Here is the last look at the Amish Country Wool Artisan’s Spring Show.  


While every rug in today’s post is not a “spring” design, most of them are rather spring-like.  Don’t forget, at the very end of today’s post, I will announce the winner of the little snibbles basket.

















(This is what spring looks like in Alaska.)






And, the winner of the Amish “snibbles” basket, made by Mose Miller is -


“Susan” – jdsmnash@  Once she sends me her address, I will mail her the basket!  

Posted in Amish Country Wool Artisans, Ohio, Ohio Workshop | 8 Comments


Here are more beautiful rugs from the Amish Country Wool Artisans Spring Show.  


Note the judicious and effective use of light inner background to make the leaves and stems pop in the outer section!



It only takes two colors, and in this case values, to make a good design work.


See what I mean?


No doubt, examples of last year’s Ohio pineapple crop.


No, we were not in Kansas – we were in Ohio.















I will show the rest tomorrow, as well as announce the winner of the snibbles basket.  

Posted in Amish Country Wool Artisans, Ohio, Ohio Workshop | 3 Comments


Without a doubt, all good rug hooking events need to have an exhibition of  finished hooked projects.  Such events are much more than a show – they are a celebration of our art form.  As expected, the Amish Country Wool Artisans had a great celebration at their annual Spring Hook-In.


Given the speed with which everything had to be hung, I can’t believe how professional everything looked!


Using dividers borrowed from the local High School, most everything was able to be hung for a very professional looking exhibition.  While I doubt that I was able to get a shot of every rug in the show, I have enough to prove it was a great event.   Here are just a few examples.


















s7 s33

I will show you more tomorrow.  


Posted in Amish Country Wool Artisans, Ohio, Ohio Workshop | 5 Comments

My third and final event with the Amish Country Wool Artisans was their annual Spring Hook-In, held on Saturday at the Mennonite Church outside of Berlin, Ohio.


Luckily, I was able to set up my booth early, after the Friday dye class.  As I had responsibilites all day on Saturday, Brittany and her Mom held down the fort for me.


This venue was absolutely perfect – spacious, attractive with an abundance of both natural and artificial light.  I can’t think of a better space (for a large group) that I have hooked in. 


Early Saturday morning, all the other vendors started arriving and immediately got to work setting up their spaces.


There were about 10 different vendors


Evenly scattered all around the room.  I was amazed at how quickly every one got set up and ready to go.  Which was a good thing -


As the line waiting to get in stretched all the way out the door long before the starting bell went off!


Given the great organization of the host group, all 160 hookers quickly got in and down to work.  Counting the members of the host group and all the vendors, there were well over 180 people in attendance.  That is a lot of rug hookers to fit into a space.  Yet, I never felt crowded at all.


My job for this day, as guest artist, was to touch bases with every one in attendance!  At the opening announcement time, the host just told every one to get a question ready and that I would be around during the day to answer it.  While I thought that was pretty optimistic, I did manage to stop by every table in the room before the day was over.  I can not say that everyone was in their spot when I stopped by their area but I did manage to get completely around the room before the day ended.  


To do that, I methodically worked my way through the crowd to see how I might be of help to each person in attendace.  Luckily, not every one asked a question.  However, a lot of people did … and some asked more than one!

Here are some of the things I discussed during the day -


Several people asked questions about color planning.  Sometimes that required me to look over their wool and at other times, we made a quick trip to a vendor’s table looking for just the right thing they might need.  

Other common questions concerned hooks, how to use hooks, ergonomic questions about hooking, technical questions about hooking, finishing questions and other similar things.  I also signed a LOT of GRS books!  


Frequently, the people I talked with had finished projects to show me.


As I had recently been in the area for a Miss Betty workshop, I got to see Miss B projects in a variety of stages.


I was rather surprised at how many people I knew.


I actually blogged about dyeing the wool for this Caraway project a year ago on the IRgC.  All these wonderful colors were prompted by the antique majolica collection in the  artist’s kitchen.  I showed both the wool and several of the majolica pieces used for our “inspiration” in that post.  It was very nice to see it so far along.  She reported My husband says this is his favorite rug!


I ran into people who were doing all sorts of new 3-D wool techniques


As well as people who were doing 3-D things a little more familiar to me.


