Just Motoring Along

Just Motoring Along

Hi everyone!  I had lots of rest this past weekend. Guess I needed it. Today I’m back and eager to get back at things.

I finished sewing on hanging sleeves and Hubby hung the Old Tyme Scrappy quilt on the wall.  I hemmed my jeans. I’m done the face mask order. I’m almost finished Autumn. I’m hand sewing the binding on the Trip-Around-The-World quilt.

The cushion cover is a bear I have to face this week. It’s a mess and I have to rip about one quarter of the blanket stitch out.  I also have to fix the rip in the back.  Sigh.  Have you ever had one of those projects where nothing seems to be going right?  Well this is one of mine.

Once all those are done I want to get back to my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging. Hubby already has a place he wants to hang it. I’m a bit miffed with myself that it’s taken a whole year to complete one medium sized wall hanging.  But I have done many things besides it, including a major move in April. While I had it on backing and started in January, I was living in someone else’s home and didn’t want to overtake it with exploding boxes of fibre.  I did for a while anyways, the few days I searched for fibre for the piece, but I quickly packed it all away.   I found my accommodations more suited to knitting and quilting small pieces. I worked on a gorgeous appliqué quilt pattern while there! Which reminds me I still have a couple of knitted cushion covers and the appliqué quilt to finish.

Lots of projects to finish!  Looks like I’m going to get some time to do them.  Nova Scotia’s Covid-19 cases are rising again and we’re limited to our five person bubble.  I’m staying home for the most part, and working on my projects.

If you’ve been reading, thanks! And have a productive week everyone!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Lots happened this week. We finally received our upright freezer – only four months after ordering it. I now have a small fridge freezer, a small chest freezer, and a medium size upright freezer. That has got to be enough for two people! I started filling and rearranging them this week.

I also finished sewing the hanging sleeves on the quilt. We went shopping for a curtain rod to hang it from. It’s more like a cafe rod. The quilt will be at the top of the bed by tonight.

I’m almost finished “Autumn”. I have just a bit of hooking to do around the letters on one side of the wall hanging. Then it’s onto finishing.

I struggled greatly and have the binding sewn onto one side of the Trip-Around-The-World quilt. I’ve pinned it down the whole way around the other side, ready for hand stitching. The quilt itself is not square, so it looks dreadful from the front. But then I remind myself I was only 17 when I started it, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was a major learning experience.

I almost finished my nephew’s cushion cover when my sewing machine went wonky. The tension is totally whacked. I took the threading out and rethreaded the entire thing. Crossing my fingers it works. Today is the day to try it again. I hope it does work, because I have another face mask order to fill!

If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend everyone!

Running Behind

Running Behind

I’m running a bit behind the last few days. Company on the weekend was great fun! But Monday was time to prepare packages for shipping and prepare for a visit and visit a bank official. Between them and resting up from the weekend my day was shot.

A heads up. I disabled the checkout on my shop. For some reason shipping went wonky and I have no idea how to get it back to normal. Suddenly it was offering free shipping on everything, and I’m certainly NOT getting free shipping from Canada Post!

Anyone who wishes to purchase something can contact me on Facebook at Jean Ottosen Studios or email me at jeanottosenstudios@gmail.com

I did manage to fit in a bit of rug hooking between other activities. I worked on “Autumn” off and on. I’m not sure how well I like it. I’m thinking on it. This week I hope to finish hooking it.

I also have to get back to focusing on sewing. I want the binding added to my hand quilted trip-around-the-world quilt pretty badly. Plus I have jeans to hem, a moose design to appliqué to a cushion cover, and a hanging sleeve for a quilt Hubby wants to hang above our bed. Lots to do! I’ll post my progress Friday!

If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great week!

A Busy Weekend

A Busy Weekend

Hi everyone. I’m posting a bit late. We have company from inside the Atlantic Bubble this weekend. Plus one of our daughters and her husband came over Thursday evening for supper and a rousing game of “Terraforming Mars”. We’re still learning, but it’s still fun! Last evening my sister and niece arrived for the weekend. They taught us how to play Settlers of Catan. Tonight we have company coming over to play “Wingspan”. We’re still learning that one too. We’re having a fun weekend of games!

However that means not much rug hooking is being done. I have hooked a bit on “Autumn”, but not much else. Today we’ve been running errands. I’ll check back in on Monday.

A Week of Remembrance

A Week of Remembrance

An update on company first. Our friend from outside the Atlantic Bubble decided to postpone her trip till Covid-19 dies down. Our house is not a good place for quarantine.  It’s too small and the upstairs is open to the downstairs with no door between.

In sewing news I’ve finished on sewing the face masks.  I just have to put the filters inside.

I also sewed the binding for my trip-around-the-world quilt. My sewing machine became jammed while I was attaching it. All sewing has stopped. This time I really do have to take my machine in for cleaning and repairs.

I have my jeans cut and pinned, but I’ve yet to hem them.

I’ve yet to appliqué the moose on my nephew’s cushion cover.

In rug hooking news, I hooked some on “Autumn”.  I’m working on the words in the piece.

I ordered a “new” Red Dot sample from Kevin LeMoine of Punch Needle Rug Hooking in New Brunswick and it arrived.  I tried it out and it’s almost exactly like the old Red Dot I used to use!  I’m put in an order quick like.  I love the thin Red Dot for transferring patterns!

What’s up this week?  I’ll be hooking and entertaining company. I’m taking part in Karen Miller’s Rug Hooking Clinic today. Plus an online hook-in on Thursday.

Plus I’ll be remembering Grampy and all the other war veterans on Remembrance Day. May those who didn’t make it home rest in peace, and those who return find peace.

