* Once again, there is unwelcome news about heartbreaking tragedies in regions where our IRgC friends are located. Whether it is Boston, Texas, Oklahoma or places that we do not know about, please join me in keeping our at risk friends in our thoughts and prayers.
As you might imagine, I am really busy getting ready to go on the road. (Do you like this new bit of wool?) While it is always a lot of work to “go,” I must admit that all the work is worth the effort. Getting out where I can see people really brings a lot of color to my life.
– The first week of June I will be at Cambria Pines Rug Camp (the public is invited to the annual rug show at the lodge, Wednesday, June 5, 1-5 PM in the Peacock Ballroom.
– June 16-20, I will be at the Caraway Rug School. (I am not sure what the visitation policy is there but, if you are there or can sneak in, look me up!)
July and August will provide me with a little bit of a break as I have nothing to do those months except host 1st Saturdays and, in my off time, get ready another big event in September - The ATHA Biennial in Long Beach, California. It is still not to late to register. I will also be there all week – vending, teaching and doing “host” things.
Should your path cross my path at any of those events, I hope you will stop by, say hello and spend a little time visiting with me. Please, don’t be shy. Seek me out. Hunt me up and say hello.
While all of those things mentioned above are rather expected rug hooking things that you may already know about, I want to tell you about another event I am attending this year.
This one is in Lincoln, Illinois, October 26 and 27. It is called the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger. Like the other gatherings, you are certainly welcome to drop in and say hello. But, even if you can’t drop in for this one, you can still participate.
Over my 40 years of professional ministry, if I had to pick the most important thing I was able to participate in, it would be the small part I had in founding of the Harvest of Talents.
Here is the short story: After preaching a sermon on a Biblical response to the terrible problem of world hunger, a lady in the church stopped by my office to discuss practical ways we could get involved with addressing this problem. In that meeting, we came up with the idea of having a Harvest of Talents for World Hunger.
It was a simple plan: We would have no operating budget, everything had to be donated, everything had to be representative of the donor’s talent, everything had to be sold and 100% of the proceeds would go directly to people in need. We would keep nothing. This really fit into my personal theology because I think the “creation” of anything good, whether it is a rug, pie or a garden, is spiritual. Our motto was: Whatever you like to do, we will find a way to use your talent to feed hungry people.
As expected, on the day of the Harvest, there are all sorts of hand made items that are sold in a general sale. The knitters knit. The quilters quilt. The gardeners garden. The woodworkers work wood. (This rug hooker will hook.) One family alone usually makes about 1,000 jars of jelly and jam. (Everybody in town brings them their excess fruit, jars and bags of sugar.) When some of the men realized that they could legitimately go fishing if they had a fish fry afterwards to raise a little money for world hunger relief, it was a ground-breaking moment for the men’s group! Of course, the church does lots of special HOT events throughout the year now: Ladies Tea, special event license plates, saving coins in I.D.E.S. fish banks, recipe books, poetry/prayer calendars, bake sale, musical concert, recycling aluminum, garden walk & plant sale, golf outing, 5K run/walk, holiday home tour, cookie walk, Princess Tea, to name just a few.
After the regular HOT sale in the morning, the afternoon is spent with an auction of unique items, such as heirloom-quality quilts, handcrafted furniture, repurposed items, exquisite needlework, and other handmade treasures, including things made and donated from the missionaries in foreign countries that are supported by the church. (I suspect there will be at least one hooked item at this year’s auction.) Everything goes – Everything is sold. The important thing is not what each item brings – it is about how many people can be feed because of all those items.
While pulling off the first HOT took a lot of effort (and I was only there for the first one) the Lincoln Christian Church really got into the spirit of the thing and now has it down to a fine art. In fact, a committee of 25 people work all year planning for the annual HOT.
During the first 29 years of the Harvest of Talents, everyone’s collective efforts – just doing what they like to do in their spare time – has brought in a total of
Every penny of that has gone to alleviate world hunger in disaster plagued areas of the world. (That is about three and a half million meals.) The 30th annual Harvest of Talents for World Hunger will be October 26, 2013, in Lincoln, Illinois. I will be there when the doors open at 7AM and stay until they close after the auction. There are, after all, over 2,000 cinnamon rolls that need to be eaten and I haven’t even told you about the home made pie that comes out for lunch.
I will also be there Sunday, October 27, for a special worship service in the chapel at Lincoln Christian University, my alma mater, when the total amount raised from the 2013 HOT will be announced and a check presented to the Executive Director of International Disaster Emergency Services – the agency that administers the distribution of the funds each year. While the real highlight of the morning is the announcement of that special total, I will also be preaching for that service. (It is another one of my talents.) Should you be within driving distance, please know that you are welcome to stop by and say hello.
If you would like to use your special talent to feed hungry people by donating something you have made to this event just contact me and I will let you know the particulars. I would love to brag about IRgC items at that sale! Of course, I will be taking some items to be sold in Lincoln on the day of the HOT. I will also be selling some things out of my studio (like the wool in the first photo) in July and August, the proceeds of which will go, 100%, to feeding hungry people. Every time I donate something to this event, it brings a little extra color to my life.
