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!

Letting off steam.

Recently on Facebook, I posted a photo of one of my rugs and a rug hooker commented that she wished her loops could be as even as mine.  I felt that I had to confess and tell her that my loops are definitely not even, but that a really good steam pressing can help a lot.

I finished hooking my Snow Angel mat this week and I thought I could use it as an example of what my lumpy bumpy loops look like before and after a steam pressing.   I’m sure many rug hookers have their own favorite way to do this important step before binding, but this is how I do it.

I use the countertop on my kitchen island.  It is granite, but I’m sure another counter surface could work just as well or maybe even a bathroom tile floor.  An old beach towel is laid on the countertop and then I lay the rug with the back side up.  I take a white bath towel, wet it with cold water and wring it out.  The bath towel is laid over the rug and then I begin steaming with my iron.  The iron is placed on the bath towel, pressed down hard for about ten seconds, lifted and moved to the next area until the whole rug has been steamed.  I’m standing on a step stool at this point, so I can get good downward pressure.

The bath towel is removed and the beach towel, too.  I let the rug stay on the countertop for several hours until it feels pretty dry and then I flip the rug over and repeat this process on the top side of the rug.  In the photos below you can see the before and after difference.  It’s not perfect, but definitely better in the “after” photo.  The photos are not the best, but I tried to take them at the same distance and angle.  You can decide if my steam method makes a difference.

I have some ideas for the binding of this rug and maybe another fiber addition, so stay tuned.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in taking the time to finish one’s rug properly.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

A Rooster, a Dog, and a super secret project.

This past week I began my super secret project.  I started out slowly by dyeing some dark and mysterious wool for the background and drawing the design on linen.  I was going to stop there, but I got drawn into it and excited to see some early results.  This project will have a couple of different techniques in it and my beginning is looking good.  I wanted to keep going and it’s a good thing I did, because the deadline is approaching and I will need to take it to a photographer for some good photos.

It’s so hard to do a secret project and not be able to show photos of it as I work along.  This won’t be unveiled until August when it, and the other ones in the project, will be hung in the Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week show in Ohio. 

I hosted my Breakfast Club ladies this past Friday.  I always love a theme and this time it was a Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rooster.  Do you know what your Chinese zodiac animal is?  It depends on the year in which you were born.  I’m a Dog, which is perfect for me, who loves dogs and has four at the moment.  I’d love to adopt another, but I’m trying to be practical.

I found some great black and white graphics of the zodiac animals and printed out each friend’s animal and framed it.  It’s traditionally good luck to give money in a red envelope on the New Year, so I made envelopes and put a “dollar bill” chocolate bar in each one.   I love doing these details.  I served a chicken recipe and others brought some delicious potluck food to share.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful group of women friends and look forward to our gatherings each month.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the company of good friends.

The table is set for my Chinese New Year breakfast.

The table is set for my Chinese New Year breakfast.

A fun dye job for my super secret project.  I might use some of this vivid pink in the design, too.

A fun dye job for my super secret project.  I might use some of this vivid pink in the design, too.

A fork in the road.

As Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  We all experience times when our plans are moving along nicely in a forward direction and then something or some things happen and we have to make a detour. 

I had planned on getting lots of hooking done on my Snow Angel mat, but that didn’t happen.  I did tweak it a bit with a thin line of dusky lavender hooking between the sky and the snow, which I think helps it a lot.  And I hooked more snow, using a wider cut and lighter tint as I move down to the foreground.   I think it adds interest to use different widths of strips in a piece.  The deadline for this mat is far in the future, so I’m not worried about finishing it.

Instead of hooking, I found myself sitting with a pair of knitting needles and two shades of pink yarn as I knitted furiously to complete five pink hats for friends attending the Women’s Marches in DC and Philadelphia.  It was a way for me to do my small part in this important event.  Not everyone was in favor of these hats, but they worked to create unity among those marching.

Another fork in the road was hearing that a good friend had to have emergency surgery.  I got out my big stockpot and proceeded to make her some chicken soup just like my mother used to make.  I haven’t made it in a number of years, but it’s like riding a bike.   I hope it will bring her warmth and comfort.

I’m hoping for some actual wintery weather with snow.  We have had unusually warm weather recently.  But there’s still February, which can bring the white stuff around here.

There’s a lot of beauty out there on life’s pathways, wherever they lead us.