I’ve been reading in the news that the Poppy campaign by the Canadian Legion is not doing too well this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. The money from the poppy campaign goes to helping veterans and their families. I encourage everyone to get out there and support the poppy campaign.

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Have a great week!

“The Best Laid Plans…

“The Best Laid Plans…

Of mice and men often go awry.” (Robert Burns, adapted from “To A Mouse”) .

You know I planned all that sewing and rug hooking this week. Well, we had a wee surprise. A good friend out west lost her job and is struggling emotionally right now. She booked a one way ticket to Halifax to visit us without consulting us in advance.

She is not native to Canada and her grasp of English is not great. She has never lost a job before and is down because of it. We explained the Atlantic Bubble and that she’d have to do 2 weeks quarantine in the basement. We had to phone our doctor, the local 811 Covid-19 line, and check a few websites to see what is required.

Out of an abundance of caution my hubby and I have decided to self isolate at the same time as her…just in case. She arrives next weekend.

So instead of sewing and rug hooking I’ve been running around town with Hubby buying stuff to make our basement suitable for self sufficient living. We bought a small freezer because our upright one hasn’t arrived yet. We’re looking at purchasing a mini fridge, microwave and kettle as well. It’s going to be Air BnB status by the time we’re done! 😂

Because there’s no closet in the guest room we spent an entire morning in IKEA trying to find something suitable. Hubby spent yesterday afternoon and this morning building it. Looks great!

I’ve been listing items for sale on Kijiji. I may list elsewhere. I’m getting little to no response there.

To complicate matters we already had company planned for the weekend our friend decided to come. So we quickly talked to them and they, thankfully, adjusted their plans to miss her. We still have a couple of dinner engagements to bow out of during the quarantine time.

We’ll be rearranging our home to make room for her. I won’t have access to my studio for 2 weeks, as it’s in the basement. So my iMac and rug hooking will have to come upstairs. Hubby and I are trying to figure out where to put things.

My other friends and family members are not impressed. But I understand our friend needs a place to heal right now.

In sewing news, I’ve started the face masks. They are looking good. I hope to be finished by Monday.

In rug hooking news, I’ve started hooking the letters in the Autumn wall hanging from Beth Miller’s Workshop Week class. It’s slow going.

That’s it folks! Thanks for reading. 😊 Jean

Monday Musings

Monday Musings

This weekend I worked on my hooked mat from Beth Miller‘s class last week.  Here’s how far I’ve come to date.  I changed the way the words sit on the pattern to make them more readable

Friday we had our new TV installed. We’ve been without a TV for over a year now. I took the opportunity to watch Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Thursday Live You Tube video.  I also watched Textile Talks: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafil, A Creative Conversation.  It was wonderful!  I found out about the Textile Talks during Workshop Week last week.  My TV and I will be busy the next while.

I have some sewing that needs doing. I am sewing face masks for some relatives this week.

I am also sewing a gift for my one remaining nephew who didn’t get one yet, from his Grandpy’s LL Bean shirts (see the moose appliqué at the top of this post).  Grampy passed away a couple of years ago and somehow this one nephew fell through the cracks. I managed to sew something for the other 27 people, but this young man was difficult to get ahold of during that time. You can find a video of this project under The Shirt Project May-June 2018 on my YouTube channel – Jean Ottosen.

I also have a quilt I started when I was seventeen to work on.  That was a long time ago.  I was up to a friend’s this morning for her help in cutting off a border that just wasn’t working.  It will make the quilt smaller, but it will still be a memory quilt for me.  I hand quilted 2” squares together in the Trip-Around-The-World pattern from sewing remnants of family dresses, shirts, pyjamas, nightees, etc. While at my friend’s we also prepared and cut the binding for the quilt. I am much happier about the quilt now.  This week I hope to attach the binding to the quilt.

As you can see, the bulk of this week will be sewing.  However, in the rug hooking arena I am going to be watching Nadine Flagel’s In The Studio talk on Wednesday afternoon.  I’m looking forward to hearing her approach to rug hooking.  I’m also going to be exploring some art and rug hooking links online.  I’ll let you know what I find of interest.

This afternoon I had a visitor from the Kingfisher Rug Hooking Guild in Halifax.  We had a great time chatting.  She shared where all the hook-ins normally are in our area.  Covid has shut a lot down for now.  She was very encouraging.  It was great visiting with another hooker!

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Hit the like button and/or leave a comment.  I know you’re out there.  I can see the stats! 🙂  Take care and have a great week!

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Weekly Review – In The Studio Workshop Week

Hi everyone!  It’s been an exciting week full of learning, struggle, and fun.  I took three very different classes during the In The Studio Workshop Week, and was impressed with all of them.  I took Karen Miller’s Travel Design course and came away with more ideas for my South Korean mats.

I was hesitant to take Beth Miller’s Here and Now Words and Fibre course because I don’t really read poetry, much less write it. But she was very flexible and forgiving.  I wondered if I could use it with my children’s poetry and after her approval I gave it a try. I found a “here and now” image that means a lot to me. It’s the view out our living room window about a week ago, with trees blazing set off against a bright blue sky, and my favourite cup of tea on the table, waiting for me to sit down to surf the Net on my iPad or read a book.  I was surprised by how quickly this piece came together and how fast I was able to hook it.

Yesterday I stretched myself.  I took Meryl Cook’s class.  It was hard but good for me. I am a very practical person.  Meryl’s class caused us to look deep inside ourselves for design ideas.  I have Meryl’s book and I’m working more from it after the class. I was not Meryl’s star student I’m afraid. Sorry Meryl. The class was great for getting me thinking though.  I love learning about the different approaches people take to rug hooking!  It is energizing to be around other rug hookers learning something new.

