It is time for a good old fashioned letter as summer begins. So long June, here comes July. A lot of you are in your gardens and I admire that. My gardens are small containers. I can never seem to get the hang of weeding. I guess I am too busy pulling loops instead of weeds. Years ago I wrote letters all the time. My friends said I wrote just like I talked. Lately most of the writing I do is for this website. I still try to send out thank you notes, but very rarely do I write a letter. Just here…
Inspiration seems to be everywhere for me in June. It is in the first days of summer that I really feel the beauty of the season. You go from lilacs to lupins to roses. Does it get any better? I love the scent of roses in the air as I go by on my bicycle.
I have been busy pulling loops of patterns from the Pattern of the Month Club. I hooked two last week and hope to hook a couple of more in the coming weeks. Hooking does not stop over the summer for me. It changes. I work smaller. I sometimes use my laptop frame instead of my cheticamp. I find I still need that meditation of pulling the loops and when I go a while with out it I notice it. I begin to stir the pot, my own pot, so to speak. Hooking for me is a comfort and since I learned I rarely stop for any length of time. I hook because it comforts me.
Today the studio has been full of visitors. We have taught a few people how to hook but others came for a yard of linen, or to pick up a new kit. Some fell in love with a swatch of wool and had to have it. Most are on their way somewhere. That is the lovely thing about Amherst, it is on the way if you travel through the maritimes. We are in the centre of NS, NB, and PEI. I love the sound the voices and the oohs and ahas that people make as they look around. It makes me feel special, like I did something! Having a small business here in town is a blessing for me. I love having somewhere to go!
It is a real joy to see people come in and see in real life what they have been looking at on the internet. When it comes to life for them it is fun to be here and see it happen. I have been busy working on the private learning website for Pattern of the Month Club and WoolBox Club members. It is called Woolcake and will also be available as a separate subscription offering how to videos, lessons, tips and inspiration. It will be updated weekly. It is a lot of work but I am excited by it. I felt it was time to take this idea and run with it. It has been in the making for over three years. Usually I am good at getting things off the ground quickly but this one has been stewing a long time.
We have plenty of fun and foolishness here as you can se. Having Georgina and Denise constantly in everyday means that the studio has a lot more continuity. It also means for me that I have time to hook and to play with new ideas, and get pictures of us that make no sense what so ever.
When I think of the things that have inspired me lately I would have to say:
- Maudie, the movie about Maude Lewis’s life.
- The smell of wild roses.
- A bunch of books about how to draw things.
- The old Lighthouse in Spencer’s Island that is preserved by the community.
- Driving my bicycle down the yellow line on old country roads with no cars around.
Well that is just a few things lately that got me rolling. I hope you are finding lots in your community to inspire you. That’s one of our jobs in life, to inspire each other.
That is my letter for today…..
As always, I am happy you read this, Thanks so much, Deanne
Pattern of the Month Club
Once a month you will get a surprise in the mail…
Click on the above picture to hear Deanne describe the Pattern of the Month Club
$24.91 usd (subject to change) Shipping included
Do not forget when you join Pattern of the month you get FREE access to
WOOLCAKE , our online learning portal
For two years I worked on a knitting book with Megan Ingman’s help. I started out as one idea and over time morphed. I had made all the designs with Megan’s help, done the knitting and written the manuscript.at some point Megan decided that she could not co author it with me and we agreed that I would go ahead with it alone. So the bookstarted out as one thing and morphed into something else.
I even had a publisher all lined up. Last week we were ready to the photography and I just felt that I needed to call it off. I felt as if in doing the book I was not following my spirit so I had to call a halt.
Everything was good with it. Megan and I remain good friends even though she does not work here anymore and the book was ready to go. I just felt that for some reason I could not define I did not want to go ahead with it. It was one of those things that was seemingly right but something was niggling at me about it so I let it go. I stepped back, and in doing that I felt relieved. Sometimes there is no answer about what direction you should go in. There is no arrow, or well defined path. You just have to sift your way through. I have learned that in saying no, or sometimes in stepping back I feel as much as freedom as I do in saying yes and moving forward with something that really excites me.
I cannot tell you why I changed my mind about doing a knitting book exactly. I can tell you however that when you say not to one thing it opens up room for more of another thing. Right after I decided to move on I picked out some lichen and lace yarn and started a new knitting pattern for a shawl to match my new boots. The colour is day lily, and really at night I just want to knit that shawl, and it makes me happy. Sometimes you just need to bring simplicity back into your life. Projects can be tempered and tamed down. Dreams can still happen they just might be different than you anticipated.
There is so much about renewal in January it can overwhelm you. Make you feel that your life needs to be more and better, that you need to be more and better.
It is a lot of pressure really. I always feel it in January. It is as if you have to have a plan for the year to be it’s best. Any other day you can just wake up and carry on. But in early January, all of a sudden you need a plan.
Whew, that is a lot to take stock of. Today in my bible study with Don Miller ( also the man who dressed up in sexy jersey for me…so it is a special bible study and he is a special minister) he used a passage in Isiah to remind us that the best is not behind us, there is also much good to come. Expecting good, he said , is a tenet of the bible. Whatever your beliefs are, the idea that there is good to come is essential to good living. You do not have to have a resolution or a big change planned. It does not have to be revolutionary. You just have to believe that there is good to come. I think the word for this is “Hope”. It is so much easier on me to believe that there is good to come than it is to make up big idea for the new year.
The more I think about this, the more I think that is ok for me to just have hope. Hope for my community, faith in the people who live here, and both faith and hope in myself and my own dreams and desires to evolve.
I have not got an amazing plan for the new year. And that’s okay.
I don’t have a plan to transform myself or my community.
What I do have is faith and love, and a belief that together with who and what is important to me, transformation will happen.
Yesterday I took the day off and drove to the island for pleasure. Long country drives. A little city shopping downtown looking at art and then a stop at Victoria by the Sea. Two nice meals out. Good company , a lovely day.
Then this morning I slept a bit late, took my walk, phoned my friend Lily for a chat and wandered into the studio. I was stunned for a second when I walked in the door. There was a big black iris on the back wall. I had hung it on Tuesday and liked what I saw but this morning after a day away I was surprised by the beauty of it. It was like seeing it for the first time.
I looked twice as I rounded the corner to come in to the studio. I saw the iris like someone else , someone who did not make it. Suddenly I was taken aback by it’s beauty. This happens only once in a long while but I can tell you it is worth the wait.
When we make things we are close to them. They are familiar and the familiarity gets in the way of really seeing things as they are. When I started this rug I had an image in my head of a single iris on a coral diamond background. The coral diamonds felt too much like Kaffe Fassett’s work so I had to change that. He had just been here when I started the project. It was Brandon Mabley who said, Imagine your work as a big black iris. His comment made me want to see it for real. So this piece was influenced by their visit yet I did not want to make it reminiscent of their work, but of my own. It is a tricky balance. You want to have influences . It is how you grow, but you do not want to imitate. Imitation stifles me. It is only good as a practice as a way to learn. When you want to show yourself and the way you see things imitation will not work. For this you must find your own way .
