What is going on at my studio right now? Well I am working on a new combination sketch book journal which I hope to have ready to sell for Mother’s Day. I was choosing rugs for the cover and here were some of the top picks but there were others too.
I am also working on my website, trying to add my own little story to every pattern and kit and rug that is on there. That is over 600 tiny stories. But I think it will make the website far more interesting. I am only about a quarter done but I am getting there.
I also featured my story on the front page so people can learn why I hook rugs, and hopefully get inspired to hook rugs themselves.
Choosing covers for journals and sketchbooks. is just one of the best parts of my job. It is just fun. I love to see the rugs used in lots of different ways. As cards, journal covers , etc because that way I get to keep them forever in a way. Once I have the image it does not really matter if I have the rug anymore. I just like I record of everything I made. It helps me see where I have been and where I have got to. My work is very different now than when I started hooking rugs. Unrecognizable in some ways. But then I am different from that hippie inspired twenty four year old. And that is ok, perfectly ok.
Change is so hard and so lovely at the same time. Saying that it is the only thing that is constant is such a cliche. But then cliches are cliches for a reason.
I started my studio with a $2000 loan from my mother and a trunk and hutch in my front room. If I did not accept change I would still be lifting my rugs out of a trunk.
Really I embrace change. I don’t always find it easy but I am quick to cave when I don’t see any choice. Acceptance strengthens you. It makes you resilient. Whether you want it or not, change is here to stay.
it is so satisfying to see people finish their work….
Hi Deanne – although it’s taken a while for the attached photo to arrive, here it is as promised!
When I saw you last (in March) I shared that we (Alan, Pattie, Ann and I) were doing the big “reveal” of our 4 mats all started at your 2015 workshop. Well they didn’t all get collected until yesterday when they were displayed together at our 9th annual Carnegie Hook-in at the Saint John Arts Centre. We had 102 in attendance and this display received a lot of attention.
I think a lot of the credit goes to you for pushing each Fibre Artist to leave our comfort zone and make each piece our own.
Personally I think each mat turned out so well – the 4 of us are all delighted with our final product and we hope you are too!!!
Here’s the sign I posted to hang in the middle of the display so folks could appreciate the story of our mats.
This is a favorite post from the archives. It is a response to a young mother who wrote me a letter in 2013….
Dear Diary, I have had lots of interesting responses and conversations about the question I posed Why have knitting and quilting have become so popular, while rug hooking remains more obscure. Today I even got a beautiful handwritten letter in the mail from Carrie Clem a reader in Aylesford , Nova Scotia. In it she asked me to write a bit about when I was a young mother with small chidren and how I managed to work at that time.
That brought me think of this Christmas when my son agreed that I was much nicer now that he was an adult. I said thanks, then he said, “You’d still be cranky though if you had a bunch of young kids running around here.” I had to laugh because it had a serious ring of truth to it.
When my children were little sometimes I was a bit of a grump because I was always trying to be two things at once. I did take lots of time for my children. My son and I would make things together before he went to school. I walked him to school in the mornings. When he was really little we went to a play group every Friday morning and we would often go to a local restaurant for a cinnamon bun together. I was always around. I baked cookies. I hooked with him on my knee. I went to his classroom and made crafts. My daughter and I did the same thing, though I was only ever welcome to carve pumpkins in her class , she never wanted the crafts.
Sometimes as I did these things I bemoaned or complained a bit. I was no saint but I was a present mom, and knew somehow that this time was fleeting, just not how fleeting. At the time, I also had the pressures of two aging and ill parents but so I was sandwiched between multiple needs. My career was just getting off to a start. I wrote Hook Me a Story during all those in between intervals of caring and loving and complaining and sometimes I hooked rugs with a child on my knee. If I have one regret, it was that I was cranky with them and would lose my patience. Sometimes instead of having my mind on mothering, I had it on mat making. I know that if I had it to do again I would make mistakes again. There is no getting through those years of mothering, parenting, and loving without making them.
I often worked from eight in the morning until ten at night. The work involved everything from reading a bedtime story three times, to baking cookies, to wrapping packages for mail order, to hooking a rug. I was in the thick of it and I could not imagine that there would ever be a time that I was not yelping because I stepped on a piece of lego, or that we would not be driving in two different directions for hockey games on snowy days, or that there would not be lunches to pack. I was lost in mama land.