Wednesday evening was a great hook in with some lovely ladies. Friday night was the final panel discussion.  I loved all the links and resources that came from the week.

I understand Karen Miller will be organizing another Workshop Week in the future.  I plan on being there.  It was a great week ladies!  Thank-you to all the teachers and others who made it possible.

 

It Starts Today!

It Starts Today!

Are you ready? Or more accurately, am I ready?  Today marks the first class in the In My Studio Workshop Week for me. I’m excited to be in Karen Miller’s Travel class. I have several sketches from my South Korea trip to work with, and several photos otherwise. I’m looking forward to learning her process for taking an idea to pattern to finished piece.

I finally finished the centre of the South Korean wall hanging! Now I’m onto the border.  Last Thursday I dyed some fibre with a friend. Last evening I finished off the dye job. Hopefully these colours will work with the rest of the wall hanging.

I also checked in with the local spinning group via Zoom and spent time at my wheel spinning some gorgeous alpaca. This will not be going into a hooked piece. It will be used for knitting. It is spinning up very fine. Just right for some lace knitting.

I hope this finds everyone well and safe, and looking forward to the week. If you have been, thanks for reading. ❤️

 

Studio Makeover

Studio Makeover

Hi everyone!  I thought I’d do an update on the studio makeover. The main part of my studio is ready.  However we are storing stuff in it until the basement guest room cum family room cum classroom is completed.  The paint is drying as I type!

I’ve been working in my new studio, enjoying it for a couple of months now.  It has been a great space to work!  I have projects strewn everywhere. I could wish for improved lighting still.  But the LED overhead lights are a great start.  I wish I had some kind of track lighting to light up my gallery walls.  I have two gallery walls at the moment, and hope to have a third before too long.

Check out my current photos. It’s a bit messy because of all the work going on here, but it functions for me.  That is good!

My current projects are:

  1. an appliquéd moose wall hanging or cushion cover for my nephew, in memory of his grandfather.  I’m not sure which will be better for him.
  2. Fixing a hand quilted quilt I started when I was seventeen.  We won’t say how long ago that was!
  3. Dyeing the border colors for my South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging,
  4. preparing for Workshop Week next week, and
  5. getting the guest room stuff out of my studio!

Hoping to get considerable movement done on these in the next couple of weeks.

 

Planning…

Planning…

In Friday’s blog post I shared photos of where I’m going on various projects.  Today I’m showing  you how far I’ve come on the South Korean roof tile end caps wall hanging.  This week I’ll be doing some dyeing to have enough fibre to finish the border.  I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the month. 🙂

Aside from the South Korea roof tile rug I have several other South Korean designs to put on backing.  Some of them I’m just a bit unsure of the best format for them.  I’m hoping Karen Miller’s Travel class will help me.

The poetry patterns are calling my name.  I think they will be next for hooking.  They are all on backing and ready to go.

I’m still working through Meryl Cook creativity workbook and designing hooked pieces.

This past weekend was Hubby’s and my anniversary.  We spent a fair bit of time out in nature or driving through it, enjoying the fall colors around us.  It was beautiful and wonderful to get out and about.  I took a fair amount of inspiration photos for future hooked pieces. I’m looking forward to more wall hangings down the road. 😊

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Happy Friday everyone!  This week was short, but productive. I’ve been busy reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I wrote down everything I had in my mind that needed doing, then created a project list from the things I needed to focus on, and then a next actions list for the list of things to do.  I’m swamped!  I’m also loving it!  But I can’t take on anymore.

I’ve also been working on my South Korean roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going, but looking better these days. A friend was over to help me pick out fibre for the border. I will be doing some dyeing and overdyeing.

We also went through the poetry wall hangings I want to hook. They are on backing and ready to go.  I just have to finish this South Korean wall hanging and swing back to them for awhile.

I’m still sketching the South Korean designs in my sketchbook. Lots to do yet. Plus I’m still working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.   I’m enjoying the inspiration of the fall colours around me.

I’ve been listening to Cindi Gay’s rug hooking podcasts while hooking or afterwards.  She is a very wise lady full of all kinds of knowledge about rug hooking.  I don’t hook the primitive style, but I still learn from her.  Thanks for doing the podcasts Cindi!

The last week of October will be a busy week.  The In My Studio Workshop Week is on then.  I have a Travel class with Karen Miller, a Words and Images class with Elizabeth Miller, and Intuitive Hooking with Meryl Cook.  There will also be a group hook-in and a panel discussion  I’m looking forward to stepping outside my comfort zone to learn more from these talented teachers and others.

If you’re interested in taking classes I believe there are a few openings left.  Contact Karen D. Miller on Facebook and check into the events she is hosting.

If you’ve been reading, thanks!  Have a great weekend!

 

Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales

I hope everyone had a good and happy Thanksgiving!  Even though we were encouraged to stay home or in our small bubble, it was possible to get together with family and friends through technology. Long live FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and other apps that connect us!

I just went through my first Thanksgiving without a deep freezer. Let me say how thankful I am for our food supply chain. I picked up a frozen turkey Friday and it thawed in the fridge all weekend. I have a fridge that runs cold, so it needed that time to thaw. In fact, it was still partially frozen Monday morning!  I ran cold water in it before stuffing it and hoping for the best.  I cooked it in a Look bag and tin foil roasting pan, as we have no roaster and no place to store it if we did have it!  It turned out just fine.

Because our current chest freezer does not work properly and our upright freezer, which we ordered in August, has yet to arrive, I decided, in the best interest of not wasting any food, to gift our Thanksgiving guests (my daughter and her husband) with leftovers to take home. Hopefully little food will be wasted.

