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
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…
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.
Rug hooking is a fantastic pastime and we want to spread it around, teaching people one by one. We have started wholesaling our beginner kits to shops and stores. If you have a store or know someone who is interested please have them contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a wonderful hobby year round, and one that you can grow with. One of the reason I love hooking rugs and running the studio is that everyday I meet people who are passionate about making rugs, colour, creativity and design. When you find something you love to do it changes you.
People love the chance to express their creativity, and turn their hand at something worthwhile. When you sit to hook a rug you can see the bits of cloth and yarn becoming something right in front of you. It is a wonderful craft and I love seeing people changed by it.
Remember when you were in school and you were taught to write a proper letter. I loved that part of school. I loved writing my address up in the corner. I wrote like I talked. I thought I would do that today for you. Even though it is not written by hand , I want you to know in spirit it is. I am here clicking away, thinking of everyone out there who reads this, writes back to me, and supports my studio. Thank you.
You can order this limited edition pattern here.
My most favorite rug right now is the hot pink moose. I thought I would include a couple of snapshots so you could see how I hooked it.
So the hooking of the circles in the moose took a lot of patience. Honestly it gets on my nerves a bit but I love the result so I do it. Rug hooking can be that way. I sometimes use fabrics I do not love to hook with but use them because I love the results. Here is a close up of the circles.
It is also a bit difficult to choose the colour. You need tones but not too many, or too jarring.I add lots then eliminate.
I outlined it in yellow so that there would be a strong contrast between the moose colour and the background colour. This is very important. It would be so easy for the moose to recede or get lost. Yellow is hard to lose.
One decision was whether to use the circles in the antlers. I almost did not. I thought I might just do lines. As I told you hooking circles irritates me so I was trying to get out of it. Then I tried to close my eyes and imagine it both ways. The circles were right I knew it and I had to push on.
You know what the rug needs when you close your eyes and imagine it done. I started on the background and went wrong with shades of green. I had to pull it out. Then I chose the colour of a real moose as my main background colour. That made sense to me. Make the moose the colour of the berries on a marsh, and make the marsh the colour of the moose.
Well you are probably wondering about me, because I am telling you how my rug hooking mind works. It is peculiar and silly and that is the truth. I spend a lot of time pondering colour and shape and movement and it makes me happy.
You can see I chose some soft greens and tans for the background too. I used cloth, yarn and sexy jersey in both the moose and the background.
Right now I am pondering making a canvas print of the moose and perhaps a pattern but for a while I just like to leave it in my studio and get used to it. I learn more from looking at a finished rug on the wall than I do from hooking it sometimes. Right now it is my favorite rug, but then again, it is the last one I finished. The last one you danced with always lingers in your mind after the dance.
So that is a tiny moose tutorial for you. A lesson in being loose with moose.
If you want to hook a moose we do have a moose kit that you can try.
You can also see our deals of the week here.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read…. Deanne
P.S. Guess what I am hooking? Yup…you got it four moose
I ‘ve decided on an anniversary pattern and it will be geraniums.
Well they are hardy, like you have to be if you have been in business for twenty five years.
They are a simple plant, no fuss, and there they are from May to early November, showing up everyday, still blooming. Sometimes I forget to water them, other times the rain pours on them. Either way they manage with just a little bit of attention.
They also remind me of how I see a community. I want to be the person who chooses to plant geraniums to make their community a little prettier. Somehow geraniums remind me of the importance of giving back. It is such a simple thing to do and it reminds me that small things matter a great deal in a community.
You’ll notice the four white houses in the background of the pattern. They are there to represent community. When I moved my business into town , one of the things I decided was that I would commit myself to the community. It has been good to me, and I must try to be good to it. Building and supporting my community is an important part of my everyday life.
So is beauty. I love to see the storefronts in our downtown in full summer bloom. It makes coming to work, walking the street, and driving by a little sweeter for everyone.
I think of geraniums as an old fashioned flower. It is traditional.
But it isn’t meek. It is quite showy. And I kinda like that about them. Plain but showy. I relate.
So this is a very simple pattern but it is meaningful to me and part of my celebrating twenty five years.
We have listed it on the online shop here.
Making light work
And work light.
Fostering a home,
Stitching a quilt,
Working a garden,
Knitting for others,
Hooking for fun,
For relaxation therapy.
