Rug binding 101.

There are many ways to bind hooked rugs and I’ve tried a number of them. But once I ditched the twill tape and starting using cotton clothesline cord, I found the technique that suits me best.

I love the weight of the cord around the edges.  It gives the rug a good “plop” when thrown down on the floor.  I use cord for all my rugs, even those that hang on the wall.

Another plus for this technique is that the bound edge looks the same on the front and the back.

After steam blocking the rug I lay it right side up and trim the excess linen to 1 ½”.  I then fold the cut edge in to the outer row of loops and iron it down.  Then the following steps are shown in the photos below.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a neatly bound rug.

The completed rug in situ.

The completed rug in situ.

After pressing the excess linen toward the loops, I lay the cord on it and begin basting it in place.

After pressing the excess linen toward the loops, I lay the cord on it and begin basting it in place.

This rug has a curvy border.  On the inward curves I had to clip the linen and add some Fray-stop to the cut.  This allows the rug to lay flat.  If I didn’t use the cord, this area would be almost impossible to whip with yarn.

This rug has a curvy border. On the inward curves I had to clip the linen and add some Fray-stop to the cut. This allows the rug to lay flat. If I didn’t use the cord, this area would be almost impossible to whip with yarn.

I like to use Alafosslopi yarn, which is a heavy yarn with a loose twist.  There are many kinds of wool yarn that can be used for whipping.  I used two different purples together to add interest.

I like to use Alafosslopi yarn, which is a heavy yarn with a loose twist. There are many kinds of wool yarn that can be used for whipping. I used two different purples together to add interest.

I used two different purples for the purple areas.  One is a red-purple and the other is a blue-purple, so I used a strand of red-purple yarn with a strand of blue-purple yarn for whipping.

I used two different purples for the purple areas. One is a red-purple and the other is a blue-purple, so I used a strand of red-purple yarn with a strand of blue-purple yarn for whipping.

Ready to bind.

Somehow I managed to finish hooking my I Love My OCD rug.  The dog population was pretty good most of the past week, allowing me time in the studio.  Some days are better than others and I’m looking forward to taking Leo to his Manners Class, which begins in a couple of weeks. 

The photo below of my latest rug doesn’t show the irregular curvy border.  I can’t wait to start binding this [yes, I actually do love to bind rugs!]  The rug is about 32” x 39”, so I’ll have to stand on a chair to get a full photo of it.  In the meantime, I’ll take photos as I bind it to show my process.  I have one favorite way to bind and I’m sticking to it! 

I’m still pondering how to design the next piece in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  It will depict the ocean with plastic flotsam.  Such a sad state of affairs for the Earth’s oceans. 

As some of you know, I’m in the Magdalena Rug Hookers here in Perry County PA.  I’m also in a three-woman splinter group called, Maggie’s Meyvns.  We Meyvns are each planning on hooking a rug about one of our strong woman heroes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I just planned my rug out on paper and I hope to get it on linen soon.  Unfortunately, I can’t show it until all Meyvns have completed their RBG rugs and we have our reveal.  Our reveals usually contain a meal.  We shall see.

The months of July and August will be filled with activities, which will make summer fly by.  I’m already looking forward to autumn.

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

The center area of I Love My OCD  32” x 39”.  Hooked with #8 and #8.5 cuts of wool cloth on linen.

The center area of I Love My OCD 32” x 39”. Hooked with #8 and #8.5 cuts of wool cloth on linen.

Here’s the tub of noodles after finishing the rug.  I didn’t use them all up, but I made a good dent.

Here’s the tub of noodles after finishing the rug. I didn’t use them all up, but I made a good dent.

I re-sorted the leftover noodles by color and put them back in their 2 gallon bags. This only took me 15-20 minutes, for those of you who think I’m crazy!

I re-sorted the leftover noodles by color and put them back in their 2 gallon bags. This only took me 15-20 minutes, for those of you who think I’m crazy!

A book winner and a busy week.

Thanks to everyone who put her name in the dye pot for a chance to win the new book, Hooked Rug Designs for Baby & Beyond, by Norma Batastini [© 2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking].  This is a fun and inspirational book for anyone with a child’s drawing waiting to be turned into a special hooked rug.