Other than Thanksgiving this has been a quiet weekend for me. I took some time off to read, review and reorganize. I’m reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” for the second or third time in about 15 years. I realize just how much I have put on my plate to deal with right now. I decided to back off and focus on the big picture – the long term view – for the moment. So I’m back in a goal setting phase, making sure every activity meshes with future goals and my vision of where I want to be ten years from now.

This is a challenge for me. My husband is seven years older than I, and is a senior now. I have discovered that in marriage planning cannot happen in isolation. You have to consider the other person and what reactions or parts they might have in the plans. This is especially true for me as I am not driving at the moment for a variety of reasons.

I am going back through photos and sketchbooks for ideas for mats of various kinds.  There are way more ideas than I can possibly hook.  It’s so hard to decide what to do and what to leave undone. Do I compromise and hook a small mat instead of a large one?  Or is it better to just not hook it at all?  In the meantime, I have South Korea mats and poetry mats to hook.

By the way, I discovered the shape of “joy” to me this weekend.  I drew a sketch to twig my memory.  It needs some revamping, but the basics are there. I may have another mat to hook soon!

If you have been reading, thanks! I hope you enjoy your week ahead.  Cheers…Jean.

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

I found myself really fighting my South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging this week.  I decided to not rush it and just work on it briefly each day.  Instead I’ve been busy sketching more designs – both of South Korea and from Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.

Despite spending more time this week drawing designs for South Korea wall hangings, I’m not sure how many will actually make it onto backing.  I’m seriously thinking about the viewer, as well as the creative act (by me).  There’s a balance that has to be struck there for me.  In previous years I hooked too much for the viewer, with the odd exception.  Now I’m wanting to get back to the act of just creating.  It’s important for me to know what I want to say with my work first though.  So I’m thinking.

I’ve been working through Meryl Cook’s “The Creativity Workbook”.  I am paused on finding a design that expresses how I feel joy.  I did go and experience a couple of things that give me joy – walking in nature amongst the fall foliage.  I picked up a variety of shapes and colors of tree leaves and have been busy designing leaf patterns and templates.  But to actually draw joy is another matter altogether.  I think I know the color/s of joy for me, but not sure of the shape of it…yet.

Wednesday I joined an In My Studio Zoom meeting to listen to Judi Miller talk about artist residencies.  It was a very informative talk about the options available, what you need to have a successful one, and her experiences.  I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and would like to thank Judi publicly for making the time and effort to do it, and to thank Karen Miller for organizing and facilitating it.

I received my ProChem dye powder shipment this week. I’m looking forward to more dyeing.  I’m wanting to dye the pine trees, ocean and skies using Lucy Richard’s spot dye formulas.  I’ll be dyeing the old-fashioned way – in the oven – rather than in a microwave  I do not have a microwave to dedicate to dyeing, nor a place to put it.

Well that’s my review for this week.  If you’ve been reading, thanks!  I wish you  all a happy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, wherever you may be. My next blog post will probably be posted Tuesday.  Take care everyone!

 

 

 

An interesting weekend

An interesting weekend

I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Susan Logue this weekend when she showed up on my doorstep to look at some wool for a friend. I really enjoyed contact with another rug hooker. Susan wrote the “Past & Present Antique Dyes” books, which I have and have used in the past. It was a fun time chatting with her about rug hooking, and it was nice to meet her friend.

One thing the visit made me realize was how starved I am for other artistic people in my life. I’m enjoying the online classes because of that, but somehow they aren’t the same as real live one-to-one encounters. They have their good points too though. I sure am glad to have the online experience too!

Saturday I tuned in to Lucy Richard’s FaceBook LIVE dye workshop. It was an interesting experience for me. I hadn’t microwave dyed before meeting Lucy. To be able to do a spot dye by microwave is great! And the pine tree, ocean, sky colours were great! If you head over to her website or FaceBook page you can find a link to donate to her video making efforts. If you donate $10 or more your name is entered to win a gift box of goodies. This time she is including the wool she dyed, among other things. It’s a half yard of wool folks…just saying. It’s a great deal! And a great gift. And it keeps Lucy doing videos.

I’m so anxious to get my dye studio up and going. Hubby is finishing painting the upstairs hall and then wants to do the guest room. It will be awhile before he gets to the dye studio/laundry room.

I hooked more on my South Korea roof tile end cap wall hanging. It’s slow going. It’s been awhile since I’ve hooked circles. There are a lot of circles in this wall hanging. It’s a challenge.

I started Meryl Cook’s exercises in her book “One Loop At A Time: The Creativity Workbook”. I was surprised how I could pull out one issue that was really bothering me, journal it positively, and create a rug design in under half an hour! I now have at least an 18”x18” design to put on backing and hook! I may have to expand it to 20”x20” or larger to fit in all the lettering, or cut back on the lettering.

They Came!

They Came!

Two new sofa beds are in the house!  That completes the seating for the studio and the guest bedroom cum family room cum classroom.  I do not have room in the studio for my comfy chair and the sofa bed.  So we will be rearranging furniture in the near future.

Karen Miller’s class on Tuesday was a blast!  I had to design a piece on the fly…like a minute or two…and start hooking.  I’m a slow hooker, especially with materials new to me.  The object was to experiment with new materials.  I tried dental floss, pink elastics (off broccoli folks!), fabric strips, parchment paper (yes, the kind you bake on), acrylic eyelash yarn, wool yarn, wool fabric, silk fabric, cotton fabric, sewing with buttonhole thread, some twill weave tweed that shreds like crazy, and more.  It was a fascinating exercise!  Karen is an excellent teacher.  Here’s the results.

