Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Reading

I've been trying to do a lot more reading in the last few months. I love to read, but often don't make enough time for it. So, I started making a real effort to put a dent in my huge list of books I want to read.

I read six books this November, one of which was my book club selection. Here goes:

Georgia's Kitchen
Jenny Nelson

A disgraced NYC chef moves to Italy to work in a restaurant where she is not the head chef. Along the way, she meets some interesting characters, a possible love interest, and has to decide if Italy is really the place for her. Not great literature, but a nice read.

Fablehaven (book 1)
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star (book 2)
Brandon Mull

I really enjoy reading children's literature, so I picked up book one of this series and was not disappointed. All kinds of fairy tale good guys and bad guys inhabit Fablehaven, a secret refuge for magical creatures in Connecticut. The first book was very good (they can't all be Harry Potter!), and so I quickly reserved a copy at the my local library of book 2. I'm enjoying the books and would love to introduce them to my grandson when he's a bit older. Looking forward to book 3!

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins

I would imagine most of you have read this book if you are into the mystery/thriller genre. We read this for our November Book Club selection. I didn't love it, but it wasn't hard to read. You want to know who did it, so it made dealing with an unlikeable cast of characters and the much talked about "unreliable narrator" easier to push past. Do I recommend it? Yes, I guess so.

Go Ask Alice

I picked up this book at a garage sale a while back and decided it was time to put this one on my finished list. I went into it believing it was a true story, but the abruptness of the ending prompted me to look into the background of the book. Turns out it is not quite what I thought. I won't say much more because regardless of the background of the book, it is a powerful book about youth and drug addiction. Well worth it.

Timebound: The Chronos Files, (Book 1)
Rysa Walker

Another young adult novel, this one about time travel. I love time travel stories, and this was one of Amazon's "Kindle Deal of the Day" options. So, I gave it a shot. I did like the story, but there were too many versions of the time travelers in the past to make it clear as to what was going on in some parts of the book. There are other books in this series, but I'm not sure if I'll continue with it.

Currently, I am reading J.K. Rowlings Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I'm just barely into it, so I'll let you know what I think. It is written in play form, so a lot of imagination is required. Hope to see the movie once I finish it.

Click on the book images to read a description of these books on Hope you are finding time to read!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ice Dyeing with Wool

This past Wednesday, I left my rug hooking group, came home and decided to try "ice dyeing" with wool. Several members of our group had tried ice dyeing with cotton fabric for use in quilting and had incredibly beautiful results. The cotton does not need to be heat set as wool does, so I was unsure how this type dyeing would work with wool.

Here, in pictures and words, is my procedure:

Using a square stainless steel pan, I placed the wool as shown.

I then added synthropol and water to wet the wool.

After the wool was sufficiently wet, I drained the water, and
scrunched the wool to form nice peaks and valleys.

Next came the addition of the ice. I realized later that I needed more ice, but at this point, I went with what I had. Something I soon learned was that the ice could not be moved. It stuck to the wool!!

After placing the ice, I sprinkled dry dye over the ice. This is when I realized I should have had more ice. Some of the dye went directly onto the wool, when optimally, it should have been only on the ice. Live and learn!

The two photos above show the movement of the dye as the ice began to melt.

This is what the wool looked like when I placed it on the stove, covered it with foil, and simmered for ten minutes. After ten minutes, I added some vinegar but did not really stir. Cooked the wool for another 30 minutes after that.

The pictures that follow show what the wool looked like after being washed and dried.

Here's my thoughts on this process. I definitely needed more ice. I liked using dry dye, but it can lead to large spots of color on the wool that may not be as pleasing as you'd like. I'm not sure what hooking with this wool will look like, but I think you could get some stunning results using this wool for appliqué.

If you give this method a try, let me know how you make out!

As always check out my sales on Etsy and Ebay. Links are to the right.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beginner Rug Hooking Classes

I have begun teaching a beginner Rug Hooking class. This is a real "learn to hook" class, discussing all aspects of hooking for the beginner. As we progress, I hope to talk about color planning, patterns, wool dyeing, etc.

I am located about 25 miles north of Albany, New York in Saratoga Springs. If you know of anyone interested in learning to hook, please feel free to contact me. At the moment, we meet every other Thursday.

Happy hooking!