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".

Pumpkin time.

At this beautiful time of year, my thoughts turn to all things autumnal: cooler temperatures; sleeping under a light down comforter; a warm mug of afternoon tea; fresh pressed apple cider; colorful leaves dripping off the trees; and pumpkins.  I love pumpkins!  I think it is their rich, orange color [although I also love the blue and multi-colored gourds].

A few years ago, Susan Feller suggested a color project in advance of that year’s Retreat Into the Mountains [WV].  She asked us to choose a color that we like and then illustrate it with a hooked piece.  I immediately chose the color orange.  Orange is my power color and represents Creative Energy to me.  I designed a small piece depicting a pumpkin growing above ground with a taproot [this is where artistic license comes into play, since pumpkins don’t have a taproot] drawing up the molten energy from the center of the Earth.  I have this piece hanging in my studio and look at it often.

Now it’s time to choose my next project. There are several in the wings, but I like to focus on one rug at a time, so I think I’ll do the pumpkin design a friend has requested.  She emailed me a photo that she took of a stack of pumpkins sitting outside the front door of a beautiful white clapboard New England house.  I love to enjoy each and every day of autumn, so a pumpkin design will be perfect.  I’ll be discussing the design with her and deciding on what will be included in the rug.  Actually, since she has a cat, she has requested a wall hanging.  Wise choice.

On a rainy afternoon this past week, I visited a local farm market and took some photos of the pumpkins and gourds, which I have posted below.  Of course, while I was there, I had to buy some pumpkin bread baked by the talented Amish woman, who works there.  Perfect with that afternoon cup of tea.

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

Creative Energy, designed and hooked by Karen Larsen, 2013.

Creative Energy, designed and hooked by Karen Larsen, 2013.

I'm not sure which I like better, the pumpkin stack or the white clapboard house.

I'm not sure which I like better, the pumpkin stack or the white clapboard house.

Gourds on sale at Butcher's Farm Market, Newport, PA

Gourds on sale at Butcher's Farm Market, Newport, PA

I love this pile of small ones.

I love this pile of small ones.

Many sizes, shapes and colors make a beautiful display.

Many sizes, shapes and colors make a beautiful display.

As fall begins.

I didn’t do much in the way of handiwork this past week as I was nursing an injury to my left hand.  No big deal, but I’ve learned to honor my body and slow down when necessary.  This understanding is probably enhanced by the major birthday looming in the near future.  Age does give one wisdom and perspective.

Fall has begun and it couldn’t come soon enough for me.  Summer is not my favorite season and this one was especially very long, very hot, and very dry.  I took a tour of the perennial gardens and in spite of the dry conditions, there are still things blooming and even re-blooming in the prolonged heat.  I’ve posted photos of some of these hardy plants below.

I’m about to design a super-secret rug.  Yes, another one!  The deadline is March first and it won’t go public until next August.  I have a fun idea for it and it will be something very different for me.  I’m ready to branch out, so this will be fun.

I have done a bit more stitching on my wool appliqué project and will keep at it until it’s finished.  I will wait until then to post a photo of it.  I guess I will have to begin a hooked rug that I can share with you as I hook along on it.  I have a couple of ideas in mind.  

I'm also taking a year-long online rug hooking [and more] class with Wanda Kerr.  It's called Spark and you can still sign up until the beginning of October.  This class is designed to spark up creativity and I'm excited to be involved.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the flowers that soldiered through the long hot summer.

I love this dark sedum backed by anise hyssop.

I love this dark sedum backed by anise hyssop.

The sunflowers hang their heavy heads.

The sunflowers hang their heavy heads.

This hibiscus refuses to quit.

This hibiscus refuses to quit.

I don't know what this vine is, but is has sweet little red flowers.

I don't know what this vine is, but is has sweet little red flowers.

I love when the asparagus is left to grow and produce these small berries.

I love when the asparagus is left to grow and produce these small berries.