The South Korea rug is slowly progressing.  I’m sticking to wool, silk, and nylon for that one…so far.

I spent more time sketching the South Korea photos.  Lots of options for wall hangings.  Lots of elements I might piece together to form one wall hanging.

Branding progress…I think I have what I need now.  I’ll be visiting a local printer eventually for new business cards, hang tags, greeting cards, etc.  I’m hoping to find a local affordable printer who can do an excellent job. I currently use an outfit in the US, but I’d rather use local, if I can keep the quality.

Meryl Cook’s book “One Loop At A Time – The Creativity Workbook” arrived this week.  I’m looking forward to her class during the In My Studio Workshop Week the end of October.  I may sidetrack into some of that workbook before the October class.  I don’t believe it’s required for the class, but it is a good little thought provoking book I hope will get my creative juices flowing along different lines.

I am thoroughly enjoying online learning. I hope once Covid-19 is behind us it will continue. It is just so much easier for me, not just financially (no hotels or air fares), but logistically too.  Three cheers for the rug hooking artists out there putting in the tremendous time and effort it takes to create these online courses.  Know that I, at least, appreciate all you’re doing!

And that’s my review for this week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend  if you’ve been reading, thank-you .

 

Monday Meanderings

Monday Meanderings

Our sofa beds come today!  That means everything will be in the house to finish the studio.  It’s been a long haul!  I will be so happy to have everything done.   Next up will be the dye kitchen.  Hubby and I are already talking.

This past weekend has been very productive for me.  I was able to select photos from our 2017 trip to South Korea and put them in an inspiration folder on my computer.  This past weekend I’ve been sketching possible compositions.

Sketches of South Korea

I will be taking another Karen Miller class tomorrow on materials and techniques. I’ve also signed up to listen to a talk on In My Studio by Judi Miller on artist residences on Oct. 7th.  Plus I will be taking part in the Workshop Week through In My Studio the end of October.  A busy fall of learning!   So nice to be able to do this online.

I have also been hooking more on the South Korea roof tile end caps wall hanging.  I am going slow, having stopped several times for dyeing and travels this summer.  I am hoping to be finished by Christmas.

I managed to tear my Dorr wool into one yard pieces and wash and dry them in preparation for dyeing.  My front loader really shrank the fabric, but it is still great for dyeing and rug hooking.  It is all stacked neatly, awaiting dyeing.

I listed the fall colours swatches for sale.  There are 15 of them at $3 each + shipping.  They are 3” x 16” and Dorr wool.  If you’re interested, contact me either here, through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

I also listed the small landscape I hooked using the swatches for sale  It is 8” x 5” and unfinished.  I’m asking $60CAD “as is”, or $80 CAD if you want me to finish it and include the hidden hanging system.  Again, you can either contact me through this website, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

This week I’ll be working more on the South Korea wall hangings.  I also want to get the issues surrounding my rug photos and branding sorted out. I am likely going to order more fabric dye powder.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week everyone!

 

 

 

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a busy week.  Monday I heard from my branding expert. She sent an email instructing me what to do with her files.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to even look at her email till Thursday.

Tuesday it rained and blew and thundered. I spent the morning taking Karen D. Miller’s online design course.  It was excellent!  It motivated me to sort through my over 1000 photos of South Korea and pull out about fifty or so to work on for wall hangings.  Some of those are of the same subject, so in reality I’ve only got about 20 different works of art there…enough to develop a theme.  Thank-you Karen!  I’m looking forward to the “Materials and Techniques” course next week.

Hubby and I also spent some time Tuesday downstairs hanging more wall hangings on the second wall of the studio.  We made the call to put our not yet purchased TV in the guest bedroom, rather than on my studio wall.  We can watch it from the sofa bed we’re going to have in that room.

Wednesday Hurricane Teddy was supposed to blow through town, but it didn’t blow very much.  So instead I phoned a friend and invited her over for dyeing fibre using Lucy Richard’s Woolly Mason Jar System.  We did some spot dyeing and some pot dyeing.  We dyed wool fabric while my friend was here.

Dorr wool dyed with the Woolly Mason Jar Dye System.

Drying fibre after dyeing.

After she left I continued dyeing fabric and yarn for my South Korean wall hanging.  I also used up the rest of the fall colours dye solutions I’d mixed up a week or so ago.  I was rewarded with this beautiful spot dyed piece of wool.

Front of piece.

Back of piece.

Wednesday morning I also received the link to the photos the photographer took of my wall hangings.  I have some editing to do.

I also received my shipment from Dorr Woolen Mill Wednesday.  I have natural wool for the next 3-5 years! I don’t go through it fast, but when I need it, I really need it.  I also purchased some different types of backing to try: bleached linen, monk’s cloth, and rug warp.

Bleached linen, rug warp, and monk’s cloth.

I’ve tried a Walmart version of monk’s cloth before and it was not pleasant to work with. This time I want to try the real stuff for rug hooking.

Likewise I’ve tried rug warp before and found it difficult for my wrist and hand. But I wanted samples for my courses.  Now I’ll have them.

The bleached linen is a novelty for me.  I normally use unbleached primitive linen. But I’m thinking I might  be trying some pieces with exposed backings.  We’ll see. If not, I’ll use it for regular hooking.

Thursday my short shank medium Moshimer hooks arrived.  If anyone wants one I’ll sell one for $20 CAD plus shipping.

I continue to hook on my South Korean roof tile end caps rug, ever so slowly.  I’m going to have to pick up speed.  I’d like to be finished it and onto other wall hangings.

