Cross-training.

On a recent Saturday, Humble Stitch, a brand new local yarn and fiber craft store, hosted a Sit and Stitch.  I contacted my fellow First Monday Crafters and some of us showed up to sit, knit, and enjoy the beautiful ambience of this local shop.  Ambience in this case can be read as “irresistible shopping opportunity”.

I had previously bought a beautiful big ball of Noro yarn from Humble Stitch and as I sat and chatted with the other knitters, I worked on a cowl. I hope the temps will go down at some point, so I can wear it.  I even gave in to the urge and bought another similar ball of Noro in a different color wave to make another cowl. 

My maternal grandmother taught me to knit when I was eight years old.  That was very many years ago.  Although I’ve been knitting for decades, I am not an expert knitter.  I don’t want to knit intricate patterns with lots of color changes. I find the act of knitting to be relaxing and meditative and I like to keep it low key.

This past week I drew up a design for the next installment in my Mother Earth Speaks series of hooked pieces.  I need to live with it for a while before committing it to linen, wool, and hook.  This series explores both natural and man-made ecological disasters.  This next one will be a natural near-disaster to those living on the coast of Greenland.  That’s all I’ll say on it for now.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the communal sharing of fiber art.

 Noro  yarn on the needles.

Noro yarn on the needles.

Oil and Water, the big finish.

The second hooked piece in my Mother Earth Speaks series is finished. This one titled, Oil and Water, represents the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which was a truly devastating man-made ecological disaster.

After looking at many photos showing the massive oil spill on the water in the Gulf, I chose one for my model as I designed and color planned my piece. I spent a long time online trying to find the photographer [I had her name], but was unable to find where I could contact her. Because of that, I’m not posting her photograph.

This piece is 22” x 28” and is hooked mostly with a #8.5 cut of wool cloth on linen foundation. I also used many #8 cut noodles from my always-full noodle bin.  I also dug out a beautiful skein of sari silk in a variety of colors and added that here and there to add a bit of shine and a “bubble” effect.

I wanted an irregular shape for the border to add to the oil effect. I did my favorite binding technique with the excess linen folded up and basted around cotton cord and then whipped with some exquisite dyed yarn from Deanne Fitzpatrick.  I bought that skein of yarn when I went to a weekend workshop at Deanne’s studio about five years ago. I had never used it until now when it was the perfect yarn for this piece. As I’ve said before, having a good stash is worth its weight in gold.

My next project, after making a large custom pattern for a customer, will be to remake a rug from my pattern titled, Barn Owl with Moon. More on that next time.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a stash containing some real treasures.

  Oil and Water, 22" x 28” wool cloth and sari silk on linen foundation. Designed and hooked by © Karen Larsen, Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC.

Oil and Water, 22" x 28” wool cloth and sari silk on linen foundation. Designed and hooked by © Karen Larsen, Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC.

  Finishing the irregular edge on Oil and Water.

Finishing the irregular edge on Oil and Water.

Oil and Water.

There are natural disasters such as the Hawaiian volcano eruption and lava flow that I depicted in my recent piece, Pele Speaks, and then there are man-made disasters. 

My new piece for the Mother Earth Speaks series is titled, Oil and Water, and represents the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On April 20, 2010 an explosion caused the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven people.  The BP pipe on the ocean floor gushed oil and gas for 87 days and released an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil causing untold devastation on that region.

Some of the oil floated to the surface of the ocean, forming oil slicks, which spread by being pushed by winds. Some oil hovered, suspended, in the mid-water after rising from the wellhead. This oil mixed with dispersant, which, instead of breaking up the oil so it could wash away, allowed the oil to mix with seawater and stay suspended below the surface. About twenty percent of the oil sank to the ocean floor, damaging deep-sea corals and other ecosystems.

Of course many animals were impacted by this oil spill; fish, pelicans, turtles, dolphins, seabirds, to name just some.  I’m sure you remember the photos of animals covered with oil.  It had, and continues to have, a serious environmental impact in that area.

The overwhelming devastation of this man-made disaster made it difficult to design a hooked piece.  There was too much to depict, so I chose to hook a surface oil spill.  This piece will need added fibers after the hooking is finished.  I hope you will follow along.

There’s a lot of beauty out there, which needs to be protected.

  Having a good stash is crucial when planning a new piece. 

Having a good stash is crucial when planning a new piece. 

Summer is fading.

I know I’m wishing my life away, but I cannot wait until fall arrives.  There are signs that summer is beginning- just beginning- to fade a bit.  It has been hot and dry recently, which has made those signs more noticeable. 

I took a tour around the house and noticed a few changes.  The mulberries are all gone from the mulberry tree.  They were a big hit with deer, birds and some nocturnal animals, too.  Many of the perennials are looking a bit frazzled, but the bees are still working them.  Our vegetable garden has been a bust this year, but there is a good farmers market nearby.  We make do.  Our neighbors’ field was mowed and baled, which is a fun process to watch.  As always, vultures soared over the field looking for any small animals that were unable to outrun the mower.