When we were putting together a list of possible teachers for the 2013 ATHA Biennial in Long Beach, CA, I made sure that Donna Hrkman was on it. (Yes, I spelled it right – Hrkman.) Since every rug I have ever seen of hers is a show stopper, I knew that she would have a great class.
As a teaser for the Biennial, I recently asked her if it would be OK to have a little private showing of her work on the IRgC. She graciously agreed to let us do that. Here are just a few of her amazing pieces and a little bit information about her I got from her bio.
Donna studied art in high school and earned an Associate in Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in drawing and painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After getting married, she worked at a frame shop where she met fellow artisan Alice Strebel of Kindred Spirits. Donna began illustrating their craft catalogues and books and then began designing her own line of primitive stencils, Blue Ribbon Stencils, which she ran for ten years. During that time, she was approached by the owner of The Daisy Kingdom Fabric Company and was a freelance fabric designer with the company for six years, featuring her original stenciled designs for clothing and home decor.
Then she got hooked on rugs.
Since 2004, Donna has published nine articles in Rug Hooking Magazine, has had six rugs selected as Finalists for Celebrations, has won an Honorable mention at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week for The Congo Rug (2005) and People’s Choice awards at Sauder for her Veteran’s Day (2010) and Indian Boy (2011) rugs, as well as a People’s Choice award for the Indian Boy rug at the Green Mountain Show in Shelburne,Vermont (2011). Most recently, she had People’s Choice awards given to her Alzheimers rug and her Olympic Spirit rug, 2012 at the Sauder Village Rug Hooking show, and a People’s Choice award for the Alzheimers rug at the Green Mountain show in Nov, 2012.
Donna also published her first book, Rug Hookers Companion, in Oct 2012, a handbook for rug hookers. She hopes to write more rug hooking books in the future.
She stays busy teaching a variety of workshops at guilds across the country and also creates hooked rugs by commission.
Her love for rug hooking goes far beyond making rugs for herself. She firmly believes that when you have a gift, you must share it with others. And that’s what she loves to do.
She firmly believes that when you have a gift, you must share it with others. And that’s what she loves to do.
(When she is in Long Beach at the “Color Coast to Coast” Biennial, do you think I should take her next door to the Long Beach Aquarium so she can scout out a model for a color version of this 3-D rug?)
(On second thought, maybe she has already been there?)
If you have a free spot on your Thursday Biennial class schedule, you might want to sign up for Donna’s one-day class – Funny Face. There are still a couple of spots available. (Even if you have already registered, you can always add a class, meal or other activity by contacting the Biennial treasurer.) Students will learn how to hook a small profile of a child blowing up a balloon, giving you the basics of how to hook features, do simple shading, and create a whimsical snapshot portrait. The skills you learn making this small mat will help you in your future projects with portraiture, color, and shading. The project includes a kit with Donna’s 6″ x 6″ pattern, stripped wool, and instructions. You’ll be using fine cuts #3 and #4, so get ready to challenge yourself to a fun and rewarding project. Skill level: Intermediate, might be too demanding for beginners; fine cuts, realistic shading and color. Kit: $45
If you can make it to the Biennial, this will be a great class.
And the winner of the hand made glass pendant is Mary Osielski. (Mary – Please send me your address so I can send you the pendant. )
Over the years, we have had lots of discussions about storage and work area arrangement and all the stuff that goes with that. The new book (which is only available for the pre-sale price for one more day) also goes into detail about the sorts of things I like to use in my work spaces. While I always seem to be making a little change here and a little change there with the hopes of improving my situation, one thing that remains constant is my goal of acquiring storage that is very flexible. In other words, when it comes to storage, I don’t want a one trick pony that only works for one place in the studio. A case in point is this winter’s redo of the wool storage area in the studio.
My new wall of wool shelving (one on each side) works better for me than the adjustable restaurant shelves that used to be here. I can both cram in more wool and then find it with this set up.
I still have plenty of restaurant shelving – just use them for things that stack differently than wool. The new arrangement, although efficient, left me with unused sets of shelving units. Some of them were put on wheels which allows me to quickly move things out of the studio. Fortunately, because those kinds of units are so adaptable, I had another place where an unused set could go. While not technically in the studio, they are now in an important auxiliary work space – the laundry room. Although we intended to put them in this new space for some time it took a little more than a snap of the fingers to do so. But, on Wednesday night, Marsha snapped. After everything came out of the laundry room, she cleaned it all up and said: Honey, I am ready for you to bring in those shelves.
Unfortunately, there was a little more to it than just bringing in the shelves. The shelves had to be taken apart and refigured. Of course, to get maximum use, I had to take down the hanging clothes rod and existing shelf, recut them both to a smaller size then install them … after recharging the drill a couple of times and going to look for screws of the right size as well as putting anchors in the wall so that an extra bracket could be mounted on the wall.