If you have been, thank-you for reading everyone.  I hope each of us has a wonderful weekend.  Take care!

 

Make Moves Monday

Make Moves Monday

This past weekend we were busy cleaning out the house and preparing the yard for an upcoming tropical cyclone heading our way. Typical fall weather for here, but Hubby and I have never experienced one. We are a bit nervous, but we’re inland a bit so hopefully it won’t be bad.

One of the things we did was hang some artwork up on my studio walls. Check out the photos of them so far. We still have more to hang above the straight row on the end wall.

I’m really enjoying working in my studio and looking forward to the arrival of the sofa bed sometime in early October. That should give me seating for 4 or 5 people, should Covid ever end. Plus it will allow extra sleeping space for guests.

I’ve hit a roadblock on the South Korea roof tile end caps rug. I need to dye some wool from Lucy Richard’s dye system. I’m trying to arrange a time to get together with a friend to do some dyeing. First, I need to check and see how many other colours I’m short on. No point pulling out the dye equipment just for one piece of wool if I need to do more!

I’ve been working with a young woman on branding for my studio. It’s been an interesting and educational experience. I’m looking forward to using my new logo!

I’m slowly building up my gallery on ArtPal.com. I’ll be posting a wall hanging for sale once a day for five days of the week. It will automatically post to Twitter, Instagram, and my FaceBook business page – Jean Ottosen Studios. Follow along, and if you see anything you like, contact me through any of those platforms or through my contact button here on this website.

I had the opportunity of taking Karen Miller’s online course, “Getting Inspired” last Tuesday. It was a great shake me up course. I knew most of the concepts, but had never put them together the way Karen did. She gave me a fresh perspective. It worked great for giving me ideas on how to approach a new series or work of art. Thank-you Karen!

This week I’ll be enjoying another Karen Miller course – All About Design! Check it out by searching for Karen D. Miller on FaceBook. It’s hosted on the Zoom platform. Looking forward to class Karen!

As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

There’s been a lot happening this week. I put my website shop on vacation for an extended period of time, maybe for good. I’m debating rebuilding my entire website from scratch. I am frustrated with my inability to navigate WordPress and WooCommerce. I hope to consult with someone in October about the situation.

Highlights of this week were: finding a new platform for selling my wall hangings, selling several wall hangings, and seeing the new logo my branding expert developed.

The new platform is ArtPal. It is free to use, with no commission, but people pay you through PayPal. PayPal still takes their cut – about 3%. Still, it’s good for advertising what you have for sale across various platforms. I can set it to share my listing on FaceBook, InstaGram, and Twitter.

I am delighted I can say that three Prairie Sky pieces, Moss (a.k.a. Northern Exposure), and Sprouts have found new homes. I hope the new owners enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

As you know,if you’ve been following my blog, I’ve hired a branding expert to work with me in developing a new look for my business. One of the items she’s working on is a new logo. I’m not ready to divulge my new logo yet, but it’s coming! It’s simple and classy, but not too pretentious. I’m really excited about the change and hope to use it for many years!

Well that’s my update for this week folks. I wish you all a great weekend. Stay safe everyone!

What’s up?

What’s up?

This week will be a bit of redirection in my studio. I have an appointment today to see about having a small wall hanging framed.  I’m not sure how it will go. It’s a new custom framer. I’m hoping it’s not too expensive. I have other work that needs framing.

Tuesday I’m busy taking Karen Miller’s creativity class “Getting Inspired: How to Find Ideas for your Art”. I’m looking forward to it.  If other rug hookers are interested there may be more spaces.  Search for Karen D. Miller rug hooker and contact her.

Tuesday I’m also fielding a call from a client wishing to order some art.  Wednesday I’ll be preparing the order and attending my cardiac gym program.  Thursday I’ll be shipping the order out.

Meanwhile I am continuing my studio makeover.  We are hanging artwork on the walls.  I’m having to make tough decisions on what to hang and what to store away.  It does, however, look a lot more homey down there.

Throughout all this, and in-between it, I will be hooking on my South Korean roof tile end caps rug again.  Hubby and I have decided it will hang above the electric fireplace.   But we shall see.  The colours are not what I had planned for that space.  Still, it’s the right size, we think.  We’ll see.

Have a great week everyone!

 

Casserole Dyeing Fall Leaves

Casserole Dyeing Fall Leaves

I’ve seen two or three videos or blog posts on dyeing fall leaves this past week. It seems every dyer has their own twist. Today I thought I’d tell you one of my ways to dye fall leaves. This way is not fast, but it gives fall colours.  Plus you can dye larger pieces of fabric with it.  Are you ready? Here goes.

First, a safety note: all dye equipment is to be used for dyeing only. Keep separate equipment for dyes and food and store it in a different room. No eating or drinking while in the dye area! It’s too easy to cross contaminate food, drink, and dyes.

For this particular dye job I’ll be using ProChem Washfast Acid Dyes – Sun Yellow (119), Magenta (338), Brilliant Blue (490), and Black (672). I’ll also, roughly, be following Ingrid Hieronimus’ “Primary Fusion” formulas. Very roughly. I never could follow a recipe exactly! I’ll also be using a method called casserole dyeing, or spot dyeing in an old metal casserole pan.

First, soak 1/4 yard of wool, selvedge still on, in a bucket of tepid water with Synthrapol or DAWN Original (blue) dish detergent for 2-6 hours. This is one of the actions that will prevent white core. I forgot to add the DAWN or Synthrapol. I soaked my wool overnight. Hopefully the long soaking will make up for the lack of a wetting agent.

