IMG_1542Hi Everyone,
I just got out of the water from a quick swim and I am ready to go back in. It rained here all Sunday morning and now the sun has come out for what might be a brief interlude. So I better swim while the sun is out. While it rained I laid down and read a Mary Lawson book called Road Ends that my sister had lent me. It turned into a Sunday morning nap. These are the quiet lazy days of August. We all need need rest and restoration. Sundays are often that for me. Long slow coffees, a bit of writing, hooking, or drawing. Trying not to waste the day playing on my phone, but to do things that make it count. For me that can be a nap, a good book, a walk, a bike ride, a swim. Things that build you up, and sustain you, but not big things. Things do not have to be big to count. I love a quiet lazy day.
Even on these quiet Sundays off, I think about the studio a lot .Greg and I were looking at our kitchenette in the back room of the studio and thinking that maybe it needs a little overhaul. It is cute but not that functional. At the studio every day we try to eat lunch together so it kind of our for prep area. Lunch is big part of our day. We enjoy those few minutes to sit and talk together even as customers come into the studio. Sometimes they join us for an oatcake. And we are always sure to tell them that we don’t mind being interrupted. It is a casual environment.
So back to the redecorating…my friend is moving and has a long cupboard for sale that might work for us. I looked at it the other day and thought I could inset rugs in the doors as they look like frames. The next day I thought that was a really bad idea. Today I thought, “Well maybe.” That is what ideas are like. You just have to let them roll around a few days. My friend gave me the weekend to think about the cupboard. I want to do something funky back there with it. The trouble with funky is that it can go to ugly really fast if you are not careful. I think for now it is worth a try but I need to reimagine the whole space when you add one thing.
Spaces are like that, as are rugs. If you add one colour to a rug it can knock the rest of your plan right out of the park. Suddenly everything about it changes and you need to rethink the whole thing.Almost anytime I bring anew piece of furniture to a room, I have to change five other things. It is part of the process of change. Change is constant in the studio.
Exciting things are happening. Last week Angela and I started working on this winters’ online class. Nothing definite yet but we are started preparing. I am in the beginning steps of a potential rug. Of course we never know if it is right for the course until the rug is completed. I cannot wait to get to the studio tomorrow and start hooking on it again. Sometimes when I am from it I wish for it to be with me.
Over the summer we had Amy Oxford here for punch needle class. It was so good to meet Amy. I loved observing Amy teach and meeting her assistant Kristy. We now have punch needles and her oxford rug hooking frames in stock in our online store.We decided that we will offer some courses next year with new teachers as well. It is good to introduce new ideas to the studio. It is fun to see all that life in the studio.
I wanted to let you know that we have put our fleece artist slub on the website in the East Coast Road Trip Colours. So there is now more selection of textures and yarns on our website.
Well that’s it for this Sunday letter. You are part of what made my day full and whole. I appreciate you being there, reading my newsletter, and all the support you lend to my work,
Thanks for reading, Deanne
P.S. If you scroll to the bottom of this newsletter I have posted our newest kit!…….And I have a put a rug on Sale for 60 percent off!

 

Just having Fun

Hello Everyone,
We are working on something. I want to start something new. Angela and I are cooking up a new idea for the studio that I think you are really going to enjoy. It will be free, joyful, and blend beauty, art, and community. It is something to do with Create Beauty Everyday. You’ll find it here in this newsletter soon. It might take us some time but we are gonna have a little fun.
So I go to the hairdresser, and who is there but Mary who works with me and she takes my picture and sends it to me. One time I would not have shown you this picture but for one reason or another lately I feel way more liberated. Not to mention tired of social media facades. Just be yourself is more important now than ever.
Clearly though not liberated enough to let my hair go grey. What can I tell you? I was trying, and getting all sweet salt and pepper on the top but I just was not feeling it. I wanted darker locks so I got myself another rinse.
Maybe I feel liberated because at the hair salon I go to you are all lined up with your little caps on with your wet heads waiting to be processed because Heather works a bunch people at once and everyone comes out looking great. We are like a little production line. You get used to just sitting there with your cap on and anyone might walk in. It is like a hair salon on television sitcom. If you want the after picture, scroll to the bottom of this newsletter. Yup… I am trying to get you to look at all the great products I put in here.
Logan is doing her workshop at the studio this weekend and the participants are happy having drawn their own designs with Logan’s help. It is amazing what you can do when people tell you can. When we support and teach other we get better. I love the liveliness around the studio when we have a class going on. Seeing people so engaged and loving what they are doing, it just makes me so happy.
I got some nice feedback on my new book this week. People are reading it and telling me they like it. I hope you will get to read it too.
I finished two broken pattern rugs. It is a new theme I have been playing with it. I hung them together because I needed to see them together. One is very neutral, the other very teal and blue. They don’t really belong together but I had to see them together.
So that’s it for this week. A dye job and something’s cooking in the studio. Angela and I are having fun getting it ready and we hope you will enjoy it.
Summer has our place hopping. I hope you get to visit us. Hit the road and come have tea and oatcakes. See ya here I hope, Deanne

Friendship is So Important

Hi Everyone,
This morning I got out for a bike ride and it felt so good. I needed some more air in my tires but I kept plodding on up the hill. I live in a dale so every way out is up a hill. It makes for good exercise. Though the thought of starting out on a hill makes it hard to get motivated to go sometimes. I came back, put some extra air in the tire, took a walk, and came home and drank coffee and read. I am trying harder to read more, and to read more intensely.
We just finished our spring retreats and it made me feel so good to see people leaving renewed and happy and engaged in their rug hooking. We had women from all over North America. That gets me excited.
.
You could feel the joy in the room and the connections being made between people. It energizes me to see it. Rug hooking builds community but it also builds us individually. Seeing yourself make something and holding that something in your hands builds your confidence. It shows you the power of transformation. You cannot see the power of transformation and not be reminded that we all have that potential with in us. If something so amazing can happen with a pile of wool and a piece of burlap, just imagine what you could do with yourself! What I could do with myself!
Recently I had chance to visit my friend Doris Eaton. She looks so good and we were so happy to get to spend time together. When I first started rug hooking, Doris encouraged and supported me to hook rugs the way that I wanted too. She told me to follow my own vision and not worry at all what others were doing in the rug hooking world. Over twenty five years ago she believed in me and helped me believe in myself. Over the years she bought several of my rugs and came to events I hosted again and again. She was good to me.
Friendship is so important. This week after the retreat I went out with my girlfriends for dinner at the local pub and listened to some music and shared a few stories. We need each other. I look back on twenty five years of friendship with Doris and I think about how her kind words lead me places. I think about the same with my girlfriends. We are growing old together, and we have supported each other through rounds and rounds of stories. When you have good friends you have to keep in touch. Don’t worry about who does the calling. Don’t keep tabs, just keep in touch.
In fact I just texted my friend Katherine to head out for a walk with me. So I am off. I hope you have a good weekend.
And remember “freeshipping” is the code to get free shipping on my website all weekend. Go on… get shopping. And after you do, call a friend and spend some time with them.
See you for tea and oatcakes at the studio, Deanne
1 From every hill, there is a view
$295.00
Friendship is so