The lucky winner is Cathy, who commented, “What a sweet cover!”  Congratulations, Cathy, I’ll contact you for your mailing address.

This past week has been pretty hectic.  With two adult dogs in our household, I decided to adopt a puppy.  Leo is a four-month old Labrador retriever mix, who is full of puppy energy.  I had forgotten what it’s like to have a puppy, and a big one at that.  The two adult dogs are figuring out how to deal with the new one and it’s going fairly well for the most part.  I think we will all be happy when the puppy phase is over.

One great thing about having Leo is that I am now taking a daily walk with him and my Boston terrier, Beans.  Our neighbor on the farm next door was kind enough to mow a path for me and the dogs so we can walk on his “farm road” without going out onto the paved road to get there.  What nice neighbors we have!

I haven’t pulled a loop in over a week, so I must get back to my I Love My OCD rug now, if I can get Leo to sit still long enough for me to do so.  I’m hoping he will become my studio buddy.

 There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the many small parts that make up our lives.

Leo, my studio buddy in training, helps with picking the book winner.

Leo, my studio buddy in training, helps with picking the book winner.

This sweet young deer comes daily to eat the mulberries on the ground.

This sweet young deer comes daily to eat the mulberries on the ground.

Book giveaway!

It’s always fun when I get a newly published book to give away. This time it’s, Hooked Rug Designs for Baby & Beyond by Norma Batastini [© 2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking].

This book is filled with colorful rugs designed and hooked by many rug hookers for their children and grandchildren of all ages.  Many of the designs are original ones adapted from drawings by their imaginative youngsters. 

Do you have some artwork on your refrigerator that would make a wonderful hooked rug?  Can you imagine how much it would mean to frame the artwork and make a matching hooked rug for some special child?  It would be a family heirloom for years to come.

Norma gives many examples of styles and ideas to create your own rugs.  She also goes over copyright laws concerning familiar and popular cartoon characters and gives practical ways to stay within the rules.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Hooked Rug Designs for Baby & Beyond by Norma Batastini[© 2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / 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, June 16th at Noon [EDT].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, June 17th , 2019.  Good luck!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in creating a rug for a special child.

Be sure to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win Norma Batastini’s new book!

Be sure to get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win Norma Batastini’s new book!

First chaos, then order.

I’m having fun with my stash-busting, I Love My OCD rug.  I grabbed an empty tub and put huge handfuls of noodles in it.  The variety of cuts and colors should be enough to create an interesting rug.  Every other section is hooked with two purple plaids in a #8.5 cut.  If this doesn’t decrease my stash, I don’t know what will, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

There is one little thing that is tickling my OCD, and that is the fact that if I don’t use up most of the noodles in the bin, I’ll have to separate them by color and put them back in their 2-gallon bags.  That task won’t actually be a bad thing.  The next project will be one for my Mother Earth Speaks series, so I will have to clean up my studio before starting that one.

In spite of many on-the-fly changes, this rug is hooking up quickly and I look forward to placing it in front of my studio door.  I’m sure that there will be some questions such as, “Whose initials are those?” 

I just received a brand-new rug hooking book to give away.  It’s a fun one, so be sure to tune in next week when I’ll tell you about it and start the giveaway.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in my latest free-wheeling rug hooking project!

Fun shapes and fun colors make a fun rug!

Fun shapes and fun colors make a fun rug!

A tub full of noodles/worms.  What do you call them?

A tub full of noodles/worms. What do you call them?

Trashed.

Creating this Found on Beach project has been interesting and a bit unsettling.  I’m definitely an OCD neatnik type, whose personal motto is, “I love my OCD! “ So, trashing up a perfectly good hooked piece depicting a child’s pail and shovel on a sandy beach, was hard to do. I’m not sure I have added enough trash to it, but it will have to do.  I can only take so much.

Here is the finishing process that I did.  I bound the edges as I do with all of my hooked rugs [see my blog, “Binding the Cat”].  Then after hooking and prodding in most of the trash, I sewed the piece to foam core/board [recycled from another use] that was cut to the same dimensions of 18” x 24”.  I sewed on a few more of the trash elements at that point.