Sewing has been on my agenda this past week.  I was going along really well with the curtains until my steam iron decided to start leaking and spitting rusty water on the white fabric.  I take care of my iron and never leave water sitting in it and I did clean it out before starting this project.  I guess I’ll have to invest in a new one.

My next Mother Earth Speaks project should be ready to go on the hooking frame by next week.  I have to rummage through my wool stash for colors.  This will be fairly colorful and might need a bit of shine with the use of sari silk. 

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

  Baling begins.  The color of the sky is amazing!

Baling begins.  The color of the sky is amazing!

  These are the BIG bales, which will be gathered up and taken away.

These are the BIG bales, which will be gathered up and taken away.

  I love Russian Sage and so do these big bees!

I love Russian Sage and so do these big bees!

  We always welcome our neighbors' guinea fowl, who eat ticks and other insects.  

We always welcome our neighbors' guinea fowl, who eat ticks and other insects.  

  Lucinda tried a selfie, but it's a bit out of focus.

Lucinda tried a selfie, but it's a bit out of focus.

Thumper guards the dye pot.

There were many of you who entered to win Ellen Banker’s new book, Hooked on Words [© 2018 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking Magazine].  Thank you for all of your comments and enthusiasm.  It appears that I’m not the only rug hooker, who wants to improve her lettering skills.

Although Thumper is too short to reach into the dye pot, he kept a keen eye on the proceedings.  After much tossing and scrambling of the cards in the dye pot, the lucky winner was drawn out.  Robin Nalepa will be getting this book!  Her comment is, “Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!”  Congratulations, Robin, I’ll be contacting you for your mailing address.

There is an important sewing project that I’ll be working on for the next week or two, so rug hooking will have to wait.  I do have my next Mother Earth Speaks design in mind, so I’ll be ready to go as soon as the sewing is completed.

I’m still recovering from a wonderful week of having a house filled with family and friends.  Our son and granddaughter’s visit was busy and fun and the annual cornhole party went off without a hitch. Perfect weather!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the time spent with family and friends.

  Thumper is making sure the drawing is fair and square!

Thumper is making sure the drawing is fair and square!

Hooked on Words.

The latest book I’m excited to give away is Hooked on Words, by Ellen Banker [©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC and Rug Hooking Magazine].

Even though I worked in the typesetting and lettering biz many moons ago, I resist hooking words. If anyone can turn around my hooked lettering phobia, it’s Ellen Banker!

This is such a fun book filled with Ellen’s colorful, fun, and imaginative designs as well as similar designs by other fiber artists.  Where to begin? 

Ellen says that it’s important to “match your typeface to your message”. She gives examples of how and why to choose a particular typeface. She also shows how to develop your own unique type style. In Ellen’s designs, the lettering is an important part, and sometimes the only part, of the overall design. Her creativity stuns me.

There is an intriguing chapter focusing on Bev Conway’s “secret messages” that can be hooked into your rug and only seen from the back of the rug. How cool is that?

Hooked on Words is filled with so many color photos of rugs by many hooking artists that you’re sure to be inspired. I know I am.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the many ways to hook words.

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this book?  Here’s how:

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Hooked on Words, by Ellen Banker[© 2018 Ampry Publishing LLC and Rug Hooking Magazine].  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, July 15, 2018 at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, July 16, 2018.  Good luck!

  Enter for a chance to win Ellen Banker's new book!

Enter for a chance to win Ellen Banker's new book!

Pele Speaks.

Pele Speaks is finished. It’s the first piece in my newly created Mother Earth Speaks series. Pele Speaks is 24” x 44”, wool cloth strips and wool yarn on linen foundation.

I’ve learned some things about lava while creating this piece, such as the names of different kinds of lava. See my blog from last week if you missed that.

This week, I’d like to discuss the goddess Pele, otherwise known as Pelehonuamea. She is the goddess “who shapes the sacred land”. As she devours the Big Island, she is creating new land at the same time. In my shamanic studies, the goddess of the South, land of heat and fire, is She who creates life and death. This certainly describes Pele.

There are many folk tales about this fiery goddess. She can appear as a young woman or an old woman, sometimes accompanied by a white dog. Her image can show up in photos of the lava lake within the crater or molten lava flows. She may be a woman dressed in white, who appears and then disappears. She is revered and respected.

Travelers to Hawaii are warned against taking home any lava rock, which is a sacred piece of the fire goddess. Bad luck will befall anyone who removes it from Pele’s home.

Those of you of a “certain age” like me, might remember way back to 1972 when there was an episode of The Brady Bunch about the family’s trip to Hawaii. The boys gain possession of a small carved tiki, which they think is a fun souvenir, but it quickly brings them all kinds of bad luck. They wise up and put the tiki back where they found it. Lesson learned.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the fiery goddess, Pelehonuamea.

