Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Latest Plein Air Piece

I recently began a small piece for my Plein Air hooking group that I wrote about in one of my last posts. I hooked this piece outside in my back yard in a garden where the day lilies are just coming up.  Often I try to put too much detail in these small pieces, so I was pleased with the way this turned out. It is called "Emerging." The piece was hooked with yarn and wool and a bit of roving was added to define some of the edges.

My kitty, Madeleine decided to see if the softness of roving lives up to its reputation. She hopped in the basket and was getting cosy and when I caught her in the act!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Latest Felting Project

I've been doing a fair amount of felting and stitching. This is my latest project.

The background of this piece is a piece of natural wool that I painted with ProChem dyes using a foam brush. I painted a few others at the same time, not knowing what I would do with them. When I decided to start a new felting project, I pulled one of them out not sure of how the felt would adhere. It did fine! I added a lot of embroidery stitches, some beads, ribbon, and yarn, and the above is the result. After the felting was done, I added some batting and applied a back and binding.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm in Rug Beat Magazine!

Last fall, I joined Lori LaBerge's plein air hooking group via the internet. The concept was simple. Take out your hooking equipment, some worms, a comfy chair and venture outdoors to hook what you see. It is really a fun process as you turn the shadows and lights into loops. I've done four pieces now. Got them done before the cold weather set in.

Anyway, Lori was asked to write an article for Rug Beat online magazine about the group. I am lucky enough to have two of my rugs in this article.

Here is the teaser that came from Rug Beat via email:

Rug Beat #10 is ready for you!

Click here to read it now.

The new Rug Beat is filled with inspiration! Learn new techniques, like hooking en plein air and adding freeform crochet to your hooked rugs. See what artists are doing with these techniques to make contemporary hooked art, and learn how to apply them to your own work. 

Click on the links to take you to Rug Beat. The cost is around $10.00 per year and is well-worth the investment.

One of my rugs included in this article is called "Fall Descending." It is hooked with wool and yarn.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Biographical Rugs

Back in January, my class at Julie Smith's was challenged to complete a "ruglet" a month. Each ruglet should have a connection to the next, so I started thinking about ideas for a theme. I finally came up with an idea that had been in the back of mind for a while: a series of rugs depicting things from my life.

Awhile ago, I purchased Jill Berry's book, Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed Media.

This book really sparked my imagination for creating a "map" of your life. Although the book uses drawings/paintings to depict your map, I could see the possibilities for rug hooking. With all that in mind, here are the first two rugs in my bio series. The third rug is complete, but not bound yet. I will show that rug in a future post.

The first rug shows the street where I grew up, and the second the name of my town, well-known for its geysers and spring water. Although you can't tell from this rug, the rocks are done in a Waldeboro style, but not clipped.

What would your personal map rugs show?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Latest projects

I've been attempting for the last week to get some pieces finished and hung. I managed to finish my felted piece of birch trees and finally did something with the small rugs I hooked as a member of Lori LaBerge's plein air hooking group. I'll do a post about that group soon.

Here is the felted piece. The green/orange background was wet felted and after that the piece was needled felted and embroidered. Overall, I'm pleased with the results.

The next photo shows the plein air pieces attached to a thick strap-like material. The top is of flowers, followed by a path near our home, and the third was done on Plum Island off the coast of Massachusetts. All were hooked outside.

Hope your fiber projects are going well.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Design Notebook

I have a notebook where I draw rug ideas, thoughts on color, possible dye formulas, and on and on. Do you have one? The key to making this book useful is to remember to flip through the pages on occasion. Doing this usually triggers more ideas, but more importantly, gets me to put some of these thoughts into action.

Lately, I've been fascinated with architectural details. I am particularly enamored of Matthew Rice's books on English architecture.

Keep in mind that the drawings below are very rough sketches, but I can see how they could be really fun to hook.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wool Applique

Just finished my second wool appliqué project. A little late for Valentine's Day, but a nice easy, and RELAXING project.

This applique runner was completed around Thanksgiving. It was a great use for some of my hand-dyed oranges.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

George Kahnle

Sadly, I found out today that George Kahnle, well-known in the rug hooking community as a pattern designer, passed away on Tuesday. Many of you may know that George was the partner of Dick LaBarge, a nationally known hooking teacher.

George was a wonderful person, who often kept the members of Dick's classes in stitches with his humorous jokes. He was also an expert on antiques, and along with Dick, ran a successful antique business for years.

I remember George as an amazing designer of hooked rugs. His patterns were very imaginative, and last I knew, he had six catalogues of rug patterns. I asked him often why he didn't hook, too, but he seemed content to design, and let Dick bring the patterns to life.

I saw him shortly before Christmas, and his wit was still very evident. He will be missed. My condolences to Dick who will miss him terribly.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Beginning a new rug

It's always exciting to get started on a new rug. I've wanted to hook a rug with a tree and birds for a while now. I started looking around the house to see where I could put a potential rug and the size it would need to be. Given that I've been hooking for a number of years, the house is filled with rugs (on the floors and the walls). So, I started looking up and saw that there was a significant space above the cabinets in the kitchen. However, it was extremely long and quite short. So, this is what I came up with. It's probably hard to see, but I think you'll get the idea.

This is still a rough draft. I haven't drawn all the leaves in, and I need to tweak the owl. I will also be putting a nest on one of the branches.

I started the dyeing for this rug the other day. I'm doing some dip dyes for the sky and did a casserole dye of deep blues, browns and grays for the tree. These shades did not come out as dark as I would have liked, so I'm going to overdye them with a dark brown formula to see if that helps. What I love about this set is that they are all different textures, which should really make the tree interesting.

I'll take some pictures of the wool and post them soon.

What are you working on?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pumpkin Pillow

Finished this pillow shortly after Christmas, and although it is decidedly a fall subject, it fits very well in our den.

This pillow was begun in Julie Smith's class. We were challenged to take a fall cutout and design a pattern around it. I drew the pattern with the idea that it would be a rug, but it when is was completely hooked, it screamed pillow.

So, voila!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rug Hooking Class

I am fortunate indeed to take class with Julie Smith twice a month. Our winter session began last Tuesday, and the topic of the class was "a rug a month." Her challenge to us was to hook a 10" square a month (over the course of a year) and try to relate the rugs to a certain theme. Could be color, subject, etc. The ideas flew around the room. One hooker is going to hook a "quilt square" rug each month. Julie talked about doing an abstract piece each month and assembling them together on a black fabric background to form a single piece of art.

I came home and started thinking about what I wanted to do. Here are some of my ideas:

• word art
• bird eggs
• birds
• hearts
• milagros
• book title art

I finally settled on some less detailed aboriginal animals that I've been wanting to do. I have wool that will suit these small rugs nicely. First up, a kangaroo!

What ideas can you come up with?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Finished projects

Here are two recently finished knitting projects. I've made many, many pairs of socks through the years, but rarely make a pair for myself. These, I'm keeping!

They were knit on size 2, double-pointed needles using a yarn from Opal.

This scarf was made using a domino style of knitting. The yarn (which I love) is Quasar by Berrocco. Promptly went to the local yarn shop and got some more in another colorway.

The wind is howling here, and knitting and rug hooking is on the agenda for today. Stay warm.