A new series.

I have completed my super secret project and I’m ready to start something new.  As I was finishing up this project, using Tracy Jamar’s excellent book, Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns [©2017 Stackpole Books], I was inspired to continue using standing wool and other elements in my next project.  I was having fun and that was motivating!

Nature has always been an important part of my life. I’m even contemplating doing not just one piece, but a series of projects about the Earth and the beautiful, scary, exciting, wondrous, and sad events that are part of Mother Nature’s panoply. I might name the series, Mother Speaks. I’m picturing a variety of materials used with and without rug hooking.

When I lived in Maine, I did a weekly live radio show called, Earthtones, on community radio station WERU-FM.  It was a nature-based show featuring indigenous, new age, world, and ambient music along with readings from works by nature writers.  There was even a live bird report by my pal, Birdman Bob.  I did the show for almost nine years and it was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had.  So, why shouldn’t fiber art be just as exciting and fun to me? 

The first project I’m planning will reflect the mesmerizing, and pretty terrifying volcanic eruptions in Hawaii.  The lava flows are amazing with colors so vivid they don’t seem real.  I found a photograph that I’d like to adapt and have received permission from the photographer, Leigh Hilbert.  I’m excited to get started!  Follow along as I decide how to adapt this photo with wool and other elements.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the many faces of Mother Nature.

  This photo of Hawaiian lava flow is my inspiration, used with permission from © Leigh Hilbert.

This photo of Hawaiian lava flow is my inspiration, used with permission from © Leigh Hilbert.

  I cannot wait to start creating with these beautiful wools and yarns.  And maybe other elements, too.

I cannot wait to start creating with these beautiful wools and yarns.  And maybe other elements, too.

On a roll.

After a few false starts, I’m having fun working on my super secret project.  Like many of my projects, one thing leads to another and I follow the breadcrumbs until I get to the end.  I think it’s fine to share a few things as I go along, such as a creative resource that is proving invaluable.

This resource is the book, Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns by Tracy Jamar [© 2017 Stackpole Books].  Do you have this book?  It is filled with amazing techniques and ideas for all sorts of projects.  I wrote a review of it, which you can read here.

The photo below shows my standing wool quillies, which will be part of the project.  This is not really a hooking project, but as we rug hookers know, anything made with wool is fair game.  I’ve torn 1 ½” strips and folded them before rolling.  I like the soft edge this gives.

I’m still deciding what else to start hooking.  Sometimes I come to a pause and have to wait for inspiration.  Maybe I’ll jump right into a Halloween project.  It’s always the right time for Halloween, isn’t it? Or there are always the ferns and fiddleheads that are waiting.

There's a lot of beauty out there and in playing with wool.

book2.jpg

Micro-mini knitting.

I had a wonderful time in Oregon last week.  As usual, I took very few photographs.  I prefer to “live in the moment” and experience things as they happen.  That’s my excuse, anyway.  Suffice it to say, the weather was fantastic, and fun was had by all.

Having finished the Cinco de Mayo wedding gift rug, I find myself in a bit of a quandary deciding what to do next.  While I ponder that, I’ve been doing some micro-mini knitting.  I’ve made quite a few of these tiny beaded bags, which are decorative necklaces.  The size of the bag itself is 2” tall by 3” wide. 

Stringing the beads onto the cotton crochet thread is the most tedious part of the process. Once that is done, knitting the tiny bag on the size 0000 needles [essentially metal toothpicks!] goes much faster.  These two beaded bags are intended as gifts.

My super secret project is underway and I might share a few close-up photos as I go along, so the entire project will remain a secret.  It will be fun and something that I haven’t done before. 

The weather has finally turned the corner and some springtime chores are getting tackled here at Crow’s Foot Farm.  I washed the windows in my studio and put in the screens, so I can enjoy the warm breezes as I work. 

My hens are enjoying having their big window open now.  All of the winterizing has been removed.  I still have to clean the hen house, which is a major undertaking.  I’m delaying that chore a bit until an overcast and not-too-hot day presents itself.

How is your springtime progressing?  

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in preparing for the warmer months ahead.

  Almost finished knitting beaded bag number two.  