Hands are for helping,
Motto for school,
Hands of the elderly
Teaching hands of the young,
All working to build,
To create, to produce
It was a sunny mid October Saturday morning. My boots crunched over colourful leaves as I made my way downtown to the bustle of the final day of our annual Fibre Arts Festival.
At the Zonta Fair, tables were filled with exceptional goods, in a multitude of beautiful ( and yes, delicious) fibres, both a visual and a tactile delight.
Two of our downtown churches were displaying an overwhelming number of pew draped and hung quilts, all colours and designs imaginable.
The Town Hall’s entrance was not only welcoming but displayed beautiful handwork and more quilts, modern designs this time.
Local rug hookers filled a very large gathering area with their work. I was left in awe by their designs, their precision, their colors. I was inspired to try to hook in new ways.
Everywhere I went, I met people, mostly ladies, in groups, happily chatting. With the love and appreciation of fibre as a common thread, conversations between strangers was easy. The air was filled with positivity, an appreciation for the talents of the hand and for the fibres that allow creativity.
As my downtown tour was ending in Saturday, a lady I chatted with while admiring a quilt together, mentioned how much she was enjoying our little town. She said, “You must love living here.” And I do!
As I walked home in that sunny day, crunching newly fallen leaves, my heart was full and I was inspired.
Nilda is a sweet, happy person. She is a friend of a friend and over the last few months I have had the pleasure of getting to know her. We have bonded over, among other things, hooking. She sometimes comes to the studio on my workdays in search of specific colours, usually beautifully mottled dyed pieces of wool cloth.
Recently Nilda showed me her latest finished hooking project which was inspired by a picture taken in Africa. It will be gifted to a niece, a very lucky niece. The colours are amazing and vibrant and you can almost feel the heat in the sun and on the sand. The shadows are fantastic. Beautiful work!
We’ll be looking forward to seeing your next project Nilda!
Last week at Deanne’s studio we hosted a large group of young children from our local YMCA. They were taking part in a week long arts and crafts camp and one of their experiences was learning how to hook at the studio and I was pleased to be their instructor.
The children were eager to learn how to hook and every single one of them was successful at pulling the wool and yarn up through the backing. They loved the variety of textures and fibres and especially the colours.
Today, two young girls who were part of that Y group came in with their grandmother to show her what they had learned and to teach her how to hook. All three sat around the frame for some time. Nanny was a good student!
Dear Diary, I cannot make the rugs I used to make many years ago and still feel satisfied. I like a more modern design like those in my new book, Simply Modern, which was just reviewed nicely in Rug Hooking Magazine. In this rug I am working on now the purple area is all the impression of little purple houses. I have never done that before and I’ll be excited to take it off the frame. All there is left to do is the sky but somehow I could not sit still to work on it today. Maybe after writing here I will feel ready. Even just ten minutes, a few minutes every day and you’ll make good progress.
Here in Nova Scotia there is plenty of winter so there is lots of time to be at the rug. The weather today is cold but spring like so I have been out and about a bit. I run across the road to the women’s store to see whose trying clothes on, then I flit back here and work on our new little youtube studio, write, make tea. I am like something that lights upon a spot for a little while then flits off again. Not a butterfly exactly, that does not describe me, but some sort of bird probably.
So now to sit steady, quietly and listen to my own rhythm. Welcome to the frame. Your rug hooking awaits.
Joanna has been a friend of the studio for many years. She used to dye wool for Deanne when she was a student, and has taught many workshops at the studio such as natural dyeing, Indigo Dyeing, and Acid dyeing. Joanna completed a Fine Arts Degree with a major in Textiles through NASCAD, and obtained her Master of Arts degree in Textile and Fibre Art at the Winchester School of Art in the UK. Currently, she is a part time instructor at NASCAD in the Textiles department, as well being a working artist and illustrator.
I have been a fan of Joanna’s work since 2004ish when I met her at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. I bought a large woven landscape blanket from her at that show (still use it and love it!), and commissioned her to make me another piece. I kept in touch with her off and on over the years – I remember running into her at another Outdoor Art show in Toronto. Imagine my surprise when I moved to New Brunswick, and started working at Deanne’s Studio and realized that Joanna had worked with Deanne over the years. Small world right? Now I get to see Joanna a few times a year, she teaches workshops here sometimes, and we are often vending at the same craft shows. Take some time to visit Joanna’s website to acquaint yourself with her work. I’ve included a few images below of her rug hooking. I especially love to see her #rughooking posts on Instagram. Here are the links to see more of Joanna Close:
Tzigane Caddell came to Kaffe and Brandon’s workshops and brought along a rug she finished after attending a design workshop she did with me last fall. You c an see from the look on her face that she is really happy with the rug she created and she should be. It is beautiful. It is great to watch people blossom in their work. This geometrically inspired landscape is a natural progression from the geometrics that Tzigane has found herself attracted to for years. Her sense of colour is jewel like for this rug. I think she did a marvellous hob and I so appreciated her bringing it to show me.