I hooked the coloured diamonds because I thought the iris would be too serene just on a white ground and I was right. It is called Iris in the Rough because where I was a child irises grew in the ditches. I have always been surprised that they were so beautiful growing in such a rugged spot. It is a metaphor of course, like so much art.
When I feel this way I am so grateful. It must be the way a writer feels after a great sentence, or a guitar player after a great riff. Satisfaction in creating art only comes once in a while. When it does you’d be a fool not to be thankful.
well there’s making rugs,
cooking a little,
being a mom,
oh and being the birthday girl…that was fun
being forty nine
writing in my journal
drawing, but not enough,
planning a new book,
getting ready to proof a book newly written and due out in September,
shopping and nesting, fixing up my house a bit
smelling the roses, literally
looking closely at poppies,
searching for fireflies,
listening to the pileated wood pecker and the peepers and the waves
all in no particular order, all important.
When my husband saw this rug he said, “Is it our backyard?” . It is the kind of rug that resonates with you, makes you think you have been there before. I just came back from that hike yesterday along the beaver trail and it seems like this rug was that area too. There is something comforting about a field with spruce trees in the distance. I love how the dark green trees change to purple, plum, black and even blue at a distance.
We can never look at nature enough to really see it. It is always changing. Colours are always blending.
The sky is always casting new shades across the landscape.
We have a lot of land like this in Cumberland county. It is everyone’s back yard. Spruce, and Pine, and fields combed with gold. Touches of red from blueberry bushes. Purple casts on the sky reflecting that Fundy Shore I suppose.
Megan posted some new rugs for sale today on the gallery of the website . This is one of them but there are lots more if you have time to take a look.
Friday and Saturday I went to the acadian community of Pomquet.
I had a video workshop to give to a small group of teens at the local school. I’ve never been to Pomquet before. It’s right past Antigonish, on the way to Cape Breton. You wouldn’t really know it’s there driving on the highway. It’s easy to miss.
I took a left on Taylor road to what seemed like a road to nowhere. After a few kilometers I found a good sized new looking school. It’s a primary to 12 school, one floor, two wings, brightly colored inside. Nice, nice school. Inside I found something for you: a beautiful hooked rug depicting “Le grand dérangement” which, as you may know, is when the acadian were deported.
The youth I had the chance to meet and work with were simply wonderful. Knowledgable, pleasant, talented. What a treat. And, as it is a french speaking school, I had the pleasure to lead the workshop in French. So much fun.
The first evening, before going to the local B&B I went to look at the area a little. As I approached the harbor I found a lovely community bordering the main street. The iconic Catholic church stood nicely in the middle of it. Around it a cemetery with graves dating to at least the 1800. A little further I found a beach road to the local provincial park. Originally I thought I’d grab a bite to eat at a restaurant located on the highway but the site of that beautiful empty beach enticed me to go for a walk. I had some snacks, I decided to have a little picnic on the beach.
Nova Scotia is filled with gems. Next time you visit, or if you live here already, go for a drive, take a left turn on a unassuming road, it’ll be worth your while.
Sometimes when I look back over things I have made I can hardly believe my hands were involved with it. Do you ever experience that?
These rugs were some of my first attempts at Abstract and modern design. They have all been sold except for my Chasing Klimt, the first picture you see here.
I like to review my work, whether it’s rugs , or just the growth of the studio. It makes you feel like you have been somewhere and that there are places left to go. Review is important, whether it is your sketch books, your scrapbooks, old pictures.
Our rugs sort of review our lives the way a photo album might. Instead of remembering what you were wearing you are more likely to remember how you were feeling, or what stage you were at. When you look at the design you can remember the place you were in when you were making it. You can see it by the design and colour that you used.
In these rugs I can remember the trepidation I felt venturing away from the pictorials towards more abstract design. I wondered if I was heading in the right direction. I wondered if they would ever sell, thinking…maybe not but that is no reason not to make them.
We need to look back and see where we have been to appreciate where we are.
Sometimes I forget that I started my rug hooking studio in a trunk with a two thousand dollar loan from my mother. That’s the truth.
Sometimes I forget that my first rugs were as simple as they were.
Sometimes I forget that twenty two years is a long time.
Sometimes I need to just go back over things just so I can remember.
Katie Allman from Ohio has asked that we post a video with a welcome to the studio for her group that is coming for a workshop next fall.
Welcome to the Studio…..A Five Minute Video Tour
So come join us for a workshop… see them here…Workshops 2014
Another winter evening is starting to fall upon us. The light lasts a little longer but the evenings are still long. The other night I drove in the light until six o’clock. It was so nice to have the light a little longer. I have to admit though I like the dark evenings and mornings too. I go up to my studio after supper and hook under the lamp light. It is difficult to chose colours but if you know your colours you are all set. In the morning if I wake up early , like five am, I just snuggle in the dark for another snooze. There is kind of a comfort in the dark.
Where I grew up winter started at three o’clock, right after school. Anytime after three was called the evening. Now I find it is more like five o’clock before we consider it evening.
I do miss long walks on clear roads with no ice. I miss a cool wind against a light fall or spring jacket. Winter isn’t easy but there are wood fires that cozy it up some. There are soups and stews, and getting cold and warming up. There are hot baths. You can light the candles early cause it is dark . I also love wearing warm scarves, and pretty cowls. What do people in warm places do with their sweaters? I love pulling on a baggy sweater.
When I look at the pictures below I also know that I love the palette of winter. Greys and greens,whites, creams and taupes. This is the palette of my home . I feel comfortable in it.
I guess I try to make the best of winter. I get overwhelmed by snow storms but there were two days this week that there was barely any snow on the ground and you could walk around like it was spring. In Nova Scotia, we get those little reprieves and I appreciate them. It feels a bit like getting away.
I have been hooking and knitting a lot in my long evenings. I fill them with colour. I think they might be a bit grey if I did not. I need things to do . I have also been visiting. You’ll find people at home in these winter evenings and they welcome a bit of company. I too like it when someone comes to the door and stays for a cup of tea. It breaks up the evening and lightens things a bit. Winter company is as welcome as spring.
Today is the day we ship the Mystery Pattern. Megan and I were talking the other day and we thought about the confidence that those who joined put in us and we thought we should do something special. This afternoon , we are going to draw a name from the members of the pattern club and the bundle club ( you still have a few hours to join) and we are going to let that one person choose one of the four original rugs here and we will ship it to you. We just want the members to know how much we appreciate their ongoing interest.
