Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blizzard!

Sitting here at my desk, watching the snow fall. Luckily, I'm surrounded by fun projects. I am finishing up the border on my Seaside Village Rug (designed by Karla Gerard). I love the way this rug turned out. It's funny that you sometimes plan for a rug to look a certain way, and it winds up taking on a life of its own.

Here's a photo:



You can see several techniques used in this rug: quillies, a roof with a solid fabric (the olive green house) that has been sewn on and stuffed, French knots in the purple flowers, a roof woven with yarn (the rust-colored house), and an attempt at Waldeboro hooking near the bottom of the rug. I think using different hooking techniques is what made this rug so fun!

What are you hooking?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

FEBRUARY favorites

Here's a new post I've been wanting to try: favorite things of the month!

Favorite Movie: Hands-down my favorite movie this month was Lion. Starring Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar as the young Saroo. This was an amazing story of survival. I wondered as I watched this how the little boy manages to stay alive in a 1980s big city in India. It was both heartbreaking and heart-warming. I loved the little boy who played Saroo, and Dev Patel's performance should have won him an Academy Award. Be prepared to shed a few tears.



Favorite Book: The best book I read in the month of February was The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel (Department Q Series Book 1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen. A story set in Copenhagen and the first in the Department Q mysteries. I loved the characters and immediately ordered the 2nd book in this series after finishing this book. You will love the Head of Department Q, and his quirky assistant who set out to solve long-unsolved crimes. This was a real page-turner.

Favorite TV Show: Without a doubt, "Victoria" was my February fave. Airing on PBS, this period piece tells the story of the ascension of Victoria to the English Throne and her subsequent marriage to Prince Albert. Loved the history, which I didn't know enough about. Enjoying the learning aspect of this as well as the storytelling.

Favorite Song: The opening music to Victoria is my favorite this month. Available on iTunes, the music was composed by Martin Phipps and Ruth Barrett. Hauntingly beautiful and mournful at the same time.

Favorite Outing: Spent three days in Newburyport, MA this month with side trips to Gloucester and Rockport, and Woodman's Restaurant in Ipswich, MA. Parker Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island is a birder's paradise. Even with the still chilly temperatures, we saw a number of birds. Stood within 10 feet of a Barred Owl and got some wonderful pictures.



Favorite Bird: My favorite new bird this month has to be the Red-breasted Merganser Duck. I saw this duck in Gloucester along with other many other birds. The thrill of adding a new bird to my life list never gets old.



Favorite New Hooking Idea: My favorite new technique this month has to be creating quillies and caterpillars to add to a hooked piece. I love the depth of dimension this adds to the hooked piece and and brings the art of hooking to the level of fiber art.

What are your favorite things from February???

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Books, Books and More Books

Here is part of my latest book haul. I buy way too many books, but I just love to read. I also love watching booktube, a part of YouTube where people discuss the books they read, buy, love and hate. Lots of great discussion and easy to listen to while rug hooking.

So, my latest acquisitions:



This bunch was mostly recommended by booktubers, although East of Eden was on my radar for a long time. I have read that, but the others pictured above are still waiting.



Had to have Baking with Mary Berry I'm a big fan of the "Great British Baking Show," and I also watch the American version. Who doesn't need another baking book?!?!?


The Natural World was a Christmas gift from my daughter. She selected it from my Amazon wish list. An absolutely beautiful book with amazing illustrations. My grandson loves this one and is trying to get me to give him the dust jacket as the inside of it is a full length poster. So far, I've kept it! The other book, the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a book I got my grandson for Christmas. We are reading it together. It's been many years since I read this book, and I am enjoying it as much as he is.



These are the first two illustrated versions of the Harry Potter series. I do have the hardcovers, but these were too special not to have. I want to reread all seven books, and hope to do so using the illustrated copies.

I have purchased other books in the last month. Will try to mention those in a future post. I also purchased another new rug hooking book, which I plan on doing a separate review of.

Please check out booktube! It's wonderful. If you need recommendations of some good channels, feel free to ask.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quillies in my rug!

I'm nearly finished with my latest rug, Seaside Village by Karla Gerard. I was inspired by Gail DuFresne's book to add some quillies. Here's a photo.


You can see in the upper left hand corner a spot where another quillie will go. I do love the effect. The possibilities are endless!!

Also, lots of new wool in my Etsy shop:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hooking on Wire Mesh

In a recent class at Julie Smith's, Julie talked about her experience taking a class with Molly Cosgrove who is well-known for hooking on wire mesh. I've tried to find photos of her work, but didn't have much luck. Julie showed us the project she started and challenged us to try our hand at hooking on wire.

Here is a sample of the wire:


We started with a rectangular-shaped piece of mesh, and with a few cuts, shaped it into a box. Once that was done, we took crimpers and folded the ragged and sharp edges over to make the top edges of the box smoother. Next, using a tapestry needle, we wove in the top edging of the box about a 1/2 inch down the sides. 

Once the top edging was complete, you commenced hooking in the thick yarn chosen for the project. Here was where I had a problem. I had my good hook with me, and after pulling a few loops did not like that my hook was catching on the wire and not easily pulling the yarn through the mesh.