Fortunately, I have the skills and the tools to do all of that even though, with bifocals, it is much harder to do than it used to be. Truth be told, although I used to enjoy doing wood work, I rarely do it any more. My attitude towards wood work sort of changed after I got serious about rug hooking. In fact, it was the day that I realized many of my wood working friends had less than 10 full digits on their hands. As it is rather hard to cut off a finger with a pair of bent handle Gingher scissors, I downsized to just 2 little hand held saws that I only use when I must.
Since we do spend a lot of time in there, spinning and drying wool, it is going to be worth all the effort. I was quite happy with Marsha’s organizational skills until I discovered that she has also cabbages onto some other things I like to use in the studio – black busboy tubs. Not only are they perfect for holding and transporting wool, Marsha thinks they are perfect for holding cleaning products (that can dribble or spill) and vegetables (not in the same tubs as the cleaning products) that have a way of rolling off under things. This shot shows three purloined tubs and, as I write, 2 more got snatched out of the studio without so much as a side glance from the purloiner. (I think I may hide the unused tubs before they are all gone.)
Little changes here and there were also made yesterday afternoon during the Thursday hook-in. All the projects would be familiar to regular readers yet, there was a lot of tweaking going on.
Tweaking in this situation has to do with finding little bits of wool that bring a little something special to this place or that. It is a never ending process. Fortunately, we were sustained with both a pie and a cake.
Another friend decided to make a little change and asked me for help. Like Marsha, she is cleaning out and reorganizing.
The thing she has decided to pass on is an original Townsend lap frame. Measuring 14 1/4″ by 14 7/8″ by 3 3/8″ this compact fold up frame is one of the most portable frames I have ever seen. When folded up, it can be carried like a brief case.
It unpacks in about 4 steps starting with lid removal. Once the center silver knob is loosened the entire unit rotates upwards.
Like most things, it is awkward until you know how to do it. Jane Olson and I were together the day we got the first one. It took us forever to get the thing up and in position … because we did not read the instructions. Eventually, we did read them and got everything all figured out.
Besides the compactness of the unit, the other big selling feature is that it rotates a full 360 degrees.
Here are the draw backs to this frame:
- The work area is 12″ by 12.” As it is a travel frame it was not something that I used for really big projects. Still, it was quite efficient. I used a frame like this to hook the cover of the Proddy book while away from home for Christmas at my daughter’s house.
- Opening it takes a little practice to get down.
-Every few years the lazy susan mechanism needs to be lubricated to keep it turning in a smooth fashion. By lubrication I mean a dry lubricant. In fact, Bee Line has even made a video that is on the internet that shows how to do this. (They actually borrowed my frame to make that video. Consequently, I have never actually done it.) While this frame appears to be in good working order I do think it is time to lubricate it.
-It is compact.
-I liked it, particularly for smaller projects on the road.
-It swivels like a dream … when kept lubricated
-It is a sturdy little frame.
Since several people have asked me if I could find one of these for them, I am just putting out the word here that one is available for $350 plus S & H. I am not the seller nor making anything on it – just a facilitator. Write me if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org
Often, when people ask me to dye wool for them, they say something like this: While I know you like bright colors, my wool needs to be not quite so bright as yours.
Fortunately, the person who ordered this wool did not give me any such limitations – an order which brightened my day. I certainly hope this batch will be bright enough for them. As I am not completely done with the order, I am sure the other pieces going into the pile might tone it down … a bit. (In person, it is actually a tad duller than this photo … but not much.) I had quite a lot of fun dyeing this wool.
Here is a letter from Penny that brightened my day -
Gene: Where were you when the first man landed on the moon? [Near Estes Park Colorado on the banks of the Big Thompson River.]
Where were you when the Cowboys won their 5 super bowls (72, 78, 93, 94, 96) [Not sure about 72 and 78 but, I was in Carrollton, Texas for the 93, 94 and 96 wins.]
Where were you today at 9:58 am when Penny pulled the last loop on the Pomegrande rug? [I was dyeing the vibrant wool shown above.]
Dear Penny – I knew you were going to get this done ASAP. It looks fantastic. Thanks for sending it in. By the way, how is your daughter getting along with the loom?
Regular readers may remember that I had a special Spring Break weaving session with Penny’s daughter, Rachel, who ended up taking home one of my excess looms. Rachel, as I understand it, is hard at work weaving napkins during her spare time. As a busy high school student, of course, she does not have all that much time but, exactly how many other high schoolers do you know that find ANY time to weave?
Although most of our time on this site is spent discussing rug hooking and all that entails, I do think a bit of discussion about other fiber arts is acceptable as any good use of fiber can provide us with artistic inspiration. Then, as you well know, many of us dabble in more than one artistic endeavor (handmade glass pendants to name one) and we are all the more richer for such a multiplicity of activities.
Since weaving came up in the discussion today, here are a couple more notes that came in on the subject – both brightened my day.
Hi Gene - I thought you might enjoy a couple photos of a coverlet I recently completed.
This is a reproduction of an antique coverlet found in a flea market in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I wove this on a 20-shaft Oxabach loom.