We also thought that to make the pattern club interesting we just might keep those names in a bag for the occasional draw for members and that we’d really try to do things to make membership special. We are working on a few ideas already. We have been really thrilled at seeing people join because we know it will inspire them to hook.
I really appreciate people supporting the studio. Many of my customers have become friends over the years. I am excited to see the many versions of the same pattern hooked. We have decided that the pattern will only be available for the month it is offered for now. We might issue them in a couple of years but for now those patterns will only be accessible to club members.
So today Hopper took the first bundle off to the mail. I think in about a month we’ll start seeing versions of them hooked. My goodness , it gets me excited to think of a whole group of people all across North America hooking the same pattern at the same time.
Today is the last day to join for this month. Thank you to all the members, your pattern is being shipped.
Join the Mystery Pattern Club
Join the Mystery Bundle Club ( a great way to build your stash through out the year)
Or call to join at 1 800 328 7756 . It is available to other parts of the world for a little extra shipping. Call us if you want to join.
This winter we are Hooking People. Make the winter go by as you learn to hook people in your rugs. The course will focus on hooking faces, portraiture, movement , clothing and all the important aspects of making your people rugs beautiful and interesting. I participate daily in the course, answering your questions and responding to the pictures you upload. The online courses are an excellent way to learn in your own home , at your own convenience. The course is five weeks long, but we leave it up for ten weeks . You can do it at your own pace.
Join me for Hooking People Online Course. Register Here.
Purchase the Hooking People Supplies Pack
We have also started two new Monthly Clubs. I am really excited about these
because they are based on the new work I am creating!
It works like this. You sign up online or by calling us at 1-800-328-7756 and we enroll you. Each month you will receive a new pattern inspired by what I am creating that month, and if you like we’ll send you a wool bundle to go with it.
If you want you can enrol for just the wool bundle if you like to create your own designs.
Join us for Monthly inspiration and create beauty everyday…
Winter hones my nesting instincts. It reconnects me to my domestic landscape and gets me thinking about how we live in it. This year we made some changes to our open plan living, dining and kitchen area. We parted with furniture that didn’t suit anymore and then rearranged the rest,editing and simplifying as we went. For me, there’s an aesthetic appeal to a simple layout and less furnishings but it’s just as much about taming the dust bunnies. I’d much rather be creating than cleaning! At one point almost all the artwork was down and everything else sat in clusters all over the house waiting for a new spot. A different seating arrangement created new vantage points and suddenly everything needed to shift. It took a few days but it was a brain teaser I enjoyed and I could feel the transformation with every move. It’s exciting to create with what you already have and make a space feel completely different. I find myself looking at our art and furnishings with new interest and appreciation. Just having a chair in a different place puts me in an afternoon sunbeam and has me purring like a cat. The house feels rejuvenated. It comforts and stimulates me anew. I feel rejuvenated!
To some degree we furnish our home environments like a puzzle and once we get things fitted and working it’s locked into place. It’s understandable,who has time to regularly do a wholesale switcharoo. We need our homes to provide a foundation of functionality as we go about our lives. Le Corbousier,a pioneer of modern architecture, believed houses are machines for living. I think both the structure and the interior furnishings should support our needs, interests and lifestyle. To me, it’s not about a particular style or precise order versus a scattering of possessions, our nests and arrangements express our individuality and ideally allow our homes to bring ease and joy into our daily lives. I want my home to feel like a nurturing hug when I walk through the door.
After a period of time with the most pleasing, practical set-up I still love to blow the puzzle apart to see what can be reconfigured. I believe different settings bring out different responses and interactions. I experienced a good lesson a few years ago at a week long wet felting workshop where we changed work tables and table mates every morning. Why would the instructor take time to daily dismantle a perfectly functional set up? Surprise, surprise, as the week progressed I noticed things.
Although they were subtle, there were a lot of variables depending on where I worked in the studio space and who I was paired up with: outdoor views, interior architectural details, extroverts,introverts, proximity to a gorgeous buffet of class supplies or the instructor’s station. My work, productivity and creativity were all influenced. That daily exercise attuned my awareness to the different kinds of energy and opportunities that come with even a small change in space and surroundings.
My new home set up has inspired me to make a few new functional rug hooked textiles to spruce things up-something I haven’t done in a long time. It will be a nice contemplative stint of hooking while this year’s plans germinate and unfurl. My home is both an anchor and a launching pad.
Once a shipment of backing arrives in the mail I have my hook revved up and ready to jump into 8’ hallway runner. In the meantime I’m using up my smaller pieces of backing to hook place mats. I like the cushy feel when I set down a plate or mug. To me,the most beautiful floor covering in the world is a hand hooked rug and I can’t wait to start mine. I hope the mailman is packin’ some backin’ tomorrow.
Sage Green is a winter colour. I’d like to say it is my favorite colour, shades of it, but , it is only my favorite colour right now in this moment. I love it because it is January soothing. It is warm. It is the first colour I see when I walk in my door at home.
I have a sage green camel back sofa that I bought eighteen years ago. I still like it. It still looks good to me. I change the pillows on it every few years but essentially I still like it. Every once in a while I imagine cream sofas but the feeling goes away. I am a sofa dreamer. I like couches. I like to think it is because I like to sit on them but really I am attracted to patterns, fabric, colour and sofas are covered in them. This one has managed to last. It has been in four different rooms in the house and now it greets me as I walk in, a sage green welcome.
So if I tell you sage green is my favorite colour I ‘d have to lie because as much as I like it when I walk in the door, I am attracted to something else when I walk out the door. As a child I could name a favorite colour with certainty. This year it is purple, next year it would be green. Now I am smitten with so many shades I could never choose, not even for a season. I’ll find myself drawn towards certain shades for a while and then all of a sudden I am pulled towards something else. I love the jewels tones they get me excited. I love the neutrals, they soothe me. When it comes to colour I am all over the place.
Every colour is beautiful. I guess for me there is no deciding anymore. I know I am effected by trends in the market place to some degree but now there is hardly a shade I do not like. I do notice in clothing, or furniture we are really limited by the trends because the colour is dictated by fashion. In knitting and rug hooking you can always source out or dye new colours which is refreshing. There are still colour trends in craft that usually follow the marketplace but there is less of it.
So right now at this very moment if you asked me my favorite colour I might say sage green. If you asked me tomorrow…I am not sure what I would say. Are you the same or do you have a favorite colour?
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.
Saturday October 26 at 1pm, Sheree Fitch and I are going to be at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia for our Book Launch! If you are in the Halifax area please come and bring little ones to celebrate with us. There will be food and fun and happiness. Come if you can and please share this with your friends and bring them along.