My favorite Russian sage is bedraggled, but still attracts big fat bees.

My favorite Russian sage is bedraggled, but still attracts big fat bees.


Cross-training.

When I was at Sauder Village a few weeks ago for rug hooking week, I took a one-day workshop called, Botanical Appreciation – Wooly Table Rug, with Rebekah L. Smith.  Rebekah is well known for her embroidery and wool appliqué creations.  It has been many, many years since I’ve done crewel embroidery, but this workshop sounded like too much fun to miss.

Although I’m a full-time rug hooker, it’s always good to stretch oneself and loosen up the creative muscles.  I thoroughly enjoyed this class and Rebekah’s relaxed and helpful style of teaching.  Reconnecting with a fiber art of years ago, can only help me when working on my future hooked rugs.  Adding another style of stitching along with all those wonderful woolly loops can add a new dimension to the designing and execution of a hooked piece.

I have an aversion to not finishing a project.  I don’t have any UFOs [un-finished objects] in my closet, so I hope to keep at this table rug until it’s finished.  My technique needs a lot of work, but it should get better and better as I stitch along.  I do need to get my stitches to be more uniform.  I’d like them to be a bit bigger and bolder.  I’ll keep trying.

This past weekend I met with my friend, Kimberly, who wants to learn how to knit.  My granny taught me how to knit when I was eight, so I’ve had quite a few decades of practice.  Kimberly wants to knit a baby blanket for a friend’s baby-to-be and I decided to also knit the same blanket, so I can get a sense of what to teach her as we knit along.  I find it difficult to teach someone to do something that I’ve been doing for a long time.  When I knit, I’m zoned out in the creative right-side of my brain, but when I teach someone how to knit, I have to switch over to the logical left-side of my brain.   I think that side is kind of shriveled up, so maybe having to use it is a good thing.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in working with other forms of fiber.

Once I get all the motif pieces stitched in place, the decorative top-stitching will be added,

Once I get all the motif pieces stitched in place, the decorative top-stitching will be added,

A book winner, a rug finish, and worm-aggedon.

First of all, thanks to everyone who entered to win the Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs 26 book. [© Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking Magazine]. The name of the lucky winner that I pulled from the dye pot is Patty Cassidy, who commented, “Great book giveaway.  I can’t look at these beautiful rugs enough.  What inspiration.”  Congratulations, Patty!  I’ll contact you for your mailing address.

I finished my Fall Under Foot rug that is now lying in front of the red pantry cupboard in the kitchen.  This is the “magic cupboard” that contains the dog food and treats.  It’s a popular spot, so it’s a bit unusual that there isn’t at least one dog in the photo below. 

As you can see, the background of the rug is done in a hit-or-miss pattern of dark wools.  I dug into my worm/noodle bin and got out a big pile of worms for the background.  I did cut a bit of wool to add variety to these wonderful dark colors.  Now here’s the weird thing…. after using lots of my leftover worms, the worm bin is more full than ever!  I might have to buy another plastic bin for worms.  How can this be?  I know I’m not the only rug hooker with this phenomenon.

Something I must confess is that I dislike hooking in straight rows, which is what I did in the whole background area.  Because of my less than stellar eyesight, I have to practically put my nose on the linen to make sure I’m hooking a straight line along the warp or weft of the linen.  When hooking in a more natural style, I can just put my hook in wherever it needs to go. 

On the subject of hooking direction, there is an article by Nancy Z. Parcels in the new Sept/Oct 2016 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine about “higgledy piggledy” or antigodlin hooking.  Check out Nancy's article to see how this kind of hooking can enhance your rug.

It’s early September and we’ve been having yet another heat wave.  In spite of that, I am decorating for my favorite fall and Halloween season.  Some Halloween-y items seem to find their way into the permanent year-‘round decorating scheme.  Rubber rats and papier-maché pumpkins are always on display.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the changing of the seasons.