Sandy – 20 shafts? Wow! That took an amazing amount of concentration. It makes me a little insecure thinking about those little 4 shaft rugs I showed yesterday. Way to go! Are you going to hook a rug to go with this coverlet? I think this design would also look great hooked. One of my AB goals (After Biennial) is to dye all the wool for a coverlet. I will probably only do a 4 shaft overshot pattern to start. But, with that new 8 shaft loom in the studio, I may move on to other more complicated projects.
This letter is about weaving, hooking and dyeing –
Hi Gene - I love the photo of your Handwoven rugs. I would like to try weaving a rug next but that will have to wait until fall. I have designed two rugs to hook over the summer and can’t wait to start hooking. I am happy to say that I am going to get your new book - it was a mother day gift from my boys. I am looking forward to reading it from cover to cover. Have a great day Happy Hooking.
Theresa: I am glad you enjoyed the woven rugs, glad you have two projects ready to go for summer and glad you have the new book ordered. We certainly want to see your hooked work so keep us posted. If you get ready to weave, also let me know. Seems like I usually have 1 or 2 extra looms lying about so I might be able to work out a deal for you. (If I can’t Phyllis in Michigan probably can as she has more looms than I do!) As for reading the new dye book cover to cover … I have actually done that several times. In all candor, at this point, I am starting to get a little sick of it. However, for good or bad, it will soon be making its way to you.
Here is the official info straight from the editor’s mouth
Hi Gene - Prepared to Dye is due to ship UPS from the printer May 22. I suspect that this will work well for you – the printer is in Missouri, and we usually get our orders from them in 2-3 days. You should have them in Anaheim in time send your pre-orders out before you go to Cambria. People who ordered it through the RHM book club should have theirs in their hands by then too.
So, if you have been thinking about pre-ordering your book from my store, you need to do so ASAP. The early bird price is only good for a few more days.
Another Cheticamp question -
I have had this little rug in a shadow box for years. I think now that I’ve seen the comments on the blog that this might be what mine is. What do you think?
Here is what the back looks like. Martha
Dear Martha – First of all, as the good Texan you are, do you remember where you were when the Cowboys won the Super Bowl in 72, 78, 93, 94 and 96? As for the little rug, I am not sure. Is it hooked with cut fabric or fine yarn? I think most of the Cheticamp rugs were hooked with yarn and yours looks like fabric. It does remind me of those rugs in many ways. However, it does not seem to be as precise as most I have seen. Can any reader help out with this question? Whether it is or it isn’t, it is still charming and it brightened up my day. GRS
Nothing helps an artist like a good visual. Fortunately, we have a few more visuals to go along with reports on Cheticamp rugs – this one in from Dianne Tobias.
Fortunately, we have a few more visuals to go along with reports on Cheticamp rugs – this one in from Dianne Tobias. Although not exactly the right sort of seasonal rug for a hot steamy day in S. Cal (it was about 96 today) it does show off that inch grid Jo was talking about yesterday.
In fact, the back side shows it off the best! All this made me want to do a little more research on the topic to see if inch grid work was an essential element for classification.
First of all, I sent off a photo of our rug to Cheticamp for an opinion. I will let you know if and when I hear back with a verdict.
Second, I hit the books – Jessie Turbayne’s “Hooked Rug Treasury” being the one I had in my library. If you are fortunate to have that book you can read a very nice article about Cheticamp, which begins on page 88, followed with several good visuals. Here are a few highlights – Cheticamp is a fishing village in the Cape Breton Island area of Nova Scotia. Natives have been hooking rugs there since at least the latter half of the 1800′s. These rugs, both old and new, are hooked on burlap using fine woolen yarns. By the 1920′s someone discovered the wonderful artistry of the locals and a cottage industry was born. Besides tourists, serious collectors and notable people (Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, President Eisenhower to name just a few) have treasured Cheticamp rugs. One even hangs in the Vatican … although I did not see it when I was there. As for that distinctive “diamond” or “inch grid” patterning so apparent in the rug sent in today by Dianne, Turbayne refers to such backgrounds as “characteristic of many Cheticamp rugs.” This I take to mean that most or, as she said, many but not all Cheticamp rugs utilize this technique. Hopefully, I will hear from my expert soon.
If you want to read more about Cheticamp rugs, Mary Lynn commented in yesterday with 2 links on the topic:
Gene – Thanks for posting about the Cheticamp rugs – I always enjoy anything about the history of rug hooking. If people want more information on Cheticamp rugs, they can go to http://www.floras.com/flora.html and www.cheticamphookedrugs.com. Mary Lynn
PS: I Love Penny’s Pomegrande rug colors ~ exquisite! Thanks for another great giveaway!
Speaking of that Giveaway -
Shirley, the artist who created the dichroic fused glass pendant in this week’s Giveaway has a long history of working with art glass. However, during the past two years, she has been transitioning to rug hooking partly because the textures and colors of the hand-dyed wools have intrigued her. Consequently, rug hooking is quickly becoming a new “passion” for her. This is really good as rugs don’t break, like her glass will, if you drop them on the floor!