The rugs are being auctioned off with all proceeds going to L’Arche. L’Arche Communities are places where people with and without intellectual disabilities come together to learn from each other, discover lifelong friendshipsand work to create a more passionate world.There are more than 100 of these peace- making communities around the world and five right here in Atlantic Canada
To bid on rugs and Donate to L’Arche go to:
Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know we had some issues yesterday and today with our website as we were doing some site maintenance. Thanks for your patience. We should be good to go now.
The weekend here was busy with hockey and friends. There are still lots of people traveling here so we are getting lots of studio gusts still which we really appreciate. It is so fun to come to work in the morning and wonder who’ll walk in. Today we have a school librarian from outside of Boston. Yesterday, we had a friend of Carol Zimmerman’s who so often comments on the blog.
We are running Wild with Wool and it is going well. Wild with Style starts in late October. So get registered if you can join us. We often get people who have taken or are taking online courses dropping in as well.
I am working on a new brochure and am happy with everything but the covers. It is a big beautiful seven panel fold out . I am also working on a coupon book for downtown Amherst that will be printed today. It is a little community project that I agreed to do for the town who funded it so we would have a booklet to give out to visitors in town, and towns people as well. We gave a great little downtown marketing committee that works together nicely.
So as for me, I am getting ready for next weeks big workshop and I am so excited. I should make myself crazy busy this week but instead I slow down to prepare for next week. This of course makes me want it to hurry up and come. So this week I’ll work on readying the shop. I’ll make some patterns, cut up some balls of wool in batches. Redo a few displays. Mary is working today and she likes to move furniture! It is a make work week. I have all the work done for next week’s workshop. In fact I have been preparing for it all year, since last fall in fact. That is what makes this workshop so very special. It is a years work in culmination, that I get to share with everyone.
Next year we are doing Simply Modern.…so plan to come. I have put it on the website. So if you are not coming this year , think about next year. I will have a new book coming out next fall about modern design for hooked rugs so it will be a lot of learning on that theme, I have started working on it already.
So much of creativity and making things is about play. Feeling free, getting down on the floor, and just fooling around. I was never great at getting down on the floor and playing. For years I felt that I needed to be doing something but age is changing that. When this pile of wool came in, it seemed to me that the best purpose for it was to play in it, capture it and remember it. I spilled it all out and dove in, I invited Mary, Elvira, and Megan to do the same.
With my rug hooking I have learned that rugs do not need to be made to sell, or to fit comfortable above a sofa. I need to make them to inspire others to create and imagine. I need to make them to help others think of all the great things that they can make. I need to make them to exercise my own imagination. To deepen my own well of knowing what I can do.
The other day I was knitting on a scarf without a pattern and it was not going so well. I was about to give up and I thought to myself, “It does not matter if it turns out.” I am early on in the knitting but I still need to remind myself that I am knitting to learn, and knitting to knit. It does not matter how things turn out, I just need to turn them out. In turning them out I’ll learn
This is the way I learned to hook. I just hooked. Freely , easily, playfully, just making them one loop at a time, staying open to the idea, that anything might happen. It makes it so joyful.
Wild with Wool Starts again September 26
Week one:Getting into the groove of the hook and understanding technique
Week two:understanding materials, movement
Week three:Colour and Texture
Week four:Creativity and Rug hooking
Week Five: Webinar with Questions and Answers and show of our work.. we will see what technology will work best for this.
This is a continuing series of tiny fiction stories….
” Maybe, it’s the postman, or one of the delivery guys.” I said to Mel
“You mean who Evie slept with?”
“Yeah, there are only a few men who come in here. Where else would she meet men?”
“Well she bowls, she has a big family, maybe someone introduced her to some one. You know Hope she only works here a few days a week.”
“I suppose. When I ask her she says, “Hope , it is not that I don’t want you to know. It is just that I enjoy your desire to know so much.’ Kinda mean that one, she got me wonderin’ like a fool. I am going to put the whole thing out of my mind.
It was just as I was working to put it out of my mind that our bell rang as the door opened. In walks a woman in a bikini. I raised my eyebrows to Mel. She quickly rushed to the dye kitchen about to explode with laughter., leaving me with no time to pull myself together.
I smiled as I walked to te front of the shop, and then I could not help it, I just blurted out, “Why are you in your bikini?” I just had to know why someone would come downtown in their bikini. Given the cast of characters on out street, you would have to be new to town.
“I learned how to hook rug twenty minutes ago at my neighbours’ pool. She said you close at four so I was afraid if I took the time to change I’d miss you today. I have to have my own hook. I know I am gonna love this. My neighbour gave me a pattern and some wool but I need a hook and frame. I know I am gonna love it. ”
Sure but what about a cover up, I thought. “Ok, lets get you settled away. I know what it feels like. You get hooked from the minute you start. But I have one question, where did you park?”
“Just up on Prince Arthur, a block away. ”
“You walk a block in downtown Atherton in a bikini? Did you run into our local characters Daryl and Bernie?”
“A rather rough looking man sitting on his step did invite me.” she smiled. “I told him maybe on the way back”
Well at least she is comfortable with our local yocals and has a sense of humour.
I chuckled, “No wonder” She chuckled herself. Quietly I thanked God that she knew this whole scenario was ridiculous. I was worried at first.
I said, I have an idea for you. I’ll make you some barbie clothes and you can cover up to get back to your car. Ussually we offer people an oatcake and a cup of tea but this woman was in need of something with a bit more substance.
I took a wide yard of wool and cut two holes in it for arms. Then I ripped a long strip off the bottom of it for a belt. I said, “Here stick your arms through here and she did, like it was a house coat.” Now fold down the lapels and wrap this around like a belt.I admire your enthusiasm and getting down here but I cannot have you walking around with town with a hook and a frame in a bikini.”
By this time Mel had come out of the dye kitchen and pulled herself together, “Yes, Lord knows, we have to endure enough hooker jokes as it is.”
I smiled at Mel, and explained to her that I dressed Miss Rug Hooker Bikini 2013 that I used to dress my barbie dolls when I was a kid so she could get to her car with out to many odd looks.
Miss Bikini smiled and said, “I am new to town.”
“Yes love, and it is only because of that that I am not going to take your picture and put it on my blog, but be warned, if you come again in your bikini, it’s candid camera time.”
We all laughed and knew I was n’t joking and that it was really hard for me not to take her picture in the hot pink sale wool barbie outfit. I so wanted too but you got to be good to the new rug hookers until they are securely ladened down with a stash of wool that means that they have to hook rugs for at least forty years to justify their last five years of collecting. It is an unspoken rule.
I saw a beautiful hooked pillow the other night then I came home and made my own. I did that yesterday morning and was so excited by it that I decided to add a summer workshop on July 29. Come for the day and create this bit of beauty….a gorgeous accent for a couch, chair or bed.
We’ll have a nice day….tea and oatcakes, I’ll lay the wool on your frame, and I’ll show you how it is made. We’ll all go out for a nice lunch together.
Come join me for a day in the studio and make something beautiful….