A bit of progress on Snow Angel.

A bit of progress on Snow Angel.

A few of my favorite things.

Winter scenes. Hooking a sunset or sunrise sky.  Hooking snow. 

I have begun hooking my Snow Angel piece for the Magdalena Rug Hookers group project.  I might not be the only one doing a snow angel design and, if so, it will be fun to see how we each interpret it.

I think the best pieces of wool in my stash are the spot-dyed ones that I have dyed or bought.  The random splashes of color make any hooked rug interesting to look at.  I’ve used many spot-dyed noodles in this sky.  As we all know, it doesn’t matter how many noodles/worms we use, it doesn’t make a dent in the supply on hand.  It’s one of the great mysteries of rug hooking.

This Snow Angel piece isn’t very big, just 16” x 22”, so I should be finished in a week or so.  At that point I will explain how I block and finish my rugs and what a big difference a good blocking can make.  This was a suggested topic by Lucy Richard of Wooly Mason Jar fame and I’m happy to do it. 

I’ve written about how I bind the edges of most of my rugs.  If you’re interested, you can read that blog here.

I’ll be starting on my next super secret rug any day now.  I feel the deadline looming.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in hooking a few of my favorite things.

A sunset sky and snow wool for the Snow Angel mat.

A sunset sky and snow wool for the Snow Angel mat.

Background check.

Well, plaid, actually.  I’ve been hooking on my New Years Underfoot rug and I’m more than halfway finished.  This rug is 99.5% background.  Do you like doing backgrounds?  I don’t mind it, although I usually have “things” in the background, which make it more interesting.

I’m using a muted plaid here and cutting it in a wide #8.5 cut.  I love this cut for showing off the colors in the wool.  In this plaid, the strips are a muted yellow, blue, tan or orange, which add lots of interest and movement.  My usual background technique is to outline random odd shapes and then fill them in.  The shapes look best if they’re not too small and fussy.  There is also a sense of accomplishment as each shape is filled in.  Small goals, I know, but I’ll take what I can get.

I did manage to dye several shades of blue-green wool for snow and a nice piece of flesh-colored wool using Lucy Richards’ Wooly Mason Jar dye system.  Her system is all thought out for me, which is a huge help.  Thanks, Lucy!  The snow wool is for my Snow Angel mat and the flesh colored wool is for a super secret project. 

Speaking of snow, I have an article in the current Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine about the color of snow at night and the Purkinje effect.  If you don’t get the magazine (I recommend it highly!), you can go to Rug Hooking Magazine’s website and find my article there.  It’s titled, The Night Visitor.

Yes, the Muse has arrived and has goosed me into action.  I have several rugs to hook that have deadlines, so I’d better get busy!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in hooking a useful rug for those snowy shoes and boots by the back door.

The background wool before and after hooking.

The background wool before and after hooking.

The Night Visitor pattern is now available on the Shop page of my website.

The Night Visitor pattern is now available on the Shop page of my website.

A New Year underfoot.

Another year has ended and I’m hoping for the best for the New Year.  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I usually do, but I think this year I’ll just focus on rug hooking and try to avoid current events.  I’ll call this my Year of the Ostrich. 

I had planned on dyeing some snow wool for my Snow Angel pattern last week, but that didn’t happen.  I had a friend here for the Christmas holiday and we were out and about a lot and didn’t sit still long enough to work on artistic projects except for a bit of sock knitting in the evenings.

We did visit the Family Heirloom Weavers in Red Lion, PA.  I have bought numerous beautifully made woven coverlets, blankets, table runners, and pillows from them.  Their products are the real deal and made with historical accuracy of the patterns. The quality of their goods is far and above that of foreign-made knock-offs.  They also have ventured into a more contemporary look to expand their customer base. 

After my friend left for home, I decided I need a skinny rug to go by the back door for boots and shoes that are not worn inside the house.  I consider this a “utility” rug, since it’s for a purpose and not just for pretty.  This rug is 12” x 45” and features footprints of chickens and dogs.  I could have added the footprints of other Crow's Foot Farm critters like deer, groundhogs, skunks, foxes and coyotes, but I wanted to keep it simple.

Another utility project will be knitting several pairs of heavy socks for people to put on when they leave their shoes or boots by the back door.  I like guests to be cozy and comfortable here. 