Soaking wool

A brief aside here. White core is when the dye does not penetrate the fabric the entire way. A lot of rug hookers do not like the look of it and equate it with an inferior dye job. It means the dye has not adhered to the fabric properly and may rub off or not be lightfast.

My experience has been that white core dye jobs are not as long lasting as other dye jobs.  I’m not willing to put white core pieces in a floor rug. I plan to thoroughly soak and overdye white core pieces so the dye does go completely through the fabric.

I also find white core a worse problem on recycled white or light coloured wool. Remember to thoroughly scour or clean all recycled fabrics before dyeing! Soaking in Synthrapol or DAWN Original opens up the fibres to accept the dye. You can also use Jet Dry. You don’t need much folks. Maybe 1/2 teaspoon in a 1 gallon ice cream bucket with your 1/4 yard wool.

A word about soaking wool. Never shock it. If the wool is at room temperature, use room temperature water. Shocking it will felt it. We want it fulled, not stiff like a boiled wool coat. Think of trying to hook with wool from those thick felted wool coats!

Secondly, prepare your dye space. Whether it’s a dedicated dye space with its own stove (my first choice), or your kitchen (my last choice), prepare the space in case you have a spill.

I have a second larger old metal casserole pan I put all my dyes and dyeing equipment in. You can use a cookie sheet with sides lined with paper towel or newspaper…anything to soak up dye spills. I also place my casserole pan on newsprint, a large paper bag, or paper towel. I prefer to reuse the newspaper. What I’m after is some way to protect my countertop.

Get all equipment out and handy. I use a measuring cup, measuring spoons (in my case, special dye spoons AND regular measuring spoons dedicated to dyeing), and 60 ml. syringes for this dye job. I also have a set of tongs specifically for dyeing. The tips of mine point down, not straight out. You can use chopsticks and a dedicated large dye spoon to manipulate the wool should you not have the tongs.

Third, prepare yourself! That means: bib apron, eye protection, face mask, and gloves (preferably latex or thin gloves that you unscrew and screw on dye powder jar lids). Wear closed toe shoes!

Now you’re ready to dye your fabric.

Line a 9×13” metal casserole pan with tin foil, shiny side up.

Arrange damp fabric in hills and valleys, all scrunched up, in the tin foil lined metal casserole pan.

Wearing protective equipment, place the dry dye powders in the bottom of a dry measuring cup dedicated to dyeing only. Add a bit of boiling water. Stir with chopstick until completely dissolved. Add water to make 1 cup.

Pour or syringe the tops of one half of the “hills” evenly in your first colour. I recommend going from light to dark. So apply the Sun Yellow first. Then the oranges and reds. Followed by a green, and a reddy brown. Bear in mind that colours do not always work out as you wished and you have to adjust as you go. Go ahead and adjust.

You don’t have to use all the dye solution if you don’t want to. You can store it in labeled glass jars for later use.

Add water to the side of the pan to 1/2”, if there isn’t already a 1/2” of liquid there. Cover with a tin foil lid. Pop into a 350 degrees F oven for half an hour.

Mix 1 teaspoon citric acid OR 3.5 tablespoons white vinegar (5% acetic acid) and hot water to make 1 cup. Stir to dissolve. Pour evenly over wool. Replace tin foil cover and bake another hour at 350 degrees F.

Pull out of oven, remove tin foil cover, check to see if all the dye has soaked into the wool. The water in the pan should be clear. If not, let the wool cool in pan until it has. This may take overnight.

When the fibre has taken up all the dye, rinse in water the same temperature as the wool. Squeeze gently to remove excess water and hang to dry. If desired, press it before cutting and using.

That’s it! Casserole dyeing fall leaves. Enjoy!

The results.
Natural Dyeing Workshop

Natural Dyeing Workshop

Hi everyone. I thought now would be a good time to review the results of the dye workshop with my niece last weekend. The workshop actually lasted from Thursday evening to Monday.

Her request was to learn to dye patterns with vegetable dyes. She wanted bright colors on cotton and silk. I’m afraid I disappointed. But that was largely because she wanted to use beets and blueberries, thinking they’d be good dyes. They aren’t. They’re fugitive dyes. We did have onion skin and carrot tops otherwise, and Staghorn Sumac leaves.

We found the carrot top dye to be one that develops color later. Things dyed with it were noticeably greener after being left in the dye bath 24 hours, and then left to dry out of the dye bath a further 24 hours. Nothing about natural dyeing is fast.

The onion skin dye did not dye as dark as we had hoped.

The wild card for us was Staghorn Sumac. I had heard it makes a great mordant for cotton, so I asked my sister and niece to collect some of it. They did, in spades! I made a mordant bath and put a lot of cotton in it. It turned a lovely shade of yellow that deepened with a subsequent alum and cream of tartar mordant bath. When left overnight we achieved a nice mottled effect, and when rinsed, the color paled a bit. But it was still significantly brighter than we had anticipated.

We could not get the blueberry or beet dye solutions to stick to the sumac treated cotton, however the sumac yellow was beautiful on its own!

I pre-mordanted most of the cloth before I left for PEI to teach my niece dyeing, thinking it would give brighter colors. There were a variety of pre-mordants:

  • Dyer’s alum (potassium aluminum sulphate),
  • Alum (aluminum sulphate),
  • Tea (decaf Earl Grey)/Dyer’s alum/washing soda,
  • Dyer’s alum/washing soda,
  • Dyer’s alum/cream of tartar,
  • Sumac leaves,
  • Sumac leaves/Dyer’s alum/cream of tartar,
  • No mordant,
  • Rust/vinegar, and
  • Rust/tea (Orange Pekoe).