I summer we walk and I collect things. After a stroll through cottage lanes, I usually return with a few roadside daisies or wild roses in hand. While walking on the beach I pick up a few pretty shells, a sand dollar, if I’m fortunate, a nice rock or two and some pieces of driftwood. I lay them in the deck rail, admire them for a bit and generally return the rocks and shells to their home.
Driftwood, however, I hang on to longer. I wonder what I could do with these pieces. I have been known to use a nice slender wavy piece as a hanger for a rug hooking. In my student days I had a lovely large piece that to me was a seagull in flight. It adorned my wall. I have taken big pieces home and put them in my flower gardens. Some small and interesting pieces have adorned my mantle, a bit of summer during cool days. They’re just bits of driftwood that I saw something in.
Our neighbour at the cottage got very creative with a large piece that washed ashore last spring. I love how it’s a perfect nest for the geraniums.
When I was at my friend Denise’s she had the pillows that her and her daughter made last year at my pillow workshop on her rockers on the porch. It looked so cozy.
Summer Flowers Pillow Kits are available online.
We had a fabulous May long weekend here in Cumberland County. Our house was full, the skies were blue and sunny and the air was pleasantly warm. It was a great time for yard work, neighbours were happily digging, mulching and mowing.
The greens of spring are lovely, so young and fresh. My hostas are standing tall, waiting for more growth so their leaves can unfurl. Miniature soft leaves are on the trees, soon to grow full size. They are light in weight, light in colour.
The land is wake and spring greens bring smiles.
We had such a good time. Three Days in the studio. Five beautiful women. They learned. I learned. It was beautiful. You should have been there. Plan to come if you can.
Pictured here are four of the participants. The fifth, Sandra from Boston left a day early but her she and her rug were beautiful too./
I chose the word sage, not because it grows outside my door, not because it goes great pan fried in butter over ravioli, but because t ha a dual meaning.
Sage is a herb often rolled together and burnt and used in smudging ceremonies to heal negative thoughts. That is interesting but not the reason I chose it.
Sage smells beautiful. It is a beautiful colour. More great reasons to choose it for this word rug, but not mine.
I chose it because it also means someone who imparts wisdom, and we all need a sage in our life.
The definition follows….
a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.
someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience.
adjective, sag·er, sag·est.
wise, judicious, or prudent: sage advice.
1250–1300; Middle English (noun and adj.) < Old French < Late Latin sapidus wise, tasteful ( Latin: tasty), equivalent to sap ( ere ) to know, be wise, orig. to taste (see sapient) + -idus -id4
1. philosopher. 3. sagacious.
There are sages around us. We miss them sometimes because they might be getting on our nerves or trying our patience. Yes , even sages can do that.
Sometimes, about certain things we might even have sage like qualities ourselves.
Wisdom is often in the obvious. It might not be common but at the same time I do not really believe it is obscure.
It is all around us and we may need to ask ourselves if we are seeing it .
It is often in the simple things, a mother’s words or a child’s story.
ps. Our website is down we are working on it.
There is nothing like finishing a beautiful rug to inspire you to create.
I have learned over the years that it is the beauty of the hooked rug that matters. This course is about taking wider cuts of wool , and interesting textures and using them to create interesting details in smaller rugs. It is about learning how to simplify your design and create designs that work as small pieces. You can choose any theme or themes to work on. This workshop is not limited by theme you choose the subject matter you want to hook: landscape, people, coastal designs, abstract, or any other theme In this workshop we are going to explore what is important in hooking smaller rugs. I would consider small anything less that 12 by 20″. We can look at the ideas of working on a theme, creating dyptychs and tryptchs, and creating smaller rugs that are both beautiful and interesting. Small rugs can be exquisitely beautiful when you approach them the right way. I find that I go from working big to working small, and when I do working small feels so rewarding because you can see gorgeous results fast. I will help you create and design one or a series of smaller rugs, and teach you how to make them stand out. Learn how to make every loop count. Express your big ideas in a small format. Small scale peices hooked with a #6, #8, or hand cut wool are the focus of this two day workshop. Please note! The Workshop takes place on Tuesday the 13th, and Wednesday the 14th from 10-3pm. There won’t be any instruction on the Thursday – but you are welcome to gather with your hooking in the studio to socialize and work on your project. Lunch, Coffee, Tea, and Oakcakes are all included. Also, some workshop materials are included (bring your frame and hook and the wool you love).