I knew the final stage would be to attach the entire piece to a wood frame that my hubby made me for another project, which I never used.  I wanted to use the colorful variety of buoy/ lobster trap rope that I found on a Cape Cod beach a few years ago.  I nailed the rope to the outer edges of the wood frame and added a child’s flip flop for good measure.  Then I carefully nailed the piece to the top of the frame by lifting the edges of the hooked piece and nailing through the foam board. 

This is the fourth installment in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  The next one will be plastic in the ocean, but first I think I’ll hook myself a rug with my motto “I love my OCD!”  A little respite from the sad state of our Earth Mother.

There’s a lot of beauty out there.  Let’s keep it that way!

Found on Beach 18” x 24”. Designed and created by Karen Larsen, Crow’s Foot Farm Designs, LLC. 2019

Found on Beach 18” x 24”. Designed and created by Karen Larsen, Crow’s Foot Farm Designs, LLC. 2019

Found on Beach before the trashing began.

Found on Beach before the trashing began.

Bits and bobs.

A good start was made on “trashing up” my Found on Beach piece.  I will do more on it before I show it again.  I’m still figuring out how to mount this piece, but I’m sure it will all work out well in the end.

Half of this past week was spent visiting a friend in Connecticut.  We had lots of fun.  Knowing someone for 40+ years makes for many shared laughs as we catch up with each other’s life.  Having friends from many years ago creates a wonderful continuity to one’s life.  Do you have friends from “long ago”?  I have a friend from back when we were both in nappies, another friend I met in pre-school, and many more from all the intervening years between then and now. 

Pennsylvania continues to have a lot of rain.  I wonder if this is the new “normal”?  I like a rainy day, so I don’t mind.  I took a few photos on one of the sunny days this past week and I’m sharing them below.  Just random things that caught my attention. 

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the company of an old friend.

Some natural treasures to save and admire.

Some natural treasures to save and admire.

Hot pepper and tomato plants. Hoping for a better growing season this year!

Hot pepper and tomato plants. Hoping for a better growing season this year!

I find these mud-dauber wasp tubes fascinating.

I find these mud-dauber wasp tubes fascinating.

The girls enjoy the dandelions.

The girls enjoy the dandelions.

A mini hen egg [with peanut for size comparison]. I save all of these tiny treasures.

A mini hen egg [with peanut for size comparison]. I save all of these tiny treasures.

Leave only footprints.

Have you ever seen photos of beaches after a holiday weekend or college spring break? The people are gone, but they have left behind literally tons of trash!  I don’t understand the mindset of humans, who can just walk away and leave trash in their wake.

Now that I have finished hooking Found on Beach, it’s time to figure out how to add the trash.  Of course, the trash I add will have to be a minimal amount and size to fit on this piece, which is only 18” x 24”.  Although I’m known for my “less is more” approach to things, I’ll try to stuff as much of my trash as I can on this piece!  I hope to have a good start on it by next week’s blog.

I have some ideas for the next piece, which will be plastic detritus in the ocean.  I’m feeling more and more as though I need to do multi-media pieces now.  In the past, collage and multi-media artwork was my passion and I’m being pulled back to it. 

Everything old is new again!

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in creating what is in one’s heart.

A variety of trash to choose from for my Found on Beach piece.

A variety of trash to choose from for my Found on Beach piece.

The beach before it’s trashed.

The beach before it’s trashed.

A Shutterstock image of beach litter.  It makes me sad and mad to see this.

A Shutterstock image of beach litter. It makes me sad and mad to see this.

Before the tide comes in.

As I hook along on my Found on Beach piece, I’m still pondering how to attach the beach litter to it.  After I finish the hooking and blocking, I might proddy some junk into the hooking and then back it with a piece of foam-core [reused from another purpose, of course], so there will be something to sew the bigger or heavier items onto.  Time will tell if this will work.