For dye solutions we made up:

  • beet = 3 long cylindrical beets, peeled, in 2 quarts water. Brought to boil, then simmered for 2 hours.
  • blueberry = 3 c. thawed frozen blueberries and 6 c. of water simmered 1-2 hours.
  • onion skin = 75% yellow onion skins + 25% red onion skins = 45 grams total onion skins. Simmered 1 hour.
  • carrot tops =478 grams carrot tops + 2 gallons of water. Used a 1:5 ratio of tops to fabric. Brought to a simmer over medium low. Turn to below a simmer and steam for 1-2 hours.
  • sumac = 338 grams sumac leaves to 2 gallons water. Used 500 grams of cotton fibre. Bring to simmer and steam fabric overnight (12-24 hours).
  • sumac, alum, and cream of tartar = half of the sumac mixture above with 4 tsp. Dyer’s alum + 1 1/2 tsp. washing soda for every 100 grams of fibre. Add fibre and heat to simmer. Turn off heat and let sit 24 hours.

We used cotton and silk fabric. In my samples I included wool and pantyhose that had been stripped of dye previous to dyeing.

Results? Not the best. We achieved great color with the beet (pink) and blueberry (purple), as my unwashed samples attest. However, I am waiting a week before I try and set them. We heat set the beet with an iron, after finding that the salt or vinegar assists on silk simply washed out the color. We hope the heat setting made a difference.

The blueberry will need to be set with salt on the cotton and vinegar on the silk. My niece has a nicely dyed silk scarf with blueberry tie dye. I’m afraid it will be toast as soon as we introduce vinegar to it. We’ll see. I’ll experiment with my samples again.

Onion skin was great on my samples, but not on the actual tie dyed cloth. I suspect it’s because the samples were left in the dye bath overnight. I achieved great color on wool and silk. Even the pantyhose showed a great yellow. When we used it with my niece it was on an unscoured, unmordanted piece of cotton. I did not expect much and was rewarded by disappointment on my niece’s part. We tried to use it to spot dye some other fabric, but it just didn’t take in the short time we had…even though we did let some of the tie dyed items sit overnight. Other colors were stronger.

Such as sumac. The Staghorn sumac leaves were the surprise of the event. They gave a firm and fast clear pale yellow on their own. They did not dye the pantyhose and there is no discernible difference on the tea mordanted cotton.

What surprised us was when the Dyer’s alum and cream of tartar were added. The dye bath turned a bright yellow! We had a lot of cotton in the dye bath, so I’m surprised everything stayed as yellow as it did. My niece had a t-shirt she wanted dyed and it was a nice mottled yellow after sitting in the dye bath for 24 hours. There was a lot of sediment in this dye bath. It paled a bit in color, but held its yellow even after being washed with regular detergent in the washing machine.

Then there were the carrot tops. We discovered you really need to wait 24 hours for the fabric to fully dry before the color develops. Mostly, though, it has settled out to a nice pale yellow, except on silk pre-mordanted with alum. There it produced a bright, clear, almost neon yellow. On the silk scarf my niece spot dyed the carrot tops produced a nice green hint throughout after being left to sit overnight.

Here are the “finished” products…not hopeful they will stay as they are!

A useful experiment though, and one that taught my niece and I a lot about natural dyeing with vegetables. Next time I go back to my serious natural dyeing with madder, cochineal, etc. That’s if my niece wants more dyeing experience. She is already proficient in using Dylon dyes for tie dyeing, and may just want to stick to that in the future. We did talk about trying different dyestuff, and not just giving up based on blueberry and beet. There’s a whole plant kingdom out there to explore!

Natural Dyeing Resources

Natural Dyeing Resources

Hello everyone! This weekly review is on the various books and websites used this past weekend at my niece’s. She wanted to learn patterned natural dyeing, not dyeing all one colour. She also is interested in growing a dye garden.

I taught her some of the natural dyeing I knew, and we spent one afternoon with Linda Wallbank, a spinner and weaver, who just happens to also knit and dye. She grows her dye plants in amongst her vegetables. So we checked out her garden too, and her animals – alpacas, llamas, and horses.

At any rate, aside from Linda’s and my expertise, I also used a bevy of dyeing books and websites to help us on our natural dyeing journey. Here are some of the websites I found useful:

I also took the opportunity to make use of my natural dyeing library with this workshop. I found the following books useful.

  • “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean
  • ”The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing” by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall
  • ”The Craft of the Dyer” by Karen Leigh Casselman
  • ”The Dyer’s Garden” by Rita Buchanan
  • ”Natural Processes in Textile Art” by Alice Fox (rust dyeing)
  • ”Harvesting Color” by Rebecca Burgess
  • ”Natural Dyes” by Judy Hardman and Sally Pinhey
  • ”Eco-Colour” by India Flint
  • ”Shibori” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, and Jane Barton
  • ”Stitched Shibori “ by Jane Callender

While we didn’t do any shibori per se, we did spend a lot of time on tie dyeing. Looking at shibori books inspired my niece to stretch her tie dye design repertoire. We surfed the Internet and found some interesting patterns to try.

The top three useful books for this particular workshop were: “Wild Color”, “The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing “, and “The Craft of the Dyer”. Having said that, we did have difficulty getting beet dye and blueberry dye to stick to the pre-mordanted cotton fabric, no matter whose instructions we used! And of course, we discovered they are both fugitive dyes. While I suspected the beet dye of being fugitive before we started, I did not know what to think of blueberry, having never used it. Other dyes we used were: carrot tops, onion skins, and staghorn sumac leaves.

All in all we had a great time experimenting, and the above resources were a great help. Check them out if you’re interested in natural dyeing!