My latest rug Beach Path $1800 32 by 54″
and the news from the latest newsletter
For me March has been immersed in turquoise . While other people were off for their week south at the beach I was here hooking the beach, imagining Amherst shore and star fish, and I loved what happened. I have never been south. Never even really dreamed of going. Winter never bugs me til March and only then if it stays cold and snowy. I never realized it while I was hooking this rug but I think it was an attempt to go south in my own mind.
This month we bought for our new women’s wear store that is opening in the Fall of 2013. It will be clothing and shoes and will be directly across the street from my studio. It is a very creative process developing and opening a new business. Creativity enters every part of our life and enriches it. Just this week I have gotten excited about the new store. Now I can imagine all the beautiful clothes and dressing women in their own style, and helping them find it. It is a lot like what I do with rug hooking and the Wild with Style course I teach. Style, like creativity enters all areas of our life. Yesterday I bought several books on dressing and style so I am hunkering down for some learning. We got a name it is Thirty Church….The Women’s Store…Clothing, Style and Substance. I want it to be a place where a woman can feel good about dressing, can express herself, and like here, can enjoy a drop of tea while she does. It will be a comfortable place.
My new book on Rug Hooking, Simply Modern is in the final stages. The photography has been done by Nimbus so all my new rugs are missing from the studio.I am looking forward to getting them back and lightening the place up here again. They add a lot of life to the place , a creative energy that I miss now that they are gone. I still have to work out which photo goes where in the book and that will take some time.
Megan has started putting together the snowy owl and the brown owl kits for you. When I sent out the newsletter we had a lot of interest in these as kits so they are now available. You’ll see the link below.
My creative routine has changed for practical reasons, my daughter got her license. This has meant she often takes a car so instead of working home in the mornings on my rugs I have to catch a ride to town and work here at the studio. I make my rugs in the afternoon now and sometimes into the evening. It is interesting how the logistics of life, the practical things can impede on the way you have done things for years, and that you end up just reframing the way you do things. To be honest , it has been good for me. For years I woke up, walked, made tea and pranced up to the studio . I really am a prancer. If it was not for sharing a car I would still be working the same routine but the truth is shaking it up a bit has been good for me. It makes you look at things differently and really appreciate the time in the studio. I am about to start a new yellow dog series based on a rug I made earlier this month. As important as routine is to the discipline of creativity I have learned that adaptability is equally important. As we go through stages in our life our needs, desires and abilities change and you just have to roll with it.
I am reading lots . One good book this month was Anne Leary’s The Good House. I picked it up in Charlottetown. I also really liked Stephanie Domet’s book Falsy Downsies.
The Mystery Patttern Club is now going into it’s third month and I find that keeping you inspired is keeping me inspired. As a special thanks to the members we’ll be drawing this month for one of Roberta Hancock’s Silver Pendants.
So that’s it for me. Thanks for reading and all your support of the studio. I am so happy to be here for you. Call if you need something. Our number is 1-800-328-7756.
Like many other households, we’ve been avidly watching Olympic coverage. We admire the powerful athleticism, the focus, the strength in these well trained bodies and minds. Voltaire said that “Perfection is attained by slow degrees, it requires the hands of time.” While this is obviously true for athletics and many other skills, I believe that we experience perfectionism every day.
Last week as I was walking with my friend Margaret, we agreed that it was a perfect day. But we say this so often, no matter what the season, many days are perfect for walking.
On Valentine’s Day, my husband barbequed the steaks perfectly. The red wine was a perfect accompaniment, and the company, our family, that made it all around perfect.
How often we sigh, sip our coffee or tea and think, “That’s perfect.” And that bite of sweet after a nice dinner, or finding just the right colour to add to your rug, or the quiet of your home after a busy day at work, all perfect! The bloom of a rose, perfect today, and while it may look different tomorrow, still may be perfect.