It was only this fall after my son had been away at university for a year already that it started to sink in that raising children is just a part of your life. Honestly, once I had kids , I felt it was my life. My family and my home was my priority, and my business and my art came second. Sometimes there were at war with each other a bit, when one would demand the other step aside for one reason or another. My son has been away for two years now, and it is just sinking in that he is a man now and that his life is his own. I can hardly believe it. My daughter is a young woman. They remain more important to me than any other part of my life but I have to tell you…..
I am so thankful that I have other parts of my life to turn to because with out my art , my business, my community, and my friendships, I would feel like a loose thread. I would be lost.
As we raise our families it is so important to hang onto ourselves and to carve out something meaningful for our lives. Rug Hooking has provided me with that in a multitude of ways and I believe that no matter how busy we are we need a few minutes to ourselves each day. We need to hang on to ourselves, to express our creativity and to carve out a life that is our own outside of our family. Khalil Gibran, the famous Lebanese philosopher, in speaking about marriage said, “Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.” He also said, “Let there be space in your togetherness”. I feel that this is true for families in general.
I never found parenting easy. In fact I loved mothering but really never loved parenting. It is a hard job, and unlike my rug hooking job, gets very little recognition. There may be no household where you are told each day what a lovely job you did on the laundry. Children may want and need to be parented but there are many times they do not enjoy it. My son is right though, I am more pleasant now because I have that much needed time to myself, time to think, time to be, time to create, time to work. One time I had to carve out those times out of a busy schedule.
I am glad I was able to, but also glad that I kept hearing that Harry Chapin song in the back of my head…”Dad can I borrow the car keys, see you later can I have them please…….we’ll get together soon Dad.” I never wanted to be the Dad in that in song, and if I ever am it won’t be because I wasn’t there. No doubt though, they’ll remember what I crab I was at times, and I’ll always be able to say, “”at least I was there, contrary maybe, but present” Who gets everything, I’ll tell them. I also do not reminding them that it wasn’t easy being with people who held their pee and yelled at you because you were making them use the bathroom, or regularly insisted on leaving three thousand pieces of lego all over the living room floor as the project was not finished, or pooped behind the chair in the living room , or refused to wear shoes.
For me being a mother was the most important thing I did but I am glad I spent time with people who went to bathroom with out being forced, and wore shoes when needed. I am glad I insisted on an hour to myself now and then, and that I made sure I got at least twenty minutes on my own each day, because un beknowst to me, it did not last for ever. I remain , a mother and a wife, and I remain Deanne. I am glad I hung on to her along the way.
Carrie, thank you for your thoughtful letter. I hope this answers your question…
A big snowstorm is blowing down Church Street right now.
The wind is lifting the snow off the ground.
I hardly ever make winter rugs. I made a few earlier on in my work .
The truth is winter inspires me in a more abstract way. I never much want to hook the winter landscape. Instead I like to take the shades of winter and abstract them and play with them in rugs like this. They are warmer of course than what I am looking out at right now, which is a March blizzard.
There are many ways to understand winter in art, and this rug is just one of them.
This years online workshop is hooking your own Floral Garden. Join Deanne this March and create something beautiful.
This course will be about hooking floral gardens in an impressionist style to create a modern rug with painterly elements. We will be working through the winter, thinking of summer, and the beauty and scent and feeling it brings as we learn to turn simple and pleasing shapes into impressionistic flowers.
Flowers are full of meaning and we celebrate with them.
Flowers are more than just the beautiful petals, they are nested in their natural surroundings, greenery, ferns, grasses, and all the depth that lies under these.
Hooking this workshop will be a feast for our senses. Scent, form, beauty, flow, and touch.
The Studio will be offering several packages for this course, pattern, wool, course and a kit.
One thing I love about the winter is white lights. They are just so comforting. It is my favorite thing to do in the evening , turning on those bright white lights outside and the little set in my studio. My daughter made me the little signs, focused and fabulous ( I just did not want you to think I made them for myself, lol I might be a bit of a diva but that would be going too far). There is something so cozy about turning on these little stations of light for ourselves. My Christmas decorating is kept pretty simple. A crèche. Always a crèche. Somewhere close to the holidays I will put up a tree and put out bowls of lemons with a few cloves in them. Last weekend my husband bought walnuts in the shell and a pomegranate, that is Christmas too. But I start with the white lights early and I let them linger through out the winter.