Fall Under Foot adds a bit of autumn to the kitchen.

Fall Under Foot adds a bit of autumn to the kitchen.

Another book giveaway!

What?  So soon?  Yes, it’s true…. another book giveaway!  Those of you who are in rug hooking groups on Facebook have undoubtedly seen many photos from the recent Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village.  In particular, the rugs that were honored by being selected for this year’s Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs 26 book were shared and enjoyed.

I had the fun time of helping to hang the Celebration rugs at Sauder Village.  Getting to see them up close and personal was a treat.  There were about fifty of them at Sauder, but there are twenty more of these incredible rugs in the Celebration book. 

At the top of my Bucket List is having a rug of mine selected for a future Celebration book.  I’ll keep trying each year, because as we all know, you have to be in it to win it!

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a copy of Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs 26 [© Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking Magazine]  to give away.  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my website.  Be sure to sign in to leave your comment, so I will have your email address to contact you if you win.  [Your email address will not be used for any other purpose].  The drawing will be held on Sunday, September 11th at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, September 12, 2016.  Good luck!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the talent of the Celebration winners.

 

Enter for a chance to win a copy of the newest Celebration book!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of the newest Celebration book!

Autumn under foot.

Before I went off to Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village, I designed and started hooking a rug for my kitchen.  I just needed something that says “Autumn!”  I created a simple design of a brightly colored pumpkin and a squash on a dark background of hit-or-miss, mostly purple noodles [wooly worms] from my stash. 

Most every rug hooker has a never-ending supply of wooly worms, which are very nice to have when just a few strips are needed to add color here and there to a rug, or as a ready supply of noodles to hook an entire area.  Since these wooly worms seem to reproduce when I’m not looking, my worm bin is always filled to the brim.

I have been busy since returning from Ohio.  Hubby and I held our annual Perry County Corn Hole party this past weekend.  This requires lots of pre-planning and setting up.  In case you’re scratching your head, I should say that corn hole is a beanbag toss game.  Hubby is a stickler for refereeing this event according to the rulebook.  It was a fun evening with friends, although I could have done with a lot less heat and humidity.  In this part of south central Pennsylvania, this has been deemed the hottest August on record.  I'm a  cold weather kind of person, myself.

I have a future super-secret rug in the works and I think it will be a bit different than what I’ve done so far.  I love to be asked to join in a group project, because it makes me want to stretch myself and my creative imagination.  So, I will add this rug design to my list of super secret rugs.  They all come to light eventually.

 There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the creative spark that comes with new projects.

Getting a start on my new design, Autumn Under Foot.

Getting a start on my new design, Autumn Under Foot.

A close-up of Autumn Under Foot.

A close-up of Autumn Under Foot.

Super secret rugs revealed.

What a wild and fun week of rug hooking at Sauder Village!  I got home yesterday and it will take me a while to process all of the experiences I had there.

I finally can show you two of my super secret rugs [I still have more secret ones].  The barn rug is titled, Barn Meadow Flowers, and was adapted with permission from a photograph by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan of Celebrate Life Gallery.  Check out their website and delight in their beautiful photos. 

For my hooked adaptation, I had to dye wool for the barn in an old, faded red.  I added dimension to the center of the sunflower by doing French knots with some beautiful variegated yarn. For the Queen Anne’s lace, I used three colors of embroidery floss on top of the hooking for the stems and needle-felted wool roving for the flowers.  Some elements in the photograph were left out for the sake of simplicity.

The second rug was so much fun to do that it was difficult to keep it a secret.  Kathy Wright has written a book on the rugs of James and Mercedes Hutchinson.  You can see information on the book here and you can see images of more original Hutchinson rugs here.

My rug titled, My True Love, depicts our dog, Benji in his usual spot on our bed.  The wording came to me in a brainstorming session with a rug hooking friend.  I do not like to hook letters, so this was a challenge.  I decided to make the lettering wonky, because I assumed that is how it would come out anyway.  Thank you, Kathy, for including me in this fun project.