Also available as a kit
Diane Cox, from Cornwall, England posed this video and since I love the title so much I thought I would shaw it with you here. Diane, and her friends have been to my studio for workshops and they are creative, spirited and energetic. One of the things I love about rug hooking is meeting so many creative people. She also had posted this little keep calm and rag rug picture to her face book page. I thought you might ike seeing what is happening in the rag rug world in England in the video below.
I am lucky to say that we are the first town in Nova Scotia if you are coming here by car and the last town in Nova Scotia on your way out. At the main visitor information center coming into Nova scotia you will see one of my rugs, called “The Gold at Cape D’or”. It hangs over the fireplace. You will also see a cheticamp frame that you can sit and hook for a bit if you like put there by the studio so that people can try their hand at rug hooking. Over the years I have really appreciated the people who work at the visitor information centers. They send along people to the studio who are intrigued by rug hooking and treat their guests really well. This year I had the pleasure of giving two groups of VIC employees a tour of my studio. It was a pleasure to have them come and explain what we are up to here.
In the summer we are glad to see tourists come to Nova Scotia from all over the world. The town I live in though is not a real tourist destination like some places in Nova Scotia. It is what I like to call a real town, where people live and work. It is a very authentic place with warm , hardworking people. I am sure even tourist towns have these qualities. Amherst is a what you see is what you get kind of place. We are the centre town for a surrounding area. People come her to see their lawyers, doctors , dentists and to get their groceries or their driver’s licences updated. We are a practical place, which really is quite livable. I remember travelling through Ireland and seeing lots of touristy places, then landing in a town called Ennis. All of a sudden it felt like I had hit the real Ireland, a place where real people were doing everyday stuff. I really liked that. I think Amherst is a bit like that.
The other nice thing about Amherst is it’s proximity to cottage life. Many people in Amherst have cottages at the shore. Some families bought them fifty years ago for $500 and they are still in the family. Little bungalows nestled on red sand beaches with the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. Cottage life here has been part of the summers of families for generations. Each summer we also get hundreds of people who return from away to the shore to rest and restore themselves. Many live in cities across Canada and the United States and come here every summer. They too come to Amherst for the necessities, and many make a special to visit or two to the studio each year.
Whoosh… as Brenda pulls it open to see the last details of a rug that Kim Jones was working on. WE were anxious to see it because Kim has been in picking out wools for it for several weeks. I designed it for her based on her instructions and she has been pulling it together a flower at a time.
One of the most exciting thing in the studio is watching people grow into their craft, their art.
Perhaps it is seeing someone leave with a cheticamp frame, and knowing that they came hook twice as much in half the time, and that their work will become more central to their home and a bigger part of their lives. Perhaps it is watching people pick out a a colour palette inspired by a favorite artist and leave with it , ready to take the next step. We love this in the studio, seeing people grow. Today, both of these things happened in the studio.
Kim. herself has been hooking rugs for quite a few years and she challenges herself. Sometimes she will make something quite simple, other times she wants a puzzle. I think this one might have been a bit of a puzzle. She has been doing a great job on it as you can see. We get excited when someone brigs in a pice that we have been helping them with all along, because we have been a small part of it. Brenda has given out a lot of great colour advice over the years. She is god at it because she practices it. She has worked in fibre for years and knows what happens she you bring different colours together. She is experienced.
We both agreed that Kim did a great job here, using her intuition as she went along and building a stronger colour sense for her work.
Onward…to the next rug, yippee for Kim.
You would think I was away for a month I have written so much about my visit to Doris. My friend Katherine told me once, “You don’t need a week in Cancun, a day in the city does you.” I don’t really know as I have never had a week south but I do enjoy a day away visiting. It feeds me.
When I arrived at Doris’s she said, “What would you like to do?” and I said, ” Whatever you want.” She said, “I want t take you to meet Jane who just moved from England and started Riverport Studio in Petit Rivere. She is my friend.” It sounded great to me. And it wasJane’s studio was filled with wool, yes…yes..I bought some…shoes for the shoe man. She was lovely and warm and there was even a rug hooking group meeting there.
From there I drove Doris home, gave Ron the coconut cream pie we bought him…he was eating it before I left and said to Doris…”Should I stop in Lunenburg or Mahone Bay on the way home?” She said Mahone Bay, for sure.
I was so glad I did because I got to visit both Carole Harvey Clarke and Christine Little in their beautiful studios. And they were beautiful and yes …I bought wool. And if I went back tomorrow I would buy more wool. I am a wool glutton.
I was really impressed with both places, how well kept and beautiful they were.
Christine was funny, she keeps a blog, where she tells stories and “rants ” much like I do. She had a great story about a police chief and three pairs of panties that she told me and has based a kit on. We just had a nice visit, told a few stories, her dog sniffed me…you know how that goes and I got to meet her husband and son. She has a family run studio I think because her husband said his sister in law was upstairs.
It was just a great day.
Then I went to Suttles and Seawinds and bought a beautiful linen jackets which I have worn five times since last week. I am about to put it on now gain and go to Donny Miller’s youth group auction….so I am off, on the run
I am pleased to tell you …..Its here! Hot of the DVD Press….Two full hours
How to Hook People Rugs with Deanne Fitzpatrick
This two lesson based DVD Deanne Fitzpatrick will teach you everthing you need to know about hooking inspiring people rugs.
Professionally Filmed by Catherine Bussiere it is beautiful, entertaining and rich with story.
It includes lesons on :
Hooking Small People
Hooking People in Groups
Hooking Faces, Hair, Clothing
as well there are lessons on context and the importance of details.
It was storm day here today, though really it turned out not to bad. I spent the day here in the studio working quietly away on our new catalog and on the Hooking People Course. The new catalog are all rugs that have been inspired my originals. Though we have added many patterns to our stash here over the last few years we have not had a complete new catalog. I am excited to see your response to some of these modern and contemporary designs. Of course there are a few cats, people, and gardens thrown in there as well. How could I not. I love them too. You can get a sneak preview here. It should be ready in a few weeks.
I have added as many of the studio recipes to it as I could as well because I like cooking as well as hooking. It has been a fun project though drawing all the little pictures has taken me quite some time. When we do things by hand we are used to things moving along slowly so it has not mattered to me that it is taking so much time. We are coming out with a pattern based on Standing Before the Monument which many people have asked for over the years. I keep the original as the original so the pattern is different but it has the same sensibility.
This afternoon Helen Dyer dropped by who I had featured on the blog last week, and showed a terrible picture of her , so here is a retake of her as well.
It’s a gorgeous sunny morning here today. I will most likely spend some time outside pruning apple trees later. Yesterday I had a peak in our greenhouse and discover a carpet of young tasty “mache” (it’s a type of lettuce that loves to reseed itself and is rather cold resistant). I want to start some flower seedlings; nasturtiums and sweet peas is all I could find at the local general store. It will do for today. I’ll get my fix with playing in the dirt and chopping some branches. I love this time of year.