Sunday Afternoon Letter in May

Sunday Afternoon Letter….
Hello Everyone,
Have you had a good weekend? Did you get any hooking done or were you busy in the garden?
Yesterday I went out and bought six beautiful boxwood for the planters in front of the studio. It was a lot of hauling, lifting and lugging but the studio looks like something out of the city. Small town life, we always want to citify I guess. You know what! I just remembered I did not water them when I planted them. Maybe I will pop in tonight. I will post a picture on facebook so you can see them.
I also am hooking a hand drawn map of Newfoundland. I drew it freehand so it is not an accurate map but it is how I remember it from my grade five history which was taught to me by My Aunt Beth.
I also cooked a chicken pot pie. I had no gravy, just a leftover chicken breast so I made a roux with garlic, onion and chicken stock. It came out delicious. Here is the recipe:
Chicken Pot Pie …Chicken Pot Pie…Chicken Pot Pie
(Why 3 times.. what’s that about…?)
1 cooked chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
Chop Small and Boil:
2 small potatoes, 4 small carrots in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
When they are just about cooked add in 1/2 cup of peas, 1/2 cup chopped fresh asparagus
Roux:
Pan fry 1/2 onion and 1/2 clove garlic in 1 tbsp butter.
Sprinkle in 1 tbsp flour.
Over a low heat stir in 1/2 cup skim milk, then slowly add the stock from the vegetables until you have a thick sauce.
Mix all the ingredients together and put in a pie pan.
Crust:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup of flour
1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
1/8 cup cold water
Roll onto floured surface and top you pie pate with this crust
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
I really like making and “eating” chicken pot pie. My husband, on the other hand says I just really like saying “Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Pot Pie.” He mocks me and goes around the house repeating it supposedly the way I say it, in a kind of sing song voice. It’s true though, I am happy when we have it for supper. Say it three times and you’ll see it does have a nice ring to it!
Oh and here’s my new book if you want to preorder it..it will be out in June.
Pre-Order: Making a Life, Twenty-Five Years of Hooking Rugs
$34.95
We recently had a photo shoot for the people who work at the studio and myself so we could get some new photos for the website. I cannot say the women who work with me anymore because my friend Greg has joined our staff. You’ll be seeing these over the next little while.It was lots of fun and foolishness.
I have added a few new patterns to the website. Some like Cozy Rosy are really fun. I have put a little sale on that one if you want to take a peek at it.
Big News …I started a podcast …Yup .
I am not consistent and you never know what we are talking about but it is there on iTunes. I plan to keep at it. For years I had a community radio show where I interviewed local people. I decided to give it up last year in order to start a podcast for my studio called Create Beauty Everyday. So far there have been about six episodes. More to come.
Angela Jorgensen joined the studio in October and she was the last person I interviewed on my podcast. You can subscribe or just go check it out on iTunes. There is something about having a nice easy conversation with someone that I really enjoy. I am thinking a lot about who I would like to interview. It won’t always be directly about rug hooking but will relate to art and creativity and the beauty of the everyday. For example I spoke to my friend Lily about her love for domesticity. It is just something I want to be fun, so I am not putting expectations on myself about it.
Well I gotta go, I have two friends coming for supper and I gotta get cooking. Since I started writing this newsletter like a letter to friends I just really enjoy it. Thanks for being there, for all your support of the studio and being part of our clubs, and for reading.
Get hooking, go on, get at it… Deanne
Cosy Rosy 21″ x 32″
$44.95
I am just deciding right now what to make for Next Month’s Paper Pattern Club!
I just found out that I can make the patterns for this club all different shapes and sizes which excites me and gives me so much more creative freedom!
Join Today and You’ll Get Next Months..I have got a few ideas!
NEW!!! Paper Pattern of the Month Club: Free Shipping! Includes Woolcake!
$9.95

Everyday Angels

Good Old Fashioned Letter….Everyday Angels
Hey there,
This has been a week of adapting to small changes. Little things.
I had some company overnight at my house. Twice. Lots of busyness.
This week my friend, Sheree Fitch came to visit. Sheree is a writer and she is working on a book. As she does I have been working on a cover for her. It is a labyrinth and a set of angel wings. I learned a lot making the angel wings rugs. I outlined the inside of these wings and created flowers instead of traditional feathers. I love that the sketches made the flowers and that they still look like flowers even though they they were hooked in neutral colours. When I learn in my rugs it excites me so much.
When Sheree came this week, I wanted to take her pictures in front of it. I have a feeling that many people will have their picture taken in front of these wings. We are all angels to someone. Common angels. Aren’t they just the best kind. The person who does those kind little things for you. The ones who shed a little light or a little hope on your day.I have a lot of those in my life and I am grateful for every one of them.
It is Sunday Morning and the sunshine is flooding my house. I have opened the windows wide to air out my home. That avocado on the table is soon gonna be pairing with an egg. My daughter just texted me about a new podcast she thought I might like. It is called Invisibilia and is an NPR podcast with interesting stories to listen to while you hook. I listened to an episode and liked it. Maybe you might too. I like the company while I hook.
Avocado Toast…Sunday Morning Breakfast
Two pieces good bread toasted
Mash one avocado with 1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and a dash of salt.
Fry two eggs Sunny side up.
Spread avocado on toast, and put the egg on top of the avocado.
Variations….add a slice of fresh tomato or a little aged cheddar.
This is a pretty easy recipe. Well I think I better go cause breakfast is calling. I hope you will consider joining Woolcake or Woolbox. I have put the links below. Be sure to read the news about Paper Pattern of the Month. I made a discovery that is going to make that club way way better.
Oh and remember Georgina, who worked here with me for years but ran away to Halifax…well she is doing good. Yesterday she told me she got a great new job in the city. As much as we miss her here, we are so happy she is doing well. There she is below looking all happy….
Thanks for reading, as always, I appreciate it, Deanne
P.S. I am using a new newsletter program. I hope you like it.
Big News on Paper Pattern Club
I just found out that I can make the patterns for this club all different shapes and sizes which excites me and gives me so much more creative freedom!
Next months is a beauty….good time to join.
NEW!!! Paper Pattern of the Month Club: Free Shipping! Includes Woolcake!
$9.95
Woolcake
If you really want to get the inside understanding on how I work in the studio join Woolcake I’ll show you the rugs as I make them and as I am taking them off the frame. It is the place you’ll first here what is coming up in the studio and get the inside scoop and get to know me better.
Woolcake: Get to know Deanne in her studio.
$34.95

So perfectly imperfect.

Hi Everyone,

On my morning walks last week I tried dictating a few little stories that I have had on my mind.  I simply spoke them as I walked along and the email app turned them into text for me. I wondered if this was a good idea or not. Was I losing my morning walk or was I gaining more clarity as I walked by getting things off my mind. There is no answer here. I don’t know. I loved discovering this new way of writing. But like many things, when you gain something , you must give up something else.

It felt really good to get those things that I think about on my walks out of my heart and mind and onto paper. But I could not help but wonder if it might be better just to let my mind roam free. I don’t think there is an answer to this. But still I ponder it because that’s what we humans are good at. We are good at thinking about things even if we know there might not be an answer.

We all work to be better. Stronger. The word I picked for the year. Just picking it does not mean much. It is the carrying out of the intention that matters. I am trying to be stronger, but that does not make me strong. There is no arrival, just the travelling towards the idea.

It is not something we master. It is just something to lead us. One of the tenets we follow as we try to create a good life. So this year. my word was strengthen. I have taken it to heart , trying to be more physically fit, more mentally fit, and making my art and my business stronger. I cannot actually tell you if it is working but I can tell you that it feels like it is working. I remind myself of it constantly.

In the studio I constantly remind myself of our Create Beauty Everyday motto as well. Actually it is not just in the studio, it is a very personal motto, and there are times as well, that I fall short here, and in every effort that I make.There is no shame in this. We set expectations for ourself and this is important, but we do at times fall short. I remind myself that it is the struggle that matters, that intention, and keeping that alive, and the trying. It is in trying that we become better.

As I mature I find that is all I can do. When I was younger my expectations were high for everyone around me. I am more accepting in my fifties. Thankfully. It makes me kinder, aging does. Gentler, but still I share all those qualities of my younger self with in my older soul. It’s not like you arrive. Though there are moments, fleeting as they are, that you think, “My, isn’t it all just grand, aren’t I grand.” Then you stumble, or say something you shouldn’t, or irritate one of your kids, or generally make an arse of yourself in one way or another. As foolish as it feels at the moment, this is really the beauty of life. The fact that we never arrive, that we are equally engaged in the struggle to be better, to love and to be loved. There is always more to discover, more to understand, more to gain, and more to lose.

We are so perfectly imperfect that it makes us beautiful. 

And it makes life beautiful.

Thanks for reading, I am glad you are there to write to…..Deanne

P.S. I love my new Mermaid Kit, She is not perfect either, and maybe not exactly aging gracefully but she’s got moxie. I think she’s great and you can hook her.

Saltwater Beauty…My New Mermaid Kit

Complete Kit
$189.95 C or $144.95 US

If you want to hear more from me consider Joining the Paper Pattern on the Month Club.
only $9.95 a month $7.95 US
and You will get Woolcake, our online learning site for Free


Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

The Meditation of Hooking Rugs

Hi Everyone,
It’s been a joyous week! Really. We got so much done in the studio and that always makes me happy. When I see a lot getting done, it feels productive and exciting. It also means that we can ship orders a bit faster and make customers happier.


Winter started here early in November but spring has also come early and it feels it feels as if the world opens up a little bit when spring comes. We’ve been at the sugar woods several times which I wrote about in an earlier letter.

The spring makes walking so easy. Often I walk in the afternoon as a break from hooking just to stretch my limbs and always I walk in the mornings. That walk in the morning is the time to collect myself. It is a chance to be with myself. Sometimes I’m tempted to put on an audiobook or to listen to a podcast as I walk. Then I remind myself that I need a chance to let my mind roam. To think about the day. To think about what I’m doing in my rugs.


It is a chance to contemplate what each rug needs and what I could be doing to make it better. Often when I start a rug I start it  with one idea. There is a part of me that wants to hold fast to that idea and see it through. But then there is the other part of me, the part that knows to make art you have to be open and flexible and responsive and willing to listen to your soul. At night before I go to sleep  and in the mornings when I wake up and take that long walk I think a lot about what a rug needs.

But I  also think about what I need. It’s like a meditation. Just like our hooking is a meditation. It calms.  It’s soothes. It generates. Generate. That time with your self is generative. It leads to more. That’s the beauty of any meditation. It brings us closer to ourselves, to our art spirit.  It deepens the generosity inside of ourselves as we prepare to give to the world the beauty that only we can create.