As we say goodbye to 2016, I want to thank you all for reading and commenting on my weekly blog, for joining in my book giveaways, and for your pattern orders this past year.  I wish you and yours all the very best in 2017. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the promise of a New Year ahead.

The first few footprints have been hooked in the hall runner.

The first few footprints have been hooked in the hall runner.

A star, an angel, and the colors of snow.

I finished the small piece called, Primitive Star, to top an antique box belonging to my hubby.  The photo below makes the box look greener than it does in person.  This small project filled some of my time while I awaited a visit from the Muse.

Ms. Muse took her sweet time, but she has shown herself and offered a bit of inspiration for the Magdalena Rug Hookers group angel project that I want to do.  I love winter and snow scenes, so I opted to do a snow angel.  I have another idea for an angel rug that I might also hook.  I need hooking projects to keep me busy and out of trouble!  Because I’ve been busily preparing for the holidays, I will share the angel design with you next time.  It’s on linen, but that’s all I’ve done so far.  I will need to dye some wool for the snow.  Snow isn’t just white, but has shadows and reflections in many tints. 

I have an article and a hooked project in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine.  It’s a winter design depicting the Swedish Tomte trudging through a snowy field at night.  Does the snow look blue to you at night under the light of the moon?  My article describes why.  The Night Visitor has been mailed to my sweet granddaughter, Lucy, in Oregon. I hope she likes it!

I’m enjoying a visit from a friend, who recently moved out of state.  We have many fun plans to fill the days she is here.  I hope you all are having a happy and busy holiday season.  I’m looking forward to 2017 with some trepidation, but will hope for the best.

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

The Night Visitor, 18" x 24"  © Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC  This pattern is now available on the Shop page!

The Night Visitor, 18" x 24"  © Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC  This pattern is now available on the Shop page!

Primitive Star in situ.

Primitive Star in situ.

A book winner, honoring the Muse, and expecting a holiday guest.

There were great comments from many of you hoping to win the new book, Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers by Gail Dufresne [© 2016 Ampry Publishing LLC /presented by Rug Hooking].  As always, the names went into the dye pot and a winning name was pulled out.

Congratulations to lucky winner, Phyllis C., who commented: ” What a generous offer to win a great book. Thank Ms. Crow’s Foot!”  I will pop the book into the mail today and with luck, it will get to you in time to go under your Christmas tree.

I’ve been spending time at my altar to the Muse.  I think she is slowly waking up.  I’m picturing a design for my angel rug for my rug hooking group project.  I even have two ideas and there will be enough time to do both, if I’m so moved.  I will share the design in a week or two.

January will bring a daily hooking spree as I continue in Wanda Kerr’s SPARK group project.  Having to produce a small hooking every day and building on it throughout the month should be fun and also a great way to keep inspired.  I need inspiration!

A friend will be here over the Christmas holiday and I’m excited about seeing her.  We have a small blue spruce tree in the dry sink [with four male dogs, this is the ideal place for a tree] and it is decorated with the 100+ year-old German glass ornaments that I inherited from my paternal granny.  I broke one as I was hanging them, but that’s pretty normal.  The glass is incredibly thin and delicate.

All good wishes to you for a happy and healthy holiday season however you choose to celebrate!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in daily inspirations.

I'm glad the Muse has shown herself, because I was about to eat the chocolate myself!

I'm glad the Muse has shown herself, because I was about to eat the chocolate myself!

The tree in it's annual dog-proof spot.

The tree in it's annual dog-proof spot.

Fancy Fibers - book giveaway!

I love doing book giveaways and this time it’s a really fun one titled, Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers: sparkle/shine/texture by Gail Dufresne [ © 2016 Ampry Publishing LLC / presented by Rug Hooking ]. 

Are you ready to up your rug hooking game?  Add sparkle and shine and alternative materials?  This book is filled with ideas and color photos of many rugs, wall hangings, and 3D projects by dozens of fiber artists.

Many techniques are covered such as: beading; trapunto; standing wool circles; proddy; and needle felting, to name just some of them.  This is a book filled with inspiration!

If you would like to have your name entered in the dye pot for a chance to win this book, please comment on this blog post by noon [EST] on Sunday, December 18th.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a copy of Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers by Gail Dufresne [© Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking] 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 with your email 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, December 18th at Noon [EST].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, December 19th, 2016.  This book might be under your Christmas tree!  Good luck!