Alright now, lets focus, and talk rug pictures.
I am sure you all spend a fair amount of time hooking your rugs. True.
Now let’s spend a few minutes together taking pictures of those rugs and make them look as pretty (almost) on print as they are live.
Last week Cynthia commented on my blog and mentioned how she was not satisfied with the pictures she took of her rug. To illustrate my answer to her here is one of Deanne’s rug at the studio. It’s called “Coral Pine”.
First I cheated and placed the rug up high on the wall. I did so to show you NOT to do this. First thing, place your rug or rather place yourself, eye level with the rug. Why? So you get strait lines. Also in the example I had the flash on. Have a look.
There is a few problem with this picture. First, if you were to crop it so all you see is your rug you would loose some of the bottom side edge because of the angle. Second, the bottom of the rug is in focus but the top is a little soft. There is no need for that. Also the flash in this case lit the rug unevenly.
So all and all it’s a reject.
Here is my second picture, still with a flash but this time I am eye level with the rug.
This is already better but I told you last week not to use a flash if at all possible.
Why? Flash has a tendency when thrown straight on to your subject to flatten the image. There’s light everywhere, no shadows, no depth. It can work and can produce creative pictures but for this unless there is no option I go without.
Now for Deanne’s rug I use two methods. One is I take the rug outside in the shade and hang it on the wall. It works great if the rug is large. I use a little step ladder to place myself level to the rug and I move in as close as possible so the rug fills most of the frame. Here is the set up.
The rug is right under the yarn sign and there is a line of screws sticking out of the bricks placed there for that purpose.
If your rug is small like this one then find yourself a spot by a window in your house with no direct sunshine. A North window is great. Here I placed that lovely little rug on a black piece of wool cloth. It makes a nice background and with a simple editing software I can crop my picture without having to crop the rug.
Notice how there is this piece of white cardboard. I will be using this as a bounce.
Now, placing myself above the rug here is my first picture with no bounce.
Pay attention to the bottom of the rug. A little dark if you ask me. Now let’s see what happens if I place my white cardboard right at the bottom of the rug and angle it so it bounces the light from the window to the bottom of the rug.
Now I am content. Notice how the whole bottom half is brighter and vibrant. We can almost feel the texture of this rug. You can see all the various wool cloth and yarn used.
I think you can all get great pictures of your rugs. Just take a little time. Try a few settings. Try it with flash and then without. See what looks best to you.
Good luck! Let me know how they turned out.
I spent the day with Deanne yesterday
As you may know she has created a new online course about hooking people
She asked me out of the blue a week ago if we could shoot a video
I didn’t ask much, I said sure, when
There’s no point asking too much
I like working with Deanne
it’s always a little bit of a challenge and it’s always fun
so I just say yes
Working with her is like trying to capture a whirlwind
you never quite know which way it’s gonna go
Be ready, place your nets around and hope for the best
I had to be bossy a couple time
I actually had to take her sharpie away from her
when she wasn’t able to stop herself from moving on when the cameras were not rolling
Sure enough a sharpie magically appeared in her hands again
There is no stopping her
I tell you
I love seeing someone create
it is beautiful and somewhat magical all at once
In front of me over the course of the day
I saw different figures appear
as Deanne was talking away
I heard the story of these woolen figure come to life
In a group of sisters one got a flamboyant red dress
Not to be left out, pouting
the one in plain blue
was given a colorful scarf
She seemed content after that
whoever is in for that course
is in for a good time
No one gets left out
Register or find out more information here:
It will be a five week course but will you will have access to it until mid April.
If you need materials we have also created an:
Dear Diary, Sometimes I start a rug with exactly no idea where it is going. I make a few marks on the backing and off I go as is the case in the beginning of this rug here. I knew I want to use these lovely skeins of wool that Maile brought me from Seattle and I wanted to use that purple silk. That was the day after I cleaned my studio and found some gems that I had not been seeing as well as I might.
I was feeling not creative, which is a poor excuse for not working. Even when I do not feel inspired , I get a rug on the frame. I find the process of hooking inspires me and I am usually lost in the rug before long.
Inspiration. If you have it, sail with it like the wind. If you do not have it, just find something to work on. I have made the most beautiful rugs because I hooked with out particular inspiration. Work and the beauty comes.
Create Beauty Everyday.
If you just sit with a project, doing a bit every day all of a sudden the momentum takes over and before you know it, something beautiful is on it’s way. I may lack inspiration by times but showing up day after day to the frame, I am sure to find it again.
Dear Diary, I just had a new rug posted on the website gallery. Yellow bird is now on there for sale. It is an experiment, a step away from crows, and I love their perch on the waves. So often here I see birds perched on the water. It is a bit of a miracle the way they can do that.
Today has been a busy day with wild with Style starting to wind down and Wild with Wool starting up again. It was a good day. In the middle of it all I managed a nice long conversation with my son, and a long lunch with my sister. What a good day really. I also hooked for two hours this morning. It is now nearing seven and I can see it is time to wind down, grab some supper and enjoy the evening with my book. I have been having trouble reading lately, not finding the good book, but I just picked up Lynn Coady’s new book, The Antagonist and I am enjoying it. Whew! I love it when you get a good book after a dry spell. I am open to your suggestions for good reads. I am sure the other’s reading this are interested too. I know we all have different reading tastes but still a few suggestions are always great.
Denise Hoffman, the winner of our tip contest which had over 250 entries claimed her prize last week. Congratulations Denise. She is from Nebraska, so she won’t get to enjoy the day of the studio but we sent her off a hooked rug, and her choice of $200 worth of supplies. Those of you who want to can join us though on Thursdays for our weekly studio fibre arts group. I am also getting ready to stock the “resource Studio” with books and magazines if you want to boil the kettle for yourself and make a visit over here.
I got an amazing response to the Hooking People Course for March so I will work on that in the coming weeks and finish the details. It has been in the works for over a year, so most of it is written. I planned out the course package today with Brenda, and next weekend I plan to create a larger video for it. Most of the shorter ones are already made. The lessons are written, but I want to make it really good so there is more work to do on it.
Lorna showed you are new shelves. When you do something you really like you just have to ask yourself…”Why did I wait so long?” You can see our wool cloth so much better on these shelves. I just love them and the yarn just jumps off them, into your arms and you are forced to buy them and take them home and hook them.
We put a little sale on the corn silk and milk fibre yarns we had in the studio as it was a bit fine for hooking and it all sold in one day! The knitters took us up on the offer it seems. There will be some very soft yellow scarves draping necks this summer I think. We do not like to keep things around the studio too long, so if it does not move quickly you’ll see it on the counter in a bin on sale. For that you have to drop in unless Lorna lets you know on saturdays Look with Lorna.