Making is so misunderstood. It’s seen as a past time. It’s a hobby.  It’s sometimes seen as the lost art of the lonely and the bored. These are the words of fools of course. For we who make and only we, know the power between the hands and the mind as they work together and soothe the soul. 

This week I have been making a large important rug for a friend it’s important because it weaves together all the conversations we have had over this winter, this long dark beginning in November winter. It’s important Because it records us. It tells our story of friendship, of our saying hello and goodbye. It is the book of us being there for each other. The finished rug will matter but always what matters most is the making of the rug. Because in the making I think of her,  of what she has gained and what she has lost . And I pull each strip of wool up through the linen and as I do I feel that somehow it threads us together in warmth and in kindness. For when we make we love. We love quietly and without words but love is in the making.

So that is my story this week. I am glad you are there to write to. Your support of my work is important to me, and to the great people who work at the studio with me. We just hired a man! My friend’s husband has retired and is helping us catch up on kits. Yeah Greg!

I hope spring has come for you and I hope you make something beautiful, Deanne

P.S. I am working on some new patterns. Here’s one for you to think about hooking.

Boats Bountiful…a New Pattern by Deanne

Boats Bountiful On Linen $74.95 CND  $55.95 USD
18 by 23″

If you want to hear more from us consider Joining one of our subscriptions like Paper Pattern on the Month Club.
only $9.95 a month $7.95 US

and Get Wool Cake, our online learning site for Free

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

A March Road Trip

Hey Everyone,
I am so glad you are there to write to.  I want to tell you about my road trip. One is literal and the other is more, well, lets , say figurative. But to us rug hookers it is very real.

As I wait for my chicken stew to simmer I thought I would tell you a little about creating beauty everyday March style. You might think it isn’t easy. March here is cold and windy but there is the promise of spring in the air. Yesterday we took a trip to Joy and Darrell Trites Maple Sugar Camp in New Brunswick. I have know Joy for many years as a rug hooker who visits my studio with her friends. I had heard she had a sugar camp so I wanted to go. From early March and into April, Joy and her happy staff whip up buckwheat pancakes just like her family has made for generations and serves them up to hundreds of visitors who make the 15 minute trek to their beautifully built wooden camp. At this time of year, this is Joy’s way of creating beauty everyday.  The camp feels ultra Canadian with lots of buffalo plaid, wood heat, and of course the smell of maple. You can feel that everyone is there because they want to be there. They want the people who walk through the sugar woods to feel that joy too.

From running the studio I know what it is to do things with love, and I felt this at Trite’s Maple. Here is the happy couple standing with a rug given to Joy many years ago by a neighbour.

Her family and friends all help out in the camp on the weekends. It is bustling and happy and the food is delicious.
Doing things with love is so important. Whether it is cooking, rug hooking, or looking after our homes. When we do it with grace and kindness, two important elements of love, it is better for everyone.

In the studio this week Logan and I are working on a new palette. We’ll give you a sneak peak . It is not for sale yet. We want to get all the colours ready first and then we’ll tell you what we have in mind. Logan and I were talking and at the studio we want to always be creating whether it’s in dying wool, making kits, or making rugs. It is important for us both to make sure that it is innovative so we plan for the next little while to play with some palettes. Watch out for them.

The first palette we created together was East Coast Road Trip. This is a series of $14 swatches that I have used in my rugs for many years. These are the colours of the landscape around me. These colours are simply named, straw, pasture, sea, spring etc are the colours of our lives here in the maritimes. We named them after what we saw when we drove around with the windows down on a sunny summer day. Well, except for mermaid, we  took a little liberty with that one. You see, colour just isn’t colour it is the story of our lives. It reminds us, it triggers our thoughts, it brings our imagination to life. So have a look at our Road Trip Colours and see the world we have created.

Thanks for reading, it’s nice to know you are there, Deanne

Buy any Six East Coast Road Trip Colours and We’ll Add an Extra One for Free!
You do not need a code…we’ll know to add an extra.
The sale lasts until Friday!

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

Feb 25…Wondering about Wisdom

Hello there,
I finished two rugs in the last week and Angela will soon have them up on the website. I am in between ideas right now but still hooking. When I am between ideas I just hook one of our patterns. It keeps me nimble. I don’t like too long a break from hooking. I find it is a great place to go. For me it is like taking a trip to a place in your heart. It is very soulful. This week I have been listening to a Marianne Williamson book as I hook. I had read one of her books years ago but a recent quote I saw brought me back to her ideas. There are some challenging thoughts and ideas in it and it has really got me thinking. Thinking and Hooking, they belong together.

 

I have also been thinking a lot about wisdom this week. I think the wisdom in age comes from watching. I know that I have watched so many people grow and change over the years. I have seen people face challenges, suffer great losses and I have seen people experience amazing success. Just watching all this, and knowing the ups and downs of peoples lives, being a witness to the lives of others teaches you. It teaches you first of all, that “you just never know”.

I don’t think that wisdom comes just from growing older but from really observing and noticing what you see. It comes from thinking about our experiences, from thinking about the way we think. It is a constant search. You never reach a “wise” state or place, you just keep looking for more to learn. Even when you think that you have read that before, or seen that before, you just have to go back at it from a new place and see if it has anything more to offer. I do this all the time with my rugs and with books and learning. I have to re-imagine if I am going to keep creating.

Now that I have been at it for so many years I can see the “what is old is new again”. It would be easy to overlook it because I “have been there” but I have never been there as I am now, with what I know now, with the experience I have now.

I just dragged a bunch of wooden crates up out of the basement for display. I remember sticking them down there ten years ago, thinking I was finished with them. Clearly I was not…and the crates of course are just a metaphor for so much that we recycle in life.

There are so many good people in my life that I learn from. Last week I got together for dinner to consult with a friend who is planning a new adventure. Around the table there was so much good advice, so many good ideas, all put forth with no expectation. This is wisdom too. Knowing that you have advice and something to share but not expecting anyone to follow it. Knowing that others have things to tell you, but that ultimately you need to decide for yourself.

I think there is a lot wisdom found in who we surround ourself with, and a lot of wisdom in surrounding ourselves with the right people. People whom we can be good to, as well as people who are good to us. When people come to work at the studio, this is important. We are together a lot and it is important that we care for each other.

Last week I visited Brenda who works with me in her studio. She is a beautiful artist and can turn her hand at anything. We have worked together for nearly twenty years and she is about to retire. I will miss her and our shared history here in the studio but I am happy that she will have more time to create and help her husband Grant who makes our frames. She is ready, and as much as I will miss here, I know that she is doing the right thing.

I have had a really nice week. My daughter was home from school and we hunkered down for a relaxing week . I worked in the day but every evening we cozied up with movies and a few snacks.

It really was a winter break. We need these times where you really hunker down and settle into the season. Wrap yourself in a blanket and not worry about the cold or the storm outside because you have no where to go. It is February in Canada after all. It gives us a license to hunker.

I wrapped up the week with a trip to the city which is always good. I love to get to a good bakery and pick up some almond croissants and crusty french bread. I love a good french patisserie and it is always worth the trip to the city to find one.

I am writing this from my little home studio as this where I like to write these letters. It feels more personal. Today I started to write it at my work studio, but I thought I would save it til I got in my little letter writing spot here in the house.

I am off to enjoy a little cozy time, and maybe a little treat.

Thanks for reading, Deanne

P.S. There is only 6 more days to sign up for the online course. Join me if you can. Sign up below.

You Definitely Should Take the Online Course
We’ll be hooking fields, and orchards, and skies.
We’ll be hooking our way right into spring.
You should come along and get your creative juices flowing.

This field rug will be exciting and challenging to hook, but with the step by step instruction offered in these online videos I can lead you through it.
In this course we will be:
  • Creating a rug with meaning and warmth.
  • Handling materials to create flow within your rug.
  • Looking at how to handle a rug with three sections..foreground, middle ground and background.
  • Establishing strong foreground presences in field rugs.

$188 for four weeks of lessons and a pattern on linen delivered to your door. Starts March 4, 2019

Buy Now

or just the Course for $89

Buy Now

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

February 17: A Sunday Afternoon Letter & A Funny Video

My good friend always makes me laugh.
Hello Everyone,
The other day I was in a parking lot after a hockey game and I watched a couple both looking down at their phones checking to see what had happened while they were away from their phone during the game. It was only for a moment before they both looked up at the same time. To me it looked as if they were back to reality, realizing that the phone was empty. I am not judging, just observing. I am sitting here now on my phone myself while loved ones sit across from me. Each week I get a notice from Apple to say how much time I spent on my phone and it always surprises me. Some of it is spent reading, some writing, some learning but some is just lost. 

I think our time spent on the phone is often time spent searching. We might be looking for connection. I know I do anyway. Finding out what is going on, checking for messages, wondering has anyone tried to reach me. As much as it offers connection, because it does, it also can support us in our isolation. It is just a habit, one I am becoming increasingly aware of the need to change, thanks to that little report my phone sends me each week.