It was great just to be able to interact with so many dedicated artists working on interesting projects.


In fact, I sort of felt like it was old home week!


Happily, Dave was one of 2 male rug hookers at this event.  Although we did talk about hooking


We probably spent more time looking at his punch needle collection.  He had a wide varitey of interesting punch needles.


However, this is the one that really caught my fancy as I don’t think I have ever seen this model.


People came from all over Ohio, as well as several other states for this exciting day-long event.  In fact, I think many people make an annual trek to Berlin for this event.


Of course, we did have nourishing food to keep up our strength.  That whole starving artist thing is so passé.  After all, we were in Amish country and that means good food.  


From my viewpoint, their menu was perfect in every way.  (I had black raspberry on the far left … just to be polite … not counting the Oatmeal pie that Heidi brought me.)


Right after lunch I grabbed as many Internet Rug Camp members as I could for a Photo Howdy.  I think this was only a token group as we signed up almost this many new members during the day.  


 All in all, it was a perfect day to see new things, enjoy old friends, meet new friends, discuss our art form and revel in the vibrant community that makes hand hooked rugs.  By the time the event was over, I was pretty tired … but it was a happy tired.  

Tomorrow, I will start showing you some of the rugs from the big Amish Country Show.


Posted in Amish Country Wool Artisans, Hooking Events, Ohio | 4 Comments

Last Friday I was doing in-depth research for the IRgC camp, although I do not have, in every case, the photos to prove it.  

As I was in the heart of Ohio Amish country, at the invitation of the Amish Country Wool Artisans, I wanted to get as up close and personal as I could with some Amish people … which I did.  I spent quite a bit of time visiting with one Amish family in their home workshop and additional time visiting the home and barn of a second family.   However, as it is very offensive to take photos of the Amish, I could not document those field  trips for you as I would normally have liked to do.  Nevertheless, I can tell you a little bit about my  very enjoyable visiting experiences and share just a little bit about some handmade items.

The home shop I visited sold 2 kinds of items:  hand made rag rugs and baskets.


All the rugs made by this family, and there must have been 22-25 of them, were made in the style of the rug shown here.  I am sure there is a better name for this than Sewn Amish Rag Rug but, after Googling it, that is the only name I could find.  


Each of the points is made from a small sqaure of fabric (about 6″) that is cut with pinking shears.   The square was folded to make a triangle and then the triangle was folded so that both ends stick “up.”  Once that second fold is made, a machine chain stitch is sewn over the fold to secure the bottom to a backing, allowing those points to stick up.  Folded square after folded square is sewn down until the entire surface of the host backing is covered.  The locals told me, after I showed the rug I bought to them, that I had selected a rug made with fabric that looked very Amish … which made me very happy.


Technically, I guess, “Mose” (the artist who signed this piece) made this to be a credit card basket as it is just big enough to hold a stack of credit cards.  However, I thought it might work better for a wool snippets basket for some lucky IRgC Giveaway winner.  In discussing this posibility with Laura Coblentz, my hostess for this trip, she informed me that the locals use the Pennsylvania Dutch name of “snibbles” for all those little bits of pieces, not snippets.  So, I guess, this is really an authentic Amish Snibbles Basket.  

If you would like to have a chance of winning Mose’s work all you have to do is make a comment on today’s post.  I will have the system choose a winner Thursday night and post the winner’s name on Friday.

I also stopped by the Country Craft Cupboard in Berlin, Ohio, while I was out and about. 


This is a wonderful craft store that features all sorts of supplies for quilters, rug hookers and many other hand made fiber-oriented art projects.  


They have loads of kits for just about anything in this genre you can imagine as well as all the supplies one needs to make them.  No trip to Berlin would be complete with out a stop at this charming store.  Several of the Amish Coutnry Wool Artisans (my host group for the week) just happen to work there.  

Lest you think I was just running around all day, most of Friday was spent with me hard at work in the dye kitchen.  


The ACWA brought me in to do a day long dye workshop for their guild.  I called it Seeing Spots: Pot With Spots.  Given the size of our work space, I planned the session to concentrate on 10 different dye techniques that produced wool with a lot of spotty characteristics.  


While I did most of the actual dyeing


I also used various members at each stage of the class to help out. That way, everyone who wanted to participate could.  