I will have more to tell about the week at Sauder Village, but this is enough for now. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the big beautiful world of rug hooking!

My rug, Barn Meadow Flowers, adapted with permission.

My rug, Barn Meadow Flowers, adapted with permission.

Barn Meadow Flowers, a photograph by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan of Celebrate Life Gallery.

Barn Meadow Flowers, a photograph by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan of Celebrate Life Gallery.

My Hutchinson-esque rug called, My True Love.

My Hutchinson-esque rug called, My True Love.

Here is Benji, who modeled for my Hutchinson-esque rug.  He's so dedicated that he still assumes this pose every day.

Here is Benji, who modeled for my Hutchinson-esque rug.  He's so dedicated that he still assumes this pose every day.

A winner announced and a trip begun.

Thanks to the more than ninety of you, who entered the book drawing for the new book, Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick [© 2016 Ampry Publishing LLC and presented by Rug Hooking Magazine].  There were lots of great comments.  I put the names on cards and tossed them in the trusty dye pot.   I stirred up the names and pulled out the winner.  Congratulations, Monique Damus, who commented, "It was Deanne's designs that first inspired me to hook rugs and after many years I was finally able to go to her shop and meet her last year,  I would love to read her latest book!"  Monique, please contact me with your mailing address, so I can get that book in the mail to you. 

For the rest of you, who would like to own this excellent book, you can find it at the Rug Hooking Magazine website. 

While you’re on the RHM website check out their Book Club information.  As a member you receive the new books before they are offered to the general public and you get a lower price.  It’s a great deal.  You can read all the details here.

Today I’m hitching a ride to Archbold, Ohio for an exciting week of rug hooking immersion.  Yes, it’s Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village.  What a fun week filled with rug hooking friends old and new, a huge rug show, workshops, etc.  I’ll be taking two workshops and also helping out at the Rug Hooking Magazine booth.  I hope you will stop by and say hello.

I will have two rugs in the show.  I haven’t shared these super secret rugs yet, so I’ll do that next Monday.  I can tell you that one features a barn and is part of a Barn Project, spearheaded by Lisanne Miller.  The other one is done in the Hutchinson style and is part of a fun project for Kathy Wright, who will unveil her new book about the Hutchinsons during Rug Hooking Week.  Kathy is the superwoman, who organizes this incredible week of rug hooking.  She is truly amazing!

I’m sure I’ll post some happenings during the week on my FB business page.  While you’re on my FB page, please give it a “Like” if you haven't already.  I'm well on my way to 1,000 Likes and I'd love to get there.  Thanks!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the gathering of rug hookers from near and far.

No canine helper today.  Are they on strike?

No canine helper today.  Are they on strike?

I'm trying to consolidate my stuff for Sauder Villagae, because I'm hitching a ride.  Of course, this doesn't include my suitcase.....

I'm trying to consolidate my stuff for Sauder Villagae, because I'm hitching a ride.  Of course, this doesn't include my suitcase.....

Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick

Rug Hooking Magazine and Ampry Publishing LLC have just released a new book titled Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick.

Featuring over forty of her rugs, this colorful book traces the history of Deanne’s rug hooking and the evolution of her style.  It’s a compendium of the articles Deanne has written for Rug Hooking Magazine over the years, which offer her personal tips on how she creates her most iconic designs.  Skies, water, poppies, people, rugs that tell a story.   She discusses how to choose colors and fibers to create the essence of these design elements.

Deanne’s early years in Newfoundland instilled her love of the sea and the huge sky around her.  Now in Nova Scotia, the sea and sky and the people in her life are foremost in her rug designs.  Her rugs are such a part of her and she shares tips on creating one’s own style by looking around as we are out in our own part of the world.  She says, “You need to be a student of the landscape you want to recreate”.  As an artist, Deanne knows the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings and using a sketchbook to record ideas. 