I think we need it here in this cold dark climate. Personally I need those little lights to brighten up the evenings and make me cozy. Such a small thing, but it makes me feel special. In the media we have heard lots about hyyge, the Danish art of living well in a cold climate. I believe we have that here in Canada but we just don’t have a word for it. We all know that you have to have throws on your couches, wood in the woodbox, and warm soft sweaters. It is a cultural thing. Most of us have at least one piece of buffalo plaid, especially this year as it is all the rage, and we all know the colours of the stripes in a Hudson Bay blanket. We get winter. We get cozy. We were hyyge before hyyge was hip.I have to say though that I love it that the Danish have a word for it and have made it a thing because when you wake up in the dark and go home from work in the dark you need hygge. It makes total sense.
Here I am on a rainy morning.It is too wet to walk but it will clear later in the day. I am in the cozy nest of my own home. I had to go to Halifax yesterday for my sister in laws’ book launch and we drove home late last night. That is not uncommon for us . We love being home. I recently completed this set of tiny landscapes for my home. During the last workshop we visited my friend Allison’s home to see her collection of 50 landscapes that I made. One the participants asked me if I had a set in my home and a light bulb went on. I wanted to create a set for myself and here they are. Denice, Georgina and I spent all afternoon finishing up the binding and framing on Wednesday and I hung them Wednesday night. When I came down the stairs on Thursday morning I was taken aback by them. I love that feeling of being caught off guard by your own work. It only happens sometimes. Oh but when it does. It feels so good. I made these 36 set in March or November. Mostly I hook them as if they were summer but I wanted a much more subtle colour range for this group. I learn about colour from each one. Individually they are studies but as a whole they are a completed painting in wool.
So here we are in November and I finally get to wear my sweaters. I cannot say I mind it. There is something odd about us wool people. Once the fall comes we long for scarves and sweaters. I am settling in to my new space out back of my studio. I have made a few good rugs here so it is christened. That was all it took.
I still think of November as fall. Winter does not really start for me until January. This of course is my own made up set of seasons. Today I walked to work from the local car dealership where they fixed the rattle in my car by removing a can of mints from the dash. Yes. I puzzled over it for weeks. I have not test driven it yet so lets hope that it really was the mints.
I was able to wrap myself in a nice plaid scarf and walk down the hill. Simple as I am, that made me happy.
As for my rugs, I am making set of tiny landscapes for my own home. The little 8 by 8 frames are being made right now and I plan a set of 36 of them for the wall as soon as you walk in my house. I have this idea that it is going to be gorgeous.
This week I took the time to walk in a local waterfowl park, have lunch with a friend, and visited neighbours two nights in a row. I was reading the latest National Geographic about happiness. It seems the amount of socializing you do is directly related to a person’s happiness levels. It is fascinating article about how in certain countries people seem to be happier. Canada is way up there. I have been reading National Geographic since I was a kid but took a long hiatus until I subscribed my husband to it last year for Christmas. I am not sure he has picked one up but I am liking it. One of those gifts you buy for someone else and end up enjoying yourself.
So as I try to find new stores for our beginner kits, and think about what I will do for an online workshop this winter, I am spending my time walking, reading, hooking, and dreaming about what is possible from a title studio in Amherst , Nova Scotia.
Two friends sent me pictures this week. One spotted my rug hooking kits at Masstown Market. The other saw them at Northern Waters Knitwear in Charlottetown, PEI. Two beautiful stores that I am proud to have my products in!
Some colour combinations are such classics. Take this one of red, black, white and lime. They are almost sure to look good together.
I can think of others such as …
Orange and denim blue
Pale yellow and soft blue
Lime and turquoise
Mauve and brown
These combinations and many others give you a feeling. They work together in a special way.
In this rug I started out knowing the combination of colours even before I decided upon the subject. Red roses are a favorite of mine to hook so they were a natural compliment to the black and white pots. In the long thin rug I chose a coral for the pot just to change it up because I knew that coral and red always work well together in my rugs.
The stems needed to be noticeable and stand out from the background but I did not want their curvy nature to overtake the rug. If I had chosen a bright colour that is all you would see. The deep green real works well I think.