Of the 11 in attendance, their experience level went from frequent dyer to never have dyed a thing!  By the time we were done, they were all pros.


I had 8 electric burners and 2 ovens to work with.  Although electric burner dyeing is not my favorite, electric stoves are much better than hot plates and we got by just fine.  

When I come in for a class like this, I ask for the hosts to buy the pans and pots I like to use, then we sell them at cost to the participants who want to take them home.   That allows me to have what I think works best and it gets new dyers off to the right start when they dye on their own.


Of course, we don’t always use a pan for every technique.  


Working from 8:45 AM until 4 PM, we got all our projects done.  


Most of the wool had plenty of time to cool down significantly.  Laura and I took it all home that night to rinse and dry it.  The next day, all the students got to pick out the half yard of wool they wanted to keep from the workshop.  

PS:  Special Thanks to Annelle for the photos!


Posted in Amish Country Wool Artisans, dyeing (general), Ohio Workshop | 60 Comments

My Thursday was spent taking a scenic drive from from Mt. Vernon to Belin, Ohio.   Berlin (rhymns with Merlin) is in the heart of Ohio Amish country.  



I came at the invitation of Laura Coblentz, who also hosted me for a small hook-in on Thursday night with some of the locals who are helping host my 3 day visit.  While I will certainly be telling you all about it in subsequent posts, the most relaxing part of this hectic visit will be the Thursday night hook-in.    


We spent time looking at what each person was working on.  


Discussing hooks, frames, wool and all sorts of hooking related topics. 


It was a good way to get acquainted as all of them, plus a few more, will be attending an all day dye workshop with me on Friday.


The third thing this group is hosting is an area wide hook-in on Saturday with 180 people registered to attend.  


It is going to be a great 3 days and I will tell you all about it in future posts.  


Yes – I even got to do some hooking as well.  

In addition to this short report, I am also starting a special report from David Mikoryak about a hand carved strip sorter that he is making.  While his work is always top notch, this particular hand carved project is over the top.  


Gene – Finally!  I am able to concentrate exclusively on the hand carverd mahoganny strip sorter that you have ordered.  As it is the “first of a kind” I have to take a lot of extra time to get things right.    Updates will come more frequently now as the chips are starting to fly!


The first step of this project was to get my hands on a good piece of Mahogany.  Mahogany is quickly becoming a commercially extinct wood as the few countries where these trees grow are starting to restrict its export.  So consequently, it is considered a premium wood and it has been highly revered by woodworkers for centuries a the wood of choice for the finest of furniture.  I absolutely love working with it!


The top pattern pictured reflects the turning plan that I will use for the main post profile.  This turning will subsequently be hand carved in the vase area.


Next, the rough milling and thickness planing began:


And then more roughing and the initial shaping of the leg parts.  This nets us the center post turning blanks, finial blanks and a chunk that will be used to make the sorter arms.  I studied this board over the months to identify a cut pattern maximizing its use for as many sorter parts as possible.  You can see some of my pencil marks used in planning the cut pattern.  Time spent was well worth it because I figured out a cut pattern that will yield parts for two sorters! This is really good news.  If everything goes great I will be able to produce two sorters.  If any unanticipated problems turn up (as they sometimes do) there are back up pieces readily available to give me another chance in matching wood without a delay in schedule.


To assure things go right, you must start with a good design and plan.  I have made numerous pattern templates from my design drawings that will allow me to transfer the necessary dimensional information to the various parts.  Today I began transferring the acanthus leaf design layout to the leg set parts.  You can see from the photos a lot of detail must be transferred and sketched onto the wood prior to touching the wood with a carving tool.  This process takes a bit of patience but its time well spent as I can analyze the 3D aspects of this relief carving in relation to the physical shape of the legs.  I make mental notes of the depth of depth of the cuts that will be required to assure that the leaves overlap and lay upon each other as in nature and give the appearance of curling in some areas.


Once everything was marked, I was able to get out some of the “razor sharp” tools that I will need and along with other provisions.   