I also want to remind you that we have a facebook page for the studio and I am actually getting better about posting little interesting tidbits there. I mostly post rug hooking bits, rugs in progress, and yes like most face bookers, good food if I have some . Lol. So go over and like the page if you are interested and like facebook. If it gets popular over time, I’ll try to make it more interesting still. We’ll see. I would like to start posting a few specials there but I have not done anything like that yet. I am a blogger at heart but as I have been doing the downtown Amherst facebook page it only makes sense that I do one for the studio as well.
Thanks for reading. It has been a lovely day, and welcome to all of you who signed on for wild with Wool, and thanks to all of you who took Wild with Style.
Dear Diary, Diane Krys sent me this . She was looking to replace her Dansko shoes and saw these. We both had a good laugh. Wool is getting very trendy indeed. We had ten out today for our Fibre Arts group at the studio. Slowly we will build a nice little community around the place.
One of the things I wonder is would a resource room for rug hookers /fibre artists be of value to you? I am thinking of starting a library back there that can be used for reference. We’ll buy a big selection of art and rug hooking and fibre art books, maybe some interesting dvds. Would people use such a thing. It would be open for use when the rug studio is open. You could go back there, design, sketch read, etc. We would keep up with current trends in textile art, stocking the place with inspirational reads. It would be the kind of place you could go hang out for an hour with a coffee, any day of the week, and of course you would shop at the studio too while you are there.
Wait til you see our new wools, on our new shelves. We just got so much in!
Dear Diary, We had about a dozen for our first weekly fibre arts group and I thought that was just great. We started out slow, with just three of us, then another came,and another, until we were twelve or so. Lets hope it keeps up. Remember you are welcome. Every Thursday there is a hook in/ knit in/ or whatever at 33 Church Street in Amherst.
It was a lovely day. In the middle of it one of the rug hookers who headed home early called and said there was a man from Digby out at the Irving selling fresh fish from his truck. I headed out and picked up fish for several of us for supper tonight. At seventeen below, he was selling fresh, never frozen haddock from the back of a truck at minus seventeen. So some of us are having fresh caught haddock tonight for supper. Small town life, word gets around fast.
We had mostly rug hookers today but a couple of knitters too. It was great to see everyone come out on such a cold day. Remember we are going to be a year round group so if you are coming to NS on a holiday be sure to come on a Thursday and join us. Yippee , we’re off to a good start.
Top ten reasons why you should take Wild with Wool, my online rug hooking course this Winter
1.You’ll find it will make the winter fly by.
2.You’ll learn to be free with the hook.
3. You’ll learn how to use up that stash of wool more quickly.
4.You’ll meet interesting rug hookers from everywhere.
5.You’ll have a good reason to buy more wool.
6.You’ll learn to design quickly and simply.
7.You’ll learn at your own pace on your own computer any time you like.
8.You really will get wild with wool.
9.You will become a more confident rug hooker.
10. You will discover new ideas for rug hooking
I could go on and on, but mostly I hope this just entices you to join me as we get Wild with Wool this Winter. Register Now!
Thank you for all your tips, and your interest in the contest. This morning Brenda and I did a random pick and the winner is:
So please get in touch with us at email@example.com to claim your prize. Congratulations!
and remember you are all welcome to come to the studio on Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm to hook with The Studio Fibre Arts Group.
Submitted on 2013/01/28 at 10:53 pm
I love the new website, it’s very easy to navigate. My rug hooking tip is to open yourself up to new ideas, to try new ways to do things, to read as much as you can by taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge that is so readily available. Deanne’s books and videos are a must read/watch!
Okay so I have been thinking it is time for a nice prize. We just posted our new home page at www.hookingrugs.com. Peter., who creates the webpage did a great job for me so I want to celebrate a bit.
We’ll call it a blog party. It is a give a way.
Here’s what I am thinking…
A Day at the Studio with us where we’ll welcome you to spend the day, you can ask us any questions, we’ll take you out to eat, or bring lunch in. You can spend it with us learning or creating, whatever you like.
If you want you can bring a few friends and take over the back studio for the day and have your own private hook in.
You can shop away with your $200 gift certificate that comes with the give a way.
And we’ll give you a small rug of mine as a souvenir of your visit.
If you are from far away and cannot get here, we’ll skpe you if you like and you can ask us your questions and you can shop online and we’ll send you a small rug as well. We’ll make it fun, and mail you your rug and your $200 worth of goodies.
We’ll make a blog post about our visit so everyone can see who wins.
So you have to comment. And let me see what do we want the conversation to be about….
How about rug hooking tips…..
Leave your rug hooking tip in the comment section and you will
In this course I hope to introduce you to a style of rug hooking, the way I hook. I hope to be as honest as I can about how I do things.That does not mean I think that you should do things the way I do. In all honesty, I do not think that.
I think that you should do things the way you do things. For me that is what rug hooking has always been about. It is about being myself, telling my story, creating a lifestyle around art and creativity.
In this course I will demonstrate how I do it but if that does not feel natural to you then you should hook in a way that feels natural to you. This course will show you how I hook but it’s real goal is to enhance the way you already hook. The real idea here is to get you to hook like you.
Through out the course I am going to suggest activities that you can do, ones ?that I have done myself , or do on a regular basis. These activities are an important part of the learning process of the course. If you were here for a live workshop, it is in doing these activities that you would learn a great deal. As with all my workshops, it is up to you whether you do them or not. I can tell you though, having participated in alot of ?different classes over the years, the amount you learn is in direct correlation with the amount you put into it.
I was in my third year of a political science degree and I did not know where the middle east was when I met my husband whose family was of Lebanese descent. He couldn’t ?believe I had got that far into a poli sci degree with out knowing something so simple. I told him I wasn’t studying geography, but I think it drove home the message that I was learning much I was just going through a series of hoops. After that I engaged myself in my learning, and it made a huge difference. I love to learn, it is a joy. I read voraciously. I love to meet with other artists or business people and share ideas. I love learning on my computer. So I hope you will get engaged in this course and do the activities, read the articles, watch the videos and listen to the audio.
When I learned to hook
There is something about rug hooking that captured me when I was twenty four years old. From that age on I have hooked a mat nearly every week. Sometimes I say , that if it had captured my attention about eight years earlier, it would have kept me out of lots of trouble.
Ah but then I wouldn’t have those in between years to compare these years to. I wouldn’t know how lucky I was to find something so beautiful to capture my mind, my spirit, my hands.
Focus, keeping your mind on something you enjoy makes life more beautiful.
Rug Hooking, as you know, is more than a craft, or a hobby. Through it we have built a community, a way of becoming expressive and artistic, and a way of getting in touch with ourselves. This is nothing new. Women have done it for generations. What was first a means of warming cold floors quickly became a means of telling stories, sharing joy, and decorating the home.