Almost finished knitting beaded bag number two.  

Cinco de Mayo.

Today’s blog is a bit brief as I returned very late last night from a trip to Oregon to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter Lucy.  I had such a wonderful time!  I only see them once or twice a year, but knowing that they live in such a beautiful place with outdoor nature-focused activities available year-round makes me happy that their life out there is a good one.

Oregon is incredibly beautiful with many diverse ecosystems.  I’ve been to the Columbia River Gorge, which has a major waterfall and a rainforest feel to it.  There are many vineyards, which produce excellent pinot noir, my personal favorite wine. There is a rugged coast with beaches and also a desert area, which I have not seen yet.  I will share some photos next week. 

Before my trip, I finished and delivered the Cinco de Mayo rug, which was a wedding gift for friends of my daughter.  I really went bright and happy with it, including gift-wrapping it with a piece of thin, brightly dyed wool and tying it with rainbow ribbon.

There’s a lot of beauty out there in Oregon and also in a gift for a happy occasion. 

  I chose a happy design with lots of color.  I don't know about you, but I think anything Mexican needs sugar skulls!

I chose a happy design with lots of color.  I don't know about you, but I think anything Mexican needs sugar skulls!

  I did my favorite binding method with cord whipped in place with wool yarn.  I used one strand each of dark blue and purple for interest and even more eye-candy!

I did my favorite binding method with cord whipped in place with wool yarn.  I used one strand each of dark blue and purple for interest and even more eye-candy!

  Here it is all ready to go carrying much love and happiness to the wedding couple.

Here it is all ready to go carrying much love and happiness to the wedding couple.

A studio tour.

I just completed the wedding gift rug, so a tidying up of the studio is in order.  I have to do this between projects to eliminate too much “visual clutter”, which disturbs my OCD. I love my OCD.   Also, I’ll be away next week, so I like to leave things in order.

This week I’m sharing photos of my hooking studio, which used to be our attached garage.  I love this big room.  It even has a sofa bed, for extra guests. Take the tour below as I start packing for my trip.  I’ll see you all when I return.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a neat and organized workspace.

  Welcome... come on in!

Welcome... come on in!

  This is my hooking corner. It looks very quiet right now....

This is my hooking corner. It looks very quiet right now....

  I've had this antique table for decades.  It now is my cutting table with a large piece of tempered glass on the top.

I've had this antique table for decades.  It now is my cutting table with a large piece of tempered glass on the top.

  There are three closets in the room.  This one holds my wool stash, linen, and rolled up finished rugs.

There are three closets in the room.  This one holds my wool stash, linen, and rolled up finished rugs.

  This closet holds dyeing supplies, binding materials and yarn, and you can see that I hang some smaller rugs with "clippy hangers".

This closet holds dyeing supplies, binding materials and yarn, and you can see that I hang some smaller rugs with "clippy hangers".

  The third closet has my sewing machine set up, so all I have to do is sit and sew.

The third closet has my sewing machine set up, so all I have to do is sit and sew.

  My music and reading material corner.

My music and reading material corner.

 This end of the studio is for relaxing and maybe sleeping.  Thanks for taking the tour!

This end of the studio is for relaxing and maybe sleeping.  Thanks for taking the tour!

Bright loops on cloudy days.

I managed to get a LOT of hooking done this past week.  The gift rug is about one-third finished!  I always thank my OCD when things like this happen.  My mantra is, “OCD is my friend!”  I need to hook that into a rug for my studio.

Vibrant colors are not my usual palette, so I was a bit surprised to find so many pieces of brightly colored wool in my stash.  I didn’t want to have to dye wool.  Dyeing. That’s another story.  These colors are definitely cheerful on these cold “spring” days.

I’m only showing partial photos of this rug in case the recipients are watching.  I’ll show the entire thing when it has been gifted. 

I have to start a super secret project that I’ve been putting off way too long.  I’ll have to keep that one under wraps, so I’ll start on a ferns and fiddleheads design that I drew up recently.  What would happen if I ran out of rugs to hook?  I hope I never find that out!