BOOK GIVEAWAY:   I am excited to have a copy of Rug Hooking with Deanne Fitzpatrick to give away.  To get your name in the drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post on my website.  Be sure to sign in to leave your comment, so I will have your email address to contact you if you win.  [Your email address will not be used for any other purpose].  The drawing will be held on Sunday, August 14 at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, August 15, 2016.  Good luck!

There's a lot of beauty out there and in the rugs of Deanne Fitzpatrick!

Enter for a chance to win Deanne's book.  Be sure to leave a comment on this blog post on my WEBSITE.  Good luck!

Enter for a chance to win Deanne's book.  Be sure to leave a comment on this blog post on my WEBSITE.  Good luck!

Ready for the auction block.

In spite of the heat, I’ve been hooking like crazy on the auction rug I will donate to my granddaughter’s school auction  next winter. This 21” by 36” rug is ready well ahead of time, which is how I like to roll.  I work hard to avoid stress.

I used mostly as-is (un-dyed) wool, but had to use some spot dyed wool for the sky.  The dye job didn’t come out as I had envisioned, but it was still useable.  The unexpected outcome when I dye is not the best way to go.   I need a lot more experience. 

Combining the five class names of Honeybee, Blackberry, River, Sun and Cedar was fun.  I love designing nature scenes.  Doing a sunrise and a running river were challenging, but I’m happy with how they turned out.  I hope it will bring a nice big winning bid.

My rug hooking group, Magdalena Rug Hookers, has issued a challenge to our members.  Those who wish to participate will design and hook an angel themed rug.  Any kind of angel.  My mind is not yet swimming with possible designs, but I will let things percolate for a while.  Again, no stress.

So, I’m not sure what I will start next.  I know something will present itself soon.

In the meantime, I’m already gearing up for Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, coming up in mid-August.  It’s such a treat to immerse oneself in all things rug hooking.  Will you be going?  Come for the week or come for a day.  More on this in the weeks to come.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in creating and donating a hooked rug for a worthy cause.

All set for the bidding to begin.

All set for the bidding to begin.

Dreaming of autumn.

As in many parts of the world, we are having extreme heat and humidity and no rain here in south central Pennsylvania.  It has been brutal!  Our grass is brown and crispy and the perennial garden is not looking too good.  However, one of my favorite plants, Russian sage, is drought tolerant and looks and smells beautiful.

At this time of year, my thoughts turn to the beautiful, cool and crisp autumn days that I hope are coming in the not-too-distant future.  The smell of leaves on the forest floor, the sight of skeins of geese heading to their winter havens, and the feel of a hand-knit wool shawl on my shoulders.  I can’t wait.

This week I’m sharing some photos of my autumnal designs.  I’m in the planning process for another one, but that is stuff for another day.  I have a tub bursting with beautiful autumn-inspired wool in oranges, golden browns, rust, deep purple and more.  Oh, the possibilities!

Below is a photo of my design, The Recipe.  It shows a witch’s cauldron bubbling with a magical brew.  The recipe is tacked to the tree.  I used a piece of dyed ArtWool (by Susan Feller) as the sky.  That piece of wool was too pretty to strip, so I cut it to shape and tacked it in place.  I attached this mat to a bare branch and it hangs in my studio.

The next design is called, La Hora del Te [Tea Time[,  It’s a nod to the Mexican holiday, Dia de Los Muertos, celebrated on November first and second.  Senora Bonita has come back to enjoy a nice cup of tea while wearing her favorite plumed hat.

The third design below is titled, Fall Fields.  I began this piece in a class at Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio in Nova Scotia a few years ago.  Deanne hooks with yarn and other fibers, so my mat is a combination of wool strips and some luscious nubby wool yarns. 

All of these patterns and more can be found on the Shop page of my website.  Hook yourself a bit of autumn!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the awaiting of crisp, cool fall days ahead.

The Recipe  24" x 18"

The Recipe  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"

A new rug begins.