Now for the dilemma: I was supposed to be "hooking" this piece. Eventually, I found that using a tapestry needle and weaving loops in and out of the mesh proved to much easier. So, this basket/box was not really hooked!

Anyway, I did enjoy the process and would like to try using the mesh to sculpt a shape. Here are some photos of the finished box. The flowers are pieces of sari silk.







Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gail Dufresne's "Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers"



Published by "Rug Hooking Magazine," Gail Dufresne's book Rug Hooking with Fancy Fibers was worth every penny I paid for it. I can't say enough good things about it.

I flipped through the book when it first arrived and knew immediately that I wanted to sit down and actually read it. It soon became apparent that I should take notes, mark pages, talk with friends about it, and do a review for my blog.

If you are a rug hooker wishing to expand your horizons, then this is the book for you. It focuses on the use of three-dimensional techniques for hooking including weaving, knitting, embroidery, beading, embossing, felting, knotting, quilting, sculpting, prodding, crochet, quilling, and more. The other interesting discussion in this book is the use of materials other than wool to complement your rugs.

Through the use of photos of the most incredible rugs, you will get ideas for using the above techniques in your work. There are lots of close-up photos that detail these techniques.

In addition to all this, you will also get a concise history of some of the aspects of hooking. I particularly liked the discussion on Waldeboro sculpting. It's something I've tried in the past, and now want to do more of it.

However, the most fun I saw was in the use of quilling or standing wool shapes. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have never used this technique but want to try it immediately! I want to do all of these techniques!

Finally, the photographs! There are photos of rugs created by some of the best rug hookers in the world such as Cindy Irwin, Jen O'Malley, Liz Merino, Tracy Jamar, Kris McDermott, and many others. And let's not forget the stunning work of the author, Gail Dufresne.

"Rug Hooking Magazine" always puts out great books on rug hooking, and this is no exception! Go buy it now!!! (Click on the photo above to take you to the amazon.com link for this book.)


Sunday, January 8, 2017

December Reads

Even with the busy holidays, I managed to read eight books in the month of December and ditch one other. Here they are:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
J.K. Rowling

This is the screenplay version of the book. I really enjoyed this story, even though it was a quite a dark tale. I have not seen the movie yet, but hope to. The magical aspects of this brought to mind the wonderful times reading the Harry Potter books. I don't know whether Rowling intends to take these characters forward, but the story left you wanting to know more about them.

The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster

This is a classic, or so I've read. I did enjoy this book with its very clever wordplay, but I found that a few pages went a long way. Took me a fair amount of time to finish, but I'm glad I did.

Mr. Dixon Disappears
Ian Sansom

Loved, loved, loved this second book in the Mobile Library series. This was laugh out loud funny! The quirky characters of rural Northern Ireland interact with the common sense librarian who runs the local bookmobile. What fun!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

I've been hoping to read more of the classics, and started with a beautiful antique edition of Alice in Wonderland. I had recently purchased the book Heartless (a new release), and thought I better read the original before reading a story based on the original. I'm sure you all know the story, but it was a pleasure to actually read it.

The Misremembered Man
Christina McKenna

A good, not great, story. I got this as a "kindle deal of the day," so I didn't have a lot invested in it. I probably would continue with this author if her other books were also "deals." The story takes place in Ireland and centers on a very lonely man looking for companionship and an equally lonely woman looking for something more in her life, too. Interspersed with their present day story is the talk of the man's upbringing in an orphanage where the conditions and treatment of the children were horrendous.

To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee

Not sure how I missed out reading this in high school and college, but I did! Obviously this is a classic, and it certainly felt that way as I was reading it. What a wonderful story and a wonderful group of characters. With a few exceptions, I loved them all! As I got near the end, here was a wonderful coincidence.
"Aunt Alexandra was hooking a rug and not watching us, but she was listening. She sat in her chair with her workbasket beside it,
her rug spread across her lap. Why ladies hooked woolen rugs on boiling nights never became clear to me."

The Stockholm Octavo
Karen Engelmann

I didn't love this book, but it was good. There were parts that dragged, and I almost gave up on it, but saw it through to the end, and I was glad I did. Interesting bits of history around the time of the French Revolution were mixed into the story which took place in Sweden and centered on the "octavo." The octavo centers on a group of eight cards representing eight people who can help you achieve your vision. Worth a read, and the cover art is so beautiful.

Did You Ever Have a Family
Bill Clegg

Tragedy strikes the night before a wedding. The story, told in many voices and therefore different perspectives, reveals just what a family is and can be. I loved this book. It was an easy read, with likable characters whose stories were heartbreaking and uplifting at the  same time. Definitely recommend.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy new year one and all! Hope your holidays were peaceful ones and that you are looking forward to 2017.

I wanted to post my favorite bird photo of mine from this past year. This is a picture of a Peregrine Falcon taken in Parker Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island in Massachusetts. One of my favorite places in the world! I was so pleased to add this bird to my life list in 2016. What an incredible bird!  It has been clocked at 200 m.p.h. while diving from great heights.



The word "peregrine" means wanderer. I hope in this new year, you will all be able to "wander" to new places, explore new arts, and search out the many wonders this world has to offer us.