Many of us in the northeast are wondering whatever happened to spring this year.  We had a short, but intense, sleet storm the other day.  When it was over, I rescued some of the daffodils that had finally bloomed in our little cemetery and I’m enjoying them indoors.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a colorful project to uplift one’s spirits.

  A sneak peek at the gift rug.

A sneak peek at the gift rug.

  Hello.... 

Hello.... 

  These bright wools make me happy.

These bright wools make me happy.

Time to fly.

My Tombstone Angel rug is finished.  After the hooking was completed, I steam blocked her and bound the edge my favorite way with cord.  I had some charcoal grey wool for whipping around the edges, which was just right.  To see some photos of a previous rug bound this way, click here.

I still need to buy some Velcro® for attaching the angel ‘s head.  I will hand-sew strips vertically on the linen and horizontally on the back of her head.  This way I can roll up the rug to store it if needed and keep her head separately in a box.  That sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it?

I hurried to finish this rug so that I could spend time with an old friend, who was going to visit from Connecticut.  Unfortunately, her plans fell through and she was unable to come.  So, I spent a lot of time this past weekend beginning a gift rug.   The design has evolved and it should be a fun one to hook.  I’ll share the progress next time.  I hope the progress will include some hooking and not just the pattern drawn on linen.  I have picked out some very colorful wool to use, which will be quite a change from this angel rug.

We have had a couple of nice days recently, so perhaps Mother Nature is warming up to the idea of springtime.  Let’s hope so!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in planning a colorful new rug.

  Tombstone Angel is ready to fly!

Tombstone Angel is ready to fly!

  This is my Snow Angel rug that I also designed and hooked for the Magdalena Rug Hookers rug show in August.

This is my Snow Angel rug that I also designed and hooked for the Magdalena Rug Hookers rug show in August.

Every time a bell rings.

I’ve been thinking about angel wings this past week.  I thought I was all set to hook the wings on my Tombstone Angel rug.  Apparently, I was wrong.  I tried three different combinations of dusty lavenders and greens, which just didn’t work.  I love those colors together, so this was a bit disappointing.

Delving into my rather extensive wool stash, I came up with a series of mossy greens.  I hooked the lightest hue at the top of the wing and worked my way down. I looked at this for a few days to see if I liked it.  I do. Then the final tweak was to “reverse hook” the brown over-dyed wool that I had used between the feathers and replace it with some leftover off-white wool that I had spot-dyed with dark khaki for the German Shorthaired Pointer rug that I finished recently.  This echoes the pale marbled look of the angel’s face.

This past week, I was also aware of angel wings when our beagle-mix rescue, Benji, grew his wings and flew to the Rainbow Bridge.  This is always a painful thing to go through.  I have had many dogs in my life and it never gets any easier.  But he was sick for a long time and he told me he was ready to go.  I’ve put a photo below of him when he modeled for my Hutchinson-esque rug that I designed and hooked a few years ago.  Fly high, Benji.

This week I will finish hooking the Tombstone Angel rug and hopefully start the gift rug I want to hook. I’m not even settled on a design for that one, so I’d better get a move on.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the angels that fly around all us.

  I think she likes her wing.  One more to go!

I think she likes her wing.  One more to go!

  Benji is immortalized in my Hutchinson-esque rug.

Benji is immortalized in my Hutchinson-esque rug.

  Benji in his favorite pose.  

Benji in his favorite pose.  

Beyond rug hooking.

Is it wrong to say that the confluence of Passover, Easter, and the second Blue Moon of the year takes precedence over rug hooking?  That is what has been going on here this past week.  I’ve been looking out and beyond the rug hooking studio.

I did do some more hooking on the background of my Tombstone Angel rug, but I’ll wait to show it when I’ve added some soft colors to the wings.  My artistic energy has been funneled into other happenings this week.  Animal care has taken center stage and may do that again this week.  Two of our four dogs are elderly and have some special needs. 

Signs of spring are here, but must be searched out.  I did hear the Spring Peepers, which always excites me.  The daffodils in Daniel Peifer’s cemetery are up about four or five inches with the suggestion of buds.  I haven’t toured the front gardens yet, but I’ll bet there are a few crocuses adding a bit of color here and there.  I hope your land is awakening, too.

