Looking back and looking ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All set to fly.

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

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

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

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

Be creative and have fun. Hook outside the box!

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

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

Waxing Crescent all set to fly.

Waxing Crescent all set to fly.

Ready to be boxed and taped up again!

Ready to be boxed and taped up again!

Seeing double.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minimalist.

Minimalist = a person who advocates or practices minimalism in art or music.

After a week full of family and Thanksgiving activities, I have finally put all the special dishes away, done many loads of laundry, remade beds, found a few forgotten items that will be mailed to Oregon, and generally put the house back in order.  While doing all of this, I decided to put out a few Yuletide holiday decorations. And I do mean a “few”.

I have definitely embraced the minimalist lifestyle in my holiday decorating. “Less is more” has been my mantra for many years. Two of my favorite winter items are old sleds.  One belonged to our older neighbor, Robert, next to whom we lived in New Jersey when our kids were growing up.  This little sled has to be at least a hundred years old.  The longer one on our farm table is a Flexible Flyer that belonged to a friend of our son. I’m not sure how we ended up with it, but I’m sure it was all above-board!

I’ll add some fresh greens as we get into December and possibly one or two of the little wintery fairy houses I have made over the years. It’s still a bit early for me to fully feel the holiday vibes.

Getting back to the hooking frame is on the agenda for this week. I’m anxious to get hooking on my Waxing Crescent pattern for a friend.

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

The Flexible Flyer sled sits on a runner by Family Heirloom Weavers of Red Lion, PA.

The Flexible Flyer sled sits on a runner by Family Heirloom Weavers of Red Lion, PA.

Robert’s little sled on the back porch.

Robert’s little sled on the back porch.

We had freezing rain on Saturday and the tree branches are coated with ice.

We had freezing rain on Saturday and the tree branches are coated with ice.

Early morning ice and mist.

Early morning ice and mist.

The owls have it.

Songbirds are colorful and sing pretty songs, but it’s the raucous and taloned ones that I like the best. Owls, raptors, corvids and even vultures are the ones I prefer to hang with.

I’ve designed hooked rugs with owls and crows and they seem popular with others, too.  I recently had a request from a friend to hook her my design, Waxing Crescent, featuring a barn owl, a mouse, and the waxing moon on the night sky – all of my favorite design elements.  Whenever I recreate one of my hooked pieces, I try to make the new one better than the original with more thoughtful use of color and value, for instance.  We shall see how this new one comes out.

October was a busy and fun month filled with witchy and Halloween-y fun and projects.  November brings family and Thanksgiving activities. Our son and his family will be visiting from Oregon and we are so excited to see them!  With that in mind, my time at the hooking frame will be zero.  But then comes December and that is a free and open month leading into the beautiful, dark and quiet months of winter.  I can’t wait!

So, hang in with me as I tend to the needs of hearth and home.  I’ll still blog every Monday - I haven’t missed one yet. How many years has it been?  I’m not sure.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the darkening days and comforts of gathering around a warm hearth fire.

Waxing Moon - the original.

Waxing Moon - the original.

Little Saw whet and his dinner [pattern not available]

Little Saw whet and his dinner [pattern not available]

Emma’s Owls - [pattern not available]

Emma’s Owls - [pattern not available]

Not Quite White. This rug is featured in the new book, Rug Hooking Through the Year ©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC/Rug Hooking

Not Quite White. This rug is featured in the new book, Rug Hooking Through the Year ©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC/Rug Hooking

Barn Owl With Moon - take 2.

Barn Owl With Moon - take 2.

Rug Hooking Through the Year.

I’m doing a book giveaway this week.  The book, Rug Hooking Through the Year, is the latest publication by Ampry Publishing LLC/Rug Hooking.  Before I launch into my book review, I must disclose that on the cover is my rug, Magpie Cherry Pie. This book also includes my snowy owl rug titled, Not Quite White.   So, you know I’m going to love this book.

Rug Hooking Through the Year contains 24 favorite projects, which are arranged around the theme of the four seasons.  Fifteen designers are featured with projects for every level of rug hooking experience.  Each designer has included lots of helpful tips about how the rug was designed, wool dyeing and color choice decisions, and there is a line drawing of each design, which can be enlarged and used for one-time personal use.

If you’re looking for ideas for rugs to hook for every season, this book is for you!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a new book about hooked rug designers.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Rug Hooking Through the Year [©2018 Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking].  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my website.  [Below this blog post is the teeny tiny word “comment/s”. Click on that to open a space to type 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, November 4th at Noon [EST].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, November 5th.