Rug hooking is a fantastic pastime and we want to spread it around, teaching people one by one. We have started wholesaling our beginner kits to shops and stores. If you have a store or know someone who is interested please have them contact us at email@example.com.
It is a wonderful hobby year round, and one that you can grow with. One of the reason I love hooking rugs and running the studio is that everyday I meet people who are passionate about making rugs, colour, creativity and design. When you find something you love to do it changes you.
People love the chance to express their creativity, and turn their hand at something worthwhile. When you sit to hook a rug you can see the bits of cloth and yarn becoming something right in front of you. It is a wonderful craft and I love seeing people changed by it.
We have had tremendously moody skies over the last few evenings. The air has changed here and the humidity has broken. That means the sky has changed as well.If you want to hook great skies the first thing you have to do its study it. You have to be a sky watcher. The other day I was looking at the horizon line and there were little entangle clouds peering out over it. I immediately thought I need to sketch that. When I sketch it, even quickly, even badly, I remember it so much better. I also keep myself from forgetting it completely.
The other night I sat and tried to catch a picture of the lightning across the bay but picture after picture I missed it. Regardless I was happy sitting there in my excitement to watch the sky. Thunder and lightning is exciting. I have actually never hooked lightning. If I did I would have to make it whimsical or magical looking. It is hard to really capture that kind of light in wool. Maybe the lightning would have to be a kind of paisley.
So I have been spending time watching the sky and I can feel sky rugs brewing again. A new kind of lightning has hit. If you want to hook skies begin with the sky above your house. watch it in the morning, watch it in the evening and watch it through the day. When is it most interesting? What do you want to capture?
Take pictures of it. Sketch it. Think about the colours of the sky as you fall asleep. Then get ready to hook it.
It is time for a good old fashioned letter as summer begins. So long June, here comes July. A lot of you are in your gardens and I admire that. My gardens are small containers. I can never seem to get the hang of weeding. I guess I am too busy pulling loops instead of weeds. Years ago I wrote letters all the time. My friends said I wrote just like I talked. Lately most of the writing I do is for this website. I still try to send out thank you notes, but very rarely do I write a letter. Just here…
Inspiration seems to be everywhere for me in June. It is in the first days of summer that I really feel the beauty of the season. You go from lilacs to lupins to roses. Does it get any better? I love the scent of roses in the air as I go by on my bicycle.
I have been busy pulling loops of patterns from the Pattern of the Month Club. I hooked two last week and hope to hook a couple of more in the coming weeks. Hooking does not stop over the summer for me. It changes. I work smaller. I sometimes use my laptop frame instead of my cheticamp. I find I still need that meditation of pulling the loops and when I go a while with out it I notice it. I begin to stir the pot, my own pot, so to speak. Hooking for me is a comfort and since I learned I rarely stop for any length of time. I hook because it comforts me.
Today the studio has been full of visitors. We have taught a few people how to hook but others came for a yard of linen, or to pick up a new kit. Some fell in love with a swatch of wool and had to have it. Most are on their way somewhere. That is the lovely thing about Amherst, it is on the way if you travel through the maritimes. We are in the centre of NS, NB, and PEI. I love the sound the voices and the oohs and ahas that people make as they look around. It makes me feel special, like I did something! Having a small business here in town is a blessing for me. I love having somewhere to go!
It is a real joy to see people come in and see in real life what they have been looking at on the internet. When it comes to life for them it is fun to be here and see it happen. I have been busy working on the private learning website for Pattern of the Month Club and WoolBox Club members. It is called Woolcake and will also be available as a separate subscription offering how to videos, lessons, tips and inspiration. It will be updated weekly. It is a lot of work but I am excited by it. I felt it was time to take this idea and run with it. It has been in the making for over three years. Usually I am good at getting things off the ground quickly but this one has been stewing a long time.
We have plenty of fun and foolishness here as you can se. Having Georgina and Denise constantly in everyday means that the studio has a lot more continuity. It also means for me that I have time to hook and to play with new ideas, and get pictures of us that make no sense what so ever.
When I think of the things that have inspired me lately I would have to say:
Maudie, the movie about Maude Lewis’s life.
The smell of wild roses.
A bunch of books about how to draw things.
The old Lighthouse in Spencer’s Island that is preserved by the community.
Driving my bicycle down the yellow line on old country roads with no cars around.