Dichroic glass, which she used to make the little pendant, was originally used by NASA for use in the space shuttle windows. It has the unique quality of reflecting one color, while transmitting another color when viewed at a 45 degree angle.
Once the glass is cut and pieces layered together, it is fired in a kiln and heated to a temperature of about 1700 degrees to create “one of a kind” jewelry pieces. Once fired, the glass takes on that beautiful iridescence, similar to fire opals or rainbow ammolite. I guess it would be correct to say that this is one hot Giveaway! If you would like to be eligible for the drawing, just make a comment in yesterday’s post. On Sunday evening, the site’s internal computer will choose a winner who’s name will be announced on Sunday.
As a person who sells a Scottish Thistle pattern, I could not pass up an opportunity to show this visual. True, it is a vase of blooming artichokes and not Scottish Thistles. However, the main difference between the two is that the thistles went to college in Scotland while the artichokes went to college in Italy.
As visuals go, this would help a lot.
Finally … and I don’t know exactly how to phrase this without sounding extreme … I am not sure about the influence of Australian rug hookers (or just Australia in general) on Southern California. It may be a lot bigger and more pervassive than I ever imagined. After all, I have been a big promoter of all things Australian even as recent as yesterday. I have been there twice and talk to Australian rug hookers and friends almost every day. Still, I thought the Australian invasion was taking place in September, 2o13, at the Long Beach Biennial when Judy and Jo show up to teach. Imagine my surprise when, just yesterday afternoon, I found out that the Australians must have already arrived and may even be taking over!
Koalafornia? I would say to change the name of the state to that in one fell swoop is a pretty big shift! It is hard for me to visualize. True, we do have a lot of eucalyptus trees all over the place. But, who saw Koalafornia coming? Not that I am opposed to it – I am pretty happy when I am in Australia and ready on a moment’s notice to go back. I just was not aware that an invasion was taking place … until September.
Yet, there are big signs everywhere that the Australians are here.
This sign, for example, is less than a block away from my house. Imagine my surprise when I came back from the Post Office on Tuesday and saw it.
Now, I am just waiting in my back yard with a net in hopes that a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo will land on one of my wife’s rose bushes. If that happens, I will have a visual for my next bird rug. (I wonder if it could coexist with 19 parakeets in an 8′ by 7′ aviary?)
Last Friday, I had a guest in the studio for most of the day. When Penny’s family asked her what she wanted for her birthday she replied: A day off to hook at Gene’s studio. As I am all for birthday celebrations the details were worked out and Penny arrived bright and early on Friday morning and hooked until about 10 PM. She even brought her rolling materials cart with her!
Penny has been working (on and off) on Pomegrande for … some time.
Although she got the center finished in enough time to make a certain book deadline where a visual using dump dyed wool (that worked for a pomegranate) was needed, she has been stalled at that point for a while. By the way, don’t you love the alternate way she did her background?
With a full day of uninterrupted hooking, she did the 8 diamond sections of the background shown here. By my calculations, she only has one more day of hooking (i.e. 8 more diamonds) to get this rug done. In fact, it would not surprise me if it is already done as she had all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday to put in the last bits of this rug. (Penny – Why not send me a shot of your finished rug today?)
Although I was in and out of my hooking chair throughout the day, I too got in some hooking time while she was in the studio. I think all I need is another day and I can finish this corner medallion. I wonder … do you suppose … would she let me spend the day hooking at her house? I would probably get more done than if I stayed in my studio.
Yesterday’s post about the possible Cheticamp rug prompted a few emails. In case you missed that post, when my friend found that little mat for $10 in a Thrift Store, she thought it was a gift from on high. Here is one of the comments that came in about it all the way from Australia.
Lovely to see rughookers amongst the roses at your place today!
Thought I might send you a confirmation on the Cheticamp? Rug – I looked at the back of the pieces I bought in Cheticamp when we were there 2009 and I could see that unlike the horizontal straight lines of Grenfell rugs, the Cheticamp rugs are hooked in “one inch squares” - I can’t quite tell from the image on your blog – but it appears the little bird rug is hooked in irregular “shapes”.
Speaking of irregular shapes and hooked rugs – I thought I’d send you a couple of pics of my latest creation.
A local gallery was having a sculptural exhibition and I really wanted to enter a hooked creation but I wasn’t sure how I could hook a sculptural piece in the short time I had available.
I really wanted to do something that would represent the community group I work with and also the revival of rug hooking in Australia.
So I borrowed an old (depression era – worn and dull in colour) hooked rug from Judith Stephens and hooked and prodded a “new” rug in vibrant colours with some Waldoborough features. To meet the sculptural requirement I used a basketry technique to form arms and hands to represent past and present rug hookers – matching the fabrics to the two rugs. I also created some of Judith’s “circles” as bases for the arms. The hands of the arms on the old rug held tools from my “antique” collection – people keep giving my old tools as they come across them.
The hands of the glitzy new arms held new hooks – you might notice one of Brigitta’s hooks with the bright swirly handle.