This year I said I was going to strengthen and I have been working on it some. I have found though that having a word to follow, and then choosing things to do to help you follow that word is not so easy. In fact some of the things I have been doing daily to strengthen might not be strengthening me at all. It is difficult to say what will strengthen you until there are results to prove it. As you try use a word as a guide to being better, you are really just trying.
One of the things I believe is strengthening is journalling, or blogging, just like I am going right now, right here with you. That is why I have started writing these letters to you. I think it is good for me to write. To stay in shape when it comes to words. I have been working to make my studio space more beautiful because I believe that beauty is source of spiritual strengthening. Coming in everyday and caring for and loving your space is important.

On the other hand I have been planking (an exercise) everyday since January 1 and I am still sore. It is not getting any better. At the suggestion of a massage therapist I started stretching as well, Savour, strengthen, stretch she said. Still I am sore. Friends told me to try it every second day or a couple of times a week instead and I might. But today it came to me, if this exercise is not making me feel good after 49 days, perhaps I should reassess. Aww, that is it, isn’t it? Sometimes you need to rethink things, and that does not mean you are giving up. I will continue to strengthen. I just might need to find a way that is better for me. It is like working on a rug that is not going well. Sometimes if it is a fight, you might just need to let it go. You can just start another.

Holding on too tight to things that are not working for you cannot be strengthening. Letting go of them sometimes can be because it is such a relief. So now as I finish this letter I will get ready to go for a second walk today. Walking I know strengthens my mind and my body.

The three rugs I posted here are for sale on my website. Until Tuesday, if you purchase any rug on my website that costs over $400 Canadian I will include a small framed 8 by 8″ original tiny landscape rug with it that you can give to someone else as a gift or that you can keep for yourself…but giving gifts is so much fun…it’s up to you.

Thanks for reading, off for my walk, Deanne


There is still time to join our online class

$89 for four weeks of lessons with me.
BUY HERE

Other  Course Options BUY HERE

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

February 2019: Making it better

Twice last week friends brought me a loaf of homemade bread. It is the nicest kind of gift, gifts of bread to neighbours. I have been packing it in my lunches and eating it with my suppers. I think of them as I enjoy it.

Last night I had dinner at a friends house and when I came home I just so felt thankful for the friendship. A Monday night in February, three friends, and fish tacos. Not even a glass of wine, just a visit, a drop of tea and conversation. Being there for each other. In winter here in Amherst, NS, we hole up in our houses and retreat  a bit. Getting out is good for us. We need each other especially when it seems too cold to bother.

Yesterday I had lunch with Rebecca, who is the business development officer for our town. An hour with her and I leave brimming with thoughts and ideas. Do you have friends like that? One that ignite an energy in you? Ones that spark your interests and make you seek to be better? That is what Rebecca did for me yesterday. I came away thinking how can I do better? How can I make my art better, my studio better, my women’s clothing store better? Better.  Do better. Be better.

Every time she told me something she was planning it ignited another idea. Some were good, some needed work, but the ideas came because we were together and we were talking.

I have spent the last week trying to improve things around the studio. We have added new work tables and new bins where we make kits. We have prettied it up again, moved around furniture, gathered new props and bits of beauty. I exposed the wooden top on our big long work table and put clear glass over it so you can see it. Such small things but they change the atmosphere here for the people who visit and for us when we work here. It is warmer.

These kind of distractions ease the cold winter skies that hang above us. Answering the door to a gift of bread, buying a flower for the table, adding a bit of paint here or there. Refining things. Adding life. Enhancing.
Every time I start a new rug that is the goal. Make it better than the last. Find something new in the wool. Create the beauty. Do it everyday. Do it as uniquely as you can. Make it, make it good, make it right, knowing that the right way is really only your way, cause when you make, there are so many different kinds of right ways.

That is the blessing of creativity, it’s abundance. One idea begets another idea. That’s the blessing of a meal shared and thoughts exchanged, you leave with more than you sat down with. Ideas grow and we nurture them by coming together.

Here in Amherst , Nova Scotia, so many of us are trying to make it better, make it nicer. We have our heads down and we are making. Making things right as best as we know how. Putting our energy where our thoughts are and strengthening each other as we do it. The women I work with here in the studio add a lot to my life, as do the women I work with in my community, as do my friends. Life would not be as sweet without all these great people around me.

As always thanks for reading…. Deanne

You Definitely Should
Take the Online Course

$188 for four weeks of lessons and a pattern on linen delivered to your door. Starts March 4, 2019

Buy Now

Buy Ornate Starfish Pattern On Sale and Save $10 of Linen Pattern

Buy Now 

Making it a little better all the time…

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

P.S. If you are already a member of Woolbox or Pattern of the Month this subscription is included in your membership.

Stormy Sunday: January 20, 2018.

Hello and thanks for reading,
It is Sunday Morning and a storm is coming up from the south. This morning I was thankful for the beauty of the snow falling on my walk, and the trees with their perfect peaks. I try to look at the place as if I were a visitor and it helps me see things as they really are. When a little light snow is falling and covering everything in a pristine white, changing it before your eyes that makes it a little easier to see things freshly.

This weekend I had a little pre storm visit to Halifax with a friend and we got to do so much. We went to Symphony Nova Scotia, only to discover that the conductor was someone we knew from Sackville, NB. The symphony was amazing. I think of all those musicians so dedicated to their individual work and how willing they are to set aside  that individuality for the whole, for the music, for the beauty of what they can be together. I love that.

We also got to Zwickers and Studio 21 art galleries and up to the Hydrostone for a peek around. At Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone, the owner put together a big bouquet of eucalyptus and bare branches for me. She told me she has had the store for over twenty years. I love seeing owners involved and still loving their businesses. The eucalyptus is scenting my back room. It reminds me of my wreath making days nearly thirty years ago before I ever knew about rug hooking. I would dry flowers and make little wreaths in what was then a barn attached to my house. Eventually that space became my studio after I received a Canada Council Grant for artists. Seems so long ago now.

The scents that carry us back in time. We all have them. Bread coming out of the oven, fish on the wharf, the salt air.


In the city I picked up a couple of twig wreaths for my barn doors but unfortunately they are making my barn look like it dressed as an owl. When the storm passes I will move them around. I think one in the peak might look quite nice. It could be spring before that happens. But later today I will probably be out there with a hammer. Once an idea gets in my head, my body just follows it. It is something I love about myself but bewilders others. I know it.

I finished the most beautiful rug lately. It is called Three Moose and the Seven Sisters. Moose were such a part of my life growing up. We would go fishing on the barrens and see them across the pond. They were just part of living in Newfoundland. You would see them on the highway, your eyes trained to watch for them. It was the conversation when you arrived somewhere, “Did you see a moose?” They have become for me like the silhouettes of my family, symbols of a place, and a people, and of myself and my parents. They also so symbolize a calm strength to me. I never think of moose charging, but of them quietly standing, strong, not wanting to be bothered. Thats just how they were for me as child.

So today I am at home cozy with the fire and I plan to hook on a rug that I am making about resettlement  It is called Red Island and is semi abstract, inspired by a painting that I saw when I was travelling. It is interesting that a painting from another artist in Eastern Europe can trigger an image in me about a tiny island in Placentia Bay that filled my childhood stories. It has taught me that the stories I put into my rugs are less important than the stories they evoke in you. I love that , how a simple image can mean so many different things to so many people. It makes art so powerful. It is about feeling. We all feel the same things, it is just that different ideas and images can bring us to those feelings.

I think it is because art evokes a feeling that we love it. The images  we see brings to life our own stories and our own feelings. Art is so much more about feeling than it is about anything else. Really that is what I hope my rugs do for people. I hope the colours and the ideas in them carry them some places  they want to go.

So today is a day to stoke the fire and to read and rest and create. It is my typical Sunday but the snow makes it so much more fitting. Here in Nova Scotia we like to hunker down and a good storm makes that so much easier.

I hope you will register for our online class that is coming up.We are working hard on our online class getting all the patterns drawn and dying wool for the kits. It is well plannd and the course will teach you step by step how to hook the rug. Remember it starts the first of March but you can take it anytime you want. It is yours to keep and you can learn at your own convenience. Early registration before January 31 is quite a bit less expensive because it allows us to plan and get the kits made up earlier. So all the information is below for you to join me.

Thanks so much for reading. Our list is growing and will be at over 10,000. It is lovely to have you all to write too, Deanne

Register Before January 31 and Save!

Where the Orchard Blooms: Hooking Field Rugs, 2019 Winter Online Course is a must this winter!

The Whole Package!
Online course with Deanne Fitzpatrick & complete kit!
This is quite literally the entire package! Not only does this product come with the online course and the pattern on linen, but it also comes with all of the colours and textures needed to complete the rug from start to finish! With this you will not only end up in the orchard, but you will be able to do it exactly as intended by design!

All of the products and combinations are valuable in terms of creating this beautiful rug, but if I were you this would be my top pick, because you will have exactly everything you need at your finger tips every step of the way!