In our day to day lives, there are no scores taken, no hundredths of a second counted. Perfectionism is subjective, it is personal, as individual as we are. Days vary, but in each of them, despite concerns, despite things that may not go well, I look for little bits of perfect. May you find perfects today too.
One of the things about the place I live is that it is close to everything. We are on the edge of town so I can take a walk and see fields of horses but if I am cooking and I need a lemon I am five minutes from the grocery store. This is important to me. I could easily live in town. I like the town a lot. The feeling of going out my door and walking past a pond, through a little bit of woods or past a field of horses is pretty soothing.
On my Sunday walk this week I took these pictures of horses. I was standing on the side of the road watching them, thinking, of course about how beautiful they were, and how simple their shapes are.
I have tried to hook horses and have never been really satisfied with what I made. When I look at these images I can really feel their beauty and their strength. Translating this into wool is quite a challenge. Not every artist can be good at every subject. That does not mean I should quit trying but there are times that I need a break for years. Yes, that’s right. Once I try to hook something and I am really unsuccessful it takes me a long time to come back to the subject.
Horses are one of those subjects. They are not easy but my, oh my, they are majestic.
My friend asks me what I’ve been doing lately and I reply, “Oh, just knitting.” I call another friend, ask the same question and I get, “Just knitting.” I text my daughter, “What are you up to?” And again the same reply. She went to her friend’s house and you guessed it, she was knitting!
Everyone is knitting, enjoying the simple rhythm of the needles, moving wool forward, looping it around, knit one, purl one, knit two, purl two. Using circular needles, made of plastic, made of metal, straight needles passed on from elderly family members who are no longer able to knit. Bamboo, plastic, metal, needles that ‘click click’, we create a beat as we knit along.
Here at the studio, many people leave with lovely skeins of colourful yarn, excited to get home to knit. Some buy the yarn with no definite project in mind, letting the wool inspire them.
The Olympics are about to commence, so what better excuse does one require to sit, watch, cheer, and of course, knit?
It was Thursday evening after an early supper and I was putting long underwear on in preparation for curling. The thermometer read -12 with a ‘feel like’ temperature of -20. And I asked myself why I was going out. My lovely knitting basket was begging for attention, a hooking pattern was waiting, but I was venturing out into the cold to curl.
Why do I curl?
– Well, it’s an indoor sport, chilly but you are indoors. The air is crisp and I do feel invigorated being in cool air.
– Curling is great exercise, hard work sometimes. In fact, no other sport requires you to go up and down the ice, broom in hand, sweeping with all your might while someone yells, “Hard, hurry hard!!” And then to rest, you get to lean on your broom.
– People say things like, “Nice stone!” And, “Good sweeping!” And if you miss a shot, teammates will be kind and blame it on the ice.
– Curling is a social sport. I have had the good fortune to meet and play with people I would never have encountered otherwise, those who are veteran curlers and beginners like me. There is a camaraderie on the ice and in the club.
– I love how you shake hands prior to a game, wish each other a good game, and then shake again at the end. “Good game, thanks.”
– And there is more. Curling gives you a great opportunity to sport the cowls and scarves you’ve knit. A girl just needs that shot of colour.
– And best of all, when you lose a game in our club, you actually win! Winners buy a beverage for their losing opponents, sit together by the fire, rehash those good shots, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
And for all those reasons, while I may grumble about the process of getting ready, I curl.
My New Boots came to me wrapped as a Christmas Present….Maybe you’ll win yours on Valentines Day
and the boots can rest on your mat by the door….
Here’s a new idea….let’s put mats on the floor!
Let’s put boots on our mats.
Let’s really use them.
I just put a hooked rug by my back door to wipe our feet on. Yes I did. I had a tinge of “Oh noooo” but it was soon over come with “Let’s wear this thing out.” I just decided it was time to get back to my roots. A mat by the door. It might be the next big thing. Everything old is new again…sometime.
I became really certain I was doing the right thing when I walked across it in my bare feet.
Made with my own hands.
This year I think I’ll be making floor rugs and I invite you to join me.
Lets get back to basics…good old black boots and a mat by the door.
It’s a bit of a floor mat challenge.
Maybe you have a room that needs a rug…why not create your own carpet.
Many of my new pattern designs make great floor mats. Some are just fun designs to hook for anywhere.
So we’ll be putting names in the box and drawing the prize on Feb . 14.
Here is how you enter…go have a look at our new patterns and tell us in the comments which one is your favorite and why.
You can enter at the studio too, we have the catalog here if you want to drop in and a ballot box.