While I was a little intimated when my submission was accepted – I really didn’t expect that to happen – it was a fun project to complete.
I also wanted to say how pleased I was to see the report from the Victorian rugmakers group – Chris is on her way to Perth so we will meet up again. One of the Victorian members has started a rugmaking blog – so we have every State in Australia covered now – just need to get something going in the Northern Territory! Cheers Jo
Dear Jo – Thanks for the report and feed back. First of all, let me say that I think your 3-D pieces are very interesting. I love the juxtaposition of old and new together for those art pieces. You did send 2 photos but I could only get this one to print out. Still, the photo shows them and the artist off to good advantage. I wonder what the original rug makers would say to see their rugs worked over for that art exhibit? No doubt they would be quite pleased and a little stunned to think of their utilitarian mats in an art show! As for the inch background sections on Cheticamp rugs, I have heard that too and even think the one that I have (someplace in the room of requirement) is like that. The rug I showed yesterday is not worked in so rigid a way. That said, it would have been very hard, given the small size of the piece and all the birds, to have done that – very little of the background is bigger than an inch. However, I am not sure that every Cheticamp rug had the inch bit …
As evidenced by this note -
Gene – Here are pictures of my Cheticamp, NS rug. I got it several years ago off Ebay. It measures 4″x17″.
I hold dear memories of visiting Cheticamp when I was young, long before I knew anything about rug hooking!
Hope you and Marsha are doing well. Will miss being at Cambria this year, but will see you in Long Beach.
Take care, Mary Lynn
I notice, in studying the backside photo sent in by Mary Lynn that there is a sort of semi “inchiness” to parts the back ground bits but it is not consistent in a rigid way. It looks very similar to the bird rug that was shown yesterday. Of course, it has the label which establishes the provenance of the piece. Even though the bird rug had no label, it was finished exactly as this one was and everything about it looked like this little mat. Again, I am no expert on this topic but it looks very much like this one from Mary Lynn. Either way, I appreciate everyone who wrote in with comments on that little mat.
While maybe not exactly a present, I did sort of feel like it was Christmas on Monday afternoon.
I cut off the woven rag rugs that have been languishing on the loom in preparation for its move to a new location. After weaving about 25″ on the red rug late Sunday afternoon, the roll of rugs on the loom got so thick that I could not weave any more. Therefore, I stopped on the red one and cut them off on Monday. The edges, of course, still have to be tied and twisted. The longest rug is about 65″ and the shortest is about 40.” Length was determined by need (a couple of people have their eyes on a rug and suggested how long they should be) and amount of available rags. When I ran out of one batch of rags, I stopped. While I always like to have woven rugs around to sell or give as gifts, I actually started weaving these rugs to sell in my booth at the ATHA Biennial in Long Beach, California. Although there is a very good possibility that they will all get snatched up long before then, that was my motivation.
Here is a real present -
This is an art glass pendant made by Shirley, one of our locals (featured yesterday with her first rug) and a member of the IRgC. She made this lovely 2″ pendant and donated it for a Giveaway. To be eligible, all you have to do is make a comment on today’s post. I will choose the winner Sunday night and announce them next Monday.
PS: Jo and her friend Judy are co-teachers for the Aussie Bling Bag being featured at the Long Beach Biennial.
Students can do this design in any color that they want. In fact, it features some of the coil work that Jo used to make her 3-D pieces show earlier in this post. Last time I checked, there were still a couple of open spots in their class. So, if you would like to sign up, just let me know and I will make sure you get in … as long as spots last, that is.
My local ATHA group’s May meeting takes place in my back yard. We generally refer to it as the Garden Party.
Up until this year, it was the only time during the year when the ATHA group officially met at my house. Now, of course, they meet there 3 out of the 5 times they meet. What makes it different from the other 2 times is that we meet outside, in the garden, instead of in the studio. I extend our lattice covered patio as best I can (this year’s set up was a new configuration that worked very well) in order to provide a shady spot for everyone to gather for this outdoor event. It is sort of like camping in Anaheim … with a hook.
Even though, according to Marsha, the roses hit their Spring peak about 2 weeks ago, it still looked pretty good for a camp out situation and everyone seemed to have a pretty good time.
After a rather short meeting, the program for the day was a “show and tell.”
Lest you think this was simply a genteel fiber event, between the rose bushes and the gripper strips, there were plenty of opportunities to draw blood.
In fact, Elise, pictured here with her Show and Tell, had to leave the hook-in mid morning to go the hospital! (Her first grandchild decided to come during the garden party … at the hospital, not in my back yard.)
Lots of rugs were shown on their frontside
Of course, we also wanted to look on the back whenever possible.
Mothers showed rugs -
Daughters showed rugs.
New rug hookers showed their 1st projects.
We even had one member, who is particularly good at finding rugs at the Thrift Store, bring in this little mat. By the way, am I correct that this is a “Chetticamp” rug? Can any of our members confirm or debunk this?
Here is what the back side looked like. There was no label. While I am not an expert on this type of rug, that is what it looks like to me. She paid $10 for it … and I offered her $11 … but she did not sell.