I hope to have some hooking to show you next time. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the subtle signs of spring.

  One of my hens was in the Easter spirit!

One of my hens was in the Easter spirit!

Topsy-turvy.

Winter arrived on the first day of spring.  The clocks sprang forward and I don’t know what time it is.  I get up at 4:30 a.m., which is really 3:30. “They” can’t fool me! Things are feeling topsy-turvy right now.

So, as long as that’s how it’s going to be until Standard Time returns, I decided to start my Tombstone Angel rug by hooking the background.  I’m using the over-dyed grey wools that I bought from Jan Cole, The Wool ‘n’ Gardener, for the background instead of the tan over-dyes that I planned on using there.  Switcheroo.  The tans I’ll use for the feather outlines.  I have some yummy lavender, moss green, and spotty cream wool for the feathers.  I wonder how that will turn out?  It will be a surprise as I hook along.

I’m also designing another rug that I will show as I hook it, although it’s a gift for someone.  That one will be filled with lots of color.  I think.  But like all of my rugs, they color plan themselves. 

Who knows what will happen in my topsy-turvy world?

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the surprises that occur every day in my rug hooking studio.

  The background is hooked with #8.5 wool cloth strips.  The rest will be in an 8 cut.

The background is hooked with #8.5 wool cloth strips.  The rest will be in an 8 cut.

How rug hookers have fun.

The Woolwrights’ annual hook-in was on Saturday.  They always do a spectacular job organizing the day with excellent vendors, snacks galore [hookers get hungry!], and lots of opportunity to network and catch up with friends old and new.

I spent the past ten days being a bird nanny for seventeen very spoiled hens and eight guineas, so I was a little late getting to the hook-in. I took my tombstone angel to work on.  I knew I had to make a beeline to Jan Cole, The Wool ‘n Gardener, to buy some of her fabulous spot-dyed wool for the tombstone background behind the angel. 

I must confess that I did not do any hooking!  I was much too busy shopping, talking, looking at others’ hooking projects and the excellent rug show.  Although I didn’t pull one loop, it was a great day and was good for my hooking soul.

I will get busy hooking my tombstone angel this week.  I should have all the wool I need [and more].

Look below for photos of a few of the many beautiful rugs in the rug show.  

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a huge room full of rug hookers.

  A collection of stoney wool for my tombstone angel rug.

A collection of stoney wool for my tombstone angel rug.

  There were over 250 rug hookers gathered in Lancaster, PA for a day of fun.

There were over 250 rug hookers gathered in Lancaster, PA for a day of fun.

  Mrs. Rabbit x2 designed by Sharon Smith and hooked by Jeri Livingston

Mrs. Rabbit x2 designed by Sharon Smith and hooked by Jeri Livingston

  Wistful Angel designed by David Galchuck and hooked by Debra Smith.

Wistful Angel designed by David Galchuck and hooked by Debra Smith.

  Mr. Bones designed by Ruth Hennessey and hooked by Jean Barr.

Mr. Bones designed by Ruth Hennessey and hooked by Jean Barr.

  This beautiful LARGE rug designed by Pearl McGown and hooked by Helen B. Lynch.

This beautiful LARGE rug designed by Pearl McGown and hooked by Helen B. Lynch.

Angels all around.

The Magdalena Rug Hookers are busy designing and hooking angel rugs for an upcoming rug exhibit at the Landis House in Newport, PA.  The exhibit will be hung in early August with a main theme of angels. 

So far, I’ve seen angel cats, an angel with a cat, a mediaeval angel, a snow angel, a tombstone angel, and a garden angel.  I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but you get the idea.  An angel can be depicted in many diverse ways.

I had previously hooked a snow angel rug and now I’m working on an angel from a primitive tombstone.  This one will be done with a separate trapunto face with embroidered features.

How do you get your design ideas?  Like angels, there are many ways for a design idea to develop.  A few years ago, I was struggling a bit with a rug design for my granddaughter when a rug hooking friend suggested I make the rug circular.  That suggestion instantly created a fully formed design in my mind’s eye.