And if you order this complete kit before January 31st and take advantage of the savings.
$399.00 CDN, $300.20 USD! 


There is nothing more priceless than creating beauty every day!

Saturday Afternoon Letter from Deanne January 12

Hey Everyone,
It is Saturday afternoon and I decided to leave the studio early and come home for a nap but instead I started thinking of my newsletter. The nap is coming later. I have been pondering that I am going to try to write these newsletters the way I used to write my blog. Just a few notes about what is on my mind and what I am up to. I am missing that kind of writing that I used to do and I feel that I want to get back to it.

Today I hooked five small foxes on a golden background. As I look at the design I created, a blend of a field rug and a Newfoundland village, it looks as if the foxes are sneaking in and stealing something away. It might be time. The foxes are looking like a symbol of change. I think this way about my rugs sometimes as I make them. Sometimes they are full of thoughts and ideas, and other times, they are just purely about beauty and there is no intellectualizing them. I seem to waver in this. Sometimes I want them to be a search for meaning while other times beauty is enough.

It is interesting having Logan working with me. She went art school and has a degree in Fine Art, so did Angela. I never went art school, mainly because I never even knew it was a possibility. I think it would have been lovely.

It is fun to chat with them about what I am thinking and get their perspective on what they are doing. We all approach our work differently. We all put ourselves into it in one way or another no matter how we learned. You too, have your own way of approaching your creative work. It is the beauty of it. We all get to put a bit of ourselves into it.

As I hook I have been listening to audiobooks so my mind gets carried off and my thoughts come and go. It is the beauty of making, that your hands are turning things over but your mind is free to listen, to grow, to learn. I am always on the lookout for audio books. Most recently I have listened to Krista Tippett & John O’Donohue. Two of my favorite people to listen too. The public library has just given me notice that a Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling pen name ) is available for me. I have read her Comoran Strike Novels  but I think I may listen to one. It is lovely to have your hands busy and your mind free.

I have been doing well with my strengthening resolution. I am planking ( google it if you are not sure..my daughter taught me this great little exercise) two or three times a day, walking, and working on my art and my business. So far I am sticking with my word of the year…Strengthen. I love it because it can apply to anything…mind, body, spirit. As for last years word “Savour”, I am still holding to it, but sadly, I do still whoof down my food sometimes, only to remember, savour, after it is gone, and I am looking for a sweet. I have though been better at savouring the moment. It is our job, I think, to know something beautiful when it is in our hands, and that is sometimes just the moment we are in.

Registrations are coming in for our class this winter and that excites me. I love the thought of watching people create Where the Orchard Blooms this winter and throughout the year. I have ordered the wool and we have already dyed the sky for the kits. So far I am really happy with the response. If you are interested all the information for registering is included below.

I have to go now as it is time to start a new novel and fall off to sleep for a nap. I have company coming over later and I have cooked them up a bite to eat. I even made some baklava. Yum. I hope you have a good weekend, and that you get some time to hook, and yes, maybe even a nap, Deanne

Register Before January 31 and Save!

Where the Orchard Blooms: Hooking Field Rugs, 2019 Winter Online Course is a must this winter!

The Whole Package!
Online course with Deanne Fitzpatrick & complete kit!
This is quite literally the entire package! Not only does this product come with the online course and the pattern on linen, but it also comes with all of the colours and textures needed to complete the rug from start to finish! With this you will not only end up in the orchard, but you will be able to do it exactly as intended by design!

All of the products and combinations are valuable in terms of creating this beautiful rug, but if I were you this would be my top pick, because you will have exactly everything you need at your finger tips every step of the way!

And if you order this complete kit before January 31st and take advantage of the savings.
$399.00 CDN, $300.20 USD! 


There is nothing more priceless than creating beauty every day!

Just the Course and Pattern!
Winter online course with Deanne Fitzpatrick & Pattern on linen.
This product comes with the online course and the24″x24″ pattern on linen. With this you will have the best of both worlds, the lessons at your disposal, and the pattern at your fingertips! With this you will be able to follow along with ease. All you will need is a stash to work from.

Until January 31st, this great product is just $169.00 CDN, $127.19 USD!

Just the Course $69
While winter comes with unique beauty, such as the glow of a sunrise over a snowy field, or the smell of woodsmoke cutting through the brisk night air, sometimes you need to insert a bit more colour in your life; and this years winter online course is exactly what you need to brighten the season!

This course will begin on March 4th, and you will receive two lessons a week for four weeks. A total of twenty instructional videos comes with this product guiding you through the process, and the focus will be on creating a rug with meaning and warmth, and of course learning how to produce flow. The modern field rug has a depth and flow that invites you into the space, and I can’t wait to get started with you!

Until January 31st take advantage of the savings! There is a lot to be excited about as you are sure to create a rug so beautiful, you will wish you could visit the orchard.

Until January 31st, the online course on its own is $69.00 CDN, $51.93 USD!

The Studio will be offering several packages for this course, pattern, wool, course and a kit.
Please look for these on the website as well.

Just the Pattern!
Where the Orchard Blooms: Field Rugs Pattern, Only on Linen!
The pattern on its own is gorgeous! At 24″x24″, the size is substantial enough to be a show stopper, while not being too large that it is intimidating to accomplish! The pattern only comes on linen, and if you have not yet hooked on linen you are definitely in for a treat. 

This product does not come with the online course, however the way it is designed is sure to promote flow, and invites your unique interpretation!

Until January 31st this pattern on linen is $119.00 CDN, $86.56 USD! feel the benefits while the sale still lasts!

Just the Wool Pack!
Where the Orchard Blooms: Hooking Field Rugs Wool Package
Please note: This package does not complete the rug. It is a partial kit.
Where the Orchard Blooms: Hooking Field Rugs, Wool Package
This wool package is absolutely gorgeous, and truly inspires the essence of my original rug. The colours and textures are to die for, and are meant to give you a good start on your piece. Trust me, you want this box!

This wool package includes: 9 swatches of wool cloth
11 mini skeins of Textured Yarn or Equivalent,
1 – 16 by 12 swatch of Blue
Sexy Jersey Swatch or small bundle of Sexy Jersey.

What you will receive won’t be exactly as shown, however we in the studio know that you will create something really beautiful with it!

Until January 31st, this beautiful box of woollen treasure can be yours for just $99.95 CDN, $75.22 USD!

A Belated Happy New Year

In typical technophobe fashion, my post comes a bit late. A computer glitch had kept me from posting earlier, much to my frustration. Perhaps it was karma’s way of making me reflect a bit more on what I wanted to share. With the help of the wonderful Deanne, I am now back in the game and ready to share my thoughts.

A new year, new hopes, new dreams.   I always find it a bit disturbing how easily we dismiss the previous year, hoping for a ‘do over’ of sorts.  All of the failures and challenges tend to be at the forefront when a new year rolls around.  It seems a perpetual second chance to make things right, to be a better person, to strive towards those goals that we had hoped to accomplish the previous year.

Could it be that we are approaching the season in the wrong mind set?  What if we looked back on the previous year and acknowledged the successes, the achievements hard won, whether they be small or large?  Why not start a new year with a list of the positives of the last year, not the negatives.  Perhaps our goals should be to build, not necessarily change, who we are.

As I think about what I wish to accomplish in this coming new year-my own  ‘do over’ year, I choose to think of it as a platform to build on what I have already accomplished and use the disappointments as teaching moments instead of failures.  I resolve to enter this new year facing forward, not  carrying the weight of past mistakes.  I resolve to make ‘let it go’ a bigger part of my own personal philosophy.

Let us all take the best of 2018 with us into this bright new year.

-Angie

A Newsy Saturday Night Letter from Deanne

Hi Everyone,
It is time for a proper newsy letter from me to let you in on the studio life. We have had so many changes in the past year. We have three new staff people, two of whom are named Angela. We also hired Logan as a studio assistant and dyer.

It was a big change for me to see both Denice and Georgina move on. I get accustomed to and care for the people I work with everyday and I feel a loss when they leave. I do find though that new people bring new ideas and possibilities and that change is always happening and I have to get used to it. Angie, Angela, and Logan are all good company, hard working, and I am happy to have them. They are all really creative, and love making rugs.

This year I got used to having my own office and studio space in the back room of the studio. I think it has been good for me and my work. I finished a new book called, “Making a Life: Twenty Five Years of Hooking Rugs” which will come out in the spring. I also made some of my favorite rugs ever. It has been a good move. I get to talk to lots of people as I can see everyone through the glass doors.

We had several thousand visitors last year. Our online course was a blast and more people enrolled in it than ever. Yes, I am doing an online course this winter and we are going to announce it very very soon.
Last years’ was so great. I kept seeing beautiful pictures of Impressionist Floral Gardens on Wild with Wool. Our facebook group Wild with Wool has grown to nearly 5000 members. This newsletter has grown to over 9000 members. Sometimes I can hardly believe it. Thank you for all that support . I appreciate it so much.