We’ll do a random draw on February 14 from all the entries online and in the studio and we’ll ship you a pair in your size or you can come try the sizes.
No purchase is necessary. We are happy are to hear about your favourites.
When working at the studio on Tuesdays, I’m frequently asked, “Do you hook?” The answer is, “Yes!” There is usually something on my frame or something being framed in my mind. Occasionally I join the Thursday Hook-In here in the studio but for the most part, I hook when I’m at home, watching TV, listening to music, watching the world from my sun porch, when I’m alone. I keep company with my hook.
I love how a very simple repetitive action allows beautiful colours and fibres to mix and blend, how ideas develop as a project grows. For me, hooking is a peaceful and stimulating activity.
About fifteen years ago I dropped into Deanne’s home where her shop was located. Within minutes she had me pulling loops through burlap backing. I went home with a kit, finished it in two days and I was literally, hooked. I bought a hook that day, a lovely hand turned one and to date, it’s been the only one I have owned.
And each Tuesday when I walk into the studio, I check out the wool cloth, the newly dyed colours, the new textures. Plans begin to formulate again. Ideas seem to be endless. Bliss!
Seeing footprints in the snow is like discovering a secret, it gives an insight into what goes on when you are not present. It is winter’s way of giving us investigative tools.
During a recent snowshoeing trek, while we were the first people to have visibly marked the fields, it was evident that we were not the first to have crossed. We frequently stopped to examine the prints of many animals, but while we were out, we saw none. They may have been watching us and kept hidden.
Deer tracks came across the field and disappeared into the wooded area. A large cat, possibly a bobcat left lots of evidence. A pheasant’s light traces were visible and we saw the proof left as two animals met and had some kind of altercation. Notice the markings left by wing tips.
The animals were probably relieved when we left the area so life could go on for them.
The house has been disrobed of Christmas. Furniture has been moved, lamps and pictures rearranged, the nest has been re-feathered. It’s January and a month I enjoy, always have. While many do go on about experiencing the post-Christmas blues, I feel that it is a time of cleansing, the clutter and wrapping are removed and there is a peacefulness as we ‘hunker down’ for the winter.
We have an abundance of snow and provided that you’re dressed for it, it’s a great time to be outdoors. Snowshoeing conditions have been excellent, snowmobile trails are busy and some of my friends are happy to be skiing. Now if we could get some outdoor ice, well that would be perfect.
January meals at my house are simpler, less fussy and the fridge is no longer full of Christmas fare. Simmering soups, comfort foods and lots of veggies are on the menu.
Through all this I keep thinking of something my father would say every day at this time of the year, “The days are getting longer!” And while I may enjoy the snowy and cold month, I am watching my mailbox for the arrival of a new seed catalogue. A girl has to get ready…..
When I was teaching young children, I welcomed the new year with a poem that referred to the year ahead as a garment with 365 pockets to explore. The exact words fail me but I do recall that some of those pockets would have surprises, some would have holes. The year would bring a variety of experiences and my students always seemed to enjoy and understand the analogy. There is something to be said for anticipating the year ahead in this simple way.
So as we prepare to bid adieu to 2013 and look forward to a new January, I am not making resolutions. Instead I am making plans and hopes that revolve around my favourite things to do. These involve reading, hooking projects, knitting and of course, being outside to enjoy the wonders of our winter. There is no better place to think than being surrounded by white snow and crisp air.
To you my friends, fellow hookers and readers, it is my hope that your daily pocket will be kind to you and your loves ones. May you bask in the freshness of a new calendar year. Happy 2014.
I belong to a book club. We have no name, we are an untitled eclectic group of ladies. We meet monthly, get caught up on our lives, discuss our book, laugh, and get off track. And then we drink teas and eat something delicious.
Last night we changed up our December meeting and had a pot luck at my house. It’s always fun to dress up a festive table, especially when you aren’t responsible for the food prep. Pot luck is a great idea. We also celebrated a special birthday for one of our members and the cake, well, it was as good as it looked. Have a peek.
Light snow was magically falling as we bid each other adieu, Christmas greetings were extended – till we meet again for tea and book talk in January.
It always feels good to see the work in progress or finished of people who have ordered online or been here for a workshop. Here are a few….
Jean Lindsay sent of a picture of the pattern, Three Hooks that she has in progress.
Generally speaking, many of us are quite predictable. After numerous years here in our good Earth, we form habits, patterns.