With my newest angel rug, it was a piece of wool that I received when I took a dye class with Nancy Z. Parcels at Sauder Village last August.  This piece [see below] was part of a white wool garment that Nancy had deconstructed and spot-dyed with some khaki dye.  To me it looks like moss and lichen-covered stone and therefore I’ll be using it for the angel’s face.  Just this small piece of dyed wool created an entire design in my mind.  I love when that happens!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and sometimes where you don’t expect it.

  My angel design with the dyed wool for the face and some for the wings.

My angel design with the dyed wool for the face and some for the wings.

  The angel's face with a moss and lichen "halo".  

The angel's face with a moss and lichen "halo".  

The luck o' the Irish.

Irish eyes were smiling upon Randi this week.

Randi, who commented, “Perhaps the luck o’ the Irish will be with me and I will win this book”, is the lucky book winner!   Congratulations, Randi.  It’s always good to call upon the luck of the Irish, especially during the month of March.

I will be mailing Randi her copy of the brand new book, The Color Lab – Color Cues for Rug Hooking [© 2018 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking]. Judging by the many names in the dye pot, this is a desirable book. Thanks to all of you who entered and commented.

If you’re a member of the Rug Hooking Magazine book club [I highly recommend it], you probably have received your copy of this great book at a special low price.  But if not, you can buy a copy at the Rug Hooking Magazine website or go to amazon.com. 

I finished a super secret rug this past week.  I have to write up a paragraph or two about it and then I’m on to the next project, which will be an angel rug.  My group, Magdalena Rug Hookers, will be having an exhibition of our rugs next summer at the Landis House in Newport, PA.  The main theme will be angel rugs.  

Time was spent in my studio cleaning up and organizing.  I am not one of those creative types who is stimulated by seeing the mess all around me.  Visual clutter seems to bring me to a screeching halt.  I like to clean up after each rug is finished and then start the next mess.  I mean, project.

The weather has been pretty wild recently.  March is always full of surprises.  I hope you stayed safe during the recent nor’easter.  We live on farmland, so we don’t have large trees around our home.  The only things blowing around here were a couple of metal porch chairs and my broom hanging outside the back door.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in creating hooked rugs – one after the other.

  Thumper monitored the pulling of the winning name.

Thumper monitored the pulling of the winning name.

The Color Lab book giveaway!

There’s a brand new, exciting book on the market and I have a brand new copy of it to give away.  It’s Wanda Kerr’s book, The Color Lab – Color Cues for Rug Hooking [© 2018 Ampry Publishing LLC and Rug Hooking Magazine].

Wanda Kerr, a master colorist, shares her in-depth knowledge of contrast and depth, color temperature, saturation and glow, and color transitions.  There’s a lot to know about color and Wanda’s book will help you with countless color photographs of her finished rugs and her color samples.

Do you want to learn how to color plan your rugs?  There are so many tips included here.  This is a book that will become your go-to book for all things color.  When to use warm color, cool color, how to transition between them, how to use a color wheel, etc.

Don’t hesitate! Here’s how to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this book:

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  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 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, March 4th at Noon [EST].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, March 5, 2018.  Good luck!

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

  Be sure to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this book!

Be sure to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this book!

The Year of the Dog.

This past Friday began the Chinese lunar New Year of the Brown Earth Dog.  I was born in a Dog year [many years ago], so I hope this will be an auspicious year for me and all of the other Dogs.

According to the Chinese Horoscope, this year will be a busy one for Dogs and an exhausting one.  It goes on to say that we Dogs need to take care of our health, get more exercise [ugh!] and drop bad habits [double ugh!].  I will do my best to make it a great year. 

Do you know your Chinese astrological animal sign?  You can google it and look for your year listed with one of the twelve animal signs.  Your animal year will repeat every twelve years.

Now that I have completed the auction dog rug and have mailed it off to its rightful owner, I am busily finishing up a super secret rug, which I cannot show you.  So, this week I will share a few hooked dog rugs that I have done.

Do stop back next Monday when I will be doing a BOOK GIVEAWAY!  I love doing them and you seem to like them, too.  I know you will want to win this latest book from Ampry Publishing LLC and Rug Hooking Magazine.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in being a Dog, whether an astrological sign or an actual one.