While you have probably seen this rug being worked on the past few weeks in other blog posts, I have not shown it completely done with the edges whipped. I also have not mentioned that this is the 4th finished rug for this artist. Thats right – 4 rugs this size in only 4 months of hooking.
She did a double row of crochet around the edge to complete her project.
Although most of the attendees were hooking, one was doing appliqué and a second one was knitting.
Just like there were lots of different roses blooming in the yard, there were lots of different projects blooming on our frames.
We will start a new Giveaway tomorrow.
It is always nice to get a good progress report.
Dear Gene , This is the third of four 5’ x 2’ sections for a folding screen. The only good place I can shoot this is in a room with mirrored doors; thus the diagonal shafts of light and dark. Donna
Dear Donna – We don’t care about the shafts of light. We understand how hard it is to get good shots of hooked rugs. The thing that floats my boat is that you are making such fine progress on this project. I can’t wait to see it all done. Each panel you’ve shown us has been just fabulous.
I made progress on Thursday, although my photos may not show it as much as I would like.
As I was too busy finishing up bits of wool, it did not stay stacked up very long in any one way …
And I certainly never tried to get it all in one stack as I sometimes do.
The wool would lay in piles or hang on a loom, then quickly get sorted out to where it needed to go. While it always looks nice when done and out where it can be seen.
I think I spend more time looking at wool when it looks like this. However, even though is not too attractive, I know what it will look like when completely done. It will be stunning.
But enough of fantasizing about how wool will look when done – I am in production mode and, therefore, more interested in getting all my ducks or, in this case, dyes, in a row. See how organized I am?
By the same token, this is my highly organized WOTM Shipping system. It may not be pretty but it works.
I AM DONE !
Wednesday morning, as expected, I got an over night parcel that contained the galley proofs for my new book. This 2 inch high stack of printed paper was sent to me for the final edit of all the copy in the book. I also got a digital shot of the back cover but it is in a format that will not let me reproduce it here.
At this point, we are past typos and rewrites – all that was left to do was take a look at the color of the photos which are, for the first time, printed out in full resolution. Throughout the entire process, because copy has been sent back and forth via the internet, we have been working off low resolution photos. Low resolution photos never look as good as high resolution ones. Now, except for the printer’s marks (for page trimming and other such stuff) this proof set, on good slick paper, is how the actual finished product will look. I always insist on seeing a pre-published version as I want to make sure the photos adequately reflect the actual look of the wool or project being discussed. I have seen too many books and articles where I could tell the color was “off” and am paranoid about that happening to one of my projects. (The last book I contributed to, because it was a compilation from several writers, I did not get to see the proofs and they did not print the correct photos! I have never quite gotten over that.) Of the hundreds of photos in the book (I think there are well over 400) I only wanted about 6 tweaked before the manuscript goes to the presses. Therefore, I sat down immediately, spent several hours scouring the copy and sent in a report by 4PM. While it seems impossible to me that we are still on deadline … I have come through on deadline and am done, done, done. (The videos, of course, finished up about 2 or 3 weeks ago.)
There are a couple of things that I finally saw for the first time – the Tips index at the back of the book being one.
I knew there were a lot of tips but, due to the fact that this index was the last thing done, I did not even know for sure how many tips there were going to be. I am big on tips because I don’t think that most people read the copy from cover to cover. Consequently, I like have little pop ups … or tips … that capture the essence of whatever is being discussed in that section. It makes it easy for “skimmers” to pick up information. The reason for such delayed activity rests in the fact that most tips are “side bar” sorts of things that end up going in place where the copy can easily be jiggered to accommodate them. While I often wrote several tips per section as a part of the original copy, with instructions on where they should be located, final assignment of location did not take place until the main copy and photos were set in place. Some times we had to cut a tip or two because we were out of space … at other times, I had a space to fill and supplied one for that purpose. In the end, there will be 61 Tips.
There is one more thing about the book that I am really interested to know just for my own information. I want to know how much wool I dyed to illustrate this book. Although I did not keep accurate records along the way, on most chapters, I have a very good idea of what I had to dye for teaching sections and for the hooked projects featured in the book that I dyed the wool for. When things are a little less hectic, I am going to go through and pencil in yardage for each section and project. Maybe … like those contest where you have to guess the number of beans in the jar, we ought to have a Giveway based on guessing the total amounts of yardage I dyed to make the book. I also got a note from Deb Smith, editor of “Rug Hooking Magazine.”
Gene: Here you go – a little link that is just one more way we are marketing the book. Feel free to use this link on your blog, Facebook, website, wherever. This Author’s Corner page on Stackpole’s website will be live during May.
If you click on this link, it will take you to an information page about the project. You will also be able to see a 3 min. excerpt from one of the DVDs.
Last week, I showed a couple rolls of dump dyed wool that I had whipped up in response to Roberta’s request for “enough wool so I can finish my rug.” When a request like that comes in, I also need some sort of visual. In a perfect world a one inch wide strip of the wool is a pretty good thing to send me or any other dyer. However, in this case, she did not have that nor the time to wait for snail mail transit.