As of October this year we served over 2100 oatcakes to studio visitors.I think we were close to 2500 for 2018.  I love it that people sometimes just drop in for an oatcake, or that a woman will take them to her husband or kids waiting in the car as a thank you for waiting. The studio is supposed to be a welcoming place and it is important to all of us there to offer people a little snack, and a cup of tea.

Our most recent club, the Paper version of the Pattern of the Month Club is growing quickly. As it is only $9.95 a month. At first I had no idea if it was a good idea but the response has shown me that people want a paper version because they are easy to store, you can enlarge them, and it is less expensive. You can join here.

I just finished one my favorite rugs ever. I spent a full day this week clipping and pressing it. It is called Three Moose and The Seven Sisters. It has turned out to be strong and richly coloured and I think that  I will get it hung in the studio next week. I hope you get there to see it. I will share a full picture of it soon.

Oh and the Good News about the Blundstone Boots…..Someone on this Newsletter List will win a pair of Blundstone Boots next October. You choose the size and the colour. You have to stay on the list to be eligible to win so stick around and you might just be the winner of a pair of these great boots that we sell at 30 Church Women’s Clothing across the street from the studio.

So that is all the news from me.

I am glad you are there.
Thank you for reading and for creating beauty everyday,  Deanne

                                          
Our Paper Pattern of the Month Club is a variation of our Pattern of the Month Club that allows you to receive our POM on paper!

That means you can enlarge them and make them bigger or just transfer them on to the backing of your choice just as they are.

I have been thinking of trying paper patterns for a long time and in the last year many customers have been asking for it so I am going to start here and I am excited about it.

Delivered to your doorstep monthly, it  will be a unique and one of a kind pattern designed by Deanne ( that’s me!). These patterns are on paper and are perfect for a few key reasons: Not only can you transfer them to the backing of your choosing, but you can transform them with ease by enlarging them or reducing them at your leisure! 

Like our other subscriptions, our Paper Pattern of the Month comes with the added benefit of free access to Woolcake, our private online membership!Think of having these hooked designs ready for gift giving, to create pillows, or to frame as art.

Sign up today and for a monthly fee of $9.95 CDN, $7.40 USD, and let the inspiration take hold! The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating beauty every day!

Join me, Deanne Fitzpatrick, to learn about creativity , art and rug hooking.

This site is where I keep a journal about my rug hooking. I update it frequently and discuss my creative process, my ideas about art, beauty, life,  creativity and rug hooking. It is the place where I go to write on a regular basis, to sort things out and understand my own work.

The site is full of how to videos, podcasts, articles, tips and learning from Deanne in her studio. New content is added four times a month. Join Woolcake for a fresh perspective on a traditional craft. One that instills in you the joy of making and keeps you inspired and wanting to hook wonderful rugs.

Think innovation,think joy, think rughooking, think Woolcake!

Come Learn with Me!

and it is only 34.95 a year, the price of monthly coffee!

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Beginnings

You cannot have a beginning without an ending.  The truly hard part is that both are accompanied by an influx of conflicting emotions; sadness, excitement, fear, anticipation.  These are the hallmarks of change.  At the studio, we are in the midst of many changes.

Our newest addition, Angela, started this week, bringing  enthusiasm and new eyes that will make her a wonderful addition to our little family.  At the same time, we are sadly losing our Georgina, who is pursuing a new life a little farther afield . Needless to say, she  goes with our love and will remain in our hearts as she begins this new phase of her life.

In the meantime, yours truly will attempt to step into her shoes-a  daunting challenge, especially when you consider how truly multi talented and special this lady is.  I have spent the past few weeks trying to absorb all of Georgina’s various responsibilities, shadowing her like Marley’s ghost, as she wrestles with the everyday adventures in running a busy studio while providing endless support to all of us.  Georgina leaves behind a legacy of professionalism , respect and love.  I can assure you with truth that my future is going to encompass many new challenges and experiences as I try to do justice to what she has accomplished.

Here’s to wind in your sails, my friend-you will be very missed.

-Angie

*PHOTO: Who wouldn’t love that gorgeous smile?

The Importance of a Moment

 

We rarely appreciate  the little moments;  a laugh, a hug, a chance encounter.  In retrospect, all of these little vignettes  take on huge importance when life suddenly changes.  How many times do we forget to tell our friends, family and partners how much they mean to us?  Perhaps we are blinded by the outside life noise-the job, the appointments, the groceries; perhaps we are just plain tired and the moment  slips away, not because we don’t care, but because we are just too weary.  Daily life can become an effort and we inevitably shortchange the moments that should matter.

Remembrance Day is a good time to remember, not only our veterans, but those left behind.  Picking up the pieces and carrying on is a monumental task and having someone take a moment to acknowledge your efforts can make a huge difference.  Carrying that philosophy into the days beyond November 11th is important.  There will always be someone who is hurting and we all have the power to help ease the burden.

Lest We Forget…

 

The Lesson

“Today I am going to teach you how to fix the serger.”

My words were greeted with a look of pure horror.  With its complicated array of threads and scary looking technical parts that periodically just refuse to play nice with others,  our serger is known for striking frustration and terror into even the bravest of souls.  I had grimly promised Logan a session in troubleshooting the beast and now the day of reckoning was upon us.  I was scheduled to be out of the shop for the next few days and I knew that the serger would definitely choose to quit during my absence.  I had always joked that  my job security was assured due to the fact that I was one of the few that could brave the mass of moving parts and re-thread the monster, but , out of necessity, it was time to give up my McGyver crown and pass along the torch.  For those of you familiar with our kits and patterns, the serger is the machine that we use to provide a nice finished edge to our patterns, ensuring that they should not become unravelled during  the process of hooking .  It works almost in reverse to a sewing machine, as it cuts a clean edge and binds at the same time.  In fact, picture a sewing machine on steroids. You are faced with four intimidating ways of threading four individual needles-all of which must be done in a special order. Yep-job security at its best.

Logan  bravely took a seat in front of our nemesis as I pulled open the front casing, displaying the innards of the machine or, as I like to call it, the ‘BOWELS OF MORDOR’.  A complicated array of metal bits and levers interspersed with an intimidating Cat’s Cradle of heavy thread stared back at us, visibly taunting my young friend.  She gulped and stared at me, silently begging to be let off of the hook.  Being fairly heartless, there was absolutely no way I was letting her go at this point.  So we began…I explained the complexity of the job, which is actually deceptively simple once you understand the order and educated her on all of the technical jargon, like, ‘grabby bit’, ‘pointy thing’, and various other important terms that every knowledgeable  McGyver apprentice should know.  Moment of truth:   I cut all of the threads off and left her  alone to reassemble it, sweat beading on her brow and hands shaking slightly as she took up the challenge.  A surprisingly few minutes later she called it finished and I went over to inspect her work.  A whoop of delight erupted as I pronounced it perfectly done, quickly followed by a groan of dismay as I cut all of the threads  and gestured back to the machine.

“Again.”(yep-heartless)

By the third re-threading, she was getting more confident and called me over to inspect her work with surety in her voice.  This time, she cut the threads herself and giggled, confidently returning to the task at hand.  Score: Logan:4/Evil Serger:0

I was more than rewarded the next day when I received a photo from Georgina, our lovely manager.  My Logan, confidently re-threading the beast in my absence.

Kudos, young grasshopper, I always knew you could do it, you just had to convince yourself.  Congratulations.

-Angie

Down Time (or How To Hook With A Cat)

There are times when we all could use a little help.  That being said, there are also times when perhaps a little less aid is called for.  I found myself in the latter position on my last day off.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to be a little obsessive about scheduling my days off.  I try to allot my down time in such a way to accomplish as much as possible while still giving myself a bit of much needed relaxation.

Picture a quiet Friday morning, basic housekeeping chores finished, a lovely hot chocolate standing by while I make myself comfortable at my cheticamp frame with an elementary design stretched and ready for my undivided attention.  Of course, a large selection of yarns and fabric are gathered, laying across my burlap as I begin, hook in hand…

Thump! Somehow, my cheticamp is now serving a dual purpose as a comfy cat hammock as one of my supervisory felines decides to position herself across my work space, intent on helping me with what is obviously a task unsuited to an unsupervised human.  This particular cat is incredibly dedicated and goes completely limp at any attempt to remove her from her perch.  Perhaps I should add that a cat that does not wish to be moved automatically triples in body weight, much the same way a cat or dog laying across your legs at night turns into a mass best compared to  a large piece of cement.  A short but fruitless battle of wills ensues with the cat claiming victory as I give up and try to continue my day off ‘me time’ activity, resigned to living with the cattish attention(read: intervention) to detail.  Every piece of fabric and yarn demands scrutiny, sometimes resulting with a fuzzy paw interrupting my hooking flow as a particularly fascinating end proves irresistible.