  This is Ikey. He's 13 now and has diabetes, but he's doing great!

This is Ikey. He's 13 now and has diabetes, but he's doing great!

  This is Benji, who modeled for my Hutchinson-style rug a few years ago.

This is Benji, who modeled for my Hutchinson-style rug a few years ago.

  This is Thumper [l.] and Beans [r.].  This is a topper for an antique trunk at the foot of our bed.  It provides a launching pad for the doggies to get onto the bed.

This is Thumper [l.] and Beans [r.].  This is a topper for an antique trunk at the foot of our bed.  It provides a launching pad for the doggies to get onto the bed.

  This is my recently completed auction donation rug.  It now lives on Cape Cod. [photo by Impact Xpozures]

This is my recently completed auction donation rug.  It now lives on Cape Cod. [photo by Impact Xpozures]

  I think this is the only photo of all four of our dogs in one spot.

I think this is the only photo of all four of our dogs in one spot.

Two dogs ready to run.

Sydney and Whiskey are ready to go home to their owner.  I worked like crazy to finish up the hooking and binding this week.  Not without some changes in my plans, however.

I had dyed some wool for the background using the Blue-Red-Yellow dye plan.  I enjoy doing this kind of dyeing, because it’s done in one pot.  First add the blue dye with citric acid, stir twice and leave it alone until the dye is taken up by the wool.  Then add the red dye with a bit more citric acid, stir twice and leave alone until that dye is taken up. Then do the same process with the yellow dye.  The end result is wool with a beautiful spotty richness showing primary and secondary colors. 

I was pleased with the dyed wool, but when I held it up to the dogs, it was much too distracting.  I put so much blood, sweat and tears into hooking the dogs that I did not want to make them vie for attention.  I decided that I liked the dogs against the natural color of the linen, so I found a beautiful neutral herringbone wool, named Winter Wheat, from The Wool Studio’s most recent swatch mailing.  While I was at it, I also ordered some similar wool with very subtle color stripes in it, named Fruit of the Loom, which I used for the border.

Another change in plans was that I had thought I would use the antigodlin, or higgledy-piggledy, kind of hooking for the background to give interest.  [Nancy Parcels wrote an informative article on this method in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine].  I found the neutral background wool was so soft and blended so well, that the antigodlin loops would have gotten lost.  So, I did my usual method for doing a background- hook a shape, fill it in, hook another shape, fill it in, etc.

All that is left to do is to have the rug photographed and then mail it on its way.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the successful finishing of another hooked rug.

 Sydney and Whiskey all set to go home.

Sydney and Whiskey all set to go home.

Down to Earth in Oregon.

Although I am hooking every day on the German Shorthaired Pointer rug, I thought I’d take a break from blogging about it for this week.  That way, there will be a bigger difference when you all see it again.

I finally boxed up the Down to Earth 2 round meditation mat and I will send it off to Oregon today.  It’s going to the Siskiyou School in Ashland, Oregon for their March fundraising auction.  I hope it does well for them.  I love Ashland and it’s quite a “hippie dippy” area, so I’m sure someone will bid on my meditation mat.

I’m planning another trip to Ashland this spring.  I can’t wait!  There are a few photos from previous visits below.  Besides visiting three of my favorite people, there are so many things to see and do.  Or just sitting and looking at the amazing view of Grizzly Peak from my son and daughter-in-law’s deck is worth the trip.

I have added the patterns for both of my Down to Earth meditation mats to the Shop page of my website.

There’s a lot of beauty out there.  Here, there, and everywhere!

  Down to Earth 2, designed and hooked by me, is winging its way to Oregon.  This 36" diameter pattern is available on the Shop page, so you can hook one of your own.

Down to Earth 2, designed and hooked by me, is winging its way to Oregon.  This 36" diameter pattern is available on the Shop page, so you can hook one of your own.

  Down to Earth 1, 30" x 70" pattern is available on the Shop page.

Down to Earth 1, 30" x 70" pattern is available on the Shop page.

  No trip to downtown Ashland is complete without sampling their lithia water.  It's an acquired taste, but I'm looking forward to sipping some of it this spring.