This book might find itself under your Christmas tree!

This book might find itself under your Christmas tree!

Primitive star.

I’ve always said that I hook with primitive (wider) cuts of wool, but I’m not a primitive designer.  My designs have been dubbed “prim-phisticated”.  I prefer to create a context for my design elements and not leave them floating in space.

My hubby requested a hooked piece to sit atop an old, small, painted trunk and he wants it to look old.  Primitive hooked designs look simple to me, but I’m finding that they are not.  I chose a simple star design backed by four areas of hit-or-miss.  I’m determined to use up some of my vast supply of noodles.  I should be able to dig out enough strips in primitive colors to hook up this 13” x 19” piece. 

I’m doing this small project while I await a visit from the Muse.  She did drop by to suggest a design for the super secret rug I’m doing for a group project.  I’m excited to get going on it, but cannot show it here until next August. 

Now that Thanksgiving is over and my trip to Connecticut has been made, I will have more time to focus on rug hooking.  I might set up an altar to the Muse to entice her to come and visit for a while.  I will give some thought to what I should put on it and share it with you soon.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the anticipation of an otherworldly visit.

Hooking on my prim star on International Rug Hooking Day.

Hooking on my prim star on International Rug Hooking Day.

Thanksgiving and giving thanks.

This past week was busy with the multi-day Thanksgiving festivities here.  Although we had a small gathering this year the amount of work is just the same.  I’m not crazy about cooking, but I do love leftovers!

Even in these tumultuous times, it’s not difficult for me to find things for which I am thankful.  I am thankful for the beautiful countryside in which I live and the panoramic views of hills and valleys.  I’m thankful for the ability to spend time designing and hooking rugs and having the freedom to spend my days doing whatever pleases me.  I have enough in my life and “enough” is all that I need.

In a couple of days, I'll be taking a trip to Connecticut to help a friend organize her new apartment.  Yes, I’m the friend who is quite OCD and organized and who enjoys using those qualities to help out.  I like things in their place and that place to be where it is most convenient.  We will start in the kitchen and arrange things to make an efficient workspace.

I’m still between hooking projects.  I think this is the longest dry spell I’ve had in recent years.  The muse is sure to visit and tap me on the shoulder.  In the meantime, I have to be patient and sensitive to creative feelings that are often mere whispers.

There’s a lot of beauty out there to be thankful for every day.

Looking west.

Looking west.

Stack o' Jacks photo op.

This past week was difficult, but with determination to keep moving forward, I finished this latest piece, Stack o’ Jacks. I designed this on commission for a friend and I really enjoyed hooking it in a painterly style.  The blue gourd is my favorite, but the others have a variety of colors and strip widths to give them character.  Using colors that don’t all “go together” adds excitement and interest.

I used a beautiful dark blue wool for the background, but felt that it needed just a bit of something in the upper left corner, so I inserted some “confetti” using wool in a lighter blue value.  It helps to balance the design and keeps the eye traveling around the piece.

The bittersweet in the lower area of the design was done by using a bright school bus yellow wool in a wide cut and then doing French knots with a dull orange yarn.  I love how it came out.  This is a wall hanging so adding other techniques is possible, because it won’t be subjected to foot traffic.  Or cat claws.  Sabrina the cat lives where this wall hanging will call home.

I will get this design added to the Shop page of my website very soon.  It can be ordered before then by contacting me through my website.

I’m up in the air about what to hook next.  I am struggling with my design for the super secret rug.  I have an idea, but am not sure how to depict it.  This is providing me with some good brain stimulation.  And maybe a few sleepless hours in the middle of the night, but that's nothing new.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in moving forward when life is difficult.

Stack o' Jacks finished with a simple whipped edge.

Stack o' Jacks finished with a simple whipped edge.

A close up of the bittersweet.

A close up of the bittersweet.

Out of order.

Yes, I am out of order thanks (or no thanks) to the recent USA presidential election.  This has affected me more than I had expected.  Because of this, I didn’t get as much hooking done as I had hoped.  I did finish the Stack o’ Jacks hooking, but it needs to be steamed and bound.  Maybe it will be ready for its final photo op next Monday.  Maybe.  I’ve given up predicting things, but am just going with the flow and working my way through it.