Here is a shot after the first day of carving.   I was able to complete the initial incising (outlining) which I started yesterday of one of the four patterns required for the mahogany sorter leg set.  After incising I began the initial relief carving of the this first pattern section and was able to complete the initial rough out of one half on the first pattern.  What I mean by “rough out” is that I begin the carving process knowing that I will be going over it several more times to refine the carving detail.  The first rough out gives us a chance to see generally how the carved pattern will look on an actual sorter leg.  The pictures in today’s report show this initial “rough out” and future reports will show the progression of the carving refinement.  


The above pictures gives a close look at the full perimeter incise and one half of the initial relief rough out.  Additional details in the carving will become more evident as the refinement progresses.  I think it is going to be fun.  David

Posted in Berlin Hook In, Hooking Events, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

When my daughter was planning The Brenna Rutherford Mystery Series, she knew that she wanted all the books to be set in what was, to her mind, the perfect small mid-western town.  After doing a lot of research, she settled on Mt. Vernon, Ohio, my current stop on this road trip.  


Mt. Vernon is laid out with  a classic center roundabout right in the middle of town.  


The city is full of all sorts of building and ornamention styles that have been popular at the various stages of history since it’s founding in 1805.


Whether it is a memorial to Civil War dead


Or rows of classic old homes on tree lined streets, the place is full of history and iconic charm.  

Since I read and reread all my daughter’s books (as do many of you) I wanted to put a physical  ”picture” with the literary images I have in my head about Mt. Vernon.  So, on Wednesday, I set out on my own Brenna Rutherford tour.  


Here is the acutal house my daughter chose to be the home Brenna lives in with her uncle.  


Since all the books are set during her senior year of high school, I had to drive by Mt. Vernon High School.  Go Yellow Jackets!


To make spending money, Brenna works after school and on weekends at the local bakery.  


Although the bakery in the books goes by a different name


The Pink Cup Cake has the right look and feel for the one that Ann writes about.  


I, of course, had to do a bit of extra research to prepare for this post and ended up getting a small assortment of things to sample.  How else could one write with authority?


The newest book in the series is The Envy Trap.  Much of that story takes place in the Woodward Opera House, located in downtown Mt. Vernon.  As the Woodward has been closed since 1918, very few people in Mt. Vernon have been inside.  


Fortunately, I know the right people.  At the moment, it is undergoing a multi-year, multi-million dollar restoration.


It is going to be stunning when it is done.  


One of the sites that repeadtedly pops up in the book is the local cemetery.  It is the place where Brenna’s mother was buried after the car crash that took her live right as Brenna was born.  I actually ended up spending more time there than anywhere else because I have always found cemeteries very interesting.  Additionally, since we are supposed to talk about something linked to our artistic pursuits, I took several photos of design elements that would work just as well for rugs as they do for stone.  


It does not take all that much to an interesting flourish on a stair stepped line.  


Need a center medallion shaped rug design?


I am still fascinated with metal decorative gates.


One simply cannot get too  many acanthus leaves.


Not Doric, Ionic or Corinthian.  Do you suppose this would be a Citric?


It is all about the shading!


This could be lengthened, made wider, or cropped to a quarter and then flipped to make a new whole design. 


This design – a fragile over turned vase of flowers – bothered me quite a lot.  While it is probably a standard Victorian grieving motif, it is not something I ever remember seeing before.  It just seems very sad indeed.


Best to go back to some more leaves and a great shield design.  


Although, this sweet little stone is hard to beat for impact. 


Whether carved or hooked -




These flowers will last!


I like to think this was a tribute to a week of rug camp where everything went right.


This, unfortunately, might do for a week where the project did not turn out quite as hoped!


I could have spent all day looking at the interesting artisitic markers in the Mt. Vernon cemetery.  However, as it was a cold day, I decided to move on to a place that bright and warm.


The Paragraphs Bookstore


Yes, they do have my daughter’s books on the shelf!  If you are interested in checking out Ann’s books, just Google Ann K. Shepherd at  Volumes 1-4 are “Seeing Red,” “The Haunting of Mitch Hamilton,” “On Ice” and “The Envy Trap.”  All are available in either paperback or Kindle downloads.  

Posted in Brenna Rutherford Mystery Series, Inspiration, Mt. Vernon | 3 Comments

Good Morning from Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  Although I am really in Ohio for a 3-part rug hooking event that won’t start until Thursday, I decided to come in a couple of days early because it would allow me the opportunity of visting Mt. Vernon, the town that provides the setting for the Brenna Rutherford Mystery Series that my daughter Ann writes.