My grandmother, living in an outport in Newfoundland in the nineteen thirties would use her hands to draw patterns for her neighbors. She would sketch out their home and their boat on a piece of brin (burlap) and give it to them to hook. She did this for many neighbors according to my father. As he said, “sometimes she’d draw a path going up to the door, sometimes their boat, or a schooner.” She drew what was around her, recorded her life in her time and place.
The same as we do today.
Over the years, though we have gotten away from our rich, home spun tradition, of mat making out of necessity, with the bits of leftovers of our lives. We still gather what we can , use what is leftover, but as wool has become dearer, and few people wear it, there is not alot to pick from. Instead we turn to wool off the bolt, fancy yarns, and any interesting materials that are available to us. Rug Hooking has always been about using what is available.
This week I would like to get some basic ideas about the way that I hook across.
Getting Groovy with the Hook
When I first started hooking, I remember going to a rug hooking group and seeing that the way I did it was different. I was using feed bags that I got from a Lebanese grocery store for backing. I was only using recycled wool cloth. The group was using Scottish burlap that was woven tightly and evenly. They were hooking with new wool, or recycled skirt weight wool. so that all the wool in their pieces were the same texture.
Essentially the only thing that was the same was the technique, the way we pulled our loops. I remember working on a field of flowers and one group member looking at it and saying, “that’s interesting.” They did not get what I was doing but they welcomed me none the less. From the time I started hooking, I saw my own way of doing things. I never looked far beyond that.
Mind you, I looked around at what others were doing for inspiration, ideas, tips, and materials. As always , in the rug hooking world, I found most people kind and generous. I was considered a renegade of sorts in the rug hooking world, but I guess I was a tolerable one, or at least one who would not go away. I felt welcomed with other rug hookers.
There were times when I would think about conforming but it was just impossible for me. I hooked the way I did because that was who I was. My hooking was just a reflection of myself. At that time, I was twenty four. I had done a masters in counseling, had been working in a women’s shelter for four years. I thought I knew something, maybe I did. I love Margaret Lawrence’s quote, “You’re young, you know things now you won’t know when you are older.” I believe it, because the light heartedness of youth makes so many things easier. Once we have children, lose our parents, watch the aches of aging, feel some of them, our outlook can change. It is hard to hang on to freshness, we have to work at it.
At twenty four, that is all I had, freshness. I had no money of my own. My mother lent me $2000 to start my business. My husband, God bless him paid the bills for the old farm house.?That freshness and the belief that the way I hooked was the way I hooked, and it was good enough, was enough to keep me at it. It was not about anything other than being myself and making rugs. I really encourage you to hook the way you hook, hold the hook the way that feels right in your hand. Pursue the style that most appeals to you. Never mind what the woman sitting next to you at your hooking group is doing. What is important is what you want to do.
I want you to start a journal for this workshop that you will turn to again and again. It should have blank pages like a sketch book. It does not have to be new, you can start on page twenty of an old sketch book if you want to.
Write down these two questions and the top of two blank pages. Over the next week , go back to the questions three or four times and ?jot down some ideas, paste in some pictures from magazines, or draw your answers. The questions seem similar but there are certainly differences between what you like, and what inspires you. Think about these questions as you go about your week and come back to them several times.
What do I like?
What inspires me?
Technique and Hooking
Here are the things that I think are important when I hook:
- I hold my hook like I would a pencil. This position is both comfortable and familiar to me.
- I use a pencil grab on, a little rubber cushion from an office supply store that I split and glue to my hook so that it is comfortable and soft to hold.
- I try not to squeeze my hand around the hook but to hold it gently like I would a baby’s hand.
- When I put the hook into the burlap I make sure it does not catch on a string of burlap. This simple mistake really gets in the way of hooking.
- I sometimes tug the hook towards me a little to open up the hole a little making it larger and easier to slip through.
- I make sure that the backing is an open weave so that I can pull up thick wools and wide cuts. It is really easy to damage your wrist if you struggle with wool that is too thick for a a closely woven backing. Do not do this.
Hooking stars video
History of Rug Hooking?
Here is an audio clip that you can read as you gather together your rugs. I keep my computer near where I hook my rugs and use it as my radio and music player. Maybe you can do that too.
Listen to this while you work if you like :A Little History about Rug Hooking
Over the years I have seen people get bogged down in huge projects that distracted them from rug hooking. Other times I have seen people get so over come with the idea of rugs as art that they felt that everything they did had to be important.
This week I want you to get back to the basics of rug hooking. I want you to hook stars like the ones in the video, just for the pure pleasure of hooking rugs. Take the time to hook ?five or more stars. Have fun while you do it.
- Hook some with your eyes closed
- Hook some with a palette of only four colours
- Hook some choosing the colours randomly.
by Catherine Bussiere
there is a distant buzz, a chatter, laughter
walking through the first two rooms
wools of all colors
on shelves, hanging, posing
woman, looking, feeling, pondering
busy hands cutting, arranging, tying
I walk in another room
the dying kitchen invites me to dream
long skein of wool hanging
pots, dye, washing machine, filled with promises
the chatter is louder
I enter the last room
it is everywhere
in all forms and shapes
backing of all kinds
piles of wool cuttings
a sense of community, of joy, of ease
and the best
the infinite variation of design
from the hands holding the hook
Dear Diary, I love seeing hands at work. When I take pictures around the studio it is often of hands in the wool. It is one of my favourite type of shots. I love the relationship between the wool and the hands. It is just so natural and so intimate. Women who love wool, really love wool. They understand, and they feel that it is special.
Women who work with their hands making something beautiful know that what you put into the work matters so they want to choose the best of what there is out there to go into it. One of the reasons for this is because what they put into it is always in their hands. How it feels is such an important part of the process. Who would want to work with a yarn or cloth that feels as if it is tearing at your fingers. We want it to feel good, to feel soft, to slip through our fingers.
Years ago I started photographing hands because I had seen some beautiful photographs of hand. Mine however never showed what I wanted you to see. Some photographs of hands almost show the soul of the person who owns them. I love that kind of photograph. It happens when there is an artist behind the camera, who knows the light, understands the shadows, and can make the subject forget about themselves and the photographer both. For me photographing hands is just a click, and catching a moment. I hope that one of those clicks might sometime capture some one’s essence. For now though as I click, I’ll just be happy to catch a bit of pretty, and to show a bit of wool love.
Dear Diary, Sometimes the tools are as beautiful as the work you make with them. Catherine Bussiere shot these the other day, and I found the stunning pictures on my computer. Catherine who made my dvd a few years ago has come to work with me just on Fridays. Another creative spirit walking around here helping to create beauty everyday.
These pictures made me really look at these hooks. They are big, heavy strong hooks with a coco bolo handle. These pictures made me feel like I had never seen them before.