I was thinking of this recently as my husband and I went downtown to view our annual Christmas parade. There was no discussion, we simply walked to Mansour’s Men’s Wear, as we always do. Surely there were less windy places we could have chosen on this bitterly cold night, but there are regulars who always gather there each year and that is where we stand as well. Mind you, we are all very aware that hot chocolate will be served inside the warm store. Keith had it all ready, as expected.
While I love to make frequent changes in my home, moving furniture and accessories, there is reassurance in the predictable, the sameness. With the approach of the Christmas season comes the traditions that so many of us relish. In the summer while at the cottage, it’s that same sandbar location that I gravitate to, in church, the right hand side, at the rink, section B.
We seek comfort in the familiar. We find our place.
How to Hook Rugs from Start to Finish
A Free Beginner How to Course in Hooking Rugs
compliments of Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio
Hooking rugs is easy. You can even teach yourself. You pull strips of wool cloth, usually recycled clothing, washed , dried , and torn apart through a burlap or linen backing loop by loop. There are no hard and fast rules. The simplest way to learn is to pick out a kit at our online shop or you can start from scratch. We have a free instructional video to teach you how to hook. Either way these are the basic steps you will need to know:
The rug above is my very first project. I went off to a meeting of the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild at the Tatamagouche Centre and Marion Kennedy sold me a kit and and taught me how to hook rugs. As I was hooking, she pointed out some mistakes I was making and I asked her, “Should I pull it out and start again?” She said, “Don’t do that you will learn as you go along. Finish it, that’s your job, finish it.” With less than three square inches of the rug hooked this seemed like a dauntingly job but it wasn’t. It turned out that as I kept at it , I learned as I went along. I kept her voice in my head, “finish the mat” and I finished this first project with in a week, and quickly moved on to design my next rug.
Rug Hooking is a simple craft that you can easily teach yourself. I recommend a kit for beginners because you have everything you need to get started.Here are some basic instructions for rug hooking. You can also learn lots more through our online courses or studio workshops.
1. You first fasten your pattern, which is a piece of burlap with a picture drawn upon onto a frame such as a heavy duty quilting hoop, or a stretcher bar.
2. Cut a strip of wool cloth about one quarter an inch wide, and about eight to twelve inches long.
3. Hold your hook in the hand you use to hold your pencil, and the strip of wool in the other hand. Put your hook down through a hole in the burlap backing, and catch the piece of wool, pulling it up thru the burlap. Bring the first end right up through, then continue the hooking pulling it up loop by loop.
4. In primitive hooking , you generally start by outlining an area and then filling it in.
5.Continue hooking until the whole mat is done. Bring all your ends of wool to the surface and clip them evenly with your loops.
6.When you finish your project, cut the excess burlap away from the edge, leaving no more than two inches all around. Use this to bind the rug by folding it and sewing it along the backside of the rug. You can also use cotton twill tape to bind it along the edge.
7.The final stage is to press you rugs with a wet cloth and hot iron on both sides to even out the loops and give your rug a finished look
Videos and How To That Tell You the Basics of Hooking Rugs:
- Kits and Frames from the Studio
Some of the kits from our online shop:
All it took was some friends, a few supplies, armloads of fresh pine and fir, holly complete with berries and some nice red dogwood. Those were the ingredients for a fun filled afternoon to create inexpensive beautiful swags to decorate our front doors for the Christmas season.
Swag making is more fun in a group. Sometimes it takes two to wire boughs together tightly. We trade off supplies, some purchased from the dollar store, pine cones and other gifts of nature. We drink tea, critique, laugh and admire.
And by the end of the afternoon, we proudly pick up our creations and go home to deck our doors.
And so, the season has begun.
From time to time, a girl just has to get out of town. Recently this involved my friend Jan and I crossing the lovely Tantramar Marsh and spending a few hours in Sackville New Brunswick. While a mere ten minutes away, this university town has a pulse that is not like Amherst and always makes me reminiscent of being a student , oh so many years ago.
Amherst’s proximity to so many small communities always makes me grateful that we do not have to travel far to feel like we’re someplace else.
On this day in Sackville, the Ten Thousand Villages sale was on and I am now the owner of a lovely fair trade African market basket, perfect for growing knitting projects.
We visited the Owens Art Gallery to enjoy the latest Alex Colville exhibit and slowly perused a lovely book store. Many books were pulled from the shelf, many jackets read.