I am now designing a super-secret rug, so that needs to be kept under wraps.  I will find something else to design and start hooking, so I will have something to share with you.

So, stick with me and I will be back in order soon with a new project to blog about. Wait, is this a prediction?

There’s a lot of beauty out there if you know where to look for it.

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Mice are nice.

Well, maybe not running loose and free inside my house, but I do love them as part of my rug designs.  Oh, and owls, too.  Mice and owls seem to go together and that’s not all good for the mice.

Looking back at some of my designs containing mice, I found five that I have photographed.  I’m sharing them below.

I am going gangbusters on my Stack o’ Jacks wall hanging that was commissioned by a friend.  I will most likely blog about it in its finished state next Monday.  It might not be bound, but I think it will be finished.  I’m planning something fun for the bittersweet in the lower part of the piece.  Sometimes “fun ideas” don’t turn out as imagined.  That will wait to be seen.

I am on pins and needles waiting for the workshops and retreats to be posted for next August’s Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village.  I can’t wait to see who will be teaching what.  That is my favorite rug hooking event and it never fails to inspire me.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the little creatures that make a hooked piece special.

Stack o' Jacks has an inquisitive mouse....

Stack o' Jacks has an inquisitive mouse....

Belling the Cat has two mischievous mice...

Belling the Cat has two mischievous mice...

Waxing Crescent has a nervous mouse.....

Waxing Crescent has a nervous mouse.....

Emma's Owls has a tiny mouse.....

Emma's Owls has a tiny mouse.....

And this Saw whet Owl has  a dinner mouse.....

And this Saw whet Owl has  a dinner mouse.....

After Hours.

My favorite month has flown by as it always does, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.  Tonight is my favorite night of my favorite month.  Since I have lived in Pennsylvania, I have attended a Halloween feast in a 1800s log cabin with candlelight and a meal cooked in the large fireplace.  It’s a night of spooky fun and solemn celebration.  I can’t wait!

This past week I made a bit of progress on Stack o’ Jacks, hooking the mouse (which needs tweaking) and trying out the background wool.  I bought this beautiful dark blue wool with the subtle plaid from Rebecca Erb at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week last August.  I can honestly say that this is the most beautiful wool I’ve ever bought!  It’s called, After Hours, and I just ordered some more of it.  You can see the beautiful color in the photo below, but what you cannot tell is the incredibly soft hand that this wool has. 

I am hooking two rows of background in a #8 cut around the motifs.  Then I’m hooking it in a wider #8.5 to show off the subtlety within the wool.  It is creating a lovely soft variation in values.  I may insert some colorful “confetti” later on.  I like to leave my options open.  Some color choices are those of the friend, who has ordered this piece.  I'm having fun working it all together and thinking in a painterly way.

Crow's Foot Farm is preparing for the upcoming winter months.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees and the temperatures are not really cold yet.  I winterized the hen house and the deck furniture is being stowed away.  Firewood has been stacked and we have used the wood stove once so far.  I love it when we are all cozy inside when the daylight dims in the early afternoon.  The end of daylight saving time is coming next weekend.  Unlike many people, I love when that happens.  It’s a meditative time of the year to draw within and rejuvenate one's energy, to snuggle up by the fire and create a cocoon around oneself.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the coming quiet time of the year.

Some more progress on Stack o' Jacks.

Some more progress on Stack o' Jacks.

A close-up of the beautiful wool, After Hours, and how it is hooking up.

A close-up of the beautiful wool, After Hours, and how it is hooking up.

 

Three pumpkins and three witches.

October is filled with everything I love:  cooler temps; colorful leaves; big orange pumpkins; the smell of wood smoke; spooky Halloween happenings; and entering the quiet, dark time of the year.

This past week has been busy with preparations for the Breakfast Club gathering that I host every October.  The theme this time (I love a theme) is The Weird Sisters’ Breakfast.  You know, the three witches from the play, Macbeth, who gather over the cauldron and say:

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the caldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,

Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Cool it with a baboon's blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

All of these sinister ingredients are actually folk names for herbs.  

I didn’t get much hooking done this past week, but I did hook pumpkin number three on the Stack o’ Jacks wall hanging.  I’m having such fun with this design and hope to do the foliage and the mouse this week.

A friend came to my studio and we did some wheat weaving.  I’m going to give these as gifts at holiday time.  I try to stay out of the mainstream holiday hubbub by making gifts and keeping things simple. 