So, to aide me in my task, Roberta sent me this photo of 2 strips from the larger pieces that she had used. While photos are never the most perfect way to match wool, when it is wool that I have dyed for a specific project, a photo is a pretty good way to jog my memory. I usually can recognize my own and knew just what she needed when I saw my wool in this photo. So, I dyed the wool, sent her a piece from each batch and rolled up the rest for the wall of wool. (It all sold on 1st Saturday.) Happily, what I sent her was enough as evidenced by this report.
Gene – Inspired by the beautiful wool that you sent, I immediately sat down and finished the Pickering Oak rug! It isn’t as beautiful as yours but I learned so much and have great hopes of getting better and better. The iPad camera makes this rug look really bright, and I see a couple of spots I may redo. I had some trouble with the zig-zags in some spots, but I did what I could. Thanks so much for your patience, encouragement, and willingness to share your talent. I look forward to next year and another session at Siloam Springs.
Headed to Arkansas next Monday for a day of hooking in a little shop in Rogers and getting the binding for this rug. Going to catch the Rockwell exhibit at Crystal Bridges.
If you see something, please tell me. It’s the only way I’ll learn. Thanks again - Roberta
Dear Roberta: Thanks for the quick report on your progress. I am glad the wool worked for you and glad you got your rug done. I think it looks very nice. It is a little tricky to get those points just right, as well as make that section intersect with the straight border in unified fashion. I had to do a little tweaking on my version until I got it just right. We are always our own biggest critics – or, at least, I am. Don’t second guess yourself as your rug makes a strong visual impact. Yes, I think the colors (or at least I as remember them) look a little stronger in this photo than in real life. However, it is a good photo and we can certainly see the good way you worked or “painted” in everything. Glad you enjoyed the project. We are all proud of you. See you next year in Siloam. GRS
Here is another tip that came out of the Siloam Workshop – When prepping for the evening dye class, my hosts went out looking for economical stainless steel pots that I could use for the class and they could keep to dye in. They ended up buying them at Wal Mart. I was so happy with them that I determined to check out my own local Wal Mart when I got home to see if they carried the same pot. They did!
Although they only had one in stock the day I dropped in, I bought it and will go back for a couple more next time I am over in that part of town.
For all of you who are writing me telling me that you are getting your dye kitchen up and running so you will be ready when the new book comes out, here is a great source for pots. This 16 quart baby, with lid, cost only $11.95! It is my favorite size of pot for a couple of reasons. It’s not too big … not too little. I routinely use it for 1-2 yard batches. Additionally, I can easily get 6 pots this size on my stove without having to do too much jockeying around. Even when full of hot water, it is fairly easy to handle. I do not know where you will find a better priced stainless steel pot for the dye kitchen.
Even though I was not in a dyeing mood on Tuesday, I did do a little bit of dyeing. It turned out that I was more productive than usual I because I did multiple batches of every thing. TIP: Doing multiples of the same thing helps you speed up the process.
For example – instead of doing one batch of dump dye in a steam table pan
I did three separate, yet identical batches at the same time. This allowed me to reuse measuring cups over and over as I had to mix up three batches of dye. I would mix and dump and then mix and dump again without stopping to wash. It saved me so much time. While I never felt like I was concentrating too much on dyeing on Tuesday, I ended up doing 6 batches of this dump dye (3 yards) and 10 yards of the Wool of the Month.
TIP: Do color research by thinking outside the box.
At one point, mid morning, I even left the dye kitchen for the regular kitchen to do a bit of color research with my daughter who came over for a lemon curd lesson. Wouldn’t you agree with me that this is a particularly pleasing yellow color?
Here is another TIP -
When a dye session is over, my dye kitchen sinks look like this. The left side is where my wool soaked all night in a Synthrapol soaking liquid and the center sink is what is left from the final clear water rinse for the dyed wool. Instead of draining the sinks …
I wash all my dirty dye utensils in the Synthrapol soaking liquid. (After all, it is a sort of detergent type of liquid.) Then rinse them in the rinsing leftovers before staking them on the drain board to dry. Why not get double duty out of the water before sending it down the drain?
Here is another TIP -
The other day, Penny wrote asking for a photo of Big Momma next to the quilt where it now resides. She was writing an article about the compatibility of rug hooking & quilting for a publication that was also featuring the Biennial. She needed a photo fast. The only problem is that Big Momma is no longer a show rug … and I have a white dog.
The easiest way I know to make a used rug look new is by going over the whole thing with one of those tape based lint rollers. I did go through a lot of tape cleaning up that rug so no lint would show in the photo … but it did the job and I got the photo to Penny before her deadline. Lint rollers are the “Windex” of the rug show world. Don’t leave home without them. (Or use them when you don’t want to get out the vacuum.)
PS: Bake those cheese scones at 400 until golden brown. My wife’s additional tip is that she likes them better when they are little (tablespoon size) as opposed to big drop scones. They cook quicker and you feel better about eating multiples.