Since I wanted to soak up as much of Mt. Vernon as possible, I decided to forgo modern trappings and stay someplace historic.


It is hard to get more historic than the Russell-Cooper House.  Built about 1830, the home is family seat of 2 notable Ohioans:  Dr. John Russell and his son-in-law, Colonel William Cooper, attorney and civil war colonel.


Owned by the same family for 5 generations, the home is intimately tied to many major historic events associated with Ohio and the US.  Besides appreciating all that history, I show up, of course, with an eye looking for a little bit of artistic inspiration.


And, for what it is worth, my eye couldn’t get past the dramatic decorative top knots featured prominently in the front design.  


They anchor each corner


And bring an extra dash of drama to the front entry porch.


If subtle is more your style, then all one has to do is look down instead of up.  Even the front sidewalk  next to the street provides a stunning feast for the eyes via these old glazed pavers.  I was astonished to find an entire sidewalk made with these.  Appartently, they were made locally and show up at other historic sites all over town.  They are wonderful.  


I do believe there is a rug design here …


As one would expect in a “high Victorian mansion,” the downstairs rooms are formal and elegant.


With layers upon layers of design elements typical to the period.  There is a lot to see.


That did not stop me from quickly finding IRgC central, the spot I staked out in the dining room for my computer hookup home away from home.  The only thing needed to make it a little better was a chair with a little extra padding … which I sneaked over from another spot in the room after I got to business.


As expected, the house is full of several period bedrooms.


I decided to stay in the Colonel’s Bedroom.


Each is a little different


But all are full of period pieces, many of which are original to the home.


From an artistic standpoint, I found the downstairs ballroom to be particularly interesting.  Not too long ago, when some work was being done to this room, the original hand painted ceiling was discovered.


Since then, it has been painstakingly uncovered and restored.  I was quite fascinated with the delicate lines and shading in this design.  Of course, as you might expect, I was very happy to see a classic Greek Key design as a prominent feature.  It never gets old … even though the design is ancient.  As is often the case, once a good design gets going …


It starts going off in new directions in order to make things more interesting.


Obviously, the original artist had plenty of tricks up his or her sleeve.


It is a good lesson for us about layering design elements together.  It is also illustrative as to the additional interest or perspective  that can be achieved through the use of values.  Just look at the interior teal “frames.”  By changing values as the artist depeicted those bands of color, it heighten the perspective of the design element.


Take a look at the use of both light & dark sections and light & dark lines in the construction of this Greek Key.  This also brings in that perspective punch. 


Aren’t you glad they uncovered this 4 Seasons homage?  I wonder who in the world covered over it in the first place?

The entire home is full of artistic eye candy. 

Since you can never get too much eye candy, I will show you a few more examples of things to look at.


Somebody went to a lot of trouble to make this stunning steam bent, curled and woven screen and its counterpart over the next door.




If you look long enough, you are certin to find a style that suits your design fancy.





Here is a simple, yet effective border idea illustrated by the white/red jagged ripple – the colors being divided by a rich gold line.  It is sort of an odd take on the puzzle border I use in Miss Weigle and other dsigns. While I would never do it in red, white and gold, I think the idea has merits.  

z24Color –  symmetry mixed with asymmetry – highlights & shadows – it get’s a person’s artistic mind going.  


I even liked the curtains!  After all, you just never know what might ignite your design meter down the road.  


Lest you think all I am doing on my down time in Mt. Vernon is wondering around looking at things, you would be wrong.  Here is my hooking space at the Russell-Cooper house.  I brought my nylon project along because I intend to have some free time here and because one of my events later in the week is a evening hook-in where I need something to work on and demonstrate.  

*** Since I have a new video ready on hooking nylon, I had Buddy put it up on the IRgC today so you can hook along with me if you want to.  To see it, just go to the video section of the IRgC and click play. 


While I am not exactly smelling the roses on this trip, I am enjoying the crocuses.  Come to think of it, I don’t even think I have seen real crocuses for 20 years.


Posted in Inspiration, Ohio | 4 Comments

 After being interrupted yesterday, I can get back to that report on doing a little color plannig.