I hooked the pail and shovel in  #8 cut wool strips and the sand in my new-favorite #8.5 strips.  I love combining a number of sandy-colored wools to achieve the look of footprints on the sand.  I rarely hook something in one flat color.

My basket of available litter and trash is overflowing. It is probably too much for the two pollution pieces I’m doing, but I’ll use up as much as I can.

On another topic, yesterday the family of Magdalena Briner Eby donated one of her original hooked rugs to the Historical Society of Perry County [PA], where Magdalena lived.  Some of us Magdalena Rug Hookers were there to witness the donation and offer a small rug show and demonstratio to members of that committee.  I felt a certain pride that so many of us rug hookers from all over the globe, have a connection to this simple country woman, who made rugs to keep her floors warm and decorated them with motifs from her farming ways.  I’m sorry I didn’t take my camera to get a photo of the hand-over.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the art of rug hooking through the centuries.

Found on Beach in progress.  The sand will hook up quickly and then the fun begins!

Found on Beach in progress. The sand will hook up quickly and then the fun begins!

Found on Beach.

My next hooked piece will be titled, Found on Beach.  It will be another in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  This one will depict the litter that we humans create, which ends up on beaches.  I cringe every time I see people release helium balloons, which often end up in water and choke animals.  Beach goers leave behind all sorts of trash, including cigarette butts.  Other litter washes ashore from far off places.

As for the design of this piece, I think I will hook a child’s pail and shovel on a sandy beach. This could be almost any beach in the world.  I will affix different kinds of trash that I have collected.  I haven’t yet figured out how I will do this, but as I get into creating this piece, I’m sure it will all come together.

I’ve designed and hooked a number of Cape Cod beach-inspired pieces and can’t wait to start hooking this one.  I spot-dyed some sand-colored wool and will decide what color to make the pail and shovel.  I prefer to make decisions as I work.  This sometimes makes for “reverse hooking” as I change my mind about things, but that’s not a problem. 

Tree leaves and daffodils have really come out this past week.  Our redbud trees, once tiny twigs, are showing their beautiful magenta blossoms.  Robins are gathering nesting materials.  This new season is in full swing!

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

Gathering inspiration for my next piece.

Gathering inspiration for my next piece.

A beach junk sculpture in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

A beach junk sculpture in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The three R's.

Back in the day, the three R’s stood for, “Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic”.  Today they are often used for “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”.  All of these things are important, but I’m glad the new version is gaining popularity on our crowded planet. 

I’ve been pondering what rug to do next that isn’t a super-secret rug and I’ve chosen to do two pieces in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  I switch between depicting a man-made ecological disaster and a natural one.  Since Looming in Greenland was the last one I hooked, and that was a natural near-disaster, it’s time for a man-made one.  There seem to be abundant choices, unfortunately.

Scenes of our beautiful planet choking on plastic waste haunt my thoughts, so I will do one rug with detritus found on just about any beach.  I even saw photos of garbage washed ashore on an uninhabited island!  The other piece, which goes along with this unfortunate theme, will be plastics floating on the ocean. 

A couple of years ago, I gathered some man-made items from beaches on Cape Cod.  I had the kernel of an idea in my head that I would incorporate this into a hooked piece.  The time is now.

I hope you’ll take this journey with me as I decide how to depict this growing problem.  Perhaps you will join me in being aware of the problem and doing your part in picking up litter along a roadside, using cloth grocery bags, saying “no” to one-use plastic.  It’s not easy, but if we each do our part, it can make a difference. 

I’d love it if the rug hooking community would create pieces addressing this issue.  Perhaps you already have.  Please share them on my Crows Foot Farm LLC Facebook page.  I’ll try to figure out how to make an album of them there.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and we can each do our part to protect it.

Some of this detritus is from beaches on Cape Cod.

Some of this detritus is from beaches on Cape Cod.

Some of the collected “stuff” for my projects.

Some of the collected “stuff” for my projects.

Saving time?

Right now I have three super-secret hooking projects that I can’t share.  That’s always a problem when it comes to writing my blog. I seem to be in a slump without a new rug to design and hook.  I had quite a slump a year or so ago and it took a while to dig myself out of it.  Perhaps the Woolwrights’ hook-in this coming weekend will help to inspire me.  All the wool!  The colors!  The rug show!  See? I’m feeling better already.