Jump ahead an hour; my hand is now aching-not from hooking, but from trying to lift the mass of cat from on top of it.  Apparently, wherever my hand is, just so happens to be the ‘perfect’ napping spot and my sweet kitten has the girth of a well fed mountain lion (her alter ego).  Somehow, she senses when I have had enough and leisurely saunters across the burlap and leaps to a nearby chair.  The sag in the burlap lends silent testimony to the war that has been waged.  I stand, tired. but triumphant as I look at the small amount of coverage I have achieved and the tangled mass of fabric that needs to be sorted after suffering intense feline attention. The cat stares serenely from her perch on the chair.  I stare back,  already looking forward to tomorrow night’s challenges…

-Angie

PHOTO: ‘Squeak The Terrible’ at one with the creative process

Legacies…

I had been explaining the ‘recycling’ aspect of rug hooking and how my  grandmother had made use of every piece of fabric in her household even after it had outlived its original purpose.  It is one of my favourite themes; how we have begun to return to lifestyles that reflect a ‘reuse’ aspect and how we can incorporate so much of our own personal history into a lovely hooked rug by simply using clothing that means something.  Everything we wear says something about us, about our special days, about our life experiences.  Keeping those memories alive by incorporating those precious fabrics into a hooked piece will automatically start conversations  that revolve around, “Remember when…”

Every one of us has a small hoard of children’s clothing, school uniforms, wedding dresses, etc-why not turn some of it into a piece of art that will reflect your story?

I could tell by the look on her  face that her loss was still very fresh.  She had been telling me about her own grandmother and how she still kept a collection of her  clothes.  She had no intention of ever wearing them but couldn’t bear the thought of throwing them out or giving them away.  She spoke of a special relationship, of  warm cookies and kitchen dancing, gardens and tea and her Granny’s life of love.  So many good thoughts and treasured memories to snuggle close in her heart.  I could see the wheels turning as she began planning a piece that would reflect everything special about her grandmother and she was going to do it with her own hands using bits of her granny’s favourite clothing.  She excitedly began to  tell me about how the design should involve tea cups, cookies and flowers.  It was all I could do to smile, inside, I was choking up.  Being permitted to share such a moment is an amazing gift and I sincerely hope that her granny’s legacy inspires others to think about doing the same.

 

Perhaps it is time to start your own ‘legacy’ piece?

-Angie

Discoveries

There are times that you just have to pony up and take one for the team.  My day of reckoning came last week when I noticed a small brown paper bag on our table in the studio.  Anyone familiar with the studio knows that the large wooden table by the cash register is the home of the oatcakes and a gathering spot for lunches and communal activities.  Anything food related on the table is generally considered fair game and it has been the staging area for some pretty amazing treats lately.  On this particular day, I was the first to notice an innocuous brown bag that had mysteriously appeared at some point during the afternoon.   It was an unassuming little package with a clear cellophane window that revealed a  glimpse of what appeared to be something vaguely chocolatey (with almonds, no less).  Being the self sacrificing type, I immediately threw myself into action-after all, there was no telling what this might be! It was up to me to taste test and confirm that it was completely safe for the rest of the team.  I valiantly assumed the guinea pig role and took a nibble …and then I seriously considered hiding the bag.  What a delight!  Lovely crispy caramel goodness topped with chocolate, sea salt and almonds-my taste buds rejoiced with every bite.  Where had this magic come from?  I had to know even though it meant giving up the small bag of delectable yummies to my cohorts in order to find an answer.  After somewhat reluctantly sharing, I discovered that Vivian, one of our Thursday lunch group of knitters and crafters had been responsible for the gift.  My mission was clear and the following Thursday I presented myself and begged shamelessly for the recipe and, joy of all joys, she gave it up!

Fast forward to my day off and a shopping trip later.   My cooking day had arrived and the recipe was a simple one. The heady scent of caramel began to waft from my kitchen as I got down to business.   My husband, who has the nose of a good hunting dog, began lurking around, searching for the source of the magical aroma.  Jealously, I guarded my creation, only presenting after it had cooled sufficiently to be enjoyed in all of its glory.

I waved a plate full of little treasures in front of him, grinning.

“What’s this?” He asked of me suspiciously.  To be fair, I have been known to sneak some pretty bizarre mixtures into his diet.

“Just try it.”

The proffered bit of goodness disappeared and I was immediately rewarded with the look that says it all.  Needless to say,  this extremely simple recipe has joined my collection of favourites and will be played with and adapted from this day forward.  Curious?  I have to give credit where credit is due-this version of the recipe came courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen website-chocolate caramel crack(ers).  Give it a try,  it is extremely easy and makes tons. Bon Appétit!  -Angie

 

Woolbox Magic

Every month a special package is carefully designed and assembled for our Woolbox members.  Inspiration for the colours and textures comes from a photo, which is also included.  The thought that goes into the development of each box results in attention to even the smallest detail and enables our team to create truly beautiful combinations.   When the box  is completed, it is then sent out to our members who are delighted by the ever-changing selection of fabric and textures arriving on their doorstep.

Last month, the creativity spoke to me personally.  The colours were inspired by a photograph of fishing buoys, a truly maritime theme. Having spent some years living on the south shore of Nova Scotia, for me,  it brought back the crisp salt air and the conversation of fishermen on the wharf  as they carefully mended treasured nets, weathered and callused fingers weaving an intricate pattern of rope.   Childhood memories of rocks, gulls, starfish and sea urchins-treasures of the sea.  In my heart I still hear the mournful cry of the lighthouse, always comforting.

Such is the magic of our Woolbox and every month a unique photo conjures up fresh inspiration.  Intrigued?  For more details, click under ‘Wool’ on our website and become part of the fun! -Angie

A Typical Day or ‘Why I Love My Job’

There are times when something happens that drives home how very special  our studio is.  I am constantly gratified by the reactions of visitors on their initial visit to the shop, as they slowly wander through the main floor, completely captivated by the riot of colour and texture.  We usually make a point of directing them  around the corner where we assemble kits and orders, then into the little antechamber where Logan is usually happily dyeing a new batch of yarn or wool, always contributing to our lovely inventory of colour.  Chuckles can usually be heard when the washer/dryer combo with their funky graphics come into view quickly followed by gasps of wonder as they discover yet another huge room on the other side.  This space boasts incredibly high ceilings and lovely hardwood floors with a comfy couch and chairs that invite a nice break for chatting.  As always, one of a kind custom pieces hang throughout all of the spaces, displaying Deanne’s limitless talent and imagination.  Deanne’s private studio is visible through large glass doors and our visitors are always amazed at the works in progress  on the large hooking frame that takes up a good part of the space.

Saturday was a day that demonstrated exactly how a welcoming creative space inspires community and kindness.  Several people passed through our doors throughout the day, many from ‘away’ and all making a special effort to stop in as part of their travels.  A lovely lady named Diana popped in and shyly admitted that although she was a gifted knitter, she had little experience with hooking.  A two minute lesson on how to hook was offered and I found it so rewarding to witness her delight as she quickly picked up on the skill.  During her visit, our draw winner, Patsy , stopped in to pick up her  prize.  Everyone in the studio gathered round as she carefully opened her package, revealing a hooked purse.  The oohs and ahs quickly turned to speculation on how to make a similar piece.  Design conversations and oatcakes led to purchases as the ladies became excited by the idea of future projects.  Diana picked up a few items with a promise to return later for a kit that I was in the process of assembling.

True to her word, she returned later in the afternoon with her little dog, Miss Millie.  The two had made the long walk from their campground to our downtown studio!  A bowl of water was provided for Miss Millie and she happily curled up for a rest under the table as her  special person enjoyed a well deserved rest and an oatcake.  We debated for awhile about supplies and projects, exploring various options.  During the course of our conversation, a lovely group of ladies entered the shop and began offering very helpful advice as we explored the best possible supplies for Diana’s future projects.  Lively banter regarding  experiences and places shared ensued as Deanna joined the group, enjoying the fellowship and enthusiasm.  What had started as a short lesson in hooking had now bloomed into new friendships and knowledge as these wonderful ladies offered Diana and Miss Millie a drive back to the campground.  As ladies departed, I was struck once again by the sense of  community that this space brings to all who visit.  From beginners to professionals, all are welcomed and included.  Friendships are forged and knowledge is shared.  Encouragement and advice is offered freely as visitors become part of our family.  I am so grateful to be a part of this magic place.   -Angie

Photo: Paula/Lynn/Deanne/Pattie/Diana (Miss Millie was camera shy)

 

 

Summer?

Although our weather is constantly  reminding us that Nova Scotia can periodically lapse back into winter when you least expect it, there is an air of excitement as we slowly enter the summer months . A lot of activity is going on at the studio these days as our days are filled with kits, wool boxes, pattern of the month and lots of  special projects.  So many colours and textures to play with!  As usual, the humour and good fellowship of our days together produces an amazing array of ideas-some of which will be coming to you very soon.  Enjoy the solstice and keep an eye to our website as new kits, patterns and other colours start to emerge.