Lots of rug hooking going on here recently.  I finished my winter project (super secret) rug and got a great start on my granddaughter’s school auction rug.  The auction isn’t until next March, but I always like to get things finished before any stress-inducing deadline rears its ugly head.  And once I begin pulling loops I cannot stop until the rug is finished.  My motto is “OCD is my friend!”  I think I’ll hook a rug with that emblazoned on it. 

I showed my preliminary drawing of the auction rug in my blog a couple of weeks ago.  Each class at the school has a chosen name.  They are Honeybee, Blackberry, River, Sun and Cedar.  I did some tweaking of the design, making the honeycomb and blackberry areas larger.  The two bees were ditched and replaced with a larger honeybee.  A couple of inches at the right end were cut off to balance everything. 

I’m trying to use mostly as-is (un-dyed) wool.  That sounds simple, but even with tubs and tubs of wool from which to choose, I’ve had to hook, reverse hook, and try another color wool in certain areas.  A few of the areas will have dyed wool. 

The weather has been hot and humid here in south central Pennsylvania.  Summer is not my favorite time of year and I have to push myself to stay active or I can end up in a summer coma.  I can’t help but think ahead to autumn.  Just the word “autumn” conjures up delightful images and remembered smells of that beautiful time of year.  With that in mind, I will be highlighting some of my more autumnal designs in the next week or two.  No time like the present to start hooking a fall project!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in finishing and beginning hooked rugs.

The class names of Honeybee, Blackberry and River are finished.  Now on to classes Sun and Cedar.  

The class names of Honeybee, Blackberry and River are finished.  Now on to classes Sun and Cedar.  

Rug Hanging 101.

I was recently asked how I hang my rugs on a wall.  I’m sure there are many ways to do this, but I’ve settled on one way that works well for me.  I like the clean look of it without any rods peeking out on either end of the rug.  Clean and simple.

I buy 2” wide nylon webbing at a sewing shop and cut two pieces making them short enough to allow for a blank area between them on the back of the rug.  I run the cut edges through a flame to seal them, so they won't unravel.  I then sew the webbing to the back of the rug, taking care to catch the linen foundation threads with my stitches, so I’m not just sewing the webbing onto the actual hooking.

I use wood lath, a wood yardstick, or even a wood paint stirrer and ask hubby to cut it to length and drill a hole in the center.  As you can see in the photo, having that “blank space” between the webbing pieces allows you to shift the rug right to left to level it once it’s hung.

The kind of picture hanger shown below is my favorite.  You can just push it into drywall with a pair of pliers.  Easy peasy!  For a very large and heavy rug, you might want to use two hangers spaced apart.  You will have to reconfigure the webbing in that case.

The photo below shows my It’s All Black and White rug in its wall spot.  I considered hanging it at the head of our bed, but I prefer how it looks in my studio.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in proudly displaying one’s hooked art.

The model and his rug in my studio.

The model and his rug in my studio.

A visual of how the back of a rug is prepared for hanging.

A visual of how the back of a rug is prepared for hanging.

Old Glory.

Happy Fourth of July from Crow's Foot Farm. 

I love the US flag for many reasons; what it stands for and also as a beautiful graphic design.  We fly the flag here all the time both inside and outside.  I share with you some photos of flags and other examples of red, white and blue. 

I hope your holiday weekend is filled with family, friends and appreciation of what we enjoy here in these United States.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the flying of Old Glory.

This very large 50 star flag flies on the front porch.

This very large 50 star flag flies on the front porch.

Bright red bee balm is popular with bees and hummingbirds.

Bright red bee balm is popular with bees and hummingbirds.

The local bluebirds are keeping busy.

The local bluebirds are keeping busy.

The mulberry tree by the cemetery is filled with berries.  All sorts of animals come to feast.

The mulberry tree by the cemetery is filled with berries.  All sorts of animals come to feast.