I have been looking for signs of spring in spite of the ongoing snowstorms. I’m sure there are daffodils and crocus [croci?] pushing up through the cold earth. It’s just hard to find them under the snow.  I actually did have an egg from my old hens, which always amazes me.  I don’t know who laid it, but of the four hens, the youngest one might be seven years old.  That is optimistic determination and a sure sign of spring.

I seem go through a slump every year when “they” turn the clocks ahead.  Daylight Saving Time.  Does it save time?  I know I’m in a tiny minority of people, who don’t like this time change.  I don’t think I personally know anyone who agrees with me.  I don’t mean to dampen anyone’s excitement for the longer daylight hours and warmer temps.  Go for it!  Get outside and revel in it!

In the meantime, I’ll light some candles and leave offerings to my Muse.  She always comes through for me in her own good time.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and some of it is hiding under the snow.

Who laid this hopeful sign of spring? Elphaba? Tillie? Charlotte? PeepPeep?

Who laid this hopeful sign of spring? Elphaba? Tillie? Charlotte? PeepPeep?

Asking my Muse for inspiration.

Asking my Muse for inspiration.

 

A rug to dye for.

Some of you might have heard me say, “I don’t want to dye!”  I’m not sure why I don’t like to dye wool.  Maybe it’s too much like cooking, which I’m not crazy about either.  But this Harvest Moon rug that I’m hooking for a friend, who loves rich color, needed a deep magenta/fuschia/raspberry [not sure what to call this color] border.  I knew I had to bite the bullet and dye some wool.

I used Ingrid Hieronymous’ recipe for the perfect color and made up a batch of dye.  To make a long and tedious story short, I had to dye this same yard of wool FOUR TIMES to get the intensity of color I wanted.  But in the end it was worth it.  The hooking is finished.. Now comes the binding, which I enjoy doing. I might take it to the Woolwrights’ hook-in in a couple of weeks and do it there.

As I was bemoaning this dye job, I amused myself by thinking of the interesting terms that we rug hookers use. We strip, bind, whip, and dye.  Sounds like one of the true crime podcasts I listen to.

I am without a next rug to design and hook, which I can blog about.  I’m sure something will pop into my imagination.  Hopefully, I won’t have to dye any wool for it.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a dye job that finally comes out right.

Harvest Moon 22” x 39”.  All ready for the binding and whipping!

Harvest Moon 22” x 39”. All ready for the binding and whipping!

Talented friends.

I’m fortunate to have many talented and artistic friends. They never cease to amaze and inspire me.  Some of them make unique jewelry, knit beautiful garments, do creative embroidery, hook wonderful rugs, and create mosaic masterpieces. 

My friend, Josephine [Jo] Alexander is a mosaic artist, whose pieces take my breath away.  I love glass and have been tempted to take classes from her, but I’m resisting adding another craft to my repertoire.  I have a studio filled with wool. Can you imagine it equally filled with glass?!

Jo Alexander’s mosaic business is called, Grandmother Moon Mosaics.  Do yourself a favor and check her out on Facebook. She is prolific and extremely talented.  I am very excited that she and I are doing a trade.  To be honest, I think I’ll get the best of this deal.

I have begun hooking my design, Harvest Moon, for Jo.  I love hooking pumpkins, because orange is my favorite Creative Energy color.  One pumpkin is a brighter orange, with magenta highlights, which I love to add to orange.  The next pumpkin is more of a yellow color with a few dark teal highlights. The third pumpkin will be a blue gourd, I think.  I’ll have to see how it looks behind the barn owl.

I purchased a beautiful piece of Jan Cole /The Wool n’ Gardener’s spot-dyed deep turquoise wool just for this rug.  Jo loves rich colors and the turquoise behind the orange will be perfect.  I can’t wait to hook further to see how this all will play out.  The vines and leaves will be hooked in a variety of yellow-greens and I think the outer border will be a deep magenta, which I will dye. 