Here is the project being worked on.  The artist wrote in asking for me to dye wool for her in the same colors as your Problem Persian.  


For people new to the blog, the “Problem Persian” is a piece I have been working on, now and then, for the past 3 or 4 years.  In fact, I have shot 3 videos about it.  Many people are starting to get a little frustrated with me because I have not gotten it done yet.  For those of you in that camp, here is some good news. In May, I am taking it on another road trip where I can work on it uninterupted for an entire week.  As it will be the only thing with me that week, I will have to make progress every day in order to have something to blog about!  So, I should get a lot done that week.  


The “Problem Persian,” like many of my pieces, has a rather bold color palate.  (It is a bit softer in real life than this shot suggests … but not much.)  I can see why this reader thought of this project when looking for an inspirational piece as its design is reminiscent of hers.  To be precise, she said:  I would like all your PP colors but don’t want very much of the teal.  

Although my piece is a scrap piece using a vast amount of odds and ends, they are odds and ends in these categories: deep raspberry red, orangy red, hot gold, golden green, deep dark green and teal … with a little purple here and there for accent.  As her piece is rather small (16″ pillow) and mine is 32″ by 50,” she does not have nearly as much room to play with color as I do. Still, I thought I could approximate the colors I used by carefully selecting things from my stash or dyeing something up special.  

Here is what I wrote her - 

Since rereading your letter and noting you don’t want a lot of teal I decided to give you some options.  


Here is the wool.  Top down – a little teal, 3 values of flower colors in T. Sunset & raspberry wool in both solid and texture, a deep antique black/green which is much brighter than this photo, marbleized gold/green wool, some reddish purple marbelized wool, gold texture and deep raspberry.  All these colors are pretty much right on to the real thing even though this photo is not quite accurate.  

Here are my suggestions:


“I have submitted one coloring where you outline one side of the main medallion design with the gold tweed, the other with the gold/green marbleized wool and fill with the dark green.  (I had to use yellow marker for both sides as that was my only marker choice.)  This is a pretty striking combo. After talking her about about adding a littl epurple, I also decided to include some of my special marbleized purple – that could be used in place of the dark green, which would free up the green to go behind the flower in the spot that is filled in with blue.  It could be blue (teal) of course, but as she doesn’t want too much, the green would really be better.  Although the purple could go behind the flower, I like the flower colors best against the green. Purple fill, between the gold and marbleized green with dark green behind the flower, would be pretty striking all round. You could use a little teal fill in the small heart section.   The deep red, of course, goes on the outside of the piece and in the center cross motif.  I would probably put a border on the edge in gold/green and dark green, similar to the PP.  This scheme would probably be my first choice.”


On a second drawing, I left the medalion blank thinking you might want to outline both sides with the tweed, then fill the middle with the marbleized wool or vice versa. That would make the medallion very “golden” and it would save both the dark green and dark purple for behind the flower and the heart with no teal at all in the piece. However, that might make the bands of gold a little fat and very domineering. I actually like having more colors in the piece than less,  so really prefer the first option but can live with this one if she decides she prefers it.  While I did not put that much  purple in the PP, it is in as a highlight all over the place.  I think it works well in this smaller piece.  I would probably edge the piece in one row of marbleized green and 1 row of dark green, like in the Problem Persian.  

I am not sure if these suggestions will work for her or not.  Perhaps they will spur her on to another plan.  Readers may wish to chime in with their own versions.  Either way, it was fun rethinking her pattern with those colors.  

PS:  This post was made from the great state of Ohio.  I arrived here late Monday night, having it alreayd written so it could go up before I went to bed.  I will be reporting from Ohio the rest of this week.  It is going to be an interesting road trip.  

Posted in Color Planning | 5 Comments

No, this is not a reference to the fact that I was sick Thursday and Friday, making me unable to have 1st Thursday or 1st Saturday.  It is a reference to something much more unsettleing.  I don’t want to shock you with this behind the scenes look at a tension packed life in the studio but, as I write about what really happens in my fiber art world, I have to share both the good and the bad.  