I bought this 45 star flag at a flea market in the 1970s.  It appears to be made from a lightweight linen.  I love the not-quite-white stripes.  The 45 star flag was flown from 1896 - 1908.

I bought this 45 star flag at a flea market in the 1970s.  It appears to be made from a lightweight linen.  I love the not-quite-white stripes.  The 45 star flag was flown from 1896 - 1908.

Photo finish.

The border for It’s All Black and White has been decided and loops have been pulled.  I knew I wanted the border to be in black and white to adhere to the theme of the rug.  For those who missed previous blogs about this rug, It’s All Black and White refers to the color of our Boston terrier, Ikey, as well as the fact that dogs only see in black and white.  Such a shame to be standing in a garden filled with color and not being able to see it!

I toyed with different black and white ideas for the border, but making it look like a photograph seemed to make sense.  For those of us of a “certain age”, we remember actually taking pictures with a camera containing film.  The film was then taken to the photo shop to be printed.  We never knew if the photos turned out OK until we got them back. We then mounted the ones we liked in photo albums by way of black corners adhered to the pages.  Now everything is digital and photos live in a “cloud” somewhere.  All very mysterious.

I don't like using a true white wool in a rug, so I did tea-stain wool for the border.  It gives it an antiqued look.  I also rarely use true black wool, but the wool for the corners actually has a very subtle dark brown stripe in it.  Using very dark colors to represent black and "not quite white" wool to represent white is something I've done before.  The eye sees what it expects to see and makes the interpretation without effort.

We have had some house-guests this past week, which has been nice, but my hooking time was abbreviated.  My studio was magically transformed into a wool-dust-free guest room.  It's now time to get back to work.  I should have the rest of this border finished this coming week.  I always like to finish what I’m working on before starting the next one.  

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the colorful gardens at Crow’s Foot Farm.

The tea-stained wool creates an antique look.  

The tea-stained wool creates an antique look.  

This is how Ikey sees this colorful rug.

This is how Ikey sees this colorful rug.

New beginnings. New rugs.

Having finished the main part of my rug, It’s All Black and White, I must now decide on a border.  I have an idea for it and it’s something quite different for me, so I must ponder it a while.  I’ve shared photos of this rug for weeks now and I want to take a break from it and plan a couple of new projects.

One of the new projects is another “super secret rug” [here we go again].  I’ve got it on linen and I’m excited to get hooking on it.  I’ll have to do some subtle dyeing, which will be either really fun or a nightmare.  I never know which until I get into the dye pots. 

The other new project, thankfully, is one that I can share with you as I go along.  I am designing and hooking a rug to donate to my granddaughter’s Waldorf school for their 2017 fundraising auction.  After attending Grandparents’ Day at the Siskiyou School for the past two years, I’ve come away with such an admiration for the style of teaching there.  From the earliest grades, it is a hands-on way of teaching.  They have classes in hand-work, art, music, foreign languages as well as the usual reading, writing [yes, cursive!] and arithmetic.  It is a very organic and nature-based community of students.  These children get to really enjoy being children.

Each class at the school has a name.  My granddaughter’s class is the River Class.  The other classes are: Honeybee; Blackberry; Cedar; and Sun.  The youngest classes are still formulating their class names. 

With the class names at hand, I immediately envisioned a design incorporating these nature images.  The school logo works right into with the rest.  I have a preliminary design drawn out, but I do like to be fluid as I design, color plan, and hook.  I have plenty of time to complete this rug and I hope you will tag along as I work on it.

I also got to have fun custom designing a pattern based on my It’s All Black and White rug.  It’s for someone who loves Boston terriers, too.  I hope she will have fun hooking it and I’d love to see it when it’s finished.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in planning new projects and giving thanks for schools that teach “outside the box”.

The auction rug in its infancy.

The auction rug in its infancy.

A custom pattern for a Boston terrier lover!

A custom pattern for a Boston terrier lover!