-Angie

camaraderie-a thought from Angie

ˌkäməˈrädərē,ˌkaməˈrädərē/

noun

noun: camaraderie

  1. mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.
synonyms: friendship, comradeship, fellowship, companionship, fraternity, conviviality;

mutual support, team spirit, esprit de corps;

 

Laughter drifts from the other room where my new friends and colleagues are working on various projects.  All of us are busily engaged, surrounded by colourful islands of amazing fabrics and yarns.  I am just around the corner, assembling kits and out of sight for the moment, completely absorbed in what I am doing but grinning ear to ear as I listen to the conversations and the giggling from our work room.     All of us, Deanne included, are busily sorting and cutting, sharing thoughts and experiences as we work.   I feel like I have known these special people for a long time, that I have always been a part of this magical space.  After four weeks in this environment, I am secure in the knowledge that laughter is always going to be a part of my daily studio experience.  How wonderful is that?

A New Journey Begins…

Being the new kid on the block can be intimidating but not so in Deanne’s wonderful studio.  I have been welcomed with open arms and included in the magic of this lovely creative space.  My name is Angie and you will be hearing from me now and then with little updates and thoughts.

As an artist, I have found that my various adventures over the years have landed me in some unique situations-all opportunities for learning and growth.  I firmly believe in a much loved saying that pertains to my life’s journey; ‘Ever teaching, ever taught.’   I can foresee a bright future of putting that philosophy into good use here.  For a first post, I will keep this short and assure you that every positive thing that you have heard about Deanne and her studio is quite true and I look forward to bringing you my little adventures as time passes.  Let the fun begin!!

Who ever imagined….

I never imagined when I was this little that I would be an artist. I had never seen a hooked rug. This picture is of my earliest memory. I remember very little about the day my oldest sister was married but I do remember the dress and I can still see the deep red velvet of those roses and the baby’s breath. I was two, almost three. When we look at pictures of ourself as a child it feels as if it all happened in another land. We had no idea where we were going. When we look at where we are we can see so many detours that we took along the way that led us to our current place.

Who ever knows what they will end up doing. I have not picked up my hook today but I did write the introduction to my next book. It will be about twenty five years of making rugs and will have images from over the years. This afternoon I will go to my frame , humbly, as the rug I am working on is not going along as planned. I will also approach it hopefully, because I have learned you just never know. The beauty slips in unexpectedly sometimes and wakes you up to new ideas, new beauty, that is to follow. In writing the introduction to a book about twenty five years of making rugs, I had to think a lot about the past and what I might have hoped for.Then my brother in law posted this picture on Facebook and I was thrown back to another time, a time when possibility did not matter. A time when all I had to do was reach out my hand for a sister to hold. Whenever I write I go into the past.writing makes me evaluate and sift. Writing a book is like making rug. When you are in the middle of it you have no idea if it is any good but you go back to it with hope and humility, time and time again.

Art is Everywhere


Beauty is more important than perfection when you are making art. If you were performing heart surgery, well perfection would rule. There is no doubt.

Scientists and mathematicians also talk about beauty though. There is beauty in everything.

We only have to open our eyes.

Last week I spent the week in Manhattan, looking at galleries, and seeing art everywhere. I learned so much in that week. If you asked what I learned, I would be hard pressed to list it, I just know that I came away with a new inspiration, a new vision, a new appreciation.

I feel like I love cities more, but I also love country roads more. They are completely juxtaposed, and I am so thankful for both. Today I am excited to be back in my studio, thrilled really. I am ready to hook. I drew a design on before I left and I wondered if I would be interested in it when I got back. Actually I am more interested in it. I want to hook it with all the influences have had. I actually see it in a different way.

There is so much beautiful art in the world. It is in the music, the buildings, the way people dress, the shoes, the jewelry, the stone work, the food, the decor, it is everywhere, and that is not just in Manhattan, that is everywhere.

Art is everywhere.

Look for it, Deanne

Change is so hard and so lovely

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.


How I got My Sign on the Highway

from the archives…..how I got my sign on the highway….

If you think it can’t be done than you are absolutely right.

If you are sure it can’t be done then it will never happen.

I am always thinking about where I will take the rug studio in the next few years.

Metaphorically that is.

What direction? What is the next project?

And I need to remember that if you believe it can happen, then it will.

This sign on the highway is a great reminder of that.

Last spring, Laurie Glenn, who works with me said,”You should have one of those signs on the highway.”

I answered, “I tried to do that but I could not get it. So I am not going there.”

Then I came into my office and I thought. If you think it cannot happen, than it won’t happen.

I decided that it had been years since I tried. I called the Department of Tourism.

I learned that maybe I could have a sign.

Then I did a little dance.

I thanked Laurie for pushing me.

Then I did a little jig…just another kind of dance.

Then I waited for weeks and months until I heard that yes I could get a sign.

Then I waited for months for the sign to get put up. As soon as it did I had oatcakes delivered to the highway garage for the guys who put up my sign. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Then I danced again.

Then a few weeks later I went out and had my picture taken under it. I looked so small…like a little fairy girl standing beside it.

Then the little fairy girl did a little dance, and her little fairy friend took pictures as cars zoomed by wondering what those fairy fools were up too.

Then the fairy girl got in her truck and drove back to Amherst and on the way she turned into herself again and she realized something.

She learned that if she had to keep thinking that she could not have that sign then she would never have. She realized that if you think something won’t come true, than it won’t.

But the big thing she realized is that you have to work at it.

And that when you try, magic happens.

Sometimes that magic might not be exactly what you imagined it to be but sometimes it is just what you thought or even better.

So this little revelation is one I am carrying with me today and into the future.

Because if it can happen for me, it can happen for you.

It can happen for the people we love.

It can happen for our communities.

It can happen.

You have to believe it….but you also have to work at it.

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Just Got a Note from Lynn Kinsella

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.

All the best

Lynn

answering a letter about being a young mother and hooking rugs…from the archives

 

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…

 

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cream inspired

 

Winter is not over here in Nova Scotia.

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.


happiness loves company: from the archives

I think of my community in a broad sense.

It is anywhere with in a forty minute drive I guess….maybe beyond that.

It is the people I see shopping in my Studio, at Mansours or Thirty Church.

It is my online community at the studio

It is the people I sit on community committees with.

It is people who contribute, who give back to their community.

It turns out my community is more about people than place.

The town next door is part of my community.

The road to Parrsboro is part of my community.

What goes on in these places can matter to me

as much as what is happening on Church Street.

I love it that my studio is fifteen minutes from  a Unesco World Heritage site.

That is an amazing thing.

300 Million years ago something was happening here.

Imagine that.

Then think about how small you are in the scheme of things.

You cannot feel self important and look up at those cliffs.

We might be small in one sense but there is no room

to think small anymore.

You can think local.

You can think about the importance of independents.

But you cannot think small because the world is too big and too vast.

There are too many ideas that are easy to access now.

We can all do so much more because there are so many tools.

You can produce a movie.

Make a music video.

Just with your phone.

You can sell to China. It is possible.

Imagine that.

The possibilities.

The limits that I feel are mostly my own. That might be true for others too,

Our small local economy is part of something bigger.

I have learned this from my work.

This morning I had a note from a woman on the west coast of Ireland

about my last blog post. It resonated with her an ocean away.

I have learned from doing business here in this community.

People come from away because they like it here. They like it HERE.

Years ago watching  a little black and white tv in my parent’s mobile home

I saw Katherine Hepburn starring in a movie and she said, “The key to happiness kid is wanting what you have.”

To want it you have to find some ways to appreciate it.

You have to seek out the people and things you can appreciate,

You have to ignore the idea that to be hopeful is to be foolish because the nay sayers and fun suckers want you to believe that so you’ll join them.

Misery loves company but so does happiness.

Happiness loves company too.

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Republished post from 2016

Hooking Impressionistic Floral Gardens – 2018 Winter Online Workshop

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.
Please look for these on the website  at http://www.hookingrugs.com.

 

 

Rug Hooking Tip: My wool is always at hand

I don’t store my wool because I want it at hand. I just fold it on my shelves and keep it out where I can see it.

I think everyone who hooks needs to find a way of displaying their wool so that you can see what you have st your fingertips. It makes colour planning and choosing easier.

So when people ask how I store my wool, I guess the answer is I don’t.

New YouTube Series Free Tutorials with Deanne

Learn all about hooking Sleep Santa.

Be sure to subscribe to our  YouTube Channel.

White lights for winter

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.

Caught off Guard

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.

Let the chill begin

As the winter approaches I am so happy to have my hooking.

Today it was so cold I went home and got boots and sweater.

Wrapping myself in warmth.

I bought a fruitcake from a woman at the market.

I am gonna soak it in whiskey and wrap it.

There is nothing wrong with winter if you are ready for it.

I got book on hygge from the library but I think we instinctively know this in Canada.

How to warm the winter with our hearts and minds, as we reach out to friends.

Fire, light, love and kindness.

Good food.

FRIENDSHIP.

warm me up I am ready.

Let the chill begin.

Walking, dreaming, settling,

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.

 

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