Well that is just a few things lately that got me rolling. I hope you are finding lots in your community to inspire you. That’s one of our jobs in life, to inspire each other.
That is my letter for today…..
As always, I am happy you read this, Thanks so much, Deanne
Pattern of the Month Club Once a month you will get a surprise in the mail…
Click on the above picture to hear Deanne describe the Pattern of the Month Club
$34.00 cdn Shipping included
$24.91 usd (subject to change) Shipping included
Do not forget when you join Pattern of the month you get FREE access to
WOOLCAKE , our online learning portal
I have been surrounded by great women all my life.
And that I think that the notion that women are mean and catty is mostly a myth.
Anyone can be. I can be. Maybe you can be that way too. Mostly though all my life and right up to today I have personally found that women are good to each other.
My earliest memories are of my mother’s friends. Names like Edna, Kitty, and Mary come to mind. They shared their lives. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes sad. I still see them on the street or in each other’s kitchens passing stories, being each other’s blessing.
I watched my mother look after her friend Ann Bartlett when Ann was sick and dying. For a year I went to the Bartlett’s for school lunch because that is where mom would be. I would go in and visit Ann at her bedside and she was so happy to hear about my day. When I think of my mom I know that is who she was. She was a woman who loved and cared for her friend who was dying. That single act of caring in my mothers life makes her amazing to me.
Then there was my Aunt Beth. I watched her go to summer school and get educated. I saw her good judgement and kind heart. She lived through loss and saw the importance of the joy to be found in each other. She loved her seven neices and was so proud of us. She was always telling you how good you were. I still think of her as someone to emulate.
In my Aunt Mary and my Aunt Nell I saw business women who were generous and kind but sharp as tacks. My Aunt Nell ran two boarding houses in Brooklyn, New York. She would send me an outfit, or my mom a cheque for $50. She stayed in touch and loved us. She worked hard and held her shoulders back and her head high.
Aunt Mary was always there in St.John’s to welcome us from around the bay. Her house was a welcome home. I would watch my mother with her sisters and sisters in law and know that there was comfort in getting along. They were all women I try to be like.
Except for Aunt Mary and the overnight guests. Sorry I am just no good at that. I do though sent people out of my house with food I made or got on sale somewhere like she used to do.
I have six sisters of my own. I never really grew up with them as most were left the house shortly after I came along but they have always surrounded me like a quilt. I remember them coming home for the weekend with gifts for me. New colouring books. I love them all and they love me. I watched them get married, get educated, have children and grandchildren. All their stages came before mine and watching them prepared me and still prepares me. It is like a video of what may come. Everyone of them is different and I love each one in their own way. It is because of them that I go educated. There was no other way. You got yourself educated and you got a job and you looked after yourself.
I have two good sister in laws. My mother in law took me in to her family easily and was kind and generous with her time and also with her advice. When she was alive I rolled my eyes ( right in front of her) but now that she is gone and I am older there is so much of it I follow that it sometimes worries me.
My daughter is like a dream come true. I could not imagine a better one.
Then there are the women I work with at the studio and 30 Church. They are pretty great. We all have our moments but we all have our gifts. Everyday I learn from them and watch them grow into themselves. They are soooo good to me.
Then there are my good friends. We went to school together or raised families together. They know you. You know them.
I never feel afraid to walk out of the room at work or with my friends, or my sisters, or my co workers or any of the women I surround myself with.
Do they sometimes talk about me?
Well yes. I can be a pain in the arse.
That is not the question. The question is do they care about me?
The question is when it comes down to it do the people you surround yourself with have your back?
It is natural to talk about each other.
It is fine really as long as you also talk to each other about whatever it is that you say about each other.
That is the rule I try to follow. Sometimes it is impossible but when I can I like to bring things to the surface. I do not like to talk about some one unless I am able to talk to them about it.
I am no Pollyanna. I know we can be hard on each other.
Recently I heard a woman talk about another woman with great disregard. I was just in the room, not part of the conversation. And I was shocked.
I have been thinking about it for weeks. It really bothered me.
The more I think about it though I realize I was shocked because this was the exception. Mostly in my life I do not hear women tear down other women. Mostly I see and have seen and still hear them build each other up.
Cattiness is really not that common in my world. That might be because I don’t make any room for it but I also think that it is not as common as we are lead to believe.