P.S.  Come back next week when I’ll be doing a BOOK GIVEAWAY. I know you love these as much as I do!

  Pele Speaks, wool cloth strips and yarn on linen foundation. Designed and hooked by Karen Larsen, Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC ©2018.

Pele Speaks, wool cloth strips and yarn on linen foundation. Designed and hooked by Karen Larsen, Crow's Foot Farm Designs, LLC ©2018.

  A close up of the hooked yarn billowy pahoehoe lava.

A close up of the hooked yarn billowy pahoehoe lava.

Lava.

Since I’m hooking Hawaiian lava, I was interested to find out if there are names for different types of lava. To my surprise, there are.

In the photo of Hawaiian lava by Leigh Hilbert that I’m using with permission for my Pele Speaks piece, there is what looks like two kinds of lava, but having read and looked at photos, I now believe it is the same kind called, pahoehoe [pronounced ‘paw-hoey-hoey’] - a nice Hawaiian name for it.

Pahoehoe lava is the second most abundant type. It’s characterized by a smooth, billowy, or ropy surface produced by its low velocity and air-cooled surface, which is not disrupted during flow.  In the photo, the striated and billowy pahoehoe lava can be easily seen.

Another kind of lava with a Hawaiian name is a’a [pronounced ‘ah-ah’]. This type has a very rough surface with loose fragments formed as the lava is pulled apart and twisted during flow.

There is another type called pillow lava, which is formed under water.  But enough science for today.

This past week I finished hooking the hot lava section and went on to hook in some dark grey foundation for the billowy lava, which I will hook with a variety of yarns. Before I start hooking with yarn, I steam blocked the piece and covered one side of the gripper strips on my frame, so I won’t pull out the yarn as I hook.  I don’t do much hooking with yarn, so this will be interesting.

I can’t wait to see how this looks and hope to finish it by week’s end.

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

  Pele Speaks is ready for the billowy lava to flow.

Pele Speaks is ready for the billowy lava to flow.

  Photo of Hawaiian lava by Leigh Hilbert, used with permission.

Photo of Hawaiian lava by Leigh Hilbert, used with permission.

Flowing.

I’m flowing right along with my Pele Speaks piece.  Using a nice wide #8.5 cut does help and I’m almost finished with the hot lava section.  I have been using many of my orange and orange/yellow wools, mixing them to create movement.  I’ve spent many happy hours in my studio.

The weather has turned HOT, which is hard on my cold-weather-loving self.  I hope it won’t interfere with my momentum on this hooked piece.  I’d like to finish it before the end of the month and before our son and granddaughter arrive for a visit in early July.  Their visit, and our annual cornhole tournament, will be my sole focus then. 

I have an idea for the next piece in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  I’ll share that with you when I’m ready to begin.  Another one is also forming in my mind and I have asked my sister-in-law, who lives on Cape Cod, to help gather some of the materials.  I’ll leave it a mystery for now.

We had almost no spring this year, just cooler temps and lots of rain, so our gardens are not up to speed yet.  My husband, the gardener, told me my favorite flowers, the Red Hot Pokers, are kaput.  Rotten roots, probably from all the rain.  That is sad.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and I will be patient and wait for the flowers to bloom.

  The lava is flowing....

The lava is flowing....

  When I hook the dark, puddled lava at the top in this photo,it will really make the lave pop!

When I hook the dark, puddled lava at the top in this photo,it will really make the lave pop!

Interpreting.

My project, Pele Speaks, is coming along.   I finished the lighter grey striated area.  There must be eight or nine different wools in it.  The amazing thing is that I had a two-gallon zip bag stuffed full of grey cut noodles/worms and although I used those with only a few newly cut strips, the bag is still half full.  As all rug hookers know, those worms reproduce overnight.  No matter how optimistic one is about using them up, they never go away.  I guess that’s not all that bad.  A worm in just the right color is handy to have when hooking.

As you can see from the photo below, I’ve begun the orange lava area.  I do have a nice array of orange wool.  Orange is one of my favorite colors.  It’s a power color that indicates Creative Energy.  This area will need to be hooked, looked at, and then tweaked.  Although the lava is flowing in a linear way, if you look at the photo [used with permission from Leigh Hilbert] you can see that there are ridges formed perpendicular to the flow.  My hooking is in the direction of these ridges.

My series, Mother Earth Speaks, has been occupying my thoughts recently.  There are a couple of ideas swimming around in my head.  I’m interested in mixed media pieces using wool, found objects, etc.  Thinking of how to interpret ideas is fun.  Making those ideas happen will be the challenge.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the images formed by one’s mind.

  The hot orange of lava.

The hot orange of lava.

  Image of Hawaiian lava © Leigh Hilbert

Image of Hawaiian lava © Leigh Hilbert