Oh, and the mosaic that Jo is doing for me also has pumpkins. And a crow. How perfect!

This new project has given me new energy during these snowy, quiet days.  I hope your winter is progressing well and giving you time for creativity, too.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the vibrant colors of a new hooking project.

Oh! These colors!  The start of my Harvest Moon piece.

Oh! These colors! The start of my Harvest Moon piece.

Color closeup.

Color closeup.

A winner and a rug finish.

Thanks for all the entries and comments for the book giveaway.  The lucky winner of Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [©2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rig Hooking] is Lisa, who said, “I’m new to rug hooking and am completely taken with it. I love looking at others’ creations for inspiration. Thanks so much for this wonderful gift. Here’s hoping.”   Congratulations, Lisa, I’ll contact you for your mailing address and send this wonderful new book your way.

We had more snow here in Pennsylvania this past week and then some icy rain, so things were a bit dicey.  I stayed home as much as possible, which gave me a bit of cabin fever.  The good news is that I finished my piece titled, Looming in Greenland, the third installment in my Mother Earth Speaks series.  I have trimmed, folded, and basted my usual cotton clothesline into the edges, but I still need to whip the edges with yarn, which I will do at the Woolwrights’ hook-in next month.

Before I continue with my Mother Earth Speaks series, I want to hook my pattern, Harvest Moon, which I am doing as a trade with a friend, who is a very talented mosaic artist.  More on all this next week with some beginning progress on that rug.

I’m having a visit from my friend, who now lives in Connecticut.  We plan lots of things to do while she’s here, so it’s been fun. That has helped with the cabin fever.

I hope winter is bringing you time to be inside with your rug hooking project and a warm beverage on these cold days.  Look for signs if spring, which can surprise us when we least expect it.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the next new project.

Lisa is the winner of this great new book!

Lisa is the winner of this great new book!

Looming in Greenland designed and hooked by Karen Larsen. All finished but for the yarn whipping.

Looming in Greenland designed and hooked by Karen Larsen. All finished but for the yarn whipping.

Jump in the dye pot - BOOK GIVEAWAY

I have a brand new book for today’s giveaway.  It’s Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [©2019 Ampry Publishing LLC / Rug Hooking].

This book is filled with rugs and their artists and is a visual treasure trove to inspire all rug hookers and designers.  There are artist interviews, which share the process and inspiration of many well-known and excellent rug hookers.  You will know many of them and others will be a surprise. In all cases, their designs and stories will delight you!

Words are inadequate to describe this book, which is really something to be seen and enjoyed. There are many color photos to get your inspiration flowing.

So, with that in mind, if you would like a chance to win this book, here is the way to get your name in the lucky dye pot.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a book filled with inspiration.

BOOK GIVEAWAY:  I am excited to have a give-away copy of Rug Hooking Journeys: Finding the Maker in the Rug by Tamara Pavich [© 2019 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 in 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, February 17th at Noon [EST].  I will announce the lucky winner in my blog on Monday, February 18th, 2019.  Good luck!

Get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this excellent new book!

Get your name in the dye pot for a chance to win this excellent new book!

Only The Shadow knows.

Groundhog Day, this past Saturday, brought some opposing prognostications about the arrival of spring.  In either case it will be six weeks until spring begins, but it’s a fun tradition.  Punxatawney Phil, a PA celebrity, predicted that spring weather would arrive early.  That’s good news.  However, my hen, Charlotte, saw her shadow, so she’s predicting six more weeks of winter.  Only time will tell.

This past week consisted of cleaning and straightening my studio.  My first priority was organizing my paper patterns from which I make my hooked rug patterns on linen backing.  Some of my “working patterns” [as opposed to the original drawings that I keep in separate folders] needed to be redrawn.  Having worked in a library many years ago, I also made sure the patterns were put back in alphabetical order.

Studio cleanup didn’t take as long as I anticipated, so I did get some hooking done on my Looming in Greenland piece.  I finished hooking the grey and threatening sky.  I don’t enjoy hooking in straight lines, but it seemed a good way to make a visual separation of the sky and the iceberg. I hope to have this piece finished in a week or two.  My next piece will be a lot more colorful, which will be fun.