I watch women in my community every day support and be kind to each other. It is mostly what I see.
When one woman is sick, another woman is organizing a parade of meals. When another woman is having a hard time, her friends are making sure that someone is dropping in regularly.
I think women have got a bum wrap in the cattiness department.
Sure when we were young there was some cattiness.
Sure there is a bit a gossip.
Sure we can be hard on each other.
But really what do we see mostly?
I see women reaching out to each other.
I see them praying for each other.
And I see them putting out their hands for each other so they can help another woman step up to the plate.
One of the most difficult things about starting a rug is deciding which colour to start with. That first colour determines all the other colours that you will use. I hate to colour plan the entire rug in the beginning. It is just not the way I work. Instead I like every colour I add to help determine the next colour.
So colour planning is not something I really do. It is more like colour processing. Through out the whole rug I am processing the colours I choose and deciding if they are right.
For me if I worked out all the colours before I started I would have the puzzle worked out. The fun would be gone. I like to make it part of the whole process.
Yesterday I worked on this pot. I knew from the start that the pot would be black and white but the teal stems evolved. I had imagined green but then chose three shades of blue and hooked them in. The teal won.
I think black and white will appear again in my rugs. It is such an easy palette to jump off.
This week we had a fashion show in Moncton, a small city north of Amherst for 30 Church Women’s Clothing. Before the show I sat with a 91 year old woman, Doris, who had travelled the world, and eventually came home to retire. Our conversation was easy. It was not about what Doris did but about what she was doing. When ever I meet someone older who is living a full life it makes me embrace aging even more.
The thing about getting older and wiser is really true for many people. You carry so much experience with you. You have sorted through so many ideas. You know yourself more, and therefore you know more because it is always that struggle between self and the world around it that needs sorting out.
For me turning fifty was critical in coming to terms with aging. I have lived over half a century. Surely there has to be some serious learning in half a century. I always felt like an old soul. I would have to say I see that same old soulness in my children. Some people have that way about them. But at turning fifty I feel that I am not just an old soul, I am actually an older person. And this morning at least, I like that and meeting Doris at the fashion show inspired me to embrace aging.
It is not about what I have done, that is just collected knowledge. It is about what I am doing on any given day, at any given moment. Being thankful for peace of mind and a healthy body.
I just love meeting people who inspire me. When I got to work the next day, there was a message from Doris, thanking me for the visit the night before.
Today was a lot of fun. Sheree came to read the book I illustrated for her on YouTube. And we kinda had a Singily Skipping Along kinda day.
We went to 30 Church and got her in some dresses, had our nails painted at Damaris and then had tea, dim sum and wonton soup at Victoria Faire. It is so nice to be able to do all that within a block of the studio. We did not actually skip but almost. It was a happy day.
The book has been out now for over three years but when she reads it to me again it feels new to me. It is the only time I ever illustrated a children’s book, and it was really something to be part of. It took a winter to make all the rugs and part of that time was imagining the words as images. Not in too literal a way, but a beautiful way. That was the trick.
It was one of the loveliest projects I have worked on over the years. Both Sheree and Nimbus Publishing were fun and easy to work with. It was a happy collaboration. Spending time together today made me think about what else I might like to work on.
So I grew up with homemade spaghetti nearly every Saturday. It was good. I have always made ok Spagetti myself. But it was just ok.
Until tonight. It was really good because I did it differently.
2lbs lean ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Mix and form into two inch balls
In food processor, finely chop 1 red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1 large onion, 5 large mushrooms
Sauté in 1/8 cup olive oil.
Pour in 1 cup white wine and two tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
Sauté five minutes.
Add I can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce. I used Hunts thick and rich.
Two teaspoons each: Italian seasoning, basil, oregano
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Bring to a boil. Stirring. Take the meatballs and put into boiling sauce, turn heat down , and cover til meatballs and thoroughly cooked. Basically I boiled the meatballs in the sauce and it made a nice thick sauce that stuck well to the noodles.
I woke up this morning, excited, cause there was more work to be done. I have been working on creating an online course called Hooking Painterly. I am doing this because so many people asked me too. It inspires me to work when I know what people want. You can pre-order it here.
When I am busy working , it makes me happy, because my work is fun. The other beauty of it is that I am not working alone. We have a good team at the studio and they help me with a lot of the work.