My illness could not have come at a more inopportune time as, besides the 2 back to back scheduled hooking dates, I was frantically getting ready for a road trip this week.  Being sick slowed that all down to be sure.  Still, at one point over the weekend, I was trying to photograph and color plan a pattern for a reader.  So, I laid out the pattern on the floor, as I often do, and turned around to get the camera.  By the time I turned back, this is what the pattern looked like.


No, it is not a realistic pattern of a spotted cocker spaniel.  It is a real life dog staging a lay-in!

I said:  Maisy – Please move.  


She looked at me and said:  No.  I am protesting your behaviour with a lay-in.

Me:  Protesting what?  You haven’t been here a week yet.  You are treated like a queen and you are only 2 months old.  If anything, you should be treated like a princess.  You lead a charmed life! What could upset you?

Maisy:  Odd you should use the phrase “Charmed Life.”  Isn’t that just a translation for, as they say in French, “V Sharmay?”  You stopped posts on work by Elizabeth Black’s students and I take offense at that policy for 3 reasons:

1. As they mostly are animal rugs, I say that we need to see all the animal rugs we can – even if they are cats.

2..  Two of the late rugs ARE by the real V. Sharmay!

3.  Anything that supports Elizabeth Black is a cause I get behind because she is the Leonardo da Vinci of rug hooking … with a little bit of James Dean thrown in.  I am staging a lay-in until you agree to show the new reports.  

Besides, you did not even show the rugs you worked on with Elizabeth.   

I decided a political fight was not wise given my weakened condition, so postponed the color planning discussion until after showing these reports.

 The first, by special request from the Queen, are the 2 shots of hooked pieces by the great V Sharmay – a.k.a. Arline Keeling.


Gene:  I wanted to send in the stand up cats and flower pot I made with Elizabeth.  I figured, if she could help me hook my cat’s faces like this -


She could help me hook fine art – My Renoir.  I never dreamed I could do it but with Elizabeth’s talent, I did.  Arline Keeling 

V – Glad to get your report for 2 reasons:  They show the great range of topics made by Elizabeth’s students (as well as your ability) and I never get tired of looking at either one.  While I know the last one is a copy of a Renoir, I always have been struck by how much those people look like you and Ted.  Haven’t you worn a red hat like that at Cambria?  

Here is another EB report from Abby Chapple - 

Indi ruga

Hi – Here is a photo of the unframed piece I did with Elizabeth Black.  When I do get it framed, I intend to have it matted so that the “Elizabeth Back Design 2009″ signature still shows.  By the way, this is my German Shepherd, Indigo Jubilee.   She is a long hair Shepherd.  Abby Chapple  

Thank you Abby.  It is a real joy to be able to see so many wonderful projects that devoted students of Elizabeth have done over the years.

Finally, I will make my personal Elizabeth Black report.  


The first thing I hooked on my “Fog” rug was the big cat in the center.  Elizabeth had come to Anaheim for a week-long workshop that I attended.  I spent three days on this cat, then moved to a second project.  


That project was inspired by my dog Bessie, shown here late in life.   


At the time, Good Queen Bess, was less than 2 years old … but already showing signs of being true to her royal namesake.  Therefore, it seemed very appropriate to design a rug with her dressed in the coronation robes of Queen Elizabeth I.  I spent 2 days and got this much hooked.


Here is the visual I made and used for this project with Elizabeth.  As she always says – Get a good visual!  The only thing not shown yet in this design is  a latin inscription that I intend to hook around the piece as a frame.  It says “Dogs Rule With Athority” or someting similar to that, according to the Latin scholar who wrote it for me.  I stopped working on this after those last 2 days of the workshop so I could concentrate fully on “Fog.”


Of course, it is a much bigger rug and took me several months to hook.  About the time I was done with this I took on the directorship of Cambria Pines and one thing lead to another, keeping the Bess rug on the back burner.  I keep intending to get back to Queen Bess … and I will someday.

Having fullfilled the restrictions placed on me by my studio critic, I was FINALLY allowed to proceed with my original purpose – documenting a conversation with a reader about a project.  However, I will wait until tomorrow to do that.  

For the time being, let me just close by saying how much I appreciate all those who sent in reports about their class experiences with Elizabeth Black as well as the Cardins, who provided most of the visuals I used at the beginning of this series.  

Should I get the chance to take another class with Elizabeth, I guess you know who the subject will be of that rug!

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