off to a quilting retreat in a few days. I am not a quilter, but these ladies were nice to allow a few of us hookers to join in the fun. It will be a relaxing two days to hook, meet new friends, and maybe make a couple of new rug hooking converts. No harm in trying.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in creating something useful for something named Tinkerbell.

I'm ready with my simple design and some wool choices. Should be a fun project! 

I'm ready with my simple design and some wool choices. Should be a fun project! 

This is what I see when I flip open my iPad cover. Hi, Tink!

This is what I see when I flip open my iPad cover. Hi, Tink!

Old dog. New tricks.

I was going to wait to bind my Snow Angel mat at the Woolwrights hook-in next month, but I needed something to work on this week.  I decided to crochet the wool yarn around the edges and then do something more to suggest snowflakes. 

I single crocheted around it just fine, but when I tried to do the “fancy” stitches, I had a heck of a time.  I must have started, ripped out, and restarted ten times.  What a pain!  I finally finished it and had to say, “Good enough”.  Not every thing I hook is a masterpiece. 

It did reinforce the fact that I love binding using cotton clothes line.  It gives a really nice neat finish.  I’ve posted a photo below of a previous rug being bound this way.  I’m a believer that if you find something that works, stick with it.  I’m an old dog.

Now it’s time to find a new rug to hook.  As always, I do have a super secret rug to design, but I need something I can show as I work on it.  I have an idea and will try to get it started this week.

A good friend visited me this past weekend.  She moved away, so it was great to see her and we spent some fun times running around to our favorite local haunts.  Now it’s time to get back to work.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in spending time with an old friend.

The completed Snow Angel rug with its fancy edging.

The completed Snow Angel rug with its fancy edging.

This is my preferred method of binding.  The linen edge is rolled over cotton clothes line, basted in place and then whipped with wool yarn.

This is my preferred method of binding.  The linen edge is rolled over cotton clothes line, basted in place and then whipped with wool yarn.

Creating color.

This was a good week for finishing my super secret project.  I dyed three beautiful pieces of wool with what I call the Primary Dye Job.  It’s a succession of dyeing the wool first blue, then red, and then yellow.  You end up with an amazing piece of wool with not only the primary colors, but also the secondary colors.  What a fun way to dye.  I have posted a photo of the back of my project.

Also this week was the opening of an art show at the Perry County Council of the Arts Gallery in Newport PA.  The theme is “Off the Page”, featuring pieces inspired by books, poetry and other writings.  I entered two of my Aesop Fables pieces: The Fox and the Crow and The Fox and the Grapes.  The opening reception was on Friday night and a nice sized group of interested people showed up.

I’m saving the binding of my Snow Angel rug to do at the Woolwrights Hook-In next month. This hook-in is lots of fun and such a busy day filled with seeing friends, networking and shopping.  I like taking something that doesn’t require much thinking or the lugging of lots of equipment, so binding a rug is perfect.

My home is always filled with hearts, and below are some photos of them in honor of St. Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  I “heart” hearts!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the heart of my home.

The back of my super secret project showing the Primary Dye Job.

The back of my super secret project showing the Primary Dye Job.

The Fox and the Crow.

The Fox and the Crow.

The Fox and the Grapes.

The Fox and the Grapes.

A heart quilt hooked piece.

A heart quilt hooked piece.

More hearts because I love them!

More hearts because I love them!