So today I recorded some videos on the importance of colour in painterly hooking. The course is well on it’s way.
I am fortunate to live near a sugar woods with three active camps. It is just ten minutes from my studio. Every year I go (almost) and every year I come home inspired. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to gather sugar from the maple trees.
What is so inspiring about it is you see people working so hard doing what they love. Most camps have people there lending them a hand. Everyone is working together in the simplest of conditions. People are there making syrup, and have been for generations because they love what they do.
The scent is comforting. The steam is rolling. And people are making…just making.
Most of my morning was spent working on a rug but it was lovely to take a hike this afternoon with members of the local trails society and see the maple syrup and candy being made. I always come home feeling ready to get back to work.
Remember when you were in school and you were taught to write a proper letter. I loved that part of school. I loved writing my address up in the corner. I wrote like I talked. I thought I would do that today for you. Even though it is not written by hand , I want you to know in spirit it is. I am here clicking away, thinking of everyone out there who reads this, writes back to me, and supports my studio. Thank you.
My most favorite rug right now is the hot pink moose. I thought I would include a couple of snapshots so you could see how I hooked it.
So the hooking of the circles in the moose took a lot of patience. Honestly it gets on my nerves a bit but I love the result so I do it. Rug hooking can be that way. I sometimes use fabrics I do not love to hook with but use them because I love the results. Here is a close up of the circles.
It is also a bit difficult to choose the colour. You need tones but not too many, or too jarring.I add lots then eliminate.
I outlined it in yellow so that there would be a strong contrast between the moose colour and the background colour. This is very important. It would be so easy for the moose to recede or get lost. Yellow is hard to lose.
One decision was whether to use the circles in the antlers. I almost did not. I thought I might just do lines. As I told you hooking circles irritates me so I was trying to get out of it. Then I tried to close my eyes and imagine it both ways. The circles were right I knew it and I had to push on.
You know what the rug needs when you close your eyes and imagine it done. I started on the background and went wrong with shades of green. I had to pull it out. Then I chose the colour of a real moose as my main background colour. That made sense to me. Make the moose the colour of the berries on a marsh, and make the marsh the colour of the moose.
Well you are probably wondering about me, because I am telling you how my rug hooking mind works. It is peculiar and silly and that is the truth. I spend a lot of time pondering colour and shape and movement and it makes me happy.
You can see I chose some soft greens and tans for the background too. I used cloth, yarn and sexy jersey in both the moose and the background.
Right now I am pondering making a canvas print of the moose and perhaps a pattern but for a while I just like to leave it in my studio and get used to it. I learn more from looking at a finished rug on the wall than I do from hooking it sometimes. Right now it is my favorite rug, but then again, it is the last one I finished. The last one you danced with always lingers in your mind after the dance.
So that is a tiny moose tutorial for you. A lesson in being loose with moose.
If you want to hook a moose we do have a moose kit that you can try.
You can also see our deals of the week here.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read…. Deanne
P.S. Guess what I am hooking? Yup…you got it four moose
Why Do I Hook Rugs? Click on the image above to find out why! Hello there, Fighting off colds. Reimagining my beginner kit designs.
Thinking about why someone begins to hook rugs.
Creating a beautiful Instagram Account.
I have noticed that young women are making things.
More often people come to the studio with young children .
They are reconnecting with their hands.
They are hooking rugs for the same reason I do.
I love my phone like a teenager but when I put it down after browsing I do not feel satisfied.
I feel the need to do something.
To make something.
Making things fills a need in us.
It unites us.
It makes us happy.
It soothes us.
It makes us feel like we matter.
Making is a big movement right now among young people.
because it is filling a need .
When I first started making rugs I felt like I had found a home.
I belonged to that one simple stitch.
And it changed me.
That is powerful to think that making things can change a person.
but it does.
and we need to share that
because we should.
I ‘ve decided on an anniversary pattern and it will be geraniums.
Well they are hardy, like you have to be if you have been in business for twenty five years.
They are a simple plant, no fuss, and there they are from May to early November, showing up everyday, still blooming. Sometimes I forget to water them, other times the rain pours on them. Either way they manage with just a little bit of attention.