Good luck!

Be sure to leave a comment below to get your name into the dye pot. You might be the winner!

Be sure to leave a comment below to get your name into the dye pot. You might be the winner!

Magpie Cherry Pie hangs in my laundry room.

Magpie Cherry Pie hangs in my laundry room.

Seasonal rugs.

October is my favorite and busiest month of the year. I haven’t spent time at the hooking frame for a couple of weeks, so today I’m featuring my fall and Halloween rug patterns, which are available on the Shop page of my website, if you’re interested. 

It has finally cooled off!  We had a freeze last Thursday night and the back lawn was like a field of diamonds when I let the dogs out early Friday morning. The air was so crisp and clear that I took many deep breaths, which nourished my soul.  I love autumn!

Coming up on Saturday will be the Brandywine Hook-In in Lancaster, PA.  They always put on a spectacular day of hooking, shopping, and camaraderie.  I have a list of spot dyed wools to buy for two of my future rugs and I’m also buying wool for a friend.  I love spending someone else’s money. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the crisp clear days and nights of autumn.

The Recipe 24” x 18”

The Recipe 24” x 18”

Stack o’ Jacks 36” x 18”

Stack o’ Jacks 36” x 18”

Waxing Crescent 24” x 18”

Waxing Crescent 24” x 18”

La Hora Del Te 26” x 21”

La Hora Del Te 26” x 21”

Fall Fields 22” x 19”

Fall Fields 22” x 19”

Barn Owl with Moon 24” x 36”

Barn Owl with Moon 24” x 36”

Harvest Moon pattern 22”x 40”

Harvest Moon pattern 22”x 40”

Pumpkin palette.

My Barn Owl with Moon rug is almost finished.  An autumnal design gets me excited and my hook flying.  This rug, which is 24” x 36”, is hooked mostly in #8.5 cut wool strips for the pumpkin and background, and #8 and #7 for the other design elements.

Orange is one of my favorite colors.  It’s my Power Color and signifies Creative Energy to me.  I used about ten different orange and orange-related wools for this pumpkin.  I also love to add pops of magenta in my orange pumpkins. Using an unexpected color in design elements adds excitement and moves the viewer’s eyes around the design.

Although I’ll be finished with hooking this rug by next week, I will hold off on the whipping of the edges until the Brandywine Hook-In in October.  Binding a rug at a hook-in can be done without lugging a frame, tub of wool, etc. I spend most of my time at a hook-in shopping, chatting, and looking at an array of rugs.  I confess that little actual hooking is done by me.

My next project will be my newest design called, Harvest Moon.  I’ll be hooking it for a friend, who is an artist who loves color.  I want to do some wool shopping at the Brandywine Hook-In for this new rug. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the rich colors of an autumnal rug.

Barn Owl with Moon 24”x 36”

Barn Owl with Moon 24”x 36”

A close up of the many pumpkin colors used.

A close up of the many pumpkin colors used.

The orange wools used.

The orange wools used.

My next pumpkin pattern, Harvest Moon, 22” x 40”

My next pumpkin pattern, Harvest Moon, 22” x 40”

Barn Owl with Moon - take 2.

Those of us who hook rugs find it amusing when someone asks if we actually put our rugs on the FLOOR and WALK on them!  Yes, we do.  Wool hooked onto a sturdy foundation can withstand many years of foot traffic. 

The second rug I ever designed and hooked depicted a barn owl sitting on a pumpkin with a large full moon low in the night sky. That rug had been on the floor in front of the kitchen sink for eleven years. Although the loops were somewhat flattened and it had a few stains, it was still in amazing shape.

Then it happened.

One of our dogs [I’m not naming names] had an accident on it. I picked up the rug, put it in a garbage bag, and took it out to the trash. I wasn’t upset with the dog at all. Stuff happens.

Deciding to re-hook that rug, I searched for the original pattern, but was unable to find it. Back to the drawing board I went and even added a couple of mice to the new design. I can’t wait to start hooking. I bought some beautiful dark, multi-colored, spot-dyed herringbone wool when I was at Sauder Village.  I’ll use it for the background. This new rug will be darker overall than the original.

I hope to have some good progress to show you next week. In the meantime, get your rugs out of the closet, lay them on the floor, and walk on them!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the redesigning of an old rug.

Barn Owl with Moon 2. Stay tuned.

Barn Owl with Moon 2. Stay tuned.