For Jan and I, a visit to Sackville is not complete without stopping to enjoy a delicious Smoked Gouda Pretzel. Salt, smoke, cheese – all so yummy! A perfect ending to a great getaway.
So now my task is to knit so that my afghan project does not get lost in the bottom of my huge market basket.
Yesterday was Remembrance Day, November 11. As always, and as it rightfully should be, it was cold and damp as a crowd gathered at the Amherst cenotaph to remember together.
Voices were hushed and we paused. We watched veterans, some elderly, some young, in parade. We listened to our national anthem, O Canada and we watched the raising of our beautiful flag. We heard the lonely trumpet and we prayed together.
And all across this vast country, in small villages, towns and in cities, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we were united in gratitude and remembrance.
I really enjoy a good children’s book, one with a pattern that encourages little ones to join in. Recently the story ‘Red is Best’ by Kathy Stinson has been coming to mind.
When I’m out and about and a pop of red comes up in the distance, I love how the eye is drawn to it. When driving by changing foliage, the red trees stand out, as do red roofs, red flowers, red doors and I do love a red barn. In winter, crimson berries against a snowy branch is outstanding.
Recently I couldn’t resist the beautiful soft poppy red wool that was dyed by Megan here at the studio. Now when I wear my new scarf, I’m enjoying being part of that pop of red.
So as I move around and when drawn to that rich colour I see around me, I silently chime in, as my former students, aged five and six did while surrounding my feet during story time. “I like red because red is best!”
Wild with Style my online course about designing hooked rugs and developing your style and creativity in rug hooking starts next week. You can Register Here.
We will leave it up for you to access until mid January so you have lots of time to review or work on it after the holidays.
People who have taken this course tell me that it really motivated them and made the idea of designing rugs seem and feel easier. It is a good course and I check in daily to answer your questions and see what you have been posting on the activity stream. Join me !
There is no prerequisite, you can start with this course if you like.
If you want a texture package to accompany the course you can order it here
This next course will focus on design and creativity with an introduction to hooking faces, and hooking abstract design. It will be about creating your own style as you hook rugs, and being expressive and creative with it.
will start November
You can find out more information and register online by clicking on the link above. The course will start September 10 and will be an independent study class with articles, video, audio, and community participation. You can register anytime .
Here are some of the comments from participants in my online courses….
“I wanted to say if anyone is thinking of signing up for Deanne’s online course – do it! As anyone who’s taken a course with Deanne knows, she’s a great and generous yeacher who brings alot of experience, imagination, and , always, creativity to her courses. Getting Wild with Wool is no exception. I found the course chock full of information and inspiration with many different avenues of learning. And best of all was the communication with other participants from all over the world. It just made me so proud.” Maile in Seattle
“Thanks so much Deanne. I have thoroughly enjoyed your writings , videos etc. In a previous time I taugt painting and it was incredible when a person realized they could produce art when they always said, “I have no artistic talent.” I have thoroughly enjoyed your class and all the lessons and I keep going back and reading everything over and over”
“I wish I could bottle this feeling and sell it because I would be a rich woman. Wow, do you ever inspire a person.”
“Great Workshop Deanne, so much info and ideas. these lesssons have been really packed.”
The course website has been set up and once you register you create your personal password.
Once you go to the course site you use your password to log in. The lessons will begin on the start date of your course.
I will post the first lesson on the site on the day the course begins.
Once you are on the course website all lessons will be on the private course website.
Because of my Aunt Kathleen, my mother’s youngest sister,
Because my mother in law always said “We are here to be good to each other”
Because I was blessed with the chance to illustrate this beautiful book for Shereee Fitch
Because I want the rugs to have some meaning
I have decided to have them auctioned off and all the proceeds will go to L’arche Atlantic
L’Arche is an international federation of communities where men and women with intellectual disabilities, and those who choose to share life with them, live and work together.
Founded by Canadian Jean Vanier in 1964, L’Arche now has more than 125 communities in 40 countries. In Atlantic Canada there are currently five established L’Arche communities: L’Arche Antigonish, L’Arche Cape Breton, L’Arche Halifax, L’Arche Homefires and L’Arche Saint John.
There are two groups currently working to build new L’Arche communities in Atlantic Canada: Willow Tree Community, Fredericton, NB and Cornerstone Housing Society, St. John’s, NL.
and support L’Arche Atlantic
Here are Sheree and I and Andrea at The Halifax book Launch!