No trip to downtown Ashland is complete without sampling their lithia water.  It's an acquired taste, but I'm looking forward to sipping some of it this spring.

  Grizzly Peak, Ashland, Oregon.  What a view!

Grizzly Peak, Ashland, Oregon.  What a view!

  There are many vineyards in Oregon.  Their pinot noir is excellent!

There are many vineyards in Oregon.  Their pinot noir is excellent!

Seeing spots.

I have admitted in the past to being a reluctant wool dyer, and that’s the truth.  Now that I have hooked the dogs’ heads, necks, and collars, it’s on to their spotted chests.  That will require some spot dyed wool.

I pre-soaked some natural wool and accordion-folded it in a casserole pan.  I put citric acid into the hot water in the pan, so the dye would go into the wool quickly and not spread out too much. I made up some chestnut dye and sprinkled it here and there on the wool.  Into the oven it went for half an hour, then a cool down and a rinse and dry.  It looked promising, but the test will be when I cut a few strips and hook some loops.  Fingers crossed!

The spot dyed dog-spot wool works.  I am using a wider #8 cut, so the spots will appear larger, and I’m happy with the look it gives. As soon as I hook Whiskey’s chest and all four paws, it’s on to the background and the hooked frame border.  Colors to be determined.  I like to see a piece evolve and emerge as I hook along.  One thing leads to another.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the unfolding of one’s artistic vision.

  Spot dyed wool makes dog spots.

Spot dyed wool makes dog spots.

Making headway.

The weather was a wee bit milder this past week, so I was able to spend many happy hours in my studio.  I made up for the frigid days when I got no hooking done at all.

After hooking Sydney the dog’s head, I jumped right into hooking Whiskey.  Although I didn’t want to make them identical, I did want to use many of the same wools, which I had in small piles marked nose, eyes, ears, face, and chin.  This is not an ideal method of organization, but it worked for me.

The heads are going to stay like this while I begin hooking the brown and white spotted and streaked chests of the dogs.  That will give me a better idea if I am satisfied with their heads.  I’ve learned to not be too quick to unhook areas, unless there is a glaring error.

I put this auction rug aside for this past weekend, so I could work on a super-secret rug at the Magdalena Rug Hookers retreat.  A small group of us spent time at Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center in York Haven, PA.  It was so nice to relax with fiber friends and fellow rug hookers at this beautiful place. Although open to all forms of fiber craft, if you’re a weaver, or want to learn how to weave, this is the place for you. 

Now it’s back to working on the dogs.   I think I will have to spot dye some wool for their chests.  And I’m pondering how I’ll do the background. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in spending time with fellow Magdalenas in a beautiful setting.

  Hello Sydney and Whiskey!

Hello Sydney and Whiskey!

It takes a village.

My work in progress [WIP] is a work in progress. 

Judy Carter’s book, Hooking Animals [© 2014 Stackpole Books], is bookmarked and often referred to as I go along. Judy mostly hooks with narrow #3 and #4 wool strips, but I am hooking these dogs with wider #7 wool strips.  That’s as narrow as I like to go, so I have used Judy’s book as an inspirational jumping-off point. 

It has taken me years to realize and accept that I hook the way I hook.  Although I have learned and incorporated many helpful hooking tips through the years, I must have confidence in my own abilities.  I plan to look to my friend, Nancy Parcels, for inspiration as I do the background. 

It does indeed take a village!

Another lesson that has been obvious as I hook, unhook, and re-hook this dog rug, is that I need to employ a bit of good old, Artistic License.  I have certainly done that in the past.  In this case I tried many colors for the eyes and although the eyes of these dogs are usually brown, in the photo there is a definite yellow/gold cast.  I settled on a rusty-orange wool, which gives the eyes more definition and helps them stand out.

 I shall be jumping over to do Whiskey’s head next.  After that, the rest of the rug should be less stressful.  Don’t quote me on that.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in channeling the hooking tips of expert rug hookers.

  Sydney, the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a work in progress.  I'll do Whiskey before making any more changes.

Sydney, the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a work in progress.  I'll do Whiskey before making any more changes.