I hope your weather is a bit milder after the cold snap we just had.  I’m going to start looking for signs of spring, how about you?

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in the anticipation of warmer weather ahead.

Charlotte saw her shadow, but she wasn’t frightened at all.

Charlotte saw her shadow, but she wasn’t frightened at all.

Come into my studio while it’s clean and tidy.

Come into my studio while it’s clean and tidy.

A brief  neat and tidy view of the studio.  I’ve already dragged out some of these tubs.

A brief neat and tidy view of the studio. I’ve already dragged out some of these tubs.

This and that.

This past week was a quiet one in which I did some knitting, hooking, sewing, cooking and sitting by the wood stove. I do love the cold days of winter, which encourage all of the aforementioned activities.

My Looming in Greenland hooked piece, which is in my Mother Earth Speaks series, is coming along slowly.  Is it the giant iceberg that is causing a bit of obstruction?  I’m using spot dyed wool in values of a green-blue for the berg.  I’m not sure I like it, but I shall continue hooking and see how it comes out.  I’ve had lots of practice “reverse hooking”, so I might have to do some of that. Patience is a virtue when hooking a rug.

I’m also knitting some socks, which I love to do.  They might be a gift.  I’ve knitted many pairs of socks and wear them all the time. When one sock gets a hole in it, I admit that I toss it instead of mending it. I find that a mend on socks [at least the way that I mend] makes a lumpy area and is uncomfortable to walk on.  So, you might just see me wearing mismatched socks.  Happily, with age comes a letting go of what’s considered “normal”.

A beautiful bit of spring has bloomed in the house this week.  My friend, Pat, gave me an amaryllis bulb and I potted it the week before Thanksgiving. It is just now blooming!  Is that normal or did I have it in a window that isn’t quite sunny enough? I’m not much of a gardener, I admit.

There’s a lot of beauty out there and in a home filled with projects and a hint of spring.

Looming in Greenland is a work in progress.  There may be many changes ahead.

Looming in Greenland is a work in progress. There may be many changes ahead.

I love knitting socks. My “signature” is using different yarn for the toes.

I love knitting socks. My “signature” is using different yarn for the toes.

Heavy blooms of this slow-blooming amaryllis.

Heavy blooms of this slow-blooming amaryllis.

Why rug hookers love snow.

We finally got our first snow since before Yule, when winter actually began.  It’s only an inch, but it’s plenty enough to clean hooked rugs.

If you’re a rug hooker, and you live where it snows, you have probably cleaned and refreshed your rugs this way.  For the uninitiated, here’s how it’s done.

I carried my rug out past where the dogs do their business and threw it on the snow topside down.  Flipping it over, I admired the perfect amount of snow clinging to it.  This snow was the perfect fluffy kind.  Then I used my favorite rug broom to gently sweep off the snow., which gets rid of any dust, dirt and dog hair.  I hung the rug inside to dry completely before putting it down on the floor again.  Easy peasy!

A word about my broom, which is pictured below.  I’m fortunate to live near a talented broom maker, Tony Campbell.  I have bought many brooms from him and each is unique with different handles, length of broomcorn, and stitching.  He’s a master and uses antique broom-making equipment.  Some of the whiskbrooms I have bought, have turkey feet or deer antlers on top.  The one I used to sweep the snow off my rug has long, soft broomcorn at the business end and a long handle fashioned from an amazing stalk from some Sweet Annie that he grows.  He must feed his crop some magic vitamins to get the stalks so thick and strong!

This past weekend I spent a fun day with some of the Magdalenas [my rug hooking group] at a hooking retreat.  There were some newbie hookers and it’s always exciting to see them get into this fun and creative fiber art. 

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

Step one:  throw rug face down on the snow.

Step one: throw rug face down on the snow.

Flip the rug over and admire the beautiful snow on it!  Start sweeping the snow off.

Flip the rug over and admire the beautiful snow on it! Start sweeping the snow off.

All finished.  Admire the clean bright colors!  Hang inside to dry.

All finished. Admire the clean bright colors! Hang inside to dry.

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.