They also remind me of how I see a community. I want to be the person who chooses to plant geraniums to make their community a little prettier. Somehow geraniums remind me of the importance of giving back. It is such a simple thing to do and it reminds me that small things matter a great deal in a community.
You’ll notice the four white houses in the background of the pattern. They are there to represent community. When I moved my business into town , one of the things I decided was that I would commit myself to the community. It has been good to me, and I must try to be good to it. Building and supporting my community is an important part of my everyday life.
So is beauty. I love to see the storefronts in our downtown in full summer bloom. It makes coming to work, walking the street, and driving by a little sweeter for everyone.
I think of geraniums as an old fashioned flower. It is traditional.
But it isn’t meek. It is quite showy. And I kinda like that about them. Plain but showy. I relate.
So this is a very simple pattern but it is meaningful to me and part of my celebrating twenty five years.
For twenty five years I have been hooking rugs and running a business around it.
For twenty five years I have been an artist.
That is a reason to celebrate.
Twenty five years and counting.
I began with a two thousand dollar loan from my mother and an old trunk and hutch in my front room that I used to sell supplies from.
My sister Joan, God Bless her heart, bought many of my early rugs. So did my other sisters. They were all supportive.
My mother wondered what the heck I was doing as I had just graduated with a masters degree in counselling but had decided I wanted to hook rugs for a living. She had right to wonder. She had not hooked rugs for sixty five years but she started again.
I never wondered. Everyday I did something that would make my business a little better.
For a while I spent more money than I made. I poured any money I made back into my business.
My husband paid the household bills. Being married really made a difference. It was so much easier knowing I did not have to pay the light bill.
I paid an employee before I paid myself. I needed help as there was so much to do.
When I think back to my early years in business I think of packing cards late at night.
I loved pretty much every minute of it.
I still do.
Today I am trying to come up with a small pattern to celebrate twenty five years. I went to bed last night thinking about it and I woke up this morning thinking about. That is what it is like. What you do is just part of you all the time.
On Friday night as I was going to Duncan’s for nachos I stopped by the new downtown rink. There was a couple of families skating and playing on the ice.
After dinner another group was out for Friday night skate.
It was so good to see that kind of vibrancy.
The other day on instagram, Cumberland Public Library posted a book called “This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place Where You Live.” I checked it out because I thought the title was good advice. You have to love the community you live in. When you do it is better for everyone. We can all take some responsibility for making the town a better place. It is easy really to commit to some little thing that makes your town better. It can be tiny. It can be big. Either way , we are the community and we need to carry it out, to make it happen.
In her book, Melody Warwick says that simple things increase the happiness factor you feel about your community. She suggests getting out and walking, volunteering, shopping and eating local, being creative,and knowing your neighbors are just a few ways of loving the place where you live.
I remember years ago there was a woman being interviewed on the radio about her home. She said, “It’s not what you got, it’s how you keep it.” Whether you live in a mansion or something more humble how you keep your place says alot about you. I think the same can be said about our community. A town does not have to be growing to be good. Goodness comes in all sorts of ways. It does not have to be big to be a great place to live. There are many communities much smaller than ours that are amazing places to live
Last summer a visitor was sitting in the window of my studio for a couple of days while she was here on a workshop. She was watching all the comings and going and she said,”This place is like Cedar Creek off the tv.” I wanted to say Cedar Creek is idyllic. It is on the water. Everyone there is beautiful.
But I did not. Instead I listened to what she said and looked at it from her perspective. We live in a small place where people know each other. She was here watching the community and she had a valuable persective.She was watching how we treat and interact with each other. I have thought about that a lot. Especially when I doubt Amherst. I remember that we are a community. We are in a constant state of change because we are made of people. People come and go. Their needs and abilities change. People change with in themselves. Because of this communities change.
We are even more of a community than Cedar Creek because we are real. It was really interesting to see our community from her perspective.
Small things that do not cost a lot like the outdoor rink, or the big block walk through the downtown (3 times around is two kilometres) add to the life of our village. It creates a sense of place, something for people to do and enjoy. When we live here it is our responsibility to create and find the joy in the community. There is buzz in seeing people enjoy and utilize their community. We are all strengthened by it. It is our job to make them happen;to work together to create beauty in the community.
Thanks to the town for listening to the community and working to make it just a little bit more like those sweet little towns on tv.We might not be Cedar Creek, but we’re Amherst.