Oh, and I did celebrate a milestone birthday yesterday.  I don’t make much of a fuss about these things, but this one was meaningful to me.  I used the day to remember and honor all of the friends and family members I used to know, who were not fortunate enough to live into their elder years.  I created a sacred space and burned candles in their memory.  Each day is a gift.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in spending time with friends past and present.

 

 

I hung this on the deck railing so I could get the sunset in the background.  I love the west view from our home.

I hung this on the deck railing so I could get the sunset in the background.  I love the west view from our home.

My hooked design, La Hora del Te, is on the wall at this time of year.  Senora Bonita is overseeing the breakfast club.

My hooked design, La Hora del Te, is on the wall at this time of year.  Senora Bonita is overseeing the breakfast club.

A sacred space to remember friends and family now gone.

A sacred space to remember friends and family now gone.

Hooking in a painterly style.

As I have been working on the Stack o’ Jacks wall hanging for my friend, a thought came to me.  I am hooking this in a painterly style.  I’ve certainly done this kind of hooking before, but as I was hooking the blue gourd it really jumped out at me.

When I was in art school many, many years ago, oil painting was what I loved to do.  The texture of the paint created a three-dimensional effect when put on the canvas with a palette knife and could be scraped away to reveal colors underneath.  The richness of the colors was unsurpassed by acrylics, which I tried and quickly abandoned.

When I begin a new hooked piece, I always go to my worm/noodle bin first to see what I can use up.  As we all know, these worms have a habit of reproducing when we’re not looking.  Pulling out worms that will work is fun and I also look for some that are similar but different than the colors with which I am working.  I look for a variety of textures and widths of the strips.

I have plenty of worms in the green-blue of the gourd.  That is one of my favorite colors.  I found worms leftover from a winter scene I hooked, which will be in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine.  These made good highlights on the gourd.  Some other worms were from over-dyed wool that I bought for another project.  Some were from ocean designs. Lots of choices.  I also found some in a wider cut with bits of red in them.  Different widths and different wools all work to give interest to this gourd.  I’ve posted a close-up photo below showing the many different wools.

Pumpkins are a fun and popular design element in hooking.  This design could also be hooked in a more primitive style with duller colors and a flatter hooking style and with fewer different wools.  Either way would be perfect for this stack of pumpkins.  Although this pattern isn’t on the Shop page of my website yet, it is available hand-drawn on linen for $55 plus shipping. Contact me through my website if you'd like to order it.

I will share more of my painterly style rugs in the future. 

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

A close-up showing the many different blue wools used in this gourd.

A close-up showing the many different blue wools used in this gourd.

My progress so far on this Stack o' Jacks pattern- 18" x 32".

My progress so far on this Stack o' Jacks pattern- 18" x 32".

Dyeing to hook.

This past week I worked on this month’s project for the online class I’m taking with Wanda Kerr.  The focus is on color and I found that what I chose to hook was based on the wool I have in my fairly extensive stash.  As most rug hookers know, even an extensive stash doesn’t contain all the possibilities that a hooked piece might require.  Since I am a reluctant dyer, I tried to make do with what I had, but I did have to resort to a bit of dyeing. Dyeing with a friend is always more fun and I did a bit of that this week. Maybe one day I won’t grouse about hanging over the dye pots.

I have also designed the hooked wall hanging that a friend has ordered.  It’s a stack of pumpkins as per her request.  Each gourd will be a different color.  I’ve added a mouse, because I love mice and include them whenever possible.  I think the background will be rather moody, but I’ll wait to decide that until the design elements are finished. 

My rug hooking group, the Magdalena Rug Hookers, is beginning a group project of an angel design.  We each will design and hook whatever kind of angel we want.  I haven’t decided on mine yet, but there is something percolating in the back of my brain.  Thankfully, there is plenty of time to do this one. 

More super secret rugs are in the works, so I’m happily designing and hooking in my studio with the windows open and the beauty of fall all around.

NOTE:  The Stack o'Jacks pattern is available hand-drawn on linen.  The price is $55 plus shipping.  Contact me through the Contact page of my website to inquire.  Thank you.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the planning of [and, yes, even dyeing for] new projects.

A new design, Stack o' Jacks, 18" x 36".

A new design, Stack o